Sigh

May 19, 2010 at 10:06 pm (Uncategorized)

Thank you for the suggestions and support. I feel a little sheepish, because, predictably, the whole thing blew over within the next 12 hours or so. It turned out that he just felt sort of left out, and the price tag made him feel like it had been a sort of big deal that he wasn’t a part of, and that the final product wasn’t that great. He ultimately said he felt really guilty for his reaction, and that I was right that he would be glad to have the photos. I showed his mom the photos and told her the whole story, and she supported me 100%, said she loved the photos, and agreed that I had done exactly the right thing. And that further convinced my husband that I had done the right thing.

Obviously the incident upset me hugely, since I wrote out a whole post on it. It has so much to do with my own horror at being humiliated and at feeling like I might have made a mistake, particularly an expensive one. It’s an issue I have that’s been a theme throughout my life–I really don’t respond well to someone suggesting I shouldn’t have done something or I did something the wrong way. It’s like I can’t stand the embarrassment. Anyway, I will get better. My husband has issues of his own, but they have less to do with his own self-esteem.

In any event, thank you again. I’ll try to check in again soon.

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I feel like shit right now

May 12, 2010 at 11:30 pm (Uncategorized)

First of all, let me get all the good out of the way so I can get to why I’m writing right now. The baby is doing great. He is 11 1/2 weeks old now and he is perfect and beautiful and, cliche though it may be, I never knew I could love anything so much.

Now, on to why I feel like shit.

First, some background: While we were in the hospital, the “hospital photographer” came by and said she could take photos of the baby (and us with the baby, if we wanted) for free, and we could order prints later if we wanted. I could see that my husband, who is always inclined to turn that kind of thing down, wanted to get rid of the photographer and had no interest, but I thought, “How many times am I going to be in the hospital with my newborn baby?” So I had her take some photos. We ended up ordering the cd of 8 photos for $99, and my husband later said he was glad I had insisted the photos were taken.

About 6 or so weeks after he was born, I got a call from the photo company. They said because I had ordered the cd, I was entitled to one free 8×10 print, but that it would have to be from a new set of photos. The photographer would come to my house and take the photos for free, and then someone would come to my house some time later to show me the photos, and I would not be obligated to buy any of them, I could just choose one for my 8×10 and that could be it. I thought about saying no but I ended up thinking, “Whatever, they’re photos of my baby and I don’t have to buy any. Why not?” I knew that the whole thing was set up to be a racket on some level, but they couldn’t force me to buy something, after all. So, without telling my husband (because I knew he’d be a naysayer and I didn’t want to get him involved at this point), I had the photos taken. The baby was almost 8 weeks old at that point.

Then came time for the woman to come to my house with the photos on her computer. Unlike with the photos taken in the hospital, I couldn’t simply view them online. Someone had to come to the house to show them to me, and I would have to make my decision then and there. (I suspect if I had chosen not to buy any I’d have been given other opportunities, but it would not have been super easy, regardless.) I asked my mom to come and help me decide whether they were any good and whether any were worth buying. I still didn’t mention anything to my husband.

The woman came to the house with her computer and showed us the photos. At first I thought they weren’t that great and maybe even a little cheesy. He wasn’t smiling in any of them, because it’s hard to get an 8-week-old to smile on command (we can get him to smile but it’s still hard to capture that on camera). And he was kind of cocking his eyebrows in a funny way. But my mom thought they were cute and the more I looked at them, I was like, “these ARE kind of cute, in a funny kind of way, and anyway, they’re my BABY.” And so, fully aware that it’s hard for a mother to pass up photos of her baby of any kind and that that is what this company is banking on, and with my mom’s encouragement, I bought one of the smallest packages they offered. It ended up costing about $200, including shipping and everything. This didn’t include the cd containing the photos, but it included eleven 5x7s, one 8×10 and one 10×15 (or something like that). It sounds like a lot of money, but we are both lawyers and we have plenty of money, which neither of us denies, and I am generally very frugal, but I thought this seemed like the right sort of thing to spend money on, especially since I knew we would never drag ourselves to get photos taken by some professional photographer that we chose. Also, we do not have a relationship where I am required to run every purchase past my husband. I chose the photos I thought were the cutest. I decided to make it a surprise for my husband.

I really should have known better.

I received the photos in the mail today. I wasn’t necessarily going to show my husband the photos until I had gotten frames for them. I thought we could give a number of them out as gifts. I wasn’t even sure we needed to frame them or put them out, I just thought maybe we could keep them in a box. Tonight, my husband was particularly googly-eyed over the baby, and it occurred to me that now might be a good time to show him the photos because he would have a hard time disliking any photo of the baby. After we put the baby to bed, I said shyly to my husband that I wanted to show him something, but he may not like it.

