My husband has never been great around crying women. The minute my eyes well up during an argument, he gets that look. The one that says, “Why are you acting like I’m a serial killer when I’m just trying to say I wish you’d called to tell me you were running late?”

But I can’t help it if the only emotion my eyes can express is sadness! I cry easily. My mother cries easily, and so did her mother before her. It’s genetic, physiological, out of my control. Countless arguments, with countless boyfriends, I’ve found myself saying, through a thick veil of tears and snot, “Ignore the tears! Pretend I’m not crying! Let’s keep discussing this like adults, okay??”

Recently, we had a second kid. Another girl. Now my husband has to contend with three cry babies.

This weekend, our 2-year-old, Ida, shoved her little sister Noa so hard that Noa fell backwards and banged her head on a metal leg of our living room chair.

Noa cried.

I grabbed Ida and without thinking, took her upstairs, put her in her crib and left her there for what I guess you could technically call a “time out,” though the term still makes me cringe.

Ida cried.

I went back downstairs and was confronted by my husband (he was conveniently in the bathroom the whole time) who wanted to know what I had “done” to Ida and why I was abusing her.

I cried.

My husband got the look.

And for a split second, I saw things from his perspective. The girls can’t help crying. But I’m supposedly an adult, with other communication tools at my disposal, like words.

Still, it’s a weepy time for me. I’m weaning, hormonal, working full time and genetically predisposed to crying. And I want some goddamn sympathy from my husband. But I’m beginning to wonder if the only chance I have of getting it is to impose a crying quota. Like no crying when the baby’s crying. And if I sense a hormone-induced crying jag coming on, I can quickly slice some onions and blame them. Problem solved.

Paula Szuchman is the author of It’s Not You, It’s The Dishes, and the deputy managing editor of Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

Photo by Charles Gullung


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Comments (2)


  1. Posted by: Julia

    Oh, I’ve been in these shoes so often! In our case it’s not the tears but a tone, a hardly noticeable shift in his tone that I always, always, always understand as censoring and demeaning and makes me feel like, uh, a pile of human soil.

    He says “why?” or even nothing, it’s just a rictus of his mouth and maybe a very little sound like “humph!” while surveying what I was doing (from taking a video with the camera, to serving an unusual dinner, or maybe I brought a new plant to the house or I was watching an ice hockey game or I’m reading the news), and I am sure he’s criticizing and disapproving of everything.

    Interesting thing, is, is he? I don’t know. When confronted he always denies it. Am I misunderstanding him and overreacting to a slight expression of dislike? Or is he playing politically correct after the deed is done?

    Summer is approaching where I live and he brought up going out on holidays. I said, flatly, no. I don’t want to go on holidays with you (at all, actually) because you get so stressed it’s no fun. He admitted there was truth in my words. Question is, now, is this good communication? I think I hurt his feelings, what good is there to it?

    I’m guessing it’s a two way thing where we must give as much as we need, or maybe more, but it’s never perfect.

  2. Posted by: Katie

    Its nice to hear that I’m not the only one. I cry SO easily. These past couple weeks have been really tough cause my son has recently started preschool and we’re having to take it super slow. He’s a very sensitive kid. No mystery where he got that from! It certainly wasn’t my husband. Anyways, something that I’m struggling with is holding it together when my son is getting upset at school. He doesn’t want me to leave, and when he starts blubbering I don’t want to leave him either. His teacher told me that I need to try not to allow him to see that I’m also feeling stressed and upset, but that is extremely difficult for me!
    I also get that lump in my throat over some pretty silly things. Like the other day, my son, husband, and I were watching the live footage of Redbull Stratos (if you don’t know what that is, look it up. It’s nuts!). Anyways, the first time they showed a shot of the guy’s mom I got this intense rush of emotion thinking about how I would feel if I were in her shoes. And another extra silly example is when my son and I were watching a film about spawning salmon at the science museum. I can’t even tell you why that got me choked up! I think I’m probably an even bigger crybaby than you are:)

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