Why fighting in front of kids is the best thing ever


A week or two ago we pulled into town after a very long car trip. In our ravenously hungry state, we called Cafe Rio ahead of time and decided to pick up a late dinner.

Jason went in and collected the food, came out to the car and handed it to me, then drove us home. As the boys unpacked the car, the girls and I set the food out. Two burritos, an order of enchiladas, and my big beautiful steak salad. There was napkins, plasticware, the extra pico and the…wait, where was the creamy magical salad dressing?

In a moment of hangry insanity I felt my hackles rise. Jason came in from the garage, took one look at me, and stepped back.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“They forgot my dressing. Again.” The last time we ordered from Cafe Rio and got our food to go, the same thing happened. Total dinner killer.

“Oh, I had no idea…” he said.

“Sweetie,” I said, (this is our favorite fake endearment for each other when we’re fighting) “Did you forget to check the order before you left?”

“Well…yeah…but did you check the order when I handed it to you in the car?”

Maybe it was the raging hunger in my belly, or perhaps the raging PMS coursing through my body, but before I could collect myself and offer any kind of non-contentious reply I heard my crazy face say, “No, that was your job. 100 percent your job. This is 100 percent your fault!”

Jason is humble and good and kind, but the man can only be accused so much.

“Uh,” he said, “I acknowledge that this is 99% my fault, but I think it’s fair to say that you should own at least 1% responsibility, you could have checked it yourself.”

Did I mention that our kids were sitting around the table ping-ponging their little heads back and forth as we argued?

“You guys,” Harrison said, “You sound so stupid. This is Cafe Rio’s fault.”

“Excuse me young man, we are having a conversation thank you very much!” I replied, then looked at Jason again. “100 percent you. I take no ownership here!”

This is the point where Jason quietly stomps out of the room, stops at the garage door, looks back and says, “1 percent!” then slams it and goes out to clean the car.

I was furious, I was steaming, I going to go out there and let him–

“Mommy?” Georgia said, putting her six-year-old hand on my shoulder. “You know sometimes at school I get in trouble for things that aren’t my fault. But I say sorry anyway.” Then she patted my shoulder and went back to eating her dinner.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to laugh or yell at her for being so irritatingly smart and humble. I held my breath, finally blew it all out, and said, “Are you saying I should apologize to Dad?”

She nodded in a very old-person way, “You know what you need to do.”

He stomped back into the room ten seconds later and I looked at him carrying all the luggage in from the car while the rest of us ate. Jason is a good man. He’s my best friend and would move mountains to make me happy. I felt instantly humbled and stupid and deflated. He was totally right, I should have checked the order.

“You’re right, I’m sorry. It was more than 1% my fault…it was like, at least 7% my fault.” I said with a smile. He smiled back at me. And I felt better.

Sometimes being right feels worse than sharing ownership of what’s wrong…if that makes any sense.

Thanks Georgia. I’ll remember this lesson.



  1. Love.

  2. Smart girl. She gets it from her mom.

  3. Howling with Laughter! Dirty Laundry is SOO hysterical.