I feel fortunate to be able to say that Aya is pretty easy to live with. She does have her quirks, and I know I have mine, but we can be pretty easy going. And since I manage so much around the house between cooking, cleaning, yard maintenance, and home repairs, she’s always saying “thank you” and telling me how much she appreciates it. She’s never harping on me and shoving a “honey do” list in my face. I can even leave the garage a mess or the basement trashed for months and she won’t say a word. And other than being restricted from using the coupon book, I can usually do whatever I want without question.

However, there is something about pregnancy that is extracting the naggy wife deep within her and bringing it to the surface not only making her a back seat driver in the car, but in life. My life.

The other day I had to make cole slaw for a family event. It was a Friday night and Ellie had fallen asleep more easily than usual leaving us with an unexpected evening. Woah, we were both awake and in the same room at the same time. This doesn’t happen often.

“Let’s watch a movie together! How about a romantic comedy? We never spend time together, let’s talk!” Aya excitedly suggested.

After I explained my cole slaw predicament, I offered to hang out and talk in the kitchen, followed by watching some TV. She accepted.

Now before I tell you about what happened next, keep in mind that Aya has never made cole slaw. Ever. And to my knowledge, she has never seen anyone make cole slaw either. I continue.

As I started to cut the cabbage, Aya, the cole slaw expert, started to chime in.

“Why are you cutting it like that? That’s not how they do it?” she said.

“Don’t worry about it, this is how I do it,” I retorted.

But after I continued with my chopping and preparing, she had a comment for everything I did.

“That’s how you cut carrots? You put sugar in it? Isn’t that a lot of mayo? Don’t put too much vinegar in it,” she harassed.

While she is peppering me with her lovely commentary, she is also glued to her phone looking at Instagram (She is kind of an Instagram addict right now).

“Don’t you have a moment to capture?” I asked. “And, I thought you wanted to talk. Let’s talk. What do you want to talk about,” I asked agitatedly.

She looked up with a smirk finding it entertaining she was annoying me and said, “I don’t know, I’m busy looking at Instagram.”

Argh!

I managed to finish my cole slaw creation with only a few more comments on what bowl to use and where to store it in the refrigerator. Then it was time to watch TV.

It doesn’t sound like a difficult task; watch TV. But we don’t have cable, only Netflix streaming. And since we rarely get to sit down to watch it together, the queue is full of all of my “boring daddy shows”(as Ellie and I call them) about space, aliens, conspiracies, TV shows from 20 years ago, and documentaries about fun things like pinball and the banjo. Aya requested a romantic comedy so it would take a little time to search through the listings.

As I flipped through the pages and pages of romantic comedy movies available for instant streaming, she vetoed every single one of them offering comments like, “That looks dumb. That sounds silly. Jennifer Aniston? Really?”

I’m not above watching a “chick flick,” but they aren’treally known for their life altering plots, right? I really didn’t care which one we watched, just as long as we watched something instead of spending the whole evening searching. So finally, after the billionth movie title we saw, Aya suggested, “How about an action movie instead!?”

After scrolling through that list for a while and not finding anything that agreed with her ever changing hormones, she said, “You know what, let’s just watch Friends. I don’t feel like an action movie.” (You know, that TV show from the 90s. We have the whole series of Friends on DVD).

Argh! Who was this lady? What happened to my wife?

I found the DVD that had the specific episode that she wanted to see and got it loaded. It was about 11:30pm by then and we had started our movie selection process a good forty-five minutes ago. But finally, we could sit and just relax.

But you know what? Before the opening credits were even finished, I looked over and saw Aya passed out cold on the couch. Like, mouth open and gently snoring, out cold.

That’s just one example. I lost count of the times when we were in the car and she was actually a back seat driver. “Turn here. Pass this guy. Honk the horn. Watch your speed. Slow down. Speed up. Can you turn it down?” Or the constant reminders for all the things I already do. “Turn the lights off. Don’t forget to take the trash out. Don’t forget your sun screen. And Ellie’s too! Remember to do the laundry. Remember to go to the bank. Remember to call so and so. Remember, Remember, Remember.”

And just last night, I offered to help her paint her toe nails. I repeat, I offered to help her paint her toenails. It was painful to watch her try to bend herself in half to reach her toes with her pregnant belly. I felt bad so I offered my artistic hands. But after one brush stroke, “BAH! What are you doing!? You’re such an amateur!” she barked. (Okay, I may have smudged it a bit, but still)

And when I started to walk away, she scolded me, “Where are you going!? You didn’t finish!”

I just can’t win.

This was new for me. She has an opinion and a comment about everything single thing I do. She never used to do that. Her pregnancy hormones were turning her into, MY MOM.

I get it. She’s carrying a baby in her belly. She’s the one with the hip pain, back pain, itchy belly, fatigue, and a thousand extra hormones. And I appreciate it, I really do. I know she doesn’t mean it. I know she’s not trying to drive me crazy (at least I don’t think so). But as much as I’m looking forward to the arrival of our baby, I’m ready to have to my wife back too.

Uh oh… I hear footsteps. I gotta go.

*Disclaimer: Just so you know, this message was read and approved by Aya prior to publishing.

6 thoughts on “BACKSEAT DRIVER

  1. I always enjoy your blog whenever I think to check it. I prefer nobody mentions to me how irrational I am when I’m pregnant. We have three kids (5, 3 and 1) and plan one more, so my husband is a saint for braving it again and again. Thankfully, every time I’m more aware of my lack of control of this side of my personality.

    This post made me think of one of my favourite poems:

    At Twenty-Three Weeks She Can No Longer See Anything South of Her Belly
    by Thom Ward.

    I’m painting my wife’s toes
    in Revlon Super Color Forty Nine.

    I’ve no idea what I’m doing.
    She asked me to get the bottle,

    then crashed on our bed,
    muscle-sore, pelvis-aching.

    Lifting the brush, I skim
    the excess polish across the glass,

    daub a smidgen on her nail,
    push it out in streaks

    over the perfect surface
    to the cuticle’s edge.

    I’m painting my wife’s toes.
    I’ve no idea what I’m doing.

    The smell of fresh enamel
    intoxicates. Each nail I glaze

    is a tulip, a lobster,
    a scarlet room where women

    sit and talk, their sleek,
    tinctured fingers sparkling the air.

    1. Aya has a great sense of humor and we’re able to chuckle about each other through all of this together. This Poem is very accurate, thanks for sharing!

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