My husband was out of town for business this last week, as is the case sort of frequently. I usually hold my own alright. I used to actually enjoy that time because of all the “me” time I got after Kendall went to bed. I would take advantage of those weeks, plug myself in front of my computer or sewing machine and get writing or crafts done before going to bed around midnight. Not these days. As this pregnancy has progressed (and Kendall ventures further into the Terrorist Twos) the weeks of single-momming-it have become more and more of a challenge.
I’ll admit, this last week I was irrationally annoyed with my husband for even having to leave. Sure, it’s his job. Sure, we need his job to pay bills. Sure, there’s no way around it. Didn’t matter. I still wanted to kick him in the teeth when he called to complain to me that he had to “go to another social” that night, and he was “probably going to *have* to drink some beer,” which meant he’d be “really tired the next day.” This came after I finally wrestled Kendall into his pajamas and got him to go to sleep. It came after a day of non-stop tantrums, turning to jelly in parking lots, whining, dishes and more dirty dishes, too many episodes of The Fresh Beat Band, two epic diaper change battles, sciatic pain, exhaustion, a botched nap. It came at the end of a day when I would have LOVED to be forced to go somewhere and drink beer and make small talk with other adults. He got no sympathy from me.
It was a very trying week.
My mood wasn’t that fantastic when we picked him up at that airport, and I’ll give him some credit for trying. He knew I was at the end of my rope, he knew I was exhausted. He promised to take over, to let me sleep in this weekend, to work on all the projects that are stacking up. He meant well. Things were starting to look up… until he casually mentioned how “nice” his rental car, a Chrysler Town & Country Minivan, was.
“I know you’re anti-minvan, but you should really test drive one, Jill. They are really roomy. We could fit so much in there! There would be a lot of room for the kids. I mean, I know it’s not “cool,” I did kind of feel weird driving it, it’s not sexy, but it’s convenient.”
I laughed him off.
“No, I’m serious. I really think you should give it some thought. Don’t diss it before you drive it.”
Was he seriously serious???
1. We don’t need a new car right now. My Jeep Grand Cherokee holds 2 carseats just fine, and we just paid that thing off. I am NOT replacing it. Plus, I love it.
2. So *he* felt weird driving it, but it won’t matter because it will be MY car, right? Because nothing in this scenario requires him to give up his flashy car and drive a minivan on a daily basis.
“No. Absolutely not. We don’t need one, I don’t need to test drive one. I don’t even know why you are bringing this up. It’s crap. I love my car, why should I have to give it up? You get no say in this. It’s not like you would actually drive it anyway.”
“I would too drive it.”
“To work? No, because that would defeat the purpose. I would be stuck driving it 99.9% of the time because I am the one with the kids 99.9% of the time, therefore making it MY car, and MY choice. No.”
I’m going to stop here and make something clear. I am NOT trying to take a jab at or make fun of those of you who drive minivans. I get that a lot of people LOVE them. I get that they have a lot of perks. I will concede that MAYBE at some point in the future I just MIGHT have to consider one, which I type with a heavy sigh. I get that.
This argument began to be about so much more than a minivan.
Then he said, “I don’t get why you are so opposed to the idea. It’s so practical.”
He had no idea the beast in me he just unleashed, the beast I’d been trying to tame all week long, the beast who wanted to go all Praying Mantis on his ass and rip his head off.
“PRACTICAL??? Practical?! Can NOTHING about my life NOT be practical? I don’t get haircuts more than a few times a year in an effort to be practical. I color my grey hairs at home with a $7 box of dye to be practical. I don’t wear cute clothes from Ann Taylor Loft anymore because they aren’t practical. I cut coupons, look for great sales on kid’s clothes, stalk consignment sales for the baby’s stuff, wash cloth diapers and cloth washcloths and make our own kitchen cleaner because I am practical like that. I make sacrifices in favor of the practical every day for this family. You will NOT make me give up my car because it is not PRACTICAL!”
Then I started rambling on about “the nerve” and “must be NICE to go on business trips and drink and have dinner with adults and sleep without dogs in your bed and not have to DO DISHES FOR A WEEK.” And then I cried… because I’m pregnant and hormonal.
Poor guy. He was so confused.
With just the simple, and seemingly innocent mention of test driving a minivan, he sparked a firestorm in me that was smoldering all week, one that called into question my identity and autonomy, one that really didn’t have much to do with him at all. He just stared straight ahead, baffled, and drove us home, clearly taken aback by my acute reaction.
I got over it. I apologized for my hormonal outburst, for taking out my frustrations on him for something he has no control over (being gone for work), but I stood my ground on the minivan. No way, no how…. at least for now.