Donnie and I have the typical arguments many couples have about semantics and attitude. I know they’re typical because when I’ve written or talked about them I hear a “Yep. Been there, done that…” from many people. It was a lot worse when I didn’t work, but it’s a basic frustration I feel for not being appreciated. Or – ACTUALLY – for not feeling like I’m appreciated. Because, as Donnie points out, just because he doesn’t verbally recognize the things I do, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate it.
We’ve talked about this a lot, how a simple acknowledgement sometimes of the things I do would go a long way. When we fight about it, it’s because I’ve let frustration and resentment build up until something little goes unnoticed and breaks the camels back – so to speak. So I end up freaking out about the fact that no one noticed I washed the dishes (again) when in reality I’m still mad that my solo efforts on getting the family ready for a trip out of state didn’t get noticed last week.
Well, the other day? Donnie said the most perfect thing. I didn’t even realize how perfect it was until I felt the entire shift in my stress level.
It’s been hectic around here. If you just look at the theatre stuff I work on, we’re 9 days away from opening the Best Christmas Pageant Ever, rehearsals have started for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which I’m co-producing) and we just had our first meeting for West Side Story (which I produce) which opens in March. Add that on top of my general hectic life with work/family/training and I was a bit frazzled the other morning. As I was probably mumbling about production teams and long runs Donnie looked at me and said, “I think maybe you’re doing too much.”
Now, he’s said things similar before but with a tone of accusation. Something like, “You don’t have to do all of that, you know.” Which, if you’re trying to do it all? Is the worse thing to say to someone because…we know we don’t have to do it all…we want to. No – this time? He phrased it with sincere sympathy that paid tribute to what I was doing.
“I think maybe you’re doing too much.”
Here’s the thing…I’m not doing too much. It’s just my to-do list on some days is a little more stressful than others so I have moments of high anxiety. And he picked the perfect time to recognize the work I do and it was crazy…it was like it gave me a fuel! There was a burst of energy and a narrow of focus and suddenly my anxiety attack just stopped and I was able to finish making breakfast (and lunches) with a smile on my face.
I often tell Donnie, more than help around the house? I need recognition. Now, he helps a lot lately too – seeing that I’m busier than usual – but that little sentence acknowledging how much I’m doing? Was better than taking over laundry for a month. Because I like doing everything I do, but if no one in the house notices it, especially when my outside life gets crazier, then I tend to get anxious and bitter about it all.
But yesterday? I had such a great day of productivity. I was focused. Not bitter. I got things done with a smile on my face and it was like taking a Xanax and a Steroid at the same time. Anxiety gone…Motivation increased.
The magic words.
I told him how much I appreciated that tiny gesture because I wanted him to know how powerful those tiny moments are to someone like me. A small gesture of acknowledgement goes a long way.
As does taking the garbage to the street – which he also did this week. He’s on a DAMN ROLL, y’all.