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Last night, I lost my mind when you asked if I could try to keep my purses put away. You weren’t unkind. You weren’t upset. You even put the offending purse away for me. But asking me to put it away wasn’t the problem.

It was the timing.

I was gone all weekend hosting some writing friends for a mini writing retreat. I was home one day trying to catch up on all the things one gets behind on: laundry, groceries, and cleaning. The next day the kids had off school, so I took them to the museum for the day. Asking me to put my purse away left me feeling like I can never do enough or be enough.

I spiraled in my own head: no matter what I do, I’m always behind on something.

You’re not normally one to complain about the state of the house. It could look like a tornado tore through the kitchen, and you won’t complain. I’m typically harder on myself than you could ever be. But like anyone, sometimes it can be the little things that get to you. It’s often the small offhanded comment that sends you over the edge.

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That purse on the counter was the one little thing. I’ve done the same to you many times. I’ve pointed out a dish sitting on the counter right on top of the dishwasher. I’ve snapped at the kids for leaving shoes everywhere. 

Not a single one of us in this house is perfect.

But while my purse sat on the counter, I ignored the towel that was left on the bathroom floor for days. The socks under the living room table sat untouched. I washed the dirty pan that was abandoned after that morning’s eggs.

I know it wasn’t your intent, but I felt picked on. 

And yet, I still see the way you love me when you run to drop off the kids so I can stay cozy at home. I see the way you love me when you bring back my favorite vanilla sweet cream cold brew. I see the way you love me when you pick up dinner to give me a night off. I see the way you love me when you both support and praise my writing. I see the way you love me when you hold my hand in bed. 

And I see the way you love me when we talk these issues through. 

It may have taken some time. Sometimes it’s hard to explain why I get upset over something so seemingly mundane. You saw a simple request, I saw a judgment of my character. Over 19 years of marriage, these things will happen. They will continue to happen, no matter how hard we try. Marriage and life are messy, both literally and figuratively. 

On any other day, an argument wouldn’t have erupted from something so mundane.

Most of our disagreements stem from these kinds of small misunderstandings. On days when I’m feeling behind, unappreciated, or overwhelmed, it doesn’t take much to push me past the confines of sanity. 

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I’m willing to bet many other moms feel the same way. It isn’t the request, or the way it’s delivered, instead, it’s our current mental load when the request or comment is made. Living with another human, no matter how much we love them, is challenging. A little understanding and a bit of grace will go a long way in these moments. 

So, please keep in mind, sometimes I’m not mad about the message, it may have just caught me at a challenging moment. And, like all moments, this one too shall pass.

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Jill Robinson

Jill Robinson is a wife, mother of two, athlete, speech-language pathologist, and lover of all animals. She loves the outdoors and singing off-key in the car. Writing brings her peace. You can follow Jill at on Instagram @firstdraftdotblog and Twitter at @jarchicago13

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