Last night, the Writer and I were talking before bed about what we’ll do for dinner tonight (when he and Smiley will be around! Yay!), and I started stressing about the timing and he said, “You know, you could let me help.”
I paused for a second and said, “I am really stuck. I feel like since it’s my house and my kid, I need to do it all.”
The Writer is my partner. My soul mate (gag, I know, but I don’t know how else to describe it). We plan on being married one day, once we work out some complications. The current situation is that he has his own apartment but he spends as much time possible at my place. We have made a home together, but I pay the rent and the bills. It is “our home,” but it is “my house.”
And although the Writer has been in my life since long before Smiley was born, Smiley is my son and I do the majority of parenting on my own. (Smiley’s dad and I coparent, and there is a fair amount of communication, but there is little contact beyond e-mail and the phone.)
We’ve run into issues before when Smiley is fighting me and the Writer tries to give me parenting tips. I remember a time that Smiley was fighting sitting in his high chair, and I gave in and let him wander while I basically served as a snacking station, and the Writer said something like, “He needs to learn to eat in his high chair!” Well, the Writer isn’t around most of the time when I have Smiley, and he eats in his high chair 98% of the time! I couldn’t help but feel a little like my parenting skills were being questioned, and I wanted to lash out. (Something like, “You don’t know because you’re never here!” is how it would have gone in a movie, but I don’t think I went that far–it would have caused the Writer pain, and, frankly, it’s not true.)
Thankfully, the Writer and I are very good at communicating. Even after a situation like that, where we’re both a little wounded, we are able to come back together and talk it out and get to a place where we each understand where the other is coming from, and we’re OK. (I told you: soul mates!)
But I’m having issues getting past the fact that he doesn’t “technically” live with me. And in past relationships, I haven’t had a true partner–I was doing the cooking most of the time and cleaning (when I felt like it)–and it was “my job.” And in this current incarnation of “my house,” I still feel like it should be “my job.” With the Writer not around all the time, I get used to doing things for myself and for Smiley. I get used to being on my own. I love having the Writer around, but I feel guilty when he does laundry or the dishes, even though his clothes are also dirty and he’s eating the dinner I cooked.
Maybe I’m worried that if I count on him and come to expect his help that he will let me down. The Writer has given me no reason to think that he would ever let me down–and he’s proven that he will be there for me through the worst. But I have been disappointed by quite a few people in my past (including close family members), and it’s hard to forget that ever happened.
I think there’s something to that, in fact. The Writer’s job has him traveling pretty frequently. And our schedule is such that the weekends when I have Smiley, the Writer is not with us (he’s a single parent, too, and he’s with his daughter those weekends). So the majority of the time I am alone with Smiley. It’s hard to cede any sort of control, even when someone as generous and caring and lovely as the Writer is offering.
Tonight, I’m going to let him make dinner. I can’t promise that I won’t send him a recipe or ask, “Oh, you did it that way?” but I will let go for a half-hour or so, focus on my beautiful son, and let the Writer take care of us.
But only for a half-hour or so.