I love Valentine’s Day.
I love donning an outfit of pink and red.
I love to pick out cards for my kids and my husband.
I love planning a special dinner and eating a decadent dessert.
I love attending my kids’ class parties.
I love my husband and my kids.
I love celebrating love.
But this year…
I love that I have a sinister cold.
I love that I have a zit between my nose and my upper lip from the lotion kleenex that hurts when I used it.
I love that my hair is dirty (and needs a color touch up), my nose is red and my Valentine’s Day outfit is grey sweats.
I love that the antibiotics are making me so sick that I will be having brown rice for dinner.
I love that my husband and I are cancelling our romantic dinner because I am too sick to enjoy it.
I love that my husband bought cards for the kids from both of us, flowers for our nanny, flowers for our son’s teacher and cards for me, despite the fact that I did nothing.
I love that my son contorted himself into the shape of a heart when I told him he was my valentine.
I love that my daughter offered to share he prized chocolate heart with me because she loves me ( I let her keep it – yes I love her that much!)
I love that my kids had great Valentine’s Day despite my calamities.
I love that the perfect gift for my husband could be purchased next door to the pharmacy I went to this morning. (A little late, but gift and card acquired).
I love that my husband had Sherry’s Berries delivered to me at noon.
I love that he had roses delivered to me at 4:30.
I love that he loves me despite my mucous, upset stomach and many short-comings.
I love being married to a man who loves to love, loves unconditionally and knows chocolate cures almost everything.
I love being this lucky.
I was exhausted last night. I did another marathon post-bedtime poop party with my daughter. I swear she poops at will and her will is AFTER I have put her to bed. She pulls the poop card to get out of bed and hang out. She sits on the potty for 30 minutes and somehow pulls poop out of her
ass little touchy literally and figuratively. It doesn’t matter if she has pooped twice already during the day. Come 8:30 pm, she waltzes in for her poop party. Did I mention she likes me to hold her hands to help “push the big poop out”. (I know, I am a sucker). So I sit, on the bathroom floor, holding my daughter’s hands while she talks to me, gets me to sing “There’s a Whole In My Bucket” and pushes out the poop.
Last night nearly killed me. I was tired, had a horrible headache and today is the first day back to work and school. As I sat there fuming, she bent over and kissed my forehead. In that moment, I pulled it together and reminded myself that despite the trials of parenthood, there are some amazing parts too.
I am writing myself a list of the things I will miss when my kids are all grown up, so that I don’t take these precious moments for granted. It is my intent to refer to this list when I am tempted to daydream about fast-forwarding to the part where they are grown up and out of the house.
Here’s a start:
- Falling asleep cuddled up with them
- Waking up to kisses on my nose
- Receiving hugs that nearly knock me over
- Spontaneous and surprise art projects
- Hearing the giggles from the other room when they are playing well together
- Hearing them running through the hall to come see me when they get home from school
- “I love you Mommy”
- “Mommy, will you snuggle me?”
- Watching their excitement at Christmas
- Seeing them accomplish a goal for the first time – waterskiing, a soccer goal, a somersault
- Seeing their eyes light up when something delights them
- Cute mispronunciation of words
- Eskimo kisses
- Butterfly kisses
Clearly, this list could go on forever. Just starting this list has put me back in my zen mommy place. It’s only breakfast, so who knows how long it will last, but I can always work on this list some more
if when they dump their cereal on the floor.
What will you miss?
This is the grand finale of the Seven Deadly Sins Challenge. I am asked to provide seven love secrets. This is a PG-13 blog on its raciest days and does not necessarily reflect my wild side, but here are seven love secrets.
- My husband and I had sex in a room full of people (watching a loud movie in the dark) without anyone knowing. College or post-college – you decide…
- When my son was 14 months, we were on vacation in Hawaii.
My husbandI got the tropical itch and persuaded my husband to have sex while our son was in his crib. He woke up and yelled, “Daddy, no!” Game Over!
- Every guy I know has the same dream - trifecta. If you can’t figure it out, I can’t tell you. No, it’s not a threesome.
