Kemi, like “chemistry”

Random Musings of the Misunderstood

Love at home? Today it’s barely-concealed tolerance… June 8, 2008

Filed under: Church,dads,family,husbands,parenting — Kemi @ 11:58 pm

     It all started when the alarm went off this morning at 7:25.  I lifted my arm to hit snooze, and the motion sent waves of nausea through my body.  I lifted my head from the pillow, and I kid you not, my hair hurt.  It took me a minute to realize it, though, because of the unceasing throbthrobthrob of pain in my head.

 

     Migraine.  Wonderful.

 

     I dragged myself out of bed, called the RS President and texted the 1st Counselor, letting them know I would not be there, and then hobbled back to bed.  I asked Kenny if he would mind if I stayed home from church (“I” meaning I, not “I” meaning all of us), and he grunted his agreement.  Kendra, the darling, got Anthony out of his crib and watched the little ones far away at the other end of the house, where the noise wouldn’t carry.  Finally, at 9:00 she asked me if I could make breakfast, and it was then that I realized that church was starting.  I asked Kenny if he planned to take everyone to church, and he agreed to take the kids to Primary, leave them, and pick them up when it was over.  I furiously retorted that church was not day care, to which he mumbled something unrepeatable, rolled over on his side and began snoring again.

 

     I love my husband, and I don’t mean to make this a bashing post, but if there was something I could change, it would be his attitutde and commitment to religion.  He knows all the right things to say in Sunday School,  he served a full-time mission, we were married in the temple, and I’m pretty sure he has a strong testimony…  but if we have Family Home Evening, I’m the one who plans it.  If I’m ever sick on a Sunday, no one goes to Church.  On a regular Sunday, he gets dressed and drives us all over, but then comes home and eats breakfast and/or watches television until the last hour, when it’s time for Sacrament Meeting.  I’m the one who listens to the kids’ prayers at night.  I’m the one who organizes scripture reading.  And then I’m the one who gets blamed if one of those things falls through the cracks.  There is a “we” mentality in our marriage that really means “me”. 

 

     I am so tired of my role as spiritual “head of household”.  There are days when I question my own commitment to religion, but I think that most of that stems from having to do/be/exemplify everything I want my kids to know.  I hate having to shoulder that responsibility alone.  Life would be so much easier if I could just put my feet up in front of the television and tune everything out, but I know it would lack any sort of purpose or joy, and I know I could never truly be happy that way.  I sure don’t get how my husband can. 

 

     This is not the marriage I committed to.  *sigh*

 

     Anyway, as the day progressed, the migraine faded a little, but I was hearbroken for my kids.  Everything they did was too noisy, too messy, too irritating, too quiet, too technological, etc.  They were wrong in every step.  The only reprieve they got was the two hours they napped in their rooms, while their dad dozed on the couch.  As soon as they woke up, the whole cycle started over again.  I found myself a target when I sat down to spend a little time online.  “What’s for dinner?  Don’t you think you should get started on it?  Is there something else around the house you could be doing instead?”  (Crock Pot Goulash, it’s been cooking in the crock pot for three hours now, and yes, probably, but I need a break.)  All the while I wanted to scream, “And what have YOU done all day?” 

 

     It continued at dinner, where we were all under attack.  The food was too starchy, the lettuce was rotten (hardly!), the garlic bread was too garlicky, the kids weren’t sitting directly in the center of their chairs, they talked too much, they ate too little, and the whole meal experience was generally unsatisfying.  The kids were all sending me sympathetic glances when Kenny wasn’t looking, and the tension disappeared from the very moment he finished his food and left the table.  To be honest, it’s a relief when he’s working late and misses dinner, or chooses to take his plate to the television.  At least the kids aren’t being nagged to death about what, how much or how slowly they’re eating  (or not eating!).

