We can chalk up this title for being one that does nothing for search engines. I’m not trying to be vague, I just really don’t know what else to call it. It’s what we call it in our house and it was something that happened just this week. It has been referenced a lot, most recently to get me to do the dishes, because we have been known to play a little down and dirty in this house when it comes to convincing the other one to do household chores.
If your read my post about how our SNAP benefits have been delayed and reduced then you know things are a little tense in the house. It’s not tense because we are going to go hungry, it’s tense because budgeting is always my job and as such it makes me a little weird when I have to recalculate something to the penny. Especially since we have a history of Mr. Brickie going shopping and buying something extra “just because” and me trying not to claw his face off because that is not how things work.
Except that is exactly how things work because how things work is a social construct agreed to by the parties involved and obviously even if he agrees to the social construct once he’s in the Magic Land of Buying Stuff™ things just get a little out of control sometimes. I have no way to put this into the budget. So it makes me tense.
The Shopping Trip
We were totally out of SNAP funds but needed a few things from the store. Orange juice, half & half, and toilet paper. I’m not sure if that’s the exact list but the real list was probably almost exactly that. It was a short list and he was just running out really quick and I figured nothing was amiss.
You have probably already guessed what happened but stick with me.
I had said the night before, “I’d like to have tacos soon. We haven’t done that in a while.” <– this will turn out to be my critical misstep in The Incident.
The Big Reveal
He walks in and I see a bag with more in it than an orange juice concentrate container and a quart of half & half. I get nervous. “What did you buy?” I say in my very best, “I’m not mad at you and please tell me it’s a puppy you found on the side of the road because oh my gosh if you bought off the list I will kill you but not yet there is hope I’m remaining calm” voice.
“I bought stuff for tacos!” He says with this huge, awesome, proud-of-himself-for-remembering smile.
I proceed to turn into a screeching harpie (I was going to put a picture in here but every time I do a Google Image search for screeching harpie there are pictures of Nancy Grace and Suze Orman and I die laughing and then feel guilty for laughing because Womyn Power and close the window so I’m not going to post a picture. It’s not a good thing. It’s a loud thing.
His defense? He wanted to surprise me with something nice.
My anger? Is not assuaged by getting me something nice that is not on the list. I feel the gift I have been given is stress.
He is totally not getting it and thinks I’m totally overreacting for ten dollars.
Oh yeah, did I mention the taco dinner stuff cost ten bucks? I went half screaming crazy for ten bucks worth of food.
Let’s be clear. I’m not proud of this. I’m not happy about this. I remember when Jenn posted her story on the Poor as Folk blog she mentioned snapping at her kid for asking for seconds. She got bagged on so hard in the comments by some jerk calling her abusive. I just wanted to just give her such a high five of solidarity because oh my gosh I screamed at my husband for ten dollars of food we would totally eat because everyone in the family loves tacos.
Because you know it wasn’t about the ten dollars and it wasn’t about food and it wasn’t about tacos. It was about fear.
What I’m Going to Do About It
I did this challenge a year ago called The Orange Rhino and it changed my life. It’s free, it’s a blog and Facebook group and it’s all about not yelling anymore. Even though I really don’t yell at my kids anymore at all I still snap at them now and then when I’m distracted and they do something that needs to not be happening (trying to do cartwheels in the kitchen, for example) and I’ll just bark a quick order.
I think it’s time for an Orange Rhino refresher course! I’m going to go back through her blog and remind myself how much happier I am when I don’t yell or snap. (The kids did it with me and they yell SO MUCH LESS now. It’s really pretty magic, even though it’s really crazy simple.) I want to do more than remember how good being calm feels. I want to exist in that place every day again.
I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that snapping at my kids is like the buzzed driving of parenting. It’s not as bad as full out yelling but it’s still dangerous to their little growing brains. My kids are awesome at handling adversity, but why give them any more than they absolutely have to deal with? I mean they’re already going to have enough to make them “not soft” or whatever it is you have when you grow up with stories of being poor or whatever. They don’t need enough to write a tell-all about their childhood.
For real. If one of them writes an autobiography you will be able to hear me screeching from wherever you are in the WORLD. The same I would expect my mother to if I wrote one.
As for marriage repair after screaming, I’ve done extra dishes and given extra [redacted] and hugs to Mr. Brickie so he feels loved and is not completely determined never to do anything nice for me again. It’s a start. Mostly it was a big wake up call for both of us. He realizes shopping off the list is a big deal for me (yes, I did tell him a hundred times already, how did you know?) and I learned I really need to chill the heck out about ten bucks.
As long as it doesn’t become a regular thing. Of course.
Have you ever freaked out at a spouse’s purchase and realized later you were so totally in the wrong in the grand scheme of the universe? Tell me about it so I feel less alone!