I wanted to report that D supported me fully in the launch of The Should Jar.
His mother came over on Wednesday evening for dinner, and he listened to her carefully and waited for a time after dinner when she started "shoulding."
D said, "Is this the time for the jar? Is this the time for the JAR?"
I brought it over to the counter, where D and his mother were standing. She was intrigued. The jar is in the shape of a chicken, and the top lifts up to reveal a bowl in the belly of the hen. I decided to be brave and explain...
"L, I want to tell you how sorry I am that I snapped at you on the weekend. I don't like to do that."
She softened because she likes it when people apologize to her. Lucky for both of us, I owed her a true apology for my snap. I don't care what she does to me, I don't want to respond in anger.
"L, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but pretty much every other sentence you say to me begins with 'You should...' or 'You should have...' And this hurts me a lot because I'm trying so hard to be a good wife, mother, and daughter-in-law. I'm very tired, and I'm doing the best that I can. When you say 'should,' I feel judged and hurt. I love you too much to feel as sad and frustrated as I feel when you talk to me the way you do. So this is the new Should Jar. Every time you say that I 'should' or 'should have' done something, you owe me a buck, and you put it right in here. I want the way that you talk to me to be different."
L understood, seemed slightly embarrassed, but didn't deny how she talks to me. She asked, "Can we reduce the amount to 10 cents each time?!"
I can't believe I said this, but I said, "No... it needs to be a buck each time because it really hurts me when you use those words. We need to make a change here, and this will help."
When she left that night, she said, "Well, this is just the way I talk!" Then she crossed the threshold and made comments about the cobwebs on our front porch. I was still cleaning the kitchen and D was there with her, and he shushed her. But I heard. When he shut the door, I stomped down the hallway and said, "If I had time to worry about the cobwebs on the porch, I would be a happy lady!"
And that's the truth. It would be a sign of tremendous freedom in my life if I had time to sweep the front porch each day.
But now that she knows the consequences, future comments like this will be charged.