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Posts Tagged ‘love’

Mommy’s Hierarchy of Needs

September 8, 2010 3 comments

My husband walked into the kitchen after we put our kids to bed and found me serving up a bowl of ice cream and stealing part of my kids homemade ice cream sandwich.  He looked at me, recognized the seriousness of the situation and kept walking.  He knew his life was in jeopardy if he tried to stop me or reason with me.  He understands the “Mommy’s Hierarchy of Needs” based very loosely on the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Based on how tough of a day I have had, I have different needs for coping.  Here is the graphical representation:

As you can see, from the scientific diagram above, there are 5 levels of need.  Within each level, the amount needed to cope can vary based on the severity of the day.  Sweets is level one, but one M&M is a good day compared to a whole chocolate cake which is a catastrophic day.  The most rare and severe level is a shot.  If the day requires a shot, alternative child care should be arranged!

However, the pyramid can also represent exceptional days, where each level would denote the amount of celebration appropriate for the occasion.

With good days and bad days, levels can be combined to most accurately represent the situation and mommy’s psychological state.  For example, a shot and a cupcake means that the principal, poop and stitches were involved.

So as not to discriminate, I will put together Daddy’s Hierarchy of Needs in a future post.

What New York Taught This Suburban Mom

September 7, 2010 7 comments

I am home from New York.  I spent four days with my husband, WITHOUT MY KIDS, in a town of incredible sights, history, food and culture to celebrate the wedding of a friend.   It was my first trip to the Big Apple and I was delighted, overwhelmed and more than a little off-balance.  Here are my lessons learned…

Flights Are Fabulous: Normally, when my husband and I fly together, we have the kids with us, which means I come off the plane sweaty, exhausted, cranky, stained and ready for a parachute.  On these two glorious flights I read books, drank wine (yeah, the break-up might be over), watched movies and RELAXED.  I didn’t actually care where the flight landed since the experience itself was so therapeutic.

Size Does Not Matter, It’s All About the View: My 2,800 square foot house can seem too small with the kids and all their toys, but a 1,000 square foot corner suite hotel room (thank you hotel points) over-looking the harbor is a little piece of Heaven. 

I Hate Crowds: I am a people person but  I DO NOT love swarming crowds of tourists.  Yes, I get that I was one of those tourists, but I think the problem was that I would like to sight-see like a celebrity, while everyone else stays home.  The sensory overload of Times Square is craizer than 25 kids for a six-year-old birthday party!  If I am in the mood for sensory overload I will chaperone my daughter’s preschool field trips.  At least then I will know the kids who own the sweat I rub up against. 

Suburban Life Requires Less Showers: I have shared in my posts that, since I work from home,  there are times, a-hem.. days, when I do not shower.  I had to wash city life off of me at least twice per day.  If I stepped off the curb wrong, I was splashed with gutter grime (water would not be an accurate word to describe what hit my legs). 

Moms Should Teach Taxi Driving School:  I can get an SUV full of 6 year olds anywhere on time without inducing motion sickness.  I can drive the carpool, while putting on a movie and passing back the juice boxes, without breaking any laws or startling anyone. (Unless I yell, “Don’t make me pull this car over”).  The taxi to the airport took two ginger ales to recover from.

Moms CAN Sleep-in After Having Kids: It turns out that staying up until 2:30 in the morning, having cocktails is doable if you can sleep until 11:30 the next morning.  I didn’t even know if I was still physically capable of sleeping late.  I have confirmed that mothers can still do shots and be the life of the party if given time to recover…

Adults Need Moderation Too: We don’t hand our children the candy basket and tell them to use their best judgement.  The same rule should probably apply to parents re-released into the wild – aka at an event with a fully hosted bar.  Just because it is there and free, doesn’t mean one (okay, me) should try to take full advantage.  The extra sleep helped, but I still had to relive the hazy memories of giving breast-feeding advice to someone I had just met.

