Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Anger update: Everything is my job

Thank you all so much for your comments on my post about anger. I not only learned a lot from your advice, but knowing that I'm not alone really puts things in perspective. Maybe I'm not a crazed monster. Or maybe we all are ;)

Actively trying to be less angry is going pretty well. Although that's just my opinion. You'd have to ask my husband and kids to know for sure.

There have been times when I have swallowed a potential outburst and let it go. And there have been other times when the little voice in my head said, "don't do it...don't bring that up...it'll start a fight...do NOT do it..." and I still did it. And it started a fight. 

But I think what I've learned from those times is to listen to that little voice. I know when something I'm about to say is mean-spirited, yet I used to talk myself into saying it. I'll just say it in a nice voice (ya, right)...he needs to hear it...I'm right. But it was a lie. Now some part of me is looking out for me (and him) by forcing me to face the truth. The voice may have been there all along, but it wasn't until recently that I gave it any credence or turned up its volume. 

Since recognizing this voice I have still failed a couple times - the times when ignored it and went ahead with saying whatever it was - but just the simple fact that I now have a warning system in place is an improvement.

Another thing that has helped immensely is a wonderful bit of advice that a fellow blogger, and friend, gave me in a comment on my "Anger" post. Here's an excerpt:

For me I start my day saying EVERYTHING is my job. My husband and I are very traditional so I do all housework and he brings home the bacon. That being said IF he chooses to do something, I'm THANKFUL because that is not his job. 

Now, I know not every family keeps the husband and wife roles completely separate. In our house, Ryan helps with some of the housework and he wouldn't have it any other way. But I think this advice can be applied no matter what the situation may be, including outside of marriage as well, with bosses, friends, and extended family. Here's how...

I spend a lot of my day trying to figure how to get out of work. For instance, I hate folding. Eventually my poor husband would find himself tripping over laundry baskets of clean clothes and spend a couple hours on a Sunday night folding every article of clothing we own. I had my excuses: I can't fold while the kids are awake because they plow through my neat piles, I'm too tired at night, I despise folding, I'm too busy with other chores, etc., etc. I hated that he ended up doing it, yet that hatred didn't outweigh my hatred of folding. I secretly hoped he'd fold, that I'd come home from grocery shopping and my clothes would be put away, an empty laundry basket sitting in our room like a beacon of hope.

It would also happen with more in-the-moment chores. I'd smell a dirty diaper and just hope and pray he would notice it and change it first. I'd sometimes do the same when it came to baths, feeding the kids, changing loads of laundry. You name it.  

I was constantly trying to outlast him.

I'd even do it when there was no one else around. I'd put things off, trying to figure out how I could explain to myself (myself!) why something didn't need to be done right then. 

I was operating on the premise that nothing was my job. Well, nothing other than nursing and cooking. Everything else was up for the taking and if I did it, then good for me.

So here's the thing: If, instead, I start out with the belief that everything is my job, then I can stop trying to get out of things. And, wouldn't you know, that's actually very freeing! I was expending a ton of energy trying to avoid chores, figuring out how I could get Ryan to do them, and thinking about how stressed they were making me. When you go into each day, each task, knowing it's up to you and you alone, you focus all your energy on the actual task at hand. Genius, right? Who knew?!

And, of course, if you do get some help, then it's just icing on the cake. It's an unexpected gift. Which is SO infinitely better than the guilt of watching someone else do a chore that you tricked/whined/begged your way out of. 

Yes, Ryan still folds laundry at times, and he sure changed his share of dirty diapers today, but the difference is it wasn't because I outlasted him. It happened when I honestly wasn't expecting it. 

I tell myself several times a day that everything is my job. And it actually makes me get off my butt and do whatever it is that I wish I didn't have to do. And guess what? I get it done and then get to sit back down and rest, knowing I did what I needed to do. That rest is so much more relaxing than the time I would have spent sitting and stewing over whatever it was that I had to do. 

And now I don't get angry over something not done right, or about how much work I have to do. If I act as if everything is under my job description (even if it's really not), then there's no reason to get angry over someone's generous help that wasn't so helpful, or the fact that they didn't help at all. 

