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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

My Better Half

September 15, 2010 22 comments

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!

Cocktails and Passion, Hold the Books

September 13, 2010 11 comments

Since the beginning of time, women have had diversions: bridge club, garden club, Bunko, book club, and the myriad of at-home parties – Stella and Dot, Pampered Chef, Cookie Lee, Southern Living – you get the idea.  Let’s be honest: these are all excuses to get a few hours away from the kids, husbands, boyfriends, pets, whatever and enjoy some time with the girls. 

These events are a time to catch up on each others’ lives, share parenting horror stories and exchange beauty tips, recipes and laughs.   The theme, activity or reason for gathering is arbitrary, as long as we come together as women to blow off steam.  I remember my shock the first time I attended book club, with my book in hand, to find that half of the women don’t read the book and we rarely discuss it. (I, being an avid reader, was slightly disappointed, but the second cocktail made me feel better.)  In summary, our gatherings are the male equivalent of grabbing a beer after work (or so I suspect).

To my knowledge, all of these female gatherings include wine, cocktails or other appropriate alcohol (I’d go to Spanish Club if they served Sangria).  Maybe that’s just my group of friends, but I remember my grandmother pulling out the terrifying jug of Chablis (that poured like maple syrup…) to offer with the iced tea for her bridge club.  (Emily Post had nothing on those women who were steadfast enough to drink that with a polite smile).  Depending on if the gathering is day or evening dictates how much consumption is socially acceptable.  Occasionally, there is the added thrill of a gutsy gal exceeding the quota and being the entertainment for the evening.

This last Saturday night I attended a Passion Party.  This is the pinnacle of the secret female gatherings.  A consultant comes in to provide ideas and products to make life more interesting in the bedroom.  *If you are conservative, stop reading, but may I remind you that if you’re a mom, you likely had sex to have a baby and if you’re not a mom, your parents likely had sex to have you – get over it!

Glad you’re still with me.  But, lucky for you, the Grapefruit martinis make the evening just fuzzy enough not to articulate.  (But I do believe we made the party consultant blush with our comments!)  Therefore, if I am not going to provide details of the evening, why do I bring it up?  Because it highlights all that is perfect about girls evenings.  They are uninhibited, real and can bond perfect strangers. (I can now tell you – but I won’t – who has handcuffs in their homes and who is the most knowledgable about toys).  As women, we openly discuss menstruation, children’s’ poop and weight; how is sex any more taboo?  We are empowered to speak the alcohol induced truth and share our “wisdom”, humor and most embarrassing stories.  We laugh so hard we understand the importance of Kegel’s. 

After such an evening, we are rejuvenated – we have the smug smile of somebody holding a juicy secret and some of us anticipate the arrival of unmarked package, while dreading the visa bill.  For me, I felt more romantical (it’s my favorite made up word) towards my husband and was more patient with my children.  I feel closer to my girlfriends and somehow feel like a stronger woman in general.

So I am huge supporter of female gatherings and all the “secrets” shared there.  I also like pages 6-9 of the summer catalog, but that’s another story…

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!’

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!

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

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.