I have always felt a pressure to be good at things. Learning to read. Writing stories. Making friends. Baking cakes. Being a mother. Being a wife.
In Year 8, I over-heard another 14 year-old from the cool group remark to her cool friends that: Zanni thinks she is so good at everything, especially art.
The truth was, I didn’t think I was much good at anything, especially art, but I tried mightily. I tried my damnedest to do things to perfection.
Mostly, I was able to master my task. I learnt to read. Write stories. Make friends. My cake baking is far under par, but I think I am a pretty good mother. Watching my almost-three-year-old swing her little hips and rock her crazy blonde locks around the house as she composes some funky tune, I feel like I have done a good job so far. She is happy.
But lately, I question how good a wife I am.
I am bossy. Nagging. Cranky. It’s like all my good goes to my children, and my husband gets my bad.
It’s not always so, but it’s worse at the moment. I’m worse.
A similar thing followed the birth of Elka. From spick and span, happy-go-lucky, crazy in love we went, and came out the other side naggy and grumpy. Me that is. Not him.
I don’t know what happened. I just got the grumps, and he got the pointy end of the deal.
It cleared up. He was patient. Resilient. Happy-go-lucky. I was lucky.
We fell back into happiness after that. Rolling from one café to the other. Talking big dreams and theories about life and about nonsense. We shared the joy of our beautiful baby becoming toddler becoming child. We shared her joy and each others. We got pregnant and shared the joy of a beautiful birth. They have been happy years.
But after the second birth, I am Naggy-von-Niggle again. Over everything and nothing. Like the belt that was left on the table this afternoon.
I confessed the other morning that I wasn’t feeling affectionate towards him at the moment. He looked forlornly into his lap. I had just confirmed his suspicions. I felt bad, but my confession made me feel lighter. It was true. I have been feeling unaffectionate towards him. And it isn’t his fault. It’s mine – or biology, or something.
Maybe, after birth, the lack of affection is a protective mechanism. A contraception. Nature doesn’t want you making more babies just yet, so it makes you cranky at your partner. That is my reckoning – does it fly? I am not sure.
All I know is that my crankiness, and my lack of affection is draining our resources. Two little girls, beautiful in every way. Four jobs between us. Other commitments like tidying the house and mowing the lawn. We can’t keep on top of it all if I keep dragging it down.
Tonight, I am looking inwards. Trying to rectify, and see what I can do.