I’m at that Stage


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Something has shifted recently. Everywhere I look marriages are rocky, hanging on by a thread or have already taken a nosedive off a cliff. Then I remember that I’m 35. And most of the people I know have been married as long as I have, or longer.

If I’m not hearing about divorce, it’s separation, or infidelity. Every time I hear about another marriage falling apart it shakes me to my core. I have a fleeting moment when I think: but we’re solid, we have a strong foundation, we’re going to make it. But I believe we all have those feelings about our marriages, until we begin to doubt them.

I had no idea how hard marriage could be. Our two personalities, sometimes like oil and water coexisting in the same home. Sometimes clashing together, sometimes melting like butter. But always constant, and never questioned.

Then children come along. And they need you. Your protection, your love, your energy, your everything. How can a marriage not suffer just a little bit under all this pressure and exhaustion?

I know I have lost myself in these roles of wife and mother. When I have a day to myself, I often can’t remember what I like doing. What Cristina likes doing.  I have to think about it for a bit, and then a list of things come to mind: reading, watching a move in the theater alone, eating all-day breakfast in a restaurant – near the window with a good book, getting my hair done, shopping, writing, sitting by the lake and listening to the waves…

I don’t have enough of these days to fill my bucket. I need more of them. I feel like there are only breadcrumbs left of me sometimes, and I want to make a whole loaf of bread with them, but how?

This shit is hard. But it’s also required. All these stages in life are needed to shape me. One day I will look back on this version of myself and want to reach out and hug me. Because I’ll recognize how raw and used up I was. I’ll want to say: I’m so proud of you. You did it. You bloomed.

And then I think of my husband. And how he must feel at this stage. He listens to me complain all the time. He works so hard. For the past five years it was only him working, supporting our family. I think about all that pressure. And then coming home to me, who hasn’t spoken to a grown up all day and I just start talking and won’t stop… and the kids miss him and jump all over him… the two of us, just needing a friggin’ break from all this chaos for just a minute!

This stage is hard. I can understand why some marriages can’t withstand the pressure, and crack.  I can understand how spouses can feel used up and exhausted and have nothing left. But I also feel like we need to hold ourselves accountable for the promise we made to each other.

We need to speak up when we’re suffering, I don’t mean complain, I mean have an honest conversation with your spouse about the pressure. And listen to them too, cause they’re just as thinned out as you are. Just hear each other, and be sympathetic. The worst thing you can do is shut down, or be selfish and only take care of your own needs. Because the moment you said “I do” you became a team – and it should always be the two of you facing the exhaustion, pressure, worry, needy kids, overwhelming tasks together.

I could go on writing, but I’m not a therapist. I’m just a woman who is figuring her shit out and sharing it with you.

My only piece of advice here is to take care of yourself – this is the advice I suck at taking myself by the way so I kinda hate that I’m giving it. Ask for time alone. Offer each other time away. And ask for help with the kids, AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE, so you both can have time together without the pressure of everyday life.

Who’s at the next stage? With preteens or teens who have calendars filled with activities and attitudes that can sting… how do you keep your shit together and your marriage strong?

10 Random Things I’d Tell My Twenty-Year-Old Self


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  1. Stop saying “I’m sooooooooo tired.” There are new mothers who hear you and may punch you in the face.
  2. Don’t take life so seriously. Have more fun.
  3. After you have your second kid, your waistline increases an inch the second you look at a cookie, so eat them now! Dooooo it!
  4. If you think you compare yourself to other women a lot now, just wait till you become a mother – you’ll do it a few hundred times a day. We gotta figure out how to stop this, it’s a bad cycle.
  5. Stop dieting. Just get in the habit of walking or running daily – it’s the only way.
  6. Stop looking at moms with their kids having tantrums and thinking: “I will never let my kid behave that way in public, EVER, period.” Because my darling, you can’t control a toddler’s emotions. So stop judging and start saving some money for therapy.
  7. Let go. Learn to let go of things you can’t control now. It’ll make you better at not sweating the small stuff as a new mom.
  8. Stop shaking your head at your sister-in-law, Lynette and wondering why she’s so moody after having your niece Adele. You’ll experience the wrath of hormones at war inside your body one day. And that’s when you’ll suddenly love her so much more.
  9. Baby wipes take that mascara off better than those Oil of Olay cloths you spend so much money on. You’re hilarious.
  10. Stop saying “I’m bored.” Be happy that you currently have nothing to do and enjoy staring at a wall while listening to nothing.