I know you shouldn’t do anything with a particular reaction in mind, but I did. Here was the reaction I was expecting: even if he didn’t like the photos, I hoped he would laugh at them and think they were funny and appreciate having them. If he couldn’t muster that, I thought he would at least pat me on the head about it and say, “it’s okay, if you like them.”

But I really should have known better. I had worried about spending the money when I bought them, and my mom convinced me that this amount of money was a drop in the bucket for us. Well, that was the first thing he asked about. I really should have refused to tell him how much they were, as they were meant to be a special thing that I wanted to do, and the money was not so much that it was a problem. But it’s hard to do that when it’s money that belongs to both of us, so I told him. He hated the photos, said he didn’t recognize the baby in them. He said he felt left out, that he wished he’d been a part of the choosing or something. He said I should have run it by him, that he couldn’t believe they’d cost $200. He was disgusted by the fact that it was so clearly a racket (which I said I knew from the beginning, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t get something out of it that I wanted). He finally said, “Honestly, if the photos had been cute, this probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much.”

I tried to explain that when I first saw them I wasn’t sure I totally loved them, but I ultimately decided that they were cute and funny, they were photos of my baby, that I would never regret having them, and that $200 was absolutely not too much to spend on such a thing. He kept saying he wished he had been consulted and I explained that I wanted to surprise him. He said, “Well, this is what happens when you surprise me.”

Then he went to bed. And I’m still awake. I feel so totally alone right now. I wish he could see that in a day, or a few days, or a few weeks, he’s not going to care at all about this. He’ll probably look at the photos and laugh. He can be so dramatic, saying that he looks at these photos and them give him a bad feeling. What a fucking asshole. I don’t understand why he can’t see that I was trying to do something nice, and that even if he didn’t like the photos, I wasn’t doing something horrible or hurtful to him. He says he feels like he was ambushed, and I really do appreciate that he could have felt like he was put in an uncomfortable position where he felt like he was supposed to have one particular reaction, but I explained to him that I did understand that and that I had anticipated that he might not like the photos. All I want is for him not to be so fucking mean.

I don’t want to get in bed with him right now, but the baby is in our room and I need to be there in case he wakes up and starts fussing or needs to be fed. When that happens, my husband might reach his hand over and touch me and say he doesn’t want to fight. And I’m glad he has that tendency, to resolve things. I try to do that too. But this just feels so shitty right now.

Am I wrong here? I know it works differently in some families, and that to some people $200 is a fortune and I probably seem like a brat wanting to spend it without consulting my husband and without consequences. The money is not the issue and I feel like he is indulging his own childish feelings that he wouldn’t have done this in this way and therefore it shouldn’t have been done. I feel like the adult thing to do would have been not to make me feel crappy about it. I know I should have conviction enough in my own actions to not let him make me feel that way, but that’s not really how a marriage works, is it?

I don’t want to go in there. I want to stay out here, far away from him.

And most of all, I don’t want to be thinking about stupid shit like this when there’s a perfect little baby in there that needs me.

***

I just walked away and thought about this some more. I’m sure the story probably reads like this: Wife drops $200 on mediocre photos of baby without consulting husband. So maybe I’m the asshole here. Why do I feel so bad? Maybe secretly deep down I knew the photos weren’t good and I allowed myself to be convinced that they were good. And maybe I feel stupid and bad about that now. But on the other hand, I wanted them. Why did I want them? I don’t know, I just did. I liked something about them. I am not generally a frivolous spender, I really am not. So maybe I shouldn’t think of it as me having “allowed myself to be convinced” because I just liked them, and I wouldn’t have allowed that if I didn’t. I don’t know. I don’t know. Why do I feel so fucking bad right now?

I think part of why I feel so bad is because I am not sure if I’m in the wrong. I doubt myself a lot. Maybe if I were 100% positive that I am in the right, I wouldn’t feel like this. I don’t know. I don’t know who is right and who is wrong. I guess it’s the money thing that trips me up, ultimately–if it didn’t cost anything, or anything substantial, what would any of this matter? But the fact is, he encourages me to spend more money on clothing and to get expensive spa treatments, etc. I really don’t do either very much, especially the spa treatments–I never do that. In this case, I wanted to do something that he wouldn’t know about and so I took that money that I could have spent on a massage or two and I spent it on these photos. I figured it would be my thing, even if he didn’t like it, we could give them away as gifts. It didn’t seem so wrong. And thinking about it this way, I don’t think it was. But I try to see things from his perspective too, and I see where he’s coming from on some level. I wonder if he really tries to see things from my perspective.

***

Damn it. The truth is, now I just feel stupid. Sad and foolish and stupid.

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