Very early on in our marriage, I learned that I cannot play video games, or a sport game, or be in direct competition of any sort against Cliff, if I wanted to keep our marriage afloat. Every time I do, we end up fighting. I’ll admit, sometimes I’m a sour loser. So we eventually figured out that to keep peace at home, we need to play on the same team.
But that doesn’t stop me from finding other things Cliff does to compete with. I think it’s some sort of disease I have that cannot be cured. I just can’t help it. I know my doctor doesn’t have a prescription for me on this!
If we’re both trying to lose weight, I’ll get so mad that he’s losing weight faster than me. If we have friends over for dinner and they only praised the dishes Cliff prepared, I’d be upset all night. If we took separate cars and left some place at the same time, I’d be miffed when he beats me home. Yes, stupid little things…but please tell me I’m not alone!!
Where is Cliff in all this, you might ask? Oh, he has no idea we’re in a competition. Often he wonders why I was upset with him.
The point is, I can’t stand losing.
While I was on maternity leave, often Cliff comes home from work and I haven’t showered or prepared dinner. Toys will scattered about, I might still be in my PJs, and laundry might be overflowing. I always told him that it’s not easy taking care of a baby and try to get things done, and he was always accepting of that fact. Before I went back to work, I told Cliff to be prepared mentally for staying home with Joshua, and that I would be completely accepting to get home from work to see no dinner on the table.
Now that Cliff’s the one staying home with Joshua while I go to work, I was totally expecting to come home to a messy apartment and sobbing husband. I expected him to text me and ask me what Joshua’s routine is, or where can he find the kind of tofu Joshua likes, or what to do if Joshua fell and cut his head open. I expected that nothing will get done at home like cooking or tidying up or laundry. I expected to come home after a long day at work to step on some toys when I walk in the door and scramble to put dinner on the table. And I would be ok with all that, because I know it’s not easy to get things done when you are taking care of a baby, right?
The first week I went back to work, I came home each night to find the living room in a orderly state. Not spotless, but at least not a disaster. And dinner would be roasting in the oven or already made. I figured, ok, Cliff was just trying to impress me.
The second week, same thing. Now I’m getting a little annoyed. Not only did he never text me out of panic, he sent me 3 or 4 pictures each day of him and Joshua having fun. He managed to go to CostCo with Joshua and brought back a truckload of groceries and supplies. Again, I go home each night and dinner was all ready.
The third week, same thing. No panic phone calls or text messages. No messy disaster at home. Dinner is ready. Laundry had been done. They went to the neighborhood family place to play and borrowed toys from the toy library. They crossed the border and brought back things we purchased on-line. Cliff even managed to have a play date at our place and made sushi for his friend!
Ok, I know it’s not a competition about who’s the better parent. But come on! Why does everything have to be this easy for Cliff? So I asked him how he managed to get all these things done, and he kind of looks at me like I’m asking something very obvious. He shrugged and nonchalantly said something like “it’s not that hard.” Oh, that just about sent me over the edge!
No, I’m not competitive, damn it!
Alright, all jokes aside, I am very impressed with Cliff. We’ve been married for 8 1/2 years and he just continues to amaze me. I always knew he would be a great dad; I just didn’t know he’d be this amazing.
Babe, I think you’re the most loving and kind person in the world. You’re an awesome dad!