Why Keeping Score Can Wreak Havoc on Your Life.
Once upon a time, socks were my nemesis. Seriously. In real life. They’ve been the cause of too many arguments over the years between me and my husband. I mean, haven’t you uttered phrases that sound like: “Pick them up. Put them away. They don’t belong on the floor IN FRONT of the hamper - they belong IN the hamper! Where are your socks?” And don’t even get me started on the random socks that are floating around without a partner. If you’re shaking your head in agreement or smiling right now because this sounds all too familiar to you, then you feel me.
You see, socks were my trigger. Once I started ranting about the socks, my brain would go into score-keeping mode. I immediately began making the list that starts with “how come I’m the only one who”...cleans the house, does the dishes, folds the laundry, cooks, shops, pays the bills, organizes the schedules, picks up and drops off...you get the gist. I was keeping score and I was losing - all the time.
Let me just say that I am a recovering Type A control freak. I know this about me. I know that I can be a bit, how shall we say it, OCD. I know that I have issues with wanting things to be in order and organized. I KNOW THIS! I also know that it used to drive me insane when things like socks were left on the floor, or toothpaste was squeezed from the middle of the tube, or any number of random things were left unfinished around our house. I also used to let it bother me in a way that was completely irrational and unhealthy for my psyche. It was making me feel unappreciated, resentful and very cranky. That’s because I never said anything about it. I would huff and puff around the house, muttering under my breath about how no one was helping me, and that there was zero consideration for everything I do and so on. Yet I wasn’t making it known that I actually needed help. I was setting expectations without communicating them.
Keeping score and losing.
It wasn’t until I was at my breaking point a few years ago that I realized I needed to speak up. I mean, it had been years of my trying to do all the things while working full time, raising two kids, and managing our home and marriage. It was a lot. And I was taking it upon myself to bear the burden of all of it. That realization came with a kick in the pants for me along with a new found understanding of my needs.
So how did I successfully stop keeping score? I shifted.
I started to ask for help and I put things into perspective. While none of this is life threatening, it can be relationship damaging. Not communicating is one of the worst things you can do in a relationship. Trying to carry all of the burden can be stressful and taxing to your physical and mental health. I got better at socializing to my family what was important to me and I starting learning how to let the small stuff go.
Once I started communicating my needs, and ultimately the needs of our family to my actual family, things started to change. Socks were put where they belonged, and chores started to get accomplished by the other people occupying our home. I wasn’t huffing and puffing so much because I was actually telling my husband and kids how we could support each other. The arguing (mostly) stopped.
Now. Is it sunshine and rainbows all the time? No. In fact, as I type this I’m looking at a pair of socks that were left on our living room floor from two days ago. But instead of picking them up while huffing and puffing about it, the new me will let them sit there until their rightful owner puts them where they belong. Because in the end, it’s just a sock.