- I still wear my wedding night lingerie every year on our anniversary.
- My husband and I have a code word for oral sex (no, not going to tell). I let it slip once with some girlfriends and now this common phrase gets me into all sorts of laughter and trouble.
- The lock on our bedroom door doesn’t work. Now that our son is older, we often use a chair to block the door, just in case.
- 6:00 pm is my hot time. It makes cooking dinner with my husband fun, but leads nowhere with two hungry children.
As I am writing this, I am trying to think of all the people I know who read this. I am hoping to not forget the one person I wouldn’t want to look in the eye when I realize they know some of these things. Oh well, that would be a blog post in itself!
I told you mine, now tell me yours!
- I choose balance
- I choose to be kind to myself
- I choose to hold my tongue and not try to “set somebody else straight”
- I choose to look for the good in a day and the good in a person
- I choose to smile at strangers and sometimes even help them
- I choose to give an empathetic smile to a mom with a screaming child
- I choose to work and be a mom
- I choose to put my family first, usually
- I choose to parent like Child Protective Services is watching
- I choose to love
I don’t make these great choices everyday, but when I don’t, I choose to try again tomorrow.
What do you choose?
My husband left for a business trip this morning. He was gone before the sun came up. My daughter had me up from 2:30 to 4:30 am and I was trying to catch a few extra winks when my husband called to say good morning and make sure I got up okay. He was worried that he had not re-set the alarm clock, although unbeknownst to him, I had set my own alarm. So I drug myself out of bed and started the morning routine. When I walked into the kitchen, he had laid out my son’s lunch bag, put out everything for his lunch that didn’t need to be kept cold (down to the knife to make his sandwich) and arranged his homework. This was such a sweet gesture, but I wasn’t shocked…
My husband is better at… well everything sometimes. He gets up (usually before me), gets our son dressed, packs his lunch and starts breakfast. He does the laundry, the grocery shopping and the cooking. He volunteers in my son’s class twice per month and helps coach his sports. He has tea parties with our 3-year old daughter and knows my son’s weekly spelling words better than me every week. Oh yeah, and he’s the bread-winner.
There are days when I definitely feel like the lesser half. This is not because of anything my husband says or does, but just because I have a nasty habit of keeping score when I am losing. (Ironically, I don’t keep score when I am ahead). I often jokingly say, “What do I bring to the marriage?” But those are thought for another day.
Today, I want to celebrate and appreciate having a better half. I have shared in a previous post that he is my best friend. I am so fortunate to have a husband who is my partner in all of this chaos. He keeps me as balanced as I can be (which is still off-balance). My kids are lucky to have a dad that is not solely devoted to his career. Our family and our life works because my husband is great. People often ask how we juggle two careers, two kids and still appear it to have it together most of the time. The answer is often simple: I have a better half!
I am currently reading Bitter Is The New Black by Jen Lancaster. In her book, she has the “Jen Commandments” that basically give her boyfriend Fletch some guidelines he must adhere to. Hilarious! They inspired me to write my commandments. I am sure my husband has already figured these out, but a few might be universal – please check with your significant other!
- Skin care, hair care and supplements are not luxuries, they are necessities – I plan to grow old gracefully. Well, at least look graceful.
- If opening a bottle of wine, save the cheap stuff for someone else. I may have broken up with wine, but we still each other, and I want our reunions to be special.
- I like to cook but I do not want to be expected to do it on a regular basis.
- I have mowed a lawn once. Period.
- I am a HUGE over-communicator (I know you’re shocked), failure to communicate back to me will be taken as a sign of hostility.
- When faced with a situation I don’t know how to handle (like turning off a quad), I will throw my hands up in the air and say”What do I do?” Come running.
- Never leave the house without a hug and kiss goodbye. However, if one of us has not brushed our teeth, stick to the cheek please.
- That reminds me, morning breath is a huge inhibitor to morning sex.
- I like to pretend I am handy and love to have a reason to carry around the Makita (I say that word over and over), please don’t burst my bubble.
- I am fine with guy humor and fraternity house talk, but the toilet seat must be down.
