I’d like to consider myself a realist. I’m fairly logical, analytical, and although I’m definitely a dreamer, I have a solid footing in reality. Why is it then, that I always seem to go into this time of year with unrealistic expectations? Actually, let me rephrase that: I go into my husband’s busy season expecting it to be different from the prior year. It should be, shouldn’t it? Another year has gone by which means we’ve celebrated another marriage anniversary, we’ve traveled together, we’ve enjoyed a summer together, we’ve continued to build upon our relationship’s foundation and grown even closer. If we’ve made all this progress, how is it possible that every tax season can feel like a setback?
This isn’t my first rodeo, this is my sixth tax season with my husband and I should be an old pro by now. I should know that things are going to get tough. I should know that no matter hard hard I try to be his rockstar wife, that at least a few times I’m going to fail miserably. I should know the peaks and valleys of this roller coaster, I’ve ridden it enough times. But like clockwork, the same thing happens every tax season. Come mid to late February I start to unravel; I find that abundance of patience I brought into the new year beginning to dwindle. My buttons get pushed just a little easier. The weight of taking care of my home, my four-legged kids, my husband, and myself starts to become a little less bearable. And I start to lose my cool.
It usually starts with something small to get the ball rolling. This year it was a discussion about dinner plans. How does talking about what to do for dinner turn into me feeling like I’m unraveling? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let me start with what transpired between my CPA and I… In a nutshell, we both approached the dinner topic with the same expectation: we were going out. After I stated my desire to go out, my witty husband thought it might be funny to push a few buttons and insist on staying in. And he continued to insist on it. We went back and forth and played chicken. The result? I furiously began to cook dinner while he tried to get me to stop so we could go out. Like I had wanted to. Like he had wanted to. But I refused to back down. He had been persistent that he “wanted to eat at home” so I was going to give him just that; along with an earful, some curse words, and excessive banging around in the kitchen. I became so frustrated with this little charade that I actually cooked a wonderful meal, a meal that neither of us ate.
Why would I get so upset about something so mundane? Ah yes, the million dollar question. My emotional pot of water completely boiled over. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. As the glue keeping everything together right now, I have a lot more on my plate than usual. This makes me realize how much my man does, but it also makes me slightly resentful when all that falls on me during his busy season. I’m not saying that I resent him by any stretch of the imagination. But I am saying that on occasion I resent not having my partner. I resent picking up the slack. I resent his job. Sometimes the resent can take hold and make it challenging to tolerate his fun-natured difficultness and shower him with unconditional grace.
In times like these, things can escalate quickly and unfortunately they take time to bounce back from. I then end up kicking myself in butt because I’ve wasted a chunk of the little time I do have with him on something that is so trivial. My stubborn, hotheadedness got the best of me and my Saturday night. Instead of having a date night out with my husband, we’re in separate rooms cooling off from a completely avoidable and totally ridiculous spat.
My take away? As Joey from Full House would say – cut it out. And that’s just what we all need to do. I know I’m in good company with some fabulous, smart, beautiful inside and out, strong willed spouses who are guilty of unnecessary unraveling, too. But we need to remind ourselves of the end goal: to be there for our partner when they need us the absolute most. Figuratively speaking, we’re the ones holding down the fort day in and day out but they’re the ones who have boots on the ground and are going into battle everyday. The next time your buttons are being pushed, try to remember why they’re pursuing this career – I’d take a gander that you and your family are a big reason. Remember how much you love them and remember the lengths they’d go to for you. Keep it together, and if not for yourself, then do it for them. Because they’re trying to keep it together for you. I know that we shouldn’t stop holding them to the high standards that they’ve set for themselves, but we should cut them a break. We shouldn’t let them have an extended free-for-all but we definitely can ease up where warranted. It’s not an excuse for us to be treated like garbage, and if you fall into that category my heart truly goes out to you. I’m strictly referring to the annoyances that have the potential make us go off the deep end.
Take a deep breath and do everything in your power to let the little things roll off your back and find comfort in the fact that I’ll be here, working on taking my own advice.