I am in Seattle on a business trip. This is such a frequent occurrence, that I might be better off telling you when I am home. Most nights, I go back to my hotel, eat dinner on my bed and work. Hey! I pull the sheets up, stop worrying about crumbs in the bed! Furthermore, why are we discussing my bed?!
Last night was different. I went over to the mall for a little retail therapy. Well, based on my husband’s voice it may have been more than a little retail therapy… Let’s just say my credit fraud alert kicked in – no joke. Wells Fargo literally shut me down as I was trying to purchase a coat at Nordstrom. (I assure you I overcame this obstacle!) I share this much detail because it is fairly exciting that I was even in Nordstrom. When I had kids, I gave up Nordstrom for Old Navy. But let me tell you, Nordstrom and I are old friends and picked up right where we left off…
I digress. Big shopping night out blah blah blah… this post is not about Mama still knows how to shop –
she does I do (third person is weird)! This post is about Mama’s still got IT. You know, IT… getting picked up on!
I was standing in Macy’s trying on coats. I was admittedly trying to find a cheaper version of the Nordstrom coat I had already purchased – yes I do weird, time-wasting stuff like that! I was looking in the mirror and saw a young guy standing behind me, I turned around because he seemed like he was going to say something.
Pause. When I say young, I mean young. No 5:00 shadow (and it was 7:00) and he might have been 25, maybe…
Anyhow, when I turned around, I startled him. He stammered a bit and said, ‘oh, I am sorry…’ I asked him if he thought I was an employee and he stammered some more. He said he thought I had a name tag. I said there were plenty of sales women floating around and turned back to my coats.
He didn’t leave and again looked like he was going to say something, so I turned back around. He stammered again and then asked if I worked around here.
Here’s the thing, I am shy. STOP LAUGHING, I really am. I rely on the other person to lead the conversation in a stranger situation like this. I knew he was trying to make small talk and it was so
unsettling embarassing to me that I began to stammer. I said, ‘no, I live in California, well, yes I sort of work near here when I am in town’. Shut up Paige and think of how to mention your husband! I turn my body a bit so my ring finger is showing, hoping that will send him on his merry, young boy, way, but he doesn’t seem to catch on. Now I am even more embarrassed so I turn back to the mirror and he still stays! AWKWARD!! I want to just blurt out, ‘I am married!’ But I don’t want to seem presumptuous because maybe he was just admiring my coat for his age appropriate girlfriend.
He then asks ‘if you’re from California, why shop here? Isn’t the shopping in California great?’ BAM – opportunity! I turn back to him, smile sweetly and say, ‘I have two young children and shopping is so much more fun without them!’ I then turn back to the coats.
A millisecond later, he was gone!
So mama’s still got it. She doesn’t know how to use it and doesn’t want to. She’s uncomfortable with having it and hopes that nice young boys do not target her for being their personal Mrs. Robinson.
I know you still have it, tell me a story about your IT!
Do you ever have those moments in life that you wish you could do over and be a better you? Here’s one of mine:
My cousin, Lisa, is like a sister to me. I love her so much my heart wants to explode. So naturally, when she was in labor I had to be there to support her. I was stuck at work all day and couldn’t leave for the hospital when I first got the call. When I got off work, before I started the 45 minute drive to her hospital, I stopped at the grocery store to get her flowers. I was excited, I was nervous and I was in a hurry!!
As I stood in line to checkout, the woman in front of me had 4 cans of green beans, but there was something wrong with her form of payment. They had to go get a manager, it took ‘forever’. I am ashamed to say I was rolling my eyes and tapping my foot with impatience.
As she finished her transaction and walked away, I realized the problem was with her food stamps card. I will never forget how horrible I felt. Had I not been so absorbed in my life, and realized what was going on, I would have gladly paid for her green beans to expedite things or… I could have just been more patient. That woman will never know that I wasn’t rolling my eyes at the form of payment and I can never make up my rudeness to her (something I will never forget).