Taking It All In


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Driving home from a visit to Granny’s yesterday I was singing to Jacob. He was sitting in the backseat watching the scenery go by. Content and sweet. As I looked in the rear-view mirror and watched him gaze outside the window with wonder, it hit me, I love him so much.

I’ve had those moments more than a few times since he’s been born. A rush of emotion, a rush of love, flooding my senses and completely overwhelming me.

I whisper his name and watch his head turn towards me. He arches his back to get a look at mummy in the front seat. Then I say “Hi!” and giggle. And he giggles with delight, like I’m the funniest person in the world. We continue this game for the rest of the drive. By the time we’re turning on our street he has the hiccups from laughing so much. And I have tears in my eyes from the joy I get from his simple little laugh.

Some days I find myself wishing the minutes away to his next nap so I can have some rest or get things done. But in the moments that I’m filled with love for him, I suddenly regret all the minutes I wished time away. I realize I’m being selfish in those moments. I can’t help it. I’m human. I enjoy me time.

So when I find myself overwhelmed with love for him during car rides or rocking him to sleep, I take every second in. I remind myself how quickly this will pass. How I’ll look back on these days when he’s a teenager who no longer lets me stroke his hair or lick my finger and wipe a crumb from his face. One day, he’ll no longer cry for me in the night. He’ll no longer crave to lay his little head in the crook of my neck. He’ll no longer think I’m the funniest person in the world, instead he’ll think I’m the most embarrassing.

So today and every day, I’m going to take it all in. Try and etch every expression on his face into my memory, especially the ones when his face lights up as I walk into the room.

Etiquette – On Visiting the New Mom & Baby


knockWhether it’s her first or fifth baby, a mother fresh from delivering a human into the world is sore, tired and hormonal. And the new baby is still adjusting to life on the outside. So let’s give them a little time to heal and relax.

Grandparents, Close Friends & Siblings Only Please

I was happy to have my parents, in-laws, close friends, and siblings over when I was home from the hospital. None of them cared if I hadn’t showered that day or if my house was a little messy.

For new mothers, things are so tough in those first couple of weeks. The thought of having people over is painful. Maybe she’s had a c-section and prefers her robe. Yes, most visitors would be understanding of her appearance, but that still doesn’t mean she’s comfortable with having them see her in this state.

Here are some more reasons for waiting to visit mom and baby:

  • Mom and baby are still getting used to breastfeeding, it’s easier for her to whip out a boob wherever she is in her home rather than cover up or leave the room
  • Mom’s hormonal, any little bit of stress can make her sweat enough to show puddles through eight layers of clothing and a parka, that’s embarrassing for her
  • Baby’s brand new; a lot of different hands handling them can be over stimulating, then once you leave, parents are left with a fussy baby after entertaining all day
  • Baby’s immune system is fragile, if you’re a little sniffly but feel fine, it’s still not okay for you to hold and breath all over the newborn

Now, even with all these reasons, if you still must visit then don’t expect the following:

  • A super cheerful and upbeat woman greeting the door
  • A meal to be prepared for you by candle light
  • Fresh cookies and tea to be prepared with enthusiasm
  • A guest room to be ready if you’re traveling from far away (book a hotel room!)
Apologies for Sounding Harsh

If the comments above have offended anyone I’m sorry. The point I’m trying to make is that the new parents do want to see you! They just need some time to adjust to this new life. If you have children, try to think back on those first few weeks and how hard they were. If you’re not a parent, then think about someone showing up at your place when you’ve had a party the night before and still have stuff all over the house, you’re extremely hung over, a lollipop is stuck in your hair, you have raccoon eyes and you haven’t brushed your teeth. It’s horrifying, right?

A Phone Call Is Awesome!

There’s no rule against a phone call though! If you want the new parents to know that you’re thinking about them and can’t wait to see them with their new bundle, then call them. Let them know you’re excited to see them so you’d love a phone call from them when they’re ready for visitors. They’d appreciate that MUCH more than a super early visit.

Anyone have horror stories you’d like to share about early visitors? Or maybe you’d like to rant about it here. Leave a reply!