My pride has become a very big issue for me lately.
I have always had a pretty decent heart for serving, and up until a few years ago, I was pretty good at asking for help from others.
Somewhere between meeting my beloved Southern gentleman hubby, having children, and entering the world of “housewifedom”, I have lost a lot of my abilities to ask for, and receive help. This could be due to the stress and competition of living in middle class suburbia. Or it could be due to some maturing on my part.
But I have a feeling that it has to do with my pride. It is harder for me to ask for help from the other SAHM’s, when I know that there is a good possibility they are judging me. And hey! Old habits die hard. I have always been competitive, especially against other women. To allow myself to be vulnerable is very difficult for me.
But I found myself in this position of accepting help, not once, but twice this weekend.
After being home with my youngest child, recovering from surgery, I was desperate for some support and help- from anyone. And a neighbor was kind enough to offer her support – in the form of taking my oldest child out for a morning of errands, library visiting, and McDonald’s. The old me would have jumped at the invitation. I knew it would help everyone to have a small break. And it would be a lovely treat for my eldest – happy meals always gave me great memories! 🙂
But I was torn. What if this woman judged me for this? What if she told everyone else how great she was, and how bad a mommy I was? What if she turned my child against me with her promise of attention and a strawberry shake (with extra cherries, of course)? What if…What if?
I finally had to let go, and accept her invitation for what it was – a blessing, with no strings attached.
Could she still bad mouth me? Maybe.
But would it truly define who I was as a mother, even if she painted me as the worst mom ever to the rest of the neighborhood?
No. It would not define my love for my children, or my ability to care for and nurture, and love them with every fiber of my being.
So I let go of my pride, and accepted her offer. This gave me the chance to dote on my little one who was in need of tons of attention lavished on her. And it gave my eldest a chance to get out for a while and have some fun. I felt a little awkward at their return a few hours later, and am still waiting to hear any negative feedback.
But I am feeling surprisingly calm about all of it. I let go of my pride, and accepted her blessing, and will try to remember that I am an imperfect woman and mom. I can do the best I can, and still be judged by others. But all I can do is do my best and love my children.
I am thankful to this woman for helping me and my child out, with her offer of entertainment, and I am especially thankful that through this, I remembered that my pride is not what matters most.
Sometimes, I have to let it go, and just hope for the best.
This is important to realize because I had another pride moment this morning.
A brief recap: My youngest child had surgery on Wednesday. I had been very tense and worried leading into it. Then we went into recovery mode, which is not very much fun for the child or the mommy. To say I have been slightly crabby and a bit over-reactionary towards hubby, would be an understatement. By this morning, I can honestly say I was in full blown be-otch mode. Hubby commented about this several times throughout the morning.
I tried to get “out of my funk”, as he so eloquently termed it, but was unable to let go. I could not let go of my anger and frustration and resentment.
(At one point, I am pretty sure I blew up over some jelly being left on the counter. “It’s supposed to go in the dang refrigerator!!!!!”)
The crabbier I got, the more unhappy he became, and backed off emotionally from me. This created an even bigger resentment in me. Why couldn’t he just spank me already and get it over with?!? I could tell I needed it. I was in such a vile mood. And it hurt my feelings to watch him back away. What a horrid cycle of negativity!
I finally knew what I had to do. I needed to ask for his help. But I did not want to ask him for this much needed session. My pride was already hurting.
Why should I have to beg him for something that he should already have seen to – at least five times!
I felt he should have seen my volatile behavior and negative mind-set, and realized what I needed.
I felt resentful that he would not take me out of the negative environment I was in.
How dare he?!
Why didn’t he see what I needed?
Why wouldn’t he spank me?
And why did I feel so angry with him, when I knew that it was me I was really angry with?
(Ugh, my mom has always told me not to end a sentence with a preposition, but I honestly don’t know how to change it. Sorry for the poor grammar)
Then I thought back to my feelings from the previous day with the neighbor. I can’t control how others are going to react. I can’t control their judgment. And I cannot control what is supposed to go into another person’s mind. I have to ask for what I want. And in this case, I had to ask for what I NEEDED. I had to let go of my pride, and ask him (as humiliating as it felt) to HELP ME.
I went into the bedroom, and pulled out the new Lexan paddle, and placed it on the bathroom sink. Then I went upstairs, and asked him for five minutes of his time. When he followed me into our bedroom, I locked the door, and led him further into the bathroom. I handed him the Lexan, and said, “Please.”
His eyebrow raised a little, and he asked me why I was asking him for this.
“Be-because I can’t get out of this mood,” I started crying.
It was very humbling to have to ask him for this, and also to admit that this was something I could not take care of my own. I felt so vulnerable. If he had made an off comment or rolled his eyes, I would have never asked him for help again. It was such a precarious position of vulnerability for both of us. He handled it with tremendous grace and strength.
He nodded in understanding, and told me to bend over, with my hands on the sink. I was a bit worried that having my panties and jeans on might diminish the effects, but quickly found out there was nothing to worry about. The Lexan paddle, in the right hands, can be felt, quite easily, through all forms of clothing. After 20-30 strokes (ok, I wasn’t really counting), I was hyperventilating, groaning, and shifting from side to side trying to lessen its dreadful impact. Hubby had done his job magnificently. And I felt better because of it.
I felt something release in me, and I could finally breathe again. I felt connected to the world once again, instead of fighting against it. It felt so good to not be angry anymore.
I can’t explain why this, this whole spanking thing, does this for me. I have a few theories, but that is for another blog post.
But for now, I am happy in the fact that my husband came through for me when I asked him. I knowingly let go of my pride, and it did not hurt me. In fact, I think it helped me. I am thankful to him for helping me in such a vulnerable and awkward moment. My pride can ultimately be my downfall. But as I learn to trust my husband (and others) more, the more easily I can let go of my pride; and a little bit of selflessness may end up going a long way.
***When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2***