So, this afternoon Chris and I got into a big fight.
A huge fight.
A colossal fight.
We haven’t fought like this in a long, long time.Â I think the last fight of this size was one night when I was very pregnant and I was standing on the bottom step of the stairs in our house and I yelled so loud that I knocked my huge, preggo self right off the step.Â I’m a powerful yeller.
Here’s the thing about my fighting style.Â I hardly ever do it.Â I’m not a big fighter at all.Â In fact, I’d rather just apologize, even though something may not be my fault, just so we don’t have to go through the hassle of a fight.Â Its not that I’m a pushover.Â Its that I’m lazy.Â I just haven’t found too many things really worth the effort of fighting over, so I’d rather just be the one to say, “I’m sorry” and then we can move on to more fun things.
But here’s the thing about being married to someone with this kind of fighting style.Â Once you push them too far, you’ve pushed them too far.Â And you better find a football helmet and some kind of wooden spoon because you are about to go to war.Â Whether you want to or not.Â And whatever you do, whatever you say, just know that you are only going to make the situation worse.Â Either immediately submit or hold on tight.Â Once you’ve made me mad, there really isn’t an off switch.
9 out of 10 times, Chris is pretty good at going to battle with me.Â He puts on his armor and then he stands there silently and takes it.Â He doesn’t usually fight back when I’m in the red zone.Â Instead, he lets me rant and rave and knock myself off steps.Â And then he lets me storm off to a neutral corner where I can calm myself down.Â And then he either waits for me to realize that I was wrong and I apologize, or he comes and apologizes to me if he was in the wrong.Â At which point I then break down into a sobbing mess, professing my love and devotion and begging him to take off the football helmet and put down the wooden spoon.
But there are those times, those special, rare times when Chris decides that not only is he going to put on the armor and go to battle, but he’s going to fight back, too.Â So, then I have to rant and rave AND rip his head off.Â And it takes sooooo much more effort to fight like this.
And that’s what happened this afternoon.Â Lack of sleep, lots of vacation travel, and just the good ol’ daily grindstone all came to a head today and neither Chris or I felt like taking any crap from the other one.Â So, we didn’t.Â We went round for round until finally, we both told the other to leave the house.Â And neither of us listened to the other person, so we both retreated to neutral corners and pretended the other person didn’t exist for the next several hours.
Under normal circumstances, I would say this was just a terrible fight and we’d look back on it and laugh at how silly and headstrong we were both being.Â But this time, it was different.Â Because as I was ranting and raving and ripping Chris’ head off and as he was yelling right back at me, I had Bean on my hip.Â He was right there.Â In the middle of it.Â And I didn’t even really notice until I stormed up to my bedroom and realized someone was hanging off of me.
So, then I cried.
I skipped the anger and the cool down completely and went straight to the crying.Â How could I have gotten so involved in some stupid fight that I would lose my cool like that in front of a baby?Â And not just any baby, but my Beanie.Â He’s never heard me yell before and there I was yelling right over his head like I had no sense at all.Â The guilt of my actions stopped me cold.
I cried for a little bit while Bean chewed on his feet and pulled my hair, seemingly oblivious to what had just happened.Â And then I got up off my bed and wiped my face, I changed Bean’s diaper, changed my clothes, and I pulled myself together.Â Because as mad as I was and as much as I wanted to either punch Chris in the nose or curl up in my bed and sleep off what had just happened, I couldn’t do either of those things.
Because someone was counting on me.
The thing is, fighting before you have children is a luxury.Â You can be as moody, as sulky, as self-indulgent, and as immature as you want to be.Â And trust me, I was an awesome self-indulgent sulker.Â But now that there’s someone else in our house, issues between me and Chris take a backseat really quickly.Â That doesn’t mean that I don’t get just as mad as I did before Bean came along and that doesn’t mean that my temper isn’t just as powerful and just as prevalent as it was before Bean.Â But as a mom (shoot – as a mature adult!) I have to learn some self-control.Â I used to think I had a green light to pitch colossal fits every now and then because I so seldom got mad, but it doesn’t matter if I get angry every 10 minutes or every 10 years, I have to learn to keep it in check because someone else is depending on my stability.
I don’t ever want Bean to see me that angry again.Â I’m sure there will be times (probably MANY times…) when my anger will rise in front of Bean and that’s okay.Â Anger is an valid emotion and I don’t want to show myself to him as some fake, perfect human who doesn’t ever get mad.Â But I don’t ever want to lose control like I did today in front of him again.Â We teach by setting an example, even to 7-month-old babies, and I don’t want my example to be that temper tantrums and yelling and harsh, unkind words are ever justified. There is a right way and a wrong way to have a disagreement and I want to be sure to set the right example for Beanie.Â Its going to take me a while and I might bite my tongue off multiple times while I learn to keep it in check, but its an effort that I need to make to be a better mom.
So, there you have it.Â I am far from perfect.Â Our family is far from perfect.Â We fight.Â We yell.Â But we love each other.
And now I must go.Â Chris is sitting on the living room couch in his football helmet, holding his wooden spoon.Â He says its just a precaution, but he’s really freaking out the dogs…