As wives and mothers, we have an expectation that we can “handle it”.
It would seem that those around us know that as well.
We are the glue that keeps our households running. We are the doers of all of the things – laundry, dinner, homework, appointments, job/career, kids… it’s exhausting. Have you seen the comic about a woman’s mental load (you can find it here)? It’s so true. What’s worse is that if your husband is still in active addiction, chances are he’ll only remind you what hasn’t been done, and/or add to the load versus helping to relieve it. Even in early recovery, with meetings and phone calls and sponsor chats and outpatient treatment – they can still rely heavily on us to handle life while they work on them.
But who helps us?
It’s exhausting being on the merry go round. The guilt, the shame, the cleaning up his messes (literally and figuratively), the financial woes, the lies, the stashes found by spying or accident… Eventually you get dizzy enough that you decide to get off, and that my love – is when things change.
We help us.
I know what you’re thinking – holy $&#% I have to help myself TOO??? – but stick with me here… WE are the only ones with the power to change what’s happening around us – and we can only do that by changing ourselves. Just like our addict can only change himself.
When you begin to take ownership of your stuff, and allow others to take ownership of theirs – that’s where the magic happens.
Now you’re asking how in the hell you DO that, right? Well,
You just might consider ASKING FOR HELP.
I’ve learned that as much as I am a mind reader, no one else in my life is. (and I’m not very good at it either, just sayin…)
While no, we shouldn’t HAVE to ask for our spouse to take on part of the household and family stuff, we can’t expect them to just wake up and start putting their dirty underwear in the hamper, or ask how our day was, or quit drinking/drugging. We have to communicate our needs, wants, and boundaries.
Don’t get me wrong – I have historically abhorred asking for help. I have had trouble asking for what I NEED – let alone things that I want. It never mattered if it was financial, physical, material – just the fact that I needed something was enough to trigger my inner nag – that “you’re not good enough” bitch that just nags and pulls and pokes and bullies. (Nelly is the name of the voice in my head – you can read more about her here in last week’s blog post)
We have to speak up for ourselves.
As lovely as it may sound to have someone who anticipates our needs, and magically provides all that we need before we even realize we need it – most of us do not live in that reality. *Unless we’re talking about our addict, amiright?
It’s not easy, but it is simple. Actually, I’ve found that to be the case for most things. Pretty much anything that results in growth – real growth – is not easy. But if I’ve learned one thing it’s that it’s survivable.
There’s few things that aren’t. You’re stronger and braver than you give yourself credit for.
The trick is to care for yourself first, and then others. Make sure you’re actively communicating your needs, and connect with people who you can feel safe enough around to speak up for your needs.
My #1 tip is this:
You might need to start small! I’m talking like “Please pass the salt” or “May I use your bathroom”. Start speaking up with the ‘little’ things and strengthen that muscle. It’s all progress!
What’s your #1 tip to take care of YOU? Leave me a comment!
PS – (because free stuff is awesome) – Head here to get your copy of “Making Self Care a Priority – Every Day” – my workbook for busy women like you!