It is easy to identify the balance in a relationship and easier still to recognize it as it tips further in one direction or the other. I, for example, recognize that I tend to see Wednesdays as a maintenance day and a prep day for when the kids come back on Thursday morning. My goal is for them to walk into something new and spectacular, be it something I’ve upgraded, some magical experience I’ve prepared for them, or something so small as a new game (see previous post on spoiling). As I’ve been thinking about how to get centered and get more productive, the idea of that balance keeps staining the air around me like used cat liter. There is the realization that my relationship with the boys is not balanced but there is also the understanding that it cannot be completely balanced. We are after all father and sons and not partners.
So what then is the necessary balance? I think in all relationships there has to be a basic understanding of needs of and from all parties concerned. For me there is an inherent need to please, so a lot of this stuff I do can be self-gratifying. On the other hand I need to feel like the things I do for people are appreciated in a way that I recognize as appreciation. This is made difficult in a parental relationship (though perhaps no harder than in a marital one) because the kids don’t fully understand my expectations of appreciation unless I explain it to them.
There’s the rub and the crux of this blog. I can, with difficulty, wrap my head around the fact that my boys don’t know how to act unless I tell them how. Therefore I can, and apparently sometimes do, tell them how they need to behave in order for me to continue providing them with a gleeful existence. What I recognize now is that it is much harder for me to separate my expectations of understanding from my grown up relationships. I don’t think I’m alone. I’ve heard far too often the term ‘he/she should know’ That term speaks to an inherent philosophy that one party has in some way intuited or even straight up told the other about desires and needs so much that the other party has ingrained this into their psyche. Unfortunately, this is often NOT the case.
I fear many relationships are torn apart by a failure to communicate and if we could all just reiterate what we want and need–without getting angry or defensive about the need to reiterate–a lot more relationships would be happy ones.
- A friend identified Banshee as male chick lit. I really like that term. It ought to be publicized…
- 1876 (yes I’m back to that if only briefly) was the year of the famous Indian Head penny. It was also the year of the battle at little big horn. This feels important as we are considering putting a woman on the $10 in the same breath as we are rolling back abortion rights and continue to have less than equal wages.