Wow, 10 went fast and I have more to say. This might be the first installment of the rule book… I realize I may sound high maintenance, I prefer to tell my husband I am a delicate orchid, that when properly cared for provides endless beauty and enjoyment. (Then we both laugh hysterically.)
What are your rules?
In a recent post, I talked about I feel kids help my marriage. This may seem unusual to some, but I truly believe I can choose my perspective and response to life. Not every day is magic and love. I break under pressure, I consider sending my kids off to the circus and my husband to Antarctica, but I make choices. I chose to have kids and I choose to focus on the positive.
My husband and I did a couples counseling weekend before we got married and they said you will not be in love with your partner through your whole marriage, some days you will have to use your resolve and choose to love. I choose to love on the tough days. When I want to unleash my completely unbalanced side on my husband, I make a conscious decision to love him. I definitely do not feel in love with him at that moment, but I remind myself that our relationship is deeper than that. My choice to love him is what carries me through until I feel ”in love” again. I know that life is full of ups and downs. I use the ups to get me through the downs. I am confident that each chapter in my life will be different. I also now have a clever way of telling him I am angry with him the kids are present – when he hears me say “I am choosing to love you”, he knows he has set off my crazy side!
I used my “choose to love mantra” with a friend yesterday. She was having one of those days, she was arguing with her husband in front of her kids. She was at her wit’s end and didn’t provide the normal explanation to her kids that mommies and daddies fight, but still love each other. Instead, she had that moment where her head may have been capable of spinning around on her neck and she was driving the anger train! She needed fresh perspective. I reminded her that she has the ability to choose to love him.
- On a side note, imagine how annoying it must be to have a friend like me who interjects positivity and “choose to love” mantras when you’re pissed off and ready to come unglued. Maybe it’s not my advice that helps, but rather that her husband seems like a better ally then my Little Mary Sunshine personality (reminder: I have several personalities).
Back to the point – I believe that my marriage is strengthened by weathering the rocky periods. I look back on the ten years of my marriage and they haven’t all been as good as this one and I know there will be rough years in the future, but I’d rather be tested and pass than keep my marriage in a bubble. It’s a lot of work to choose happiness, positivity and love. It’s also a lot of work to be friends with me, but I have to hope that there is some goodness in both.
The day after receiving so much traffic from being freshly pressed, thank you Freshly Pressed Gods, I am faced with what to write about. Do I follow in Lori Dyan’s footsteps and discuss the overwhelming, thrilling experience of having 2,000+ hits in a single day? I loved her post, and could certainly discuss the excitement of the day, however, I am going to stick to what I always do, write about what is pounding the hardest in my head and/or heart.
I am humble, grateful and…
I am overwhelmed by a day so filled with love and hope. Yesterday would have been a great day just celebrating 10 years of marriage to my husband. I realize how lucky I am to have a wonderful partner to share in the joys and struggles of life. I know that 10 years would not have happened without him being who he is.
However, in addition, I was given the unique gift of discussing love, marriage and children with so many people yesterday. I was humbled by the kind words people shared about my perspective. But I feel the need for full disclosure: I am not positive and grateful every day. Children and marriage are tough! Some days, I am the crazy lady who closes the windows so the neighbors don’t hear me screaming at the kids. I am the irrational wife who takes out a bad day on her husband by being cranky and hard to please. My blog is called Slightly Off-Balance for a reason – I am on an emotional roller coaster, just like I suspect most people are.
What made yesterday different is that each comment on how important it is to be positive reinforced my resolve, commitment and appreciation of family. Readers yesterday took my feelings and gave them more strength than ever. Even the gentleman who said I might be delusional (I loved his honesty) was a reminder that every day is not Hallmark cards, flowers* and anniversary dinners. I read every comment and will finish responding to each one, not only because I appreciate the time people take to read my thoughts but because I will go back to those comments to get me through the hard days. A hundred plus strangers are now part of my marriage enjoyment/maintenance/survival toolkit – wow, that is a gift. I told my husband last night at dinner that on bad days I am going to read what I wrote yesterday and the subsequent comments to remind me of my priorities.
