Ask and Ye Shall Be Heard....Hopefully by Robin Gorman Newman
My husband and I split up the activities for Seth, as we played chauffeur, not to mention getting caught in the rain without an umbrella when the heavens suddenly opened up after party #1.
Our plan worked until Sunday morning when Marc announced he had two hours before they needed to leave for the party, and did we need anything at the supermarket? I had just done a quick food shop the day before, so "no." Clearly, I got the impression he was looking for a reason to get out of the house. Perhaps I was mistaken, but that was how it felt in my gut. I obliged and suggested he visit my father, and he seized the opportunity. He asked Seth if he wanted to go with him, and he opted to stay home to play with this toys, or so Marc thought.
Marc presumed that meant he would amuse himself, but that's not how it turned out. He wanted to play with me, and since it was the weekend, I felt badly turning him down, despite the fact I planned to work Sunday....at least for the afternoon. I was counting on a decent chunk of time to craft a speech on Life in the Later Mom Lane for the MOM Conference in NYC that I delivered on 5/23. Marc knew that.
When Marc returned, he was surprised to see me perched on the master bed with Seth instead of in my office. He thought I'd be dilligently typing my talk on the computer, but instead I had Seth glued to me at the hip. He anticipated I'd tell Seth I don't have time for play. I responded to Marc by getting angry and suggesting he didn't respect my needs. I had made it clear I required time, so why didn't he insist Seth accompany him instead of putting me in the position to deny playtime with him?! It made me feel like he had no problem with me being the bad one. And, on top of it, I felt like a babysitter. He didn't ask if it was ok if he went out. In fact, I was kinda stunned at the moment that he didn't just stay home and engage Seth. Did he need me to tell him that? Apparently....yes.
When I explained how I felt to Marc that evening, after they returned from the party and I declared he was in charge of Seth's bath, Marc was surprised I was upset. In his eyes, he was trying to be helpful by offering to do an errand.
What I realized is that if you need or want something, you have to express it with total clarity and conviction. I could have articulated I need you to stay home with Seth while I work, but I didn't think I had to spell it out. I presumed he'd get it, and that was my mistake. You can't get inside someone else's head, and the older I get, the more I realize that. And, this is true whether family or friends. Not everyone thinks as we do or has the insight or foresight to be there as we'd hope in a perfect world. I experienced that just recently when I saw what friends were by my side during the stress of my father's surgery.
Loved ones do their best, and the more we can guide them, the better job they will do. At the end of the day, they want to see us happy, and my husband is a big supporter of my goals and pursuits (for the most part).
Next time, I won't hesitate to ask for what I need. His heart was in the right place, that much I do know.