Yesterday we tried a new church. It was very... modern. They had a church rock band. Oddly, although I consider myself a progressive person, I like my church experience to be ultra traditional. I also prefer it to be a different denomination than the one we went to yesterday, but a friend of mine suggested her church, and I felt we at the very least should check it out. But now we're in the awkward position of having to admit we didn't like it... so it might have been more socially graceful to never have gone in the first place.

Things with the family visit are going okay. Hero was a bit of a devil yesterday, raising both my and Hubs' stress level through the roof. He growled at/bit us a total of four times. And we really don't want him to snap at one of my nieces. I think having a total of eight people in the house is too much for him. We're going to try to reinstate all of his training rules today and see if that helps - we'd eased up since we had company and didn't feel like teaching everyone how to train the dog. It's just so hard having so many ups and downs with him - he gets better, he regresses. And our hopes for him spike and decline along with his behavior. Because when it comes to having either a baby in the house or the dog, there can't be a contest. I don't want it to come to that, because I don't want Hero to lose. Of course I love him. More each day. Why can't our love and patience be enough? Or at the very least our love, patience, and the thousand dollars we've thrown down on his account already?

I also do appreciate my family's concern about my job search, but to be honest I have designated times I think about it, and designated times I don't. I don't think about it at nine o'clock at night. I just don't. I don't really think of it past eight. Just like I don't think of death, watch hospital dramas or sad, violent or scary movies right before bed. So when you're watching the ten o'clock news and they talk about the unemployment rate, don't start a conversation with me about how maybe if I volunteered that would lead to a job. I don't want to hear it. I want to sleep soundly, and thinking about the black hole that has become my professional future does not facilitate that.

The thing is, I'm being ungracious. I'm getting irritated with little things and reading into them that my family does not respect me or my household. My mom has overtaken my kitchen, but it's because she wants to pamper me and doesn't want me to be stressed preparing meals for everyone. My sister and her husband have made themselves completely comfortable in our home (including borrowing our car without asking) but it's because they want to make their presence in our home easier on everyone. It's just that when I'm a guest in someone's home, I'm a guest. Meaning I defer control of situations to the person who pays the mortgage. But control is something C women naturally take, and the fact that my mom and sister jump in to do so shouldn't surprise me. It's just that it leaves me feeling relegated to my pre-pubescent days of being the one everyone took care of. And right now, I don't want to be taken care of. I can't be. I want to take care of everyone else. I feel like I'm being robbed of that opportunity. I'm shoved out of the kitchen and told what the plan is rather than asked what it should be.

I'm lucky to have a family who loves me so much. I'm lucky to have people who rush in to take care of me. I know this. But I'm also an unemployed woman who can't find a job and can't support a baby in her womb, so I need to feel like I can do something. Like I'm needed for something. And lately the things I've been needed for during a normal week are cooking, entertaining, cleaning, and running my household. If you take that from my hands, there is little else I feel like I'm contributing.

And the worst part of all (yes, I am seriously complaining about having a family - I do know how ungrateful that is - I do know that people are alone during the holidays and that I'm incredibly fortunate) is that because I feel so teary, in order to keep from crying I snap at people. Because if I don't suck all the emotion out of my voice, I know it will crack and the tears will bubble over and people will rush to comfort me. After which point, they'll walk on eggshells around me. Which would definitely be intolerable.



DeeMarie said...

I'm sorry hon. I will say as far as the church thing goes... just be honest and say it wasn't quite what you're looking for and you want to check out a few more places before making a decision.
As for the family... I'm the only non-parent in my family too. I know how it feels to want to be treated as an equal- and though they mean well, they don't know how to do it. I wish you a happier week, my friend.

8:15 AM
~Jennifer~ said...

I'm so sorry you're having this problem. I felt a bit like this when I was back visiting my folks in Texas about 3 weeks ago. I've always struggled with feeling like I'm capable of taking care of myself- mainly because I know they disagree with a lot of choices I make.

However, I think it may be time to have a family meeting. If you aren't strong enough to voice your thoughts/opinions on this to them, then have your husband speak for you. They realize that you've had a rough year, and I'm sure, as you are they just want to help though I'm not sure they realize they're sucking the life out of you in the process. Family meetings are good.

Communication is best.

Hang in there!


8:31 AM
calicobebop said...

Oh my goodness I wish there was something I could do to make this situation better for you. It must be awful to hold those feelings inside. I hope that expressing them on your blog and reading encouraging comments can tide you through the visit. We're here for you! I hope it gets better!

9:10 AM
momofonefornow said...

Two things:

As far as the church thing goes, explaining that you prefer a more traditional atmosphere will probably be enough. I go to a rock band church and I love it but I also understand that it is not everyone's cup of tea. Hopefully your friend will feel the same.