Now, it wouldn’t be a post from me if there wasn’t a flip side - Things were going so well yesterday that I felt like anything was possible. In addition to the joys I have shared, we had some good news on a business endeavor yesterday, it felt like I was charmed. I was ready to take my luck to Vegas! So as I sat at dinner with my husband last night, drinking too much wine, I started to think that more good things could potentially happen. I got it in my wine and love filled head that my husband was going to propose to me to renew our vows and that he had an anniversary ring. (I am pausing so you can finish laughing). Although I am well aware that it is a bad economy and we had agreed no gifts, I decided he had been planning for so long that it was still possible. I thought the waitress was pushing dessert hard and looking at my husband in a knowing way, I pictured the ring arriving on my dessert plate. I even went as far as texting one of my friends my ludicrous thoughts while my husband was in the bathroom.
You know how the story ends, there was no new ring, no “proposal” and I didn’t even get flowers (pausing to remind myself of appreciation and love), but there was a lot of chuckling when I told my husband of my crazy thoughts. You see, he knows who he is married to, my thoughts did not surprise him or upset him, he looked at me fondly the way we look at our children when they are being insane. That look of amusement and love was almost as good as a new ring…
Thanks for being part of the ride!
Today is my 10th wedding anniversary. Please send sympathy cards to my husband. I have discussed how I miss my husband even though we live in the same house as a result of having the chaos of kids. But today I am reflecting, and appreciating, all of the gifts my children bring to my marriage. Many of you know I love lists, so here we go:
- The kids unite us in a common cause of being great parents. We both try hard and work at it together.
- They keep us young (out of self-preservation) with sports, bike rides and play time.
- Our kids provide us endless goals to satisfy our achievement oriented personalities. Celebrating those milestones as a family brings my husband and I closer together.
- They can make our sex life risky and exciting. In other words the threat of them walking in at any minute.
- They keep us from taking life too seriously. Who can be stoic when your kids are showing you their latest dance moves?!
- They provide another reason not to walk out when the going gets tough.
- They are constant reminders of unconditional love – both giving and receiving.
- When we’re engaged in a battle of wills with our kids and my husband is my only ally, it makes our bond stronger.
- I see the best parts of him in them and it reminds me of why I fell in love.
- I can fall in love all over again watching my husband be a tender, nurturing father.
My husband and I don’t always agree about the kids. AKA he is Disney Dad and I am the enforcer, we balance each other out and keep each other sane. Our kids will always test our patience, conviction and physical endurance. The rewards of passing those tests are endless love, laughter and joy.
I am a very lucky girl, I have a fantastic circle of friends. Each of my friends are treasured for different reasons, but I have one best friend. The person I tell everything to, without fear of judgement. The one who knows all of my multiple personalities, who understands I am slightly off-balance (sometimes more).
I miss my best friend. I miss the long relaxed dinners, the impromptu cocktails, the inside jokes. I miss the ability to completely focus on each other when we’re together. That time is now filled with work and kids. We’re trying to juggle being high performers (because anyone else collects pink slips) and the worlds best parents (because anyone else raises demons). We try to do the best we can for everyone, everyday and the cost is our friendship. There isn’t time for long relaxing dinners (unless you count chicken nuggets and Capri Sun over the noise of the kids). Impromptu cocktails are doable, but kids have a very low appreciation for hangovers. Inside jokes are replaced by kids humor because we don’t do anything not related to our kids.
What we do get is the bond of being parents, of understanding each others hopes and fears for our children. Will our kids like Kindergarten, will they be good students, will they look both ways when we eventually let them cross the street by themselves – is 25 the right age?
We hope that our friendship will still be there when we come out of the other side of the parenting vacuum. Will we have grown apart? Will we still enjoy each others’ company? We don’t know the answer but we talk about it, we squeeze in the rare time for just the two of us, we promise to keep an eye on our friendship. We know other best friends who haven’t fared as well and we try to learn from them.
My best friend is my husband and we live in the same house.