Let me preface this entry with a little self-disclosure: I am an emotional being. Ok, maybe not just emotional, but emotional. I cry at Hallmark commercials, sometimes inadvertently sobbing with perhaps a snort or two.
I am not going to lie, this aspect of my personality is a little irritating. While my partner finds it endearing, I find it annoying. In the heat of an argument where I am feeling particularly angry (not necessarily with my partner), I am prone to tears and loss of words. After the other person has hung up the phone or left my line of sight, I know exactly what I want to say and end up reciting the perfect zinger over and over again until I am sure they have psychically connected to my thoughts and felt the full impact of what I could have said…5 minutes ago.
Ok, ok. Enough about me, let’s talk about me. So, the other night, S (my partner) and I were watching mindless television in an attempt to decompress from the long toddler-day that we had just survived. A commercial comes on before one of us has a chance to hit mute. It is a preview for a comedienne who panders to mothers. She starts in, “Welcome mothers! And other people who pee a little when they sneeze!” S laughed like she was part of the club and I could feel the steam rising inside me. This overt reference to mothers being people who pushed their children out of their vaginas was so exclusive that when S laughed, I felt stabbed. This could have partly been because we had just had a day with our boy. Full of negotiations, the word ‘no’ and perhaps a few mini-tantrums. I, the primary negotiator, was exhausted from the full-on parenting that only occurs on days like that.
Because that comedienne wasn’t talking to me, I am not a mother? Logically, I know that she is just speaking to a specific audience and I think I would have brushed it off had S not laughed. My initial response to this laughing was to ask S if she had any idea how it might feel for me that she laughed. Instead of seeing it as this small moment, I felt so angry. When I say S laughed, she didn’t even really laugh. She just kind of went “hmm” with a little up-tick on the end. A snicker? A stunted chortle? But for some reason, in that moment, that small sound hit me.
I think I probably pouted the rest of the night, which is not something I say lightly since I have hated that descriptor since I was a child. But I did. I pouted. I haven’t been able to unpack what my reaction was about. It feels so caught up with the events of that day and the mood I was in. In other words, looking back, it feels so illogical and overblown. But life is like that sometimes, particularly when it comes to parenting and partnering. Sometimes we don’t react the way we would like to in the moment. Sometimes our own insecurities rear their ugly little heads in ways we don’t expect.
So, I guess this entry is about revealing a fault of mine. Now you have it. And for the record, no children have come out of my vagina and sometimes, when I sneeze, I pee a little.