Keeping Score

The older I get, the more I learn about myself and how I react to things. I know I’m on the slippery slope to a bad place when I start keeping score. My husband says “wow, I’m tired” and I start calculating the number of times I got up during the night with the baby during the last week, or who got more sleep this weekend. He gets to choose to stay up late and I have to forego any relaxing time to make sure I get some sleep before the baby wakes up – not fair! I fume while cleaning the kitchen and he’s on the computer! But, doesn’t he have the right to relax and goof off a bit? He works hard, at several jobs and he’s in school. But then I think – when did I last get to sit down and relax? I count the number of nights I’ve put our two girls to bed solo even though he’s out working. I usually let feelings like this build up and then I burst. I’m trying really hard to pay more attention when I start keeping a tally in my head, because then I know it’s time for an attitude adjustment. This isn’t about him; it’s about me and how I’m reacting. It’s not a competition. We’re partners. We’re in this together.

“Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a Love like that! It lights the whole sky.” – Hafiz

We had a rough time this weekend. We had three very fragmented nights of sleep with our little one. And then on top of that, a skunk sprayed our dog. And that just put us over the edge. But this time, instead of getting upset, I just laughed. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry – right? We just stood there in the cold rain, washing our black lab with peroxide, dish soap and baking soda and laughing. I didn’t even cry when my husband spilled the peroxide in my hair as I bent over the bucket mixing up this crazy solution! We chose this crazy life and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. We remind each other of that every night as we drift off.

A friend once mentioned that she felt like her mother-in-law was often trying to one up her on sob stories – her way of keeping score out loud. And my friend just decided to let her mother-in-law win. I mean, who really wants to win at the ‘I’m more miserable than you’ game – that’s no fun! And to play that with your spouse – no thanks!

We’re all at different places in our lives. I’ll get there again, wherever that is. Maybe it’s a full night’s sleep with a morning that starts sometime after 5am. Maybe it’s a regular yoga practice again. In the meantime, let me take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. And let me enjoy being on this roller coaster with my partner. I mean, who else is going to laugh about how bad our house smells right now? And of course there are probably many people who’d like to be just where we are right now too, sleepless nights and all. Maybe not the skunk smell though – I doubt anyone wishes for that.

Poor dog!
Poor dog!

28 thoughts on “Keeping Score

  1. GREAT post, Jenn. Oh man, I do that score-keeping thing when I’m in a bad place too ~ like you I know it’s not about HIM at all. And let me just say how LUCKY are you that you knew the magic combo for getting skunk smell out ~ I didn’t find that out until the day AFTER our dog got sprayed. And that was just last week.
    Welcome Jenn! I’m already a fan! ♥

  2. I love this post Jenn! The quote is beautiful. It’s so easy to get caught up in that mental tally. So glad you ended up laughing! We’re going to get along just fine!

  3. I enjoyed this post a lot, especially the Hafiz quote — such a beautiful way to make your point. Your story was poignant and funny and informative! Welcome to CTWMs!

    I see you are a yoga teacher — do you know of any places in the New Haven area that teach yoga to older people with achy joints? My sister keeps telling me I must try yoga, but while the spirit is willing, the flesh (and ligaments, tendons, etc.) are not. I would love to find a yoga instructor who understands this!

    1. Thanks Randi! I’m trained to teach yoga, but am not teaching. It’s kind of something I did for myself after I became a mom. Maybe someday I’ll teach. I’m not really familiar with any teachers in the New Haven area, as I am in the Hartford area, but I am going to get in touch with someone I know down that way to see if she can recommend anyone.

  4. Dude, I keep score in my head ALL THE TIME! thank you for the reminder to keep it in perspective!! Great post and I really liked the quote about the Earth and Sun.

  5. Love it, Jenn! And I didn’t smell skunk at all today – honest!

    You guys are raising a couple of spectacular girls – that’s all I can say. You’ve got a great attitude and outlook and it radiates to those you love!

  6. When I start “keeping score” in my head (and it inevitably will happen), I remind myself of all the things my husband does for our household that I don’t do. We both do what we can and use our strengths in our life together. This post is an awesome reminder to keep that in the front of my mind!

  7. Great post! I am about to embark on motherhood for the first time and am already having “keeping score” stresses and worries in my mind. A nice reminder for us to look at what our partner is juggling too and to cut us both some slack!

  8. Wait, does your house still smell like Izzie?? Oh dear. I love that you’re sharing your perspective with a wider audience, working moms and non-working non-moms alike. 🙂

  9. I loved your post! (It actually made me cry). So many of the things you said you were feeling I think we all feel as moms. And unfortunately we take frustration, tiredness, etc. out on our partners. Thanks for helping bring me “back to center” today! 🙂

  10. Love this message. We all feel like that and are susceptible to “keeping score” at times. Do you have a nice litte blond streak now? Work it, girl!

  11. Hey you, I felt like I wrote that when I was reading it. . . know that feeling real well. I admire you for looking at yourself, I really do because like you said, it is about us and how we feel. I do want to tell you that I went on a relationship retreat and found it very helpful to have my husband mirror me when I have an issue, not fix it, just mirror me and my feelings. Then he doesn’t take it personally, and I feel heard and validated. It is called imago therapy and it is amazing, life changing. The other great thing about it is that you are allowed to have a behavior change request, it is only a request but usually the other person wants to change the behavior if it will help you feel better. It has worked wonders. Thanks for sharing, it helps me feel not so alone in the job of motherhood. Can’t wait to see you! and meet the new little bundle.

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