I am not the first woman to notice this, but dear GOD WHY CAN’T MEN FIND THINGS. I can’t decide if it’s a lack of commitment to finding said thing, or if it’s that they know they have wife-insurance in this regard, so it’s not like it’s never gonna get found, or if there is some honest to goodness optical difference with man-eyes that just cannot be helped. Continue reading “Man Eyes”
I found out I was pregnant with my first child just before my 30th birthday. It was a stupid deadline in my head, so besides the “We’re having a baby!” excitement, I also was celebrating hitting my silly goal. As we were setting up for my “Casino Night” theme birthday party, I was on all kinds of highs.
Then my husband said, “Enjoy it! It’s basically you’re last birthday.”
Uh, wait, what?? Continue reading “A Very Merry Mom-Birthday, To Me”
If you give a Daddy a task, he’ll smile and say sure.
He’ll start to unload the dishwasher, by putting away the glasses.
When he gets to the cabinet, he’ll realize there are a lot of glasses we don’t use.
He’ll go unload the Amazon box of baby’s birthday presents to use for storing glasses to donate.
Once he starts with glasses, he’ll think about the vases you can probably get rid of too.
Looking at all that nice space in the cabinet, he’ll remember that the cabinet above the refrigerator could use some reorganizing as well.
In that cabinet, he’ll notice that he doesn’t really use the mini kegerator as often as we used to, and will suggest that we sell it.
The kegerataor will need to be set up somewhere with good lighting, so he can take a picture to post on a trash and treasure sale site.
Since someone comments right away, he’ll need to spend 25 minutes texting back and forth with the guy about beer refrigeration and tubes and keg prices.
Now that he’s on the internet, he’ll see an article he needs to click on.
And since he’s fallen down the rabbit hole, Mommy will need to go unload the dishwasher.
All because you gave a Daddy a task.
Okay, so it can’t just be us- kids’ movies give us all.the.feelings sometimes. Trolls? Who didn’t shed a little tear at that beautiful True Colors Duet? Or Finding Dory-did anyone else catch that her poor parents missed her ENTIRE CHILDHOOD? They can’t get that back, people! But that reunion, sigh. So lovely. And don’t even get me started on Up. Like, I can’t. I just can’t.
The most recent culprit? Moana, by a landslide. But Moana can affect everyone so differently, and for such different reasons. Will you simply trip on a taro root? Remind yourself that you know the way? Or discover friggin’ happiness is WHERE YOU ARE?!? Whoa, Moana. Whoa.
So? Where are you on the Sob-Spectrum?
Jaymi: Oh dear God, Lila is Moana. She loves her grandmas, she strays from convention, and she has to go her own way. She is strong, beautiful, and brave. She trusts her instincts and chooses her own path, but thoughtfully and responsibly. She knows who she is and can always find her way. And we just don’t freaking understand her sometimes. So, it’s sweet little tears for the first twenty minutes or so. And then at the part where she decides to leave, and the dad is mad cause he doesn’t understand yet, and the mom just gives her a little nod and helps her pack?!? It is like a flash forward to college, when Lila’s heading off to study fashion design in Tibet and I have to be like, “follow that voice inside, Lila” when really I want to be like, “Get your ass into nursing school.” Total onslaught of waterworks.
Christine: Don’t get me wrong. I’m made of stone. The whole “daughter going on a journey” thing? I can keep it together there. At this point Moana is a delightful story of a girl that wants to be on the ocean. Love it. Catchy tunes, that Maui cracks me up, and OH the crab. I get my old times Flight of the Conchords fix from the crab. Fun, fun, fun. And then she’s alone. On a boat. With the ghost of her Grandma. Singing. And that’s kind of a game changer. Because for us – family is EVERYTHING. And yes, my Nana passed away a little bit ago, so sue me if I cling to an eccentric cartoon Grandma. So when her Grandma sings to her and there’s a freaking key change, so you know it’s about to get real, and Moana finds out that “the call isn’t out there at all it’s inside me,” yeah, I start to get a little watery. Can you blame me?? And sure, maybe when she runs back to Ghost Grandma and the music swells as she says, “I will carry you here in my heart you’ll remind me that come what may, I know the way” my eyes swell too. I mean, she IS MOANA.
Chad (Christine’s Husband): You guys are crying at the wrong part. You cry when Moana is walking to Teka to restore the heart. I mean, she’s crossed the horizon to restore the heart and fix all of mankind! It’s about societal restoration and no matter what people do to you it’s how you respond. Moana telling Teka, “they have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you” is a message to all of us that we are more than our circumstances! And fighting doesn’t get you anywhere, that’s why Maui failed. But you need someone that sees you. You just need that love, someone to say “this is not who you are, I know who you are.” It’s all about the love.
Michael (Jaymi’s Husband): Wait, you guys cry at Moana?
Everyone Else: You DON’T cry at Moana?!?
Michael: I don’t cry. Also, it’s a cartoon. Calm down.
When I was three years and three kids into Motherhood, I embarked on one of my most exciting journeys. A trip the HELL out of dodge. Without my husband. Without my kids. Just me, a cruise ship, the open ocean, and 9 of my best Mamas.
I was excited and apprehensive and happy and nervous and all the emotions. To be honest, I love to WATCH a Mom vacation a la Real Housewives of Every Single Franchise Ever, but there was always a part of me that was like, “why do they want to go out of town without their families so often???”
Now, I know.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because unlike the Real Housewives of Everywhere, the drama surrounding my trip happened entirely before we set sail. Basically, the moment I told anyone I was going somewhere. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, “Who’s watching the children?,” I could probably have paid for the entire trip. If I got another dollar every time someone had to pick their jaw up off the floor when I answered, “Uh….their father,” I could have covered my bar tab. Which, for the record, ended up being a very significant total. But I digress.