 

     I hate this.  I hate that our home has suddenly become HIS childhood home.  There, you spoke only when spoken to.  Children had no value, except to serve the parents.  They were not allowed to be in the same room as an adult, not allowed to make any noise, not allowed to have any fun;  not allowed to be children.  EVERY. SINGLE. ACTION was carefully monitored and corrected with military precision.  Verbal abuse and belittling were abundant.  Physical abuse was considered appropriate for every infraction.  Belts, brushes, boards with holes drilled in them…  all were behavior-correcting devices wielded with extreme force and smug satisfaction.  Just thinking about it makes me want to cry and vomit at the same time.  (Thankfully he has never gotten that physical with any of our kids.  That would cross a line that there is no coming back from.  I’m still upset with the amount of head-thumping and spanking that happens, but it’s getting better.  He’s getting better.)

 

     It makes me sad that our kids see their dad as someone to fear.  Or stay away from.  Sometimes they have fun together, but usually he’s so annoyed when that they’re around, they just keep their distance.  Often I feel like he doesn’t even like me or want me, either, unless he needs something cooked, washed or cleaned.  It’s terribly degrading and humiliating to be tolerated only for bedroom activities and television-watching.  When I try to address any of these issues, he gets defensive and angry, and it scares me.  I hate conflict.  I hate contention.  I hate the constant feeling of not being “enough”.  Or worse, of being in his way and cramping his lifestyle, which is less of a marriage and more of a bachelorhood with a live-in maid.  I hate not having my feelings heard, validated or given any significance in our relationship. 

 

     I SO want things to be different.  I want to have a husband who will pray with me, not mock me.  I’d love to have dates or spend time together AWAY from the television.  Or a movie theater.  I’d like to be able to go somewhere as a family that doesn’t involve at least one of us being ridiculed or reprimanded to tears.  I am so frustrated.  Everything I’ve tried so far has been met with disdain or anger, and darn it, NOW MY HEADACHE IS BACK!  *sob* 

 

     Well, that’s enough of THAT pity party.  My sister just called to tell me that at today’s “Abbie exchange” the S.D. got physical, that she is bruising, and that her shoulder and back are too stiff and sore to move.  It looks like we are going to the ER for some x-rays and a thorough exam.

 

     I guess it can always be worse, can’t it?

 

     I promise to be in a better mood tomorrow.  Thanks for letting me vent.

 

    

      

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5 Responses to “Love at home? Today it’s barely-concealed tolerance…”

  1. *hug* This makes me so sad. I hope you and your sister are doing okay.

  2. Rachel Says:

    Kemi–

    This makes me feel SO sad…especially after the post I wrote last night. I feel guilty now…really, really guilty.

    I don’t know how you put up with all that. I was fuming just reading it! I do not understand–can not understand, and basically I REFUSE to understand how people can’t snap to as a spouse and parent.

    I obviously don’t know him–but I hope things get better–I hope things look up. And most of all I hope you know you are loved and cared about!

    BIG hugs….

  3. kweenmama Says:

    Wow…I KNOW how you feel. I’ve been there. My first marriage was just like that with numerous infidelities by my husband in addition to all the stuff you list.

    I sincerely hope things start to look up for you. Hang in there. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. K. Trainor Says:

    Kemi, I’m sorry you’re going through all of this. He sounds like a child who really needs to grow up. Unfortunately, that’s a choice HE has to make. You can’t make it for him.

    Prayers (and hugs!) for you. I hope things improve dramatically.

  5. pppj Says:

    Kemi,

    I think you need to re-read the post where you loved Kenny. I know there are up days and down days, and it does stink when a down day lasts ALL DAY LONG. That is awful.

    I don’t know many men that take the lead on spiritual events so I can feel your pain on that one. Most of the guys would rather do something else – and put up with it because it’s expected of them.

    It would be interesting if you could ask him when does HE feel close to God? When does he feel spiritually connected?

    Good luck sweetie – I hope tomorrow is a better day.


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