It's really how we should face every day of our lives, no matter what our job is. Telling ourselves that everything is our responsibility helps us to focus on serving others and dying to self. 

I went through a lot of my life wanting to be served and finding ways to make sure that happened. But that's not what any of us are here for. And it doesn't matter if it's in our job title, if we deserve it, if we work the hardest, if no one helps us - everything is our job and if the person you are working "for" doesn't motivate you, then do it for Christ, because that's who all of our work is really for in the end, anyway.

In my case, of course, I'm extra blessed because my bosses definitely motivate me. 

 


There is much more I want to say about anger (including what I believe is definitely a hormonal component in my case - I was super happy and super energized right before ovulation last week) but I'll save that for another post. Right now my bosses are sound asleep and I have some folding to do.

21 comments:

  1. Inspirational! Its giving me motivation to do the same with my husband.
    Love your pics at the end!

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  2. A spirit of thankfulness-I think that is key in so many aspects of life.

    And I have to say, I am never so motivated to get rid of clothes (and not buy anymore) as when I have to fold laundry. I hate it too.

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  3. This is awesome K. Not only has this transformed you, but I bet your children will notice and imitate your heart of service as well.

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  4. WOW! I knew her advice was right on...but to see it applied to your life (and hopefully to all of ours) to hear your revelation with it...to see in in action...wow, wow, wow.

    So freeing! This is AMAZING stuff, brilliant insight, true spiritual growth.

    Keep reflecting Sister in Christ,,,you are helping all of us.

    Folder lovers and not.

    The line about spending your day begging, outlasting, versus doing and treating everything like it is your job...stunning.

    And, the approach that this in turn makes one grateful for any and all help received wow!

    Then your finale which is: we are all really serving Christ afterall.

    TRIPLE WOW!

    I love this post. Dare I say, it is one of your best.

    Lent is blessing you and us through your example.

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  5. I love the everything is my job! It helped me the first week because I was on fire. After that, I forgot about it and went back to wanting to be served! LOL :) Oh if only you knew what I did while we were in the bank on Saturday. I spent the WHOLE weekend apologizing for my selfishness. I acted like a spoiled brat. Ugh!

    But it's working! I think once we get into the grove it will be second nature. I'm starting to work on my voice (again). I need a pleasant voice. UGH! It never ends!

    Are you able to fold your laundry on top of the washer? That is what I do. I fold one load at a time and put one load at a time away. That is why I try to do a load a day to stay on top of it, that way I don't get overwhelmed with piles. IDK? It's whatever works and just a suggestion. I know H LOVES-ADORES to throw clothes out of the baskets. I actually give her clothes baskets to keep her occupied, for hours! :)

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  6. Wow. You are amazing. I must be a total failure as a mom and wife because I actually CAN'T do everything myself. I NEED HELP from my husband daily!

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    1. Julie, that's the beauty of it! I'm actually doing that much more, I'm just shifting my outlook. By telling myself it's all my responsibility, I don't get as angry about R doing things not to my liking, or the kids having poopy diapers all day long (like that's their fault.. haha). Believe me - I can't do it all by myself! R helps a lot, and daily. As he said when we discussed it the other day, if this is my job, then why should I be on the clock 24 hours a day? We are NOT failures if we need help. I say we need to all share chores (or not) to the degree that works for our family, but go into it without expectations. It just makes me a nicer person :)

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    2. That should say "I'm NOT actually doing that much more" which is kinda the whole point ;)

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    3. I understand what you are saying. It might be my personality. I totally freak out at the thought of it being ALL MY JOB! If I tell myself that, I would probably not get out of bed...ever...because I am too overwhelmed. When I get overwhelmed, I shut down. When I can't ask for help, I get overwhelmed and shut down and break down (emotionally/physically/spiritually). In fact, I went to the doctor yesterday for a total breakdown and just picked up my script for antidepressant/antianxiety meds today. I am not kidding...I actually cannot do the whole 24/7 without help amazing mama role!
      I admire you for the great effort and results you are getting by changing your outlook. You are in my prayers always!

