It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5 style.
So, have you noticed how often my planks are related to my children or my husband? Welp, that’s because they pretty much make up all of my life, y’all. So they’re the people I screw up with the most. Such is life. And this week is no different.
Now, this isn’t actually something I’ve had a problem with this week so much as a problem I’ve had for 10 years and have been concentrating harder on rectifying recently. I don’t even know what to call it, so I’ll just describe it to you: When my husband is parenting in a way that I think is wrong or too harsh, I step in. I attempt to do so gently, but I can’t stop myself from trying to diffuse the situation. I want to help him get some perspective, or step in and take over so that he’s relieved of the situation that has him frustrated. And, in the heat of the moment, not knowing what else to do, I usually end up saying the phrase, “Be nice.” I don’t say it in a disrespectful way, but it’s become my nagging catch phrase. As if saying those two words will switch a magic patience light switch within him.
The thing is, I do a whole lot of the same stuff. I lose my temper and get frustrated and am more harsh than I need to be sometimes. And he never steps in and tries to correct me. Ever. To be honest, I wish he would (lovingly, of course). I wish that, seeing how thin my patience is worn, he would step in and be the good guy and give me the break I need. I guess that’s another reason why I’m always stepping in trying to be the good guy when he’s the one stressed.
But even though I say I don’t do these things disrespectfully, I know he still feels disrespected when I do it. Like I’m disrespecting this authority, perhaps. Which only makes him more agitated. And I think I need to step back. Especially since I have a serious plank in the issue considering that I act too harshly sometimes with the Wild Things – and it’s so easy to resent the person pointing out your speck when you know they do the same thing.
So, I’m making an effort to hold back the mama bear inside of me and work harder to be the parent I want both of us to be. Because here’s the thing (and disclaimer, y’all) – he’s not abusing the Wild Things. The Wild Things are safe and live in a healthy environment with two loving parents. So I’ma thinkin that I need to calm down!
If the last 10 years has taught me anything about this situation it’s that my version of “helping” only exasperates the situation. Um, and that’s not helping! And he doesn’t need me to tell him when he’s slipped. We all know when we slip. I know I am acutely aware every time I feel like I’ve failed to be the loving parent I desire for my children and I don’t need him rubbing my face in it.
So I am even more literally than usual pulling this plank. (Which, in large part, means being the change I want to see) After all, I’ll be able to see a whole lot better with it gone so that I can help him with his speck, am I right?
And don’t forget the button you’ve earned for all your hard work. ;)