Fighting at a crosswalk
It’s a warm and sunny day so we decide to go for a walk as a family. My husband pushes my son in his stroller while my daughter and I walk together ahead.
As we reach an intersection, my husband starts doing his crazy traffic calculations to minimize wait time and maximize efficiency. He shouts at me from behind to press the walk button.
I don’t want to touch the button with my hands so I use my foot (you know, with the pandemic and everything). I lift my leg up and carefully press the button with my shoe.
I look at my husband who is now beside me, impatiently waiting, eyes darting around at the street lights. He glares at me and grunts,
“Just use your hand!”
“No! I don’t want to touch it.”
I could feel the immense pressure to do it properly. The anxiety he was projecting onto me amplified every millisecond that passed.
After the second kick, I get it but we missed the moment. Cars start driving past us. We need to catch the next light. My husband gives me a disappointed scoff that is obviously directed at my inability to meet his expectations.
I start yelling at him,
“Why do you always have to be in a rush? We don’t have an appointment. We’re not late for anything. We haven’t even decided where we’re walking to. I hate it when you put unnecessary pressure on me. It’s like if you want to rush, that’s your problem, not mine.”
“Well…I looked at the lights and if we didn’t press it at that time, we would have missed the opportunity to cross. We wouldn’t have had to wait. I was behind you and I have the stroller so I figured you would have just pushed the button. Next time, you push the stroller and I’ll do it.”
“No, you need to stop being in such a rush! Just fucking relax already!”
He shouts back,
“That’s who I am. I like doing things efficiently. I know I should slow down a bit but it’s hard for me. You know that.”
I shake my head and roll my eyes.
The light changes. With each flash the walking person makes, the angrier I become. I take my daughter’s hand and we walk quickly so that we are ahead.
Then my 4-year-old daughter said this to me
We are about a block ahead of my husband when we stop at another intersection. My daughter asks me what we were fighting about.
My daughter’s primary language is Cantonese so she didn’t quite understand everything we were saying. I explain to her what happened and how I’m angry because daddy rushed me.
My husband is about half a block away when she says this to me,
“You always tell me that when I yell at little brother for touching my toys, it upsets him. You yelled at daddy. When daddy gets here, you need to apologize because you hurt him.”
I couldn’t swallow my pride
I’m speechless. I have about 5 seconds to make a decision.
Do I lead by example in front of my daughter? Practice what I preach? Swallow my pride? Walk the talk?
Or do I listen to my emotions? Eat my words? Stay mad, expect him to apologize to me and act like a hypocrite in front of my daughter?
When my husband reaches where we are, silence fills the air. I let my emotions get the best of me.Despite writing an entire book about how to have a happy and healthy marriage and an entire chapter that talks about how proving who is right is the wrong way to fight, I couldn’t follow my own advice.
She makes me want to be a better person
When I became a mom, I wanted to teach my kids things that I was never taught as a kid. For instance, we practice mindfulness and gratitude. We talk about how to identify and express our emotions, what empathy is and how to show it, how to apologize and why it’s important.
Apologies were something I had to learn as an adult. When my parents fought, I never saw how they resolved the issue. My mom and dad rarely apologized to one another. A long silence broken by a casual conversation about something trivial like what to make for dinner was how the conflict was typically managed.
And that day, that was how my husband and I resolved our fight in front of our kids. I couldn’t be the good role model that I wanted to be, repeating the history that my parents created for me. I really wanted to give my daughter a real-life example of why apologies matter but I couldn’t.
I was disappointed in myself but at the same time, I felt proud of my daughter. The way she articulated herself, identified the situation, related to our emotions, all of that makes me feel like I’m doing a decent job as a mom. But most importantly, she makes me want to be a better person.
For a long time, I believed that my role as a parent was to help create a better generation than the previous ones; however, I don’t think that paints the full picture. Instead, I think it’s more about creating a generation that is proud of the generation that raised them because then it empowers them to carry the torch towards a better future.
So I told myself that the next time my husband and I fight, I will apologize to him in front of her. I want to try to do better because I want to make her proud.
So Readers, have you ever behaved in a way that contradicts what you’re telling your kids?
This post was previously published on medium.com.
You Might Also Like These From The Good Men Project
|Compliments Men Want to Hear More Often||Relationships Aren’t Easy, But They’re Worth It||The One Thing Men Want More Than Sex||..A Man’s Kiss Tells You Everything|
Join The Good Men Project as a Premium Member today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
A $50 annual membership gives you an all access pass. You can be a part of every call, group, class and community.
A $25 annual membership gives you access to one class, one Social Interest group and our online communities.
A $12 annual membership gives you access to our Friday calls with the publisher, our online community.
Register New Account
Log in if you wish to renew an existing subscription.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: jurien huggins on Unsplash
The post My Daughter Called Me Out for Fighting With My Husband appeared first on The Good Men Project.