When Your Home Is a Battleground.
When your home is a battleground, you pull in the driveway in the evening and it doesn’t feel like the end of the day. It feels like the day is just getting started.
You have a plan in mind for how the night will go. What needs to get done and what you want to get done. You said your mantras and prayed your prayers. You listened to your podcasts. You convince yourself you can keep it all together tonight, no matter what gets thrown your way.
When your home is a battleground there’s territory claimed. The kitchen is yours’s. The front porch is his. There are unspoken agreements. He gets the bathroom early evening; you get it at bedtime.
When your home is a battleground, the corners of your home are utilized strategically. When you make your way to the kitchen, you look left, then right. You try to understand what you’re walking into. Is the light on in the living room? Can you see a phone light through the dark in the other room?
When your home is a battleground you walk on eggshells. You try to keep the baby happy because the baby getting upset upsets everyone. An upset child is a catalyst for a fight when your home is a battleground.
Home doesn’t feel like home when your marriage is hanging on by a thread. You can’t focus on being a mom because your energy is going towards surviving in your own home.
Yet, most of us that live this day-to-day don’t even realize we are living it.
If you’ve never heard of the boiling frog metaphor, let me give you a CliffsNotes rundown: If you put a frog in boiling water, the frog will immediately jump out. If you put a frog in lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog will boil to death, unaware of the change in heat.
I’ve connected with so many women this year that have lived in battleground homes. Moms with toddlers, moms with teenagers, and moms with adult children. No matter how long they all stayed in their marriages, they all felt it was too long. Most, like me, didn’t even realize the severity of it all until they were long out of the situation. It was a slow, slow boil.
My goal was Christmas.
I had it in my head, before 2020 did its worst in March, that all I wanted was my family together and happy for Christmas. Instead, my family fell apart. I haven’t had a great Christmas in years. I haven’t even had a happy Mother’s Day, yet. I think this is why I was so fixated on ‘fixing’ everything in time for Christmas. I would have felt accomplished. I think it played in my head in a similar way we all set subconscious goals and expectations for the holidays and big events. We get these scripts in our heads on how we hope things will pan out.
However, even during the loneliest times during the beginning of the pandemic, being lonely was still favorable to living on a battleground.
My home is a home now. I want to be here at the end of the day. I don’t desperately search for things for my daughter and me to do to get out of here on the weekends, anymore. My daughter is so much happier because of the ease she feels from me at home, even as a toddler. Her daycare has even noticed how more confident she has become.
Being at ease in my house makes me wonder so often how I lived the way I did for so long. I don’t know how I made it through without being hospitalized with stomach ulcers, getting on sleeping medication, or losing my job. It was such a slow boil. It was such small things being thrown into the juggle that even at its peak, I had absolutely no clue I was juggling 20 sharp objects… while balancing on a ball on one foot.
I write this in hopes to wake others up to their reality before the heat gets too high, or high at all. Seek counsel, seek safety, and make informed decisions.
I walk around my house right now, decorated for Christmas, so grateful for it just being my daughter and me, grateful for the ease we feel, and grateful for the cheesy “home”, “joy”, etc. signs to actually ring true here.
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