Parks Are For Adults Too: My favorite part of my kids-free trip was a park!  We had a delightful brunch at The Boathouse in Central Park and then strolled around the lake. I turned to my husband and said, “oh the kids would love this”.  He said, “You’re right, but we’re not bringing them while they’re young”.  He’s a smart guy.

Thank you New York for reminding me what being a civilized adult feels like.  Thank you for the one-on-one time with my husband, for the beautiful sites and delicious food.  Finally, thank you for perspective – when I had my first dose of mommy frustration upon coming home, as the kids were being loud and rowdy, I was able to say, ‘Thank God I am not in the heat of Times Square with all those crazy tourists!’

World’s Quickest Relationship Summary

September 6, 2010 5 comments

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!”

 

10 Rules of Slightly Off-Balance Me

September 1, 2010 4 comments

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!

  1. Skin care, hair care and supplements are not luxuries, they are necessities – I plan to grow old gracefully.  Well, at least look graceful.
  2. 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.
  3. I like to cook but I do not want to be expected to do it on a regular basis.
  4. I have mowed a lawn once.  Period.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. That reminds me, morning breath is a huge inhibitor to morning sex.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?

I look handy just carrying it around!

10 Effects of Shopping with Kids

August 31, 2010 3 comments

While my husband was on his guys trip this weekend, I stayed home with the kids.  I was thrilled to have no schedule to adhere to other than one soccer game.  I had planned to just relax with my kids, until I had the brilliant idea to do some shopping for my upcoming trip to New York.  Here are the effects of my bright idea…

  1. While wearing flip-flops I had my foot run over by my insistent cart drivers SIX times
  2. They opened the dressing room door, exposing my semi-naked body, TWICE
  3. My daughter did “snow angels” on the floor of Ross – hello bath time!
  4. I fed my kids two chocolate milks, two LARGE cookies, hotdogs and popcorn in an undisclosed order…
  5. I had to bribe with a toy submarine, a Dora backpack, and two dollar-bin masks, AFTER say, I would not buy them anything
  6. I ran into someone I knew at the exact moment I was hissing at my kids that they had better behave or else
  7. I “temporarily” lost the car keys
  8. I was impressed by my kids creativity when they devised dressing room games including
    • Different ways to wear a strapless bra and underwear (picture underwear on their heads with sunglasses over it)
    • How to turn plastic hangers into weapons
    • How high can they throw the tags that tell how many items I have in the dressing room
  9. I almost inadvertently shoplifted when I found a bracelet in my purse, as I was pulling out my wallet at the register, that my daughter had decided she wanted
  10. I have come up with a new mommy threat – “Be good or I will take you clothes shopping with me”

I have friends and family who would have watched the kids, but I decided I was supermom and could handle a few errands with the kids.   Isn’t it great how life reminds us that we there is no such thing as supermom?

The Difference Between Men and Women: Vacation

August 27, 2010 3 comments

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!  

His

Hers

Wine And I Are Breaking Up

August 23, 2010 12 comments

Dear Wine,

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.

Fondly,

Paige

I CHOOSE To Love

August 19, 2010 16 comments

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.

Humble, Grateful and Still Off-Balance

August 13, 2010 9 comments

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!

10 Reasons My Kids Help My Marriage

August 12, 2010 187 comments

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:

  1. The kids unite us in a common cause of being great parents.  We both try hard and work at it together.
  2. They keep us young (out of self-preservation) with sports, bike rides and play time.
  3. 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.
  4. They can make our sex life risky and exciting.  In other words the threat of them walking in at any minute.
  5. They keep us from taking life too seriously.  Who can be stoic when your kids are showing you their latest dance moves?!
  6. They provide another reason not to walk out when the going gets tough.
  7. They are constant reminders of unconditional love – both giving and receiving.
  8. When we’re engaged in a battle of wills with our kids and my husband is my only ally, it makes our bond stronger.
  9. I see the best parts of him in them and it reminds me of why I fell in love.
  10. 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.