Then, an argument starts between the parents (in this case, me and the handyman). It started with two new coffee mugs I noticed sitting in the pantry. They were personalised coffee mugs with the kids' names on them. It was the month of August, it was not anybody's birthday, I thought.
Maybe it was his tone of voice, maybe it was my hormones, but that answer was not satisfying. Here we are trying to achieve wealth, and trying to model to the kids by imparting how we should live below our means and buy only needs instead of wants, and his answer to me is "I want them because they only cost ## pesos" ???
Ok, something to that effect. That was my interpretation of his answer.
(Update, I deleted the cost of the mugs at the request of handyman, I'm making an effort to be a submissive wife)
So I start to go on and on (is this what people would say nagging?) about how we didn't need mugs, and it's not about the money. Whether it was cheap or not, the fact was he bought something unnecessary, the kids definitely did not ask for new mugs, stop saying you got them for the kids, you got them to feed your own ego like you always did! There, I said it. All the past mistakes he made resurfaced. The little thing today with the mugs is suddenly enormous.
Going by his logic that we needed them, I then said we must throw away two old mugs (besides the two new mugs is making the dish rack more cluttered than usual in my opinion). He seemed to dislike what I said, and without any word threw away the old mugs with more force than I expected. Hmm...he is really testing me. Thoughts of hatred start going through my head: how dare you, nagdadabog ka na ngayon (stomping on me now)?
If I lose it and let this turn into a bigger fight, I will ruin our homeschooling day. Our schedule would be off. I hear him say "If you decide to go out and leave, I will leave too" as he went down the basement. He knew what I was thinking.
The old me would have grabbed the car keys and left him and the kids so I could blow off some steam. I would have come back late at night when everyone's asleep. I had realized the kids still had their heads down, tensed, pretending to answer their textbooks. I suddenly felt sorry for them. I did grab the car keys and hid them. But I chose to stay. I also chose to shut my mouth from saying any further hurtful words. He went to his hole in the basement, his place of refuge at times like this.
I call the kids to eat. I tell them they can do whatever they want after lunch. I will just call them once I am in the mood to teach again. We did go through some exercises again two hours later, which is amazing because I expected to be out of sorts all day after that mini-fight. I will read aloud to them later before they go to sleep and apologize for what happened earlier today. I know they will understand, I've told them many times before that it's normal for couples to disagree on many things, they are not blind to the realities of the world. We have relatives who are separated and divorced, but I had promised my kids that we, their parents, will always do our best to get along.
I don't know if handyman will try to talk to me tonight, he always did in the past, I would tell him what I did and did not appreciate of him today. No sugar coating. I'm sure he has something to say to me too. Regardless if he does take initiative to talk or say sorry, I am already deciding now that we will work it out. (I always feel like it's his fault though!)
Homeschooling does this to me, it forces me to get along with the handyman. I so badly want to succeed in teaching my kids effectively that even if it would satisfy my anger to fight, argue, and leave the house, I just can't do it (anymore). How can my kids understand the importance of good character if I suck at it?
The purpose of homeschooling, among all other things, is to strengthen the relationship of the family, the basic social unit, the building block of society. How well kids play their part as adults starts in the family, with us the parents. I have been a responsible daughter, student, citizen, employee for as long as I can remember, I am not going to stop now.