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    4. Oh, Julie! I'm glad you are working on feeling better. Believe me, I KNOW about getting overwhelmed and shutting down. That is me. I honestly don't know why this new outlook works for me. So yours is a good reminder that we're all so different and what works for one does not necessaily work for another. I hope I didn't make you feel any worse. I'm actually going to work on a post about how much help with babies and housework I need too, and why it's nothing to be ashamed of. Trust me, I could not do it without a ton of help.

      And let's not forget - two under two can be insane! It's so hard. And such an adjustment from having one. You are a great mother and those babies are so blessed to have you!

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  7. I just read a great book that has been recommended to me by at least 5 different people... "Love Languages." (Gary Chapman)
    To me, it sounds like your love language may be Acts of Service. Meaning, if R doesn't know this about you and doesn't speak "that" particular language already, it may seem odd for him to do things even after you've asked, and asked, and asked (I tend to ask at least 3 xs, myself, hence the repetition ;) )

    I would recommend both of you reading the book to find the cause of the anger and work from within the love languages. You can certainly start by taking the good advice you were given, but in the end, I think you will likely feel hurt again when your "job" is taken advantage of and/or you don't feel loved and understood 100% of the time.

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    1. I think you're right! And although I haven't read the book (he has.. I know we should have probably BOTH read it), I have told him this is my love language, to which he replies I shouldn't be so worried about MY love language and more concerned with his, haha. Clearly I need to actually read it. Thanks for the reminder!

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  8. PS... man, I wish my bosses slept more often!! :)

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  9. Seriously. SO FUNNY to be more concerned about his love language then your own! hahahahaha

    Die to self. :) Die to self. :)

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  10. This is really good stuff, K. Thanks for the awesome thoughts. I need to adopt the "everything is my job" mentality, especially when fatigue mounts and I start to feel sorry for myself. It also might help my reaction say when the hubby tells me a day before that he's leaving for a work trip for two days. Since it's all my job anyway, I will be less likely to freak out because I can totally handle life without him (or at least I can fool myself into believing it!) This produces goodness across the board. Thank you for the wisdom

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  11. I admire your honesty, K. And I love PHDW's quote. I'll never forget being a young newlywed and realizing all of my new responsibilities. I just hadn't even thought about all that would now be required of me in addition to simply taking care of myself! It can be overwhelming at times, but there is such a great sense of reward knowing that we are doing the never ending list of household chores for the good of family- our greatest blessings. Thanks for the reminder to keep that as my focus. :)

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  12. Compassion - be compassionate to yourself - and watch your life change. Put yourself first ... in this manner - viewing yourself as God views you - with compassion and love. Permit the compassion to flow from you to others in your daily chores because you are compassionate with yourself.

    There is no room for self anger - flowing to others - when we are compassionate with our self.

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  13. I missed the "Anger" post, but I'm so glad I saw this one. This is amazing. This is me. I took a long walk last year during one of my "anger" moments and I heard the birds chirping so clearly and I thought to myself, "God watches the sparrow...but the sparrow gets up with the sun and works all day to find it's food and to make it through life...and yet it sings. I've been so buried in the "have tos" that I have created for myself, and that I resent, and I haven't sung at all." It helped me to consider these obligations as a part of the blessings I have been given - but wow. To just consider that everything is my job (I'm like you, I try to avoid a lot, and I HATE to ask for help, but I want him to want to help...which he does, but that's why he doesn't offer more...). That's something I am going to have to try tomorrow morning! I can't wait to feel this new approach! Thanks!

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  14. Yes-I'm not the only one who spends more time trying to avoid chores than actually doing them!!!

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  15. I love this post. It really spoke to me. I too have finally come to terms with trying to get chores done and it was so freeing! Of course we all got sick the next day so there were piles of laundry and dishes everywhere...but I know there is a plan. I also heard great advice from a married couple, that in every single thing in marriage and family life, you are to "race your spouse to the cross", to try to outdo the other in dying to self and doing whatever task/chore/etc it is. Of course I just wanted to let my husband beat me to the cross. :) It is amazing how much I have realized how often I ask him to do little things for me that I could do myself!!! Thanks for your reflection. Really beautiful.

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    1. Oh, I love that image of racing to the cross! I'm always looking for things to make me less lazy.. I'm going to use that! :)

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