There's an illness in the family and our collective resources got stretched pretty thin. My schedule was thrown out of whack, while simultaneously my workload increased (a good thing, really). Add to the mix an ambitious partner who is practicing hard for a half-marathon (another good thing in any other time) and the result is a Halfling who threw a tantrum big enough to shock a three-year-old to offer mummy hugs to "feel me better."

What happened? One night a few weeks ago, I stuck myself in a classic "victim" story in my head about how I want to travel but can't, because children and work and money and Mr Halfling wouldn't be able to take time off and I can't find childcare. My dear friends stepped in and they were so ridiculously supportive of my desire to travel that I could not continue to mope. So it morphed into something else later when I was overwhelmed by the prospect of doing all the kitchen work—I got passive aggressive with the Mister:

"What am I going to do with my day tomorrow? I'm going to clean the kitchen and then dirty it all over again making three meals a day, then probably clean it again. Because who else is doing it?"

Eventually I ran out of fresh ammo and dug up old dirt:

"This is so unfair. You think if I did [redacted][1] I would spend all my energy on that and not have any energy left over for the family. But your runs are just as bad if not worse."

Finally we both went to sleep angry with each other and the kitchen was still a mess.

A more skilful way to communicate would have been:

  1. Go for a swim before talking. Or at least sleep on it.
  2. Figure out my top 3 needs at that time. Tidiness/order, connection, fun
  3. Get clarity on my intention. To get more support doing housework
  4. Stay future focused.

Something I should say instead:

"I'm really overwhelmed right now. The kitchen counters are covered by dirty pots and pans and all the toys are out in the living room. I need help cleaning it up. I need to have fun and do something besides cooking, cleaning up, and minding the kids. Could you find a way to be home more and help me out?"

  1. It's something that the Mister got to do but I didn't. What it is isn't super important—basically it's a really old argument. ↩︎