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deconstructing myself


I'm always surprised when I figure out an "emotional truth" about myself. Usually, when I realize what is going on, it seems so obvious and I wonder why I couldn't see it sooner.

My husband has been working a lot for the last couple months. Without getting into boring details, he gets paged in the middle of the night, early in the morning, all the time. Then he has to get on the computer and work for a good couple of hours. Frequently he is paged at 4:00 am, works for two hours at home, drinks a pot of coffee and goes into the office and gets home at 6:30 or 7:00 pm. The bottom line is that he's been working 70 to 80 hours a week for the last four to six months. Things are stressful over here.

Certainly I do not have the same stress level he has, as I stay at home and take care of the kids. However, there is some amount of stress involved in being with very small children all day long. Of the fathers living on this block, my husband is one of the first ones to leave in the morning and the last one to return at night.

So this weekend his parents are staying here visiting and past experience has taught me to keep my mouth shut regarding my opinions. When my husband tells his mother about his stressful workload and she sees for herself the stress on his face, I just listen. In the past I have mentioned that it's hard on me too, as I have no family (or friends for that matter) helping me with the children. It's just me and my husband taking care of three kids. And when he works long hours, it's just me working with the kids.

This spiel of mine doesn't play well with his mother. It makes her tell me what a wonderful son she has and what a wonderful husband I have and that I should be happy I found him. Duly noted.

So this weekend I was really surprised when I understood what was going on with me. I realized that his mother is having a normal response, she wants to defend her son and I think that's admirable. He is a good guy and I do love him.

The real issue here is that her concern for her son makes me realize (prior to this in an unconscious way) that I do not have anyone showing me concern. My father is oblivious, always has been and always will be. It's just who he is. My mother has Alzheimer's. And my siblings are living in their own worlds -- hence no help from family.

It really was eye-opening for me to realize why I had such a strong response to that. I guess I wish I had parents who understood me. While it does make me sad, it helps me to understand where I am coming from and why I feel the way I do. As Paula says, I am motivated by figuring out the "why" of situations -- it's my coping mechanism.


2007-06-10 at 7:14 a.m.

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