But there is still a lesson to be learned and a way to create something positive out of my negative behavior. I use that day to re-pay it forward. You have likely heard of paying it forward, buying the next person’s coffee, paying the next driver’s toll fees. I love those gestures, but also practice small acts of patience and kindness with strangers. I need to make amends to a stranger for being rude, so I make sure to treat other strangers better.
- I wait patiently when someone is trying to park their car next to mine (it’s a big SUV and seems to intimidate people).
- I pull the lever so the next person has a paper towel in the airport restroom.
- I help people get their baggage up to the ticket counter.
- Helping people who are lost (directionally – if they are lost in their lives, I probably would only hurt the situation).
- Holding the elevator doors when you know the person is just around the corner even though you can’t see them and can get away with letting the doors close.
Since I can’t ever apologize to that woman in the grocery store, I try to pass on other goodness that I hope will come back to her.
I also know there will be other moments when I am distracted, stressed or simply not being the best Paige I can be, so I re-pay it forward for those moments too.
How do you show kindness to strangers?
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!
We attended a wedding this weekend. When the couple got engaged I sent the groom the following email. I think it nicely summarizes their relationship from here on out:
“Congratulations on your engagement! Since you and [bride] have been dating for quite a while, I am sure you were getting questions on when you two would get engaged. From the moment you get engaged, people ask when the wedding is. From the moment you get married they will ask when you will have your first child. Once you have a child, they will ask when the next child is. So basically, the questions never stop – enjoy!”
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?
My husband left today for a guys’ house boating trip. I was thinking tonight about the stark difference between his boys’ weekend and a girls’ weekend with my friends. Allow me to compare:
- His trip: 3 days of house boating
- My trip: A weekend in Napa
- His luggage: a backpack and toothbrush
- My luggage: Rollerboard, large tote bag, make-up case and purse
- His shoes: Flip flops
- My shoes: 2 pairs of flip-flops, running shoes, 2 pairs of wedges and heels
- His activities: Skiing, wakeboarding, drinking
- My activities: Wine tasting, spa treatments, pool time, shopping, eating (yes for us, it qualifies as an activity) and drinking
- His time spent getting ready: 45 seconds to brush his teeth (which is optional)
- My time spent getting ready: 90 minutes if I hurry
- His conversations: boats, trucks, work
- My conversations: CENSORED
- His bedtime: 11:00 pm
- My bedtime: 2:00 am
- His cost: $150
- My cost: More than $150… no exact figures if I hope to do it again someday!
I hope he is having a wonderful time and knows that I am planning a girls trip as I write this!
I have loved you since my 21st birthday when we met on a wine tasting trip. We have had a great relationship, with the occasional quarrels. During those rough patches you made me crazy, even sick to my stomach because your love was too strong, but I kept coming back. We have had fun and made many wonderful memories.
But, my beloved, I have changed. It’s not you, it’s me. My tolerance for you has changed. I used to be able to enjoy your whole bottle, without consequence. But now, I sleep poorly after seeing you. I find mornings difficult when I spend the evening, or even two glasses with you. I am also no longer immune to the bad influences of your dangerous friends, like dessert, who you seem to bring along on our dates. Based on the increasing frequency of regret the morning after we’re together, I must end the relationship.
But hey, we can still be friends. We can see each other occasionally, even spend an evening together from time to time, like friends with benefits. But our love affair is over. I need to see others that don’t leaving me feeling badly the next day. I have been spending more time with a pirate, a captain by the name of Morgan and his friend, a sailor named Jerry. They provide fun and relaxation, without the unpleasant quarrels and feelings of regret the next morning.
I do have some concerns about how limiting our relationship will affect our social circle. My friends are used to us being a couple, they enjoy you’re company when they spend time with me, but they’ll have to adjust. My husband is thrilled that I am putting boundaries on our relationship, because it allows him to spend more time (yet less money) with you.
Thank you for a fabulous love affair, I will always appreciate your complexity, variety and the joy you have brought me. I will eagerly anticipate our occasional encounters and will know that I have benefitted from our relationship.
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.