Have you considered printing out this post (after a few minor changes) and letting your mom and sister read it? I don't think that I could get through explaining it without becoming a sobbing mess but maybe if they knew the depth of how you were feeling they would know how to be a little more sensitive toward it. (I don't know what your relationship with them is like so maybe this would be bad.) I don't have a sister or a daughter but if my brothers or son ware feeling that way I would want to know. I wouldn't want to continue hurting them if I could stop it.

Obviously you need to do whatever will keep your head above water. I hope that you get to feeling less on edge. (((hugs)))

10:06 AM
Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. How long is the fam staying? Hopefully you'll get some rest and relaxation out of their taking care of you, if nothing else. But people taking control of my house, IN my house would drive me batty.

Sorry about the church situation. Our church is pretty rockin' most of the time too. It's a far cry from my uber conservative church upbringing but I've grown to love it. Maybe they have another service that's more traditional? Either way you'll find one that fits you perfectly. :)

10:09 AM
Kelli said...

I'm sorry this is such a rough time for you. The holidays and family visits are two things that seem to heighten emotions; especially when you're not feeling 100% to start with.
I agree w/ the ultra conservative church thing; it's hard for me to explain that to people who constantly invite me to churches w/ a "rock band" up front.
If it's any consolation, your blogs are a bright spot in my otherwise dull day. :) I enjoy your writing, your down-to-earth commentary, and your sense of humor. I'm still pulling for Hero.

10:49 AM
HeatherPride said...

Go take your kitchen back! I think it's fine that you insist on some things when you have visitors. Consider it laying the ground rules for future visits. Maybe if you take some control you won't feel so out of control? It's ok to be a little selfish sometimes.

10:59 AM
Anonymous said...

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin that said, "family and friends are like fish, after 3 days they begin to smell"....I'm not sure he meant literally, but the "honeymoon" of the visit is usually gone after that time period. As much as your family is trying to help you, you need to get control back of your home. Maybe with your sis and brother in law you could tell them when it's a good time to take the car and tell them you need it.....even if it's just to go to a park and sit and have some alone time. Plan a dinner and just announce it....that you are making such and such to be served and a certain time and how excited you are to do this meal FOR them.
Elle, you need to cry, you need to let these emotions be felt. They are there, why hide them? You have to go through the natural grieving process to move on, let yourself grieve the loss, and what better way than to have loved ones around that can help. Hope my advice at least comforts a little.
Sue (Bob)

11:32 AM
Fertilized said...

I do not think you are being ungrateful at all.. Yes others do n ot have family and are alone ..but this is not your situation and you did not make the others who are alone during the holidays be alone ... It's good to recognize the difference and not apologize just sympathize.

Communication is key, be honest and direct. It could be helpful for the church and family situation. There is no harm in respecting others feelings and still being allowed to have your own. Your feelings and needs are just as valid as theirs!

Hang in there!

12:11 PM
Michelle said...

I too would much rather go to a traditional church. If I wanted a rock concert I would go to a rock concert!
I can't remember if I suggested this to you before or not but our dog was a biter. We were on the verge of having him put down. Our vet suggested we have him neutered. We did and he has never bitten again. He was about a year or 2 old when we had it done. He is 12 now and we can't imagine life without him! Maybe Hero could benefit from having his nuts chopped off.
I can sympathize with the family situation. When I found out my son would be still born I just wanted to be left alone. Every person in my family wanted to hover. I felt like I couldn't take a breath without some smelling what I had for lunch. I also didn't want to cry in front of them. I had always been the strong one. They do back off eventually and if you tell them you need some space they will respect your wishes. They just want to do what is best for you, what they think is best is hovering.

1:09 PM
Cat said...

I'm heading home in a day and I'm just waiting for the anvil to fall. It's inevitable, being thrown back into my adolescense, which I tried desperately to escape. Hang in there, it's all totally normal, even though it's SUCKY.

3:25 PM
Bob said...

I agree with Jennifer...time for a family meeting. They don't realize that you need to be in control of at least some aspects of your own home while they are visiting.

12:03 AM
Crys :D said...

I just wrote and erased a really long paragraph. All i want to tell you is good luck.

1:17 PM
Cat said...

Thanks lady, you have a great holiday as well. Hang in there. It won't last forever and you'll have your kitchen back.

3:20 PM
Bina said...

Oh honey, I do know (to a certain degree) how you feel about the house and car thing, and how people take over to try and take care of you. I have no advice to offer, because no one has ever been able to offer me any that I listend to, or that actually helped.

At least you realize you have a family that cares about you and WANTS to help you.

Things will fall in place eventually. They usually do.

And man, I'm sorry about Hero. That's gotta be so hard and adds to much to the tension. I wish Ceasar Milan would come help you!

10:03 AM