My marriage is not perfect.
As much as I would love to think of myself as the perfect wife, I’m not. At all. I have high standards. I’m demanding. My expectations are lofty — not just of my husband, but also of my children.
Sometimes Robbie will tell me that he feels like nothing is ever good enough for me, and he’s right. Nothing is. I always want more, because I am a goal-oriented person. I’m a Capricorn, a mountain goat who wants to climb because I enjoy it and I don’t have time for your whining or lollygagging so either get on board or get out of my way.
I expect my sons to open doors and say “yes ma’am” and carry their Fiestaware dishes to the sink. Yes, my kids eat on real dishes. I expect them to follow directions and behave in public and say “thank you” and “please” because manners get you farther in life than just being smart. I expect them to follow directions and I expect to be respected because I am their mother and I deserve it.
I expect my husband to be able to fix things and keep up with the yard and be emotionally present and provide for our family. I expect him to listen and communicate and deal with the kids at the end of the day when I just can’t anymore. I expect him to be serious and funny and my partner in all things.
I expect a lot.
My expectations can be difficult to live with, but I give a lot in return and I am more demanding of myself than I am of anyone else. It will be a lifelong process for me to inch slowly toward Robbie’s end of the spectrum, where nothing is a big deal, as he inches slowly towards my side, where everything is urgent. We are truly yin and yang, which on a good day means we bring out the best in each other … and on a bad day, I want to claw his eyes out.
He does things like buy me stress-relieving water. Want to know why I was stressed? Because he was taking too long in the store. I could see him in there, wandering around. What the hell is taking him so long?! We need to GO!
He was hunting for the perfect beverage for his wife, that’s what he was doing.
Sidenote: the water didn’t relieve my stress.
The thing about our relationship is the love that overarches all of the differences between us. I could have married someone else and been happy. Maybe. But I have never and will never love anyone like I love Robbie Hobbs, and that is the thing that grounds me in our marriage. That is the thing that makes everything else make sense.
And then, from time to time, Robbie does something startling that reminds me just how lucky I am.
In the blogging world, there are conferences that writers attend to learn how to be a success — whether that means learning how to make money through blogging, or how to go from blogging to authoring an actual book. I kept hearing about one conference in particular, BlogU, that I really wanted to attend. It’s supposed to be the best, and I think we all know how I feel about things that are the best. Why waste time doing something that is only marginally passable, when I can aim for THE BEST?
So back to the conference, Jill Smokler of Scary Mommy will be there. Jen Mann of People I Want To Punch In The Throat will be there. A ton of writers I am obsessed with will be there. I wanted to go so badly, tears would well up every time I thought about it.
I talked about it for months. Robbie wanted me to go, but we just don’t have the money for a trip like that. The airfare alone was ridiculous, and we are a one-income family of five. I felt guilty for wanting to go, but I’m a mountain goat. I can’t help myself. I WANT TO CLIMB.
I began looking into corporate sponsorships and devised a plan of action. When I sat Robbie down and presented it to him, he was on board … but quiet. Finally he said, “I think this is a solid plan, but you don’t have enough time to make it happen. I just don’t want to see you stressing out over anything extra. I’m going to figure something out.”
Then he stood up, and he took action. He set up a Go Fund Me. (You can view it here, it’s really cute.)
I cringed — hard — when he showed me his plan. I loathe crowd funding, and I dislike feeling like a charity case, but it was a huge success. People genuinely wanted to help. I feel really humbled by it (mostly because, if I’m honest, it really bothers me that I couldn’t afford to go on my own, without asking for help), and grateful to him because he knew I would miss out otherwise.
We had all of the money within one week.
So yes, I have high standards.
And that is why I married Robbie Hobbs.
Before we had children.