The people around me were VERY concerned with me going on this trip. Offers to assist Chad flew in from every corner of my universe. I could leave confident that no one would go hungry, because the neighborhood was going to band together and bring a collection of casseroles and baked goods. His arms would never ache because the biddies at church all volunteered to come over and “just hold the baby” while he tended to the other children. Other people got fancy with their plans. “I’ll take Evie, we can do something fun! Then see if your Mom can take the baby, that way Chad can just hang out with Cole! Guy time!”
Basically the message was this: If Mommy was irresponsible enough to just go and LEAVE her children with
a practical stranger their Father, then my village was going to step in and provide backup.
Perhaps this leaves a questionable perception of my husband. By all accounts, he’s a pretty hands on Dad in every day life. He changes diapers, he plays and reads, he knows his way around a onesie.
But I get it. Three days is a lot of time with the kids. He isn’t as used to doing everything day after day after day. Alone. Let’s be real, three days would be a lot for anyone.
Know how I know that?
BECAUSE MY HUSBAND HAS TO TRAVEL FOR WORK AND I DO THIS ALL THE FREAKING TIME.
When he went to Wichita for three days, where was my casserole???
When he went to Utah for a week, who was coming over to hold my baby???
When he left to Connecticut for two days when our third baby was TWO WEEKS OLD who the EFF took the reigns and doled out my other children so I could focus on the tiny ball of NEED???
So I stood there, patiently listening to all the concerned voices and when they felt like they’d said their piece, I told them all the same thing, “Thank you, that’s very generous, but he’ll be fine.”
And guess what?
With a little help from my Mom 😉
It was a hot, salty summer day, and I was LIVING for the moment my husband got home. The kids and I were on our last strands of patience. We were tired and grouchy and so sick of our house and, frankly, each other. We were trying to keep it together, because we had BIG plans to head to the local park’s wading pool when Daddy got home at 5:30. An OhmHour was coming at 6, and I was gonna be darned if we were still in our un-air-conditioned house when it started.
And then it’s 5:30. And then it’s 5:45. And then it’s six, and we lose all the power (both literally and, like, the power to HANDLE MY LIFE, you know?). And I call the husband. “So what do you want to do tonight? Are you staying late?”
“I got a little caught up, but I’m coming home. I thought we were going to the wading pool.” And I almost lost it. We’d had a DAY, and there was just so much logisticking to do that I thought my brain was gonna fall right out of my head. The prospect of suiting them up and sunscreening them down and driving them over for only forty-five minutes of fun before unsuiting and towel-drying and redressing? I just. Didn’t. Want to.
But because we had no electricity, and it was either go to the wading pool or stay in a hot house with my cranky kids, I decided to give it one more bit of effort before I called it. I rechecked the times and found they didn’t close until 7:30. Truth be told, I was still less than willing to suit them up for those 45 short minutes, but heck, I had promised the wading pool already. And frankly, I didn’t feel up to being the bad guy that made the call that it wasn’t worth it. So my husband rushed home, I suited and sunscreened them babies, and away we went.
And, you guys. We had the best. Night. Ever.
It turns out that 45 minutes is exactly the right amount of time to be at a wading pool. And the later you go, the less odds that other people will still be there. And you might just get the wading pool to yourself, with your husband and your two small, perfect children, and you might look romantically at each other over their perfect little heads while the sun literally sets behind your husband’s happy face. And then you might go out for ice cream and kiss that sweet baby’s cheeks and smell his sunscreeny head and nearly burst from happiness while your daughter tells you that this is her most favoritest day ever.
And you would have missed all that if you’d decided to sit around being crabby at your husband and your kids. Don’t get me wrong, there are days to be mad. There are times when you have to turn on the TV for hours, or bicker with your husband about coming home late, and sometimes things get cancelled because you just can’t. There will be tense words and rushed dinners and early bedtimes. And that’s okay, too. Because that’s real life.
But once in a while, you’ve gotta embrace the lucky chances, push through the cranky, and go anyways. You’ve got to decide to be tired and crabby later, and be a family now, because we never would have gotten last night back. There will be cool drinks to ease the pain of long days, and bedtime will eventually come whether we enjoy the evening or not. But we need to take the time to embrace each other now. Cause I’m not gonna remember the irritation of the day (well not FOREVER anyways) but I’ll remember that perfect evening with my almost-perfect family for a lifetime.
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Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for nearly a year, Cole and Evie have had an emotional goodbye through a chain link fence. It’s like a scene out of some prison movie. They tell each other how much they love each other and are going to miss each other and then I tear Evie away from the gate telling her we’ll see Cole in four hours. Often, I have to carry her writhing body in one arm, while balancing a baby in the other, and haul these girls out to the car. After dealing with this week after week, month after month, Chad and I had to have a serious conversation: Is it time to start Evie in preschool?
We had made bold proclamations and decisions on our plan for Evie’s schooling. I’m a stay at home Mom and she’s just fine here with me. She can wait until she’s 3 like Cole did. We can see if they have a spot open in January and if they don’t she can start the next fall. Two years of preschool will be plenty for her.
But it seemed she was disagreeing with us.
So I asked the Director at Cole’s eternally waitlisted preschool if they happened to have a spot. No rush, anytime really, we’re fine keeping her home as long as we need – oh, what’s that? You already had her on a list because I mentioned it to you once in passing? She can start next month? Yeah, okay, that works too…Suddenly we were launched into preschool prep mode! I bought Evie a lunch bag, did some “Back to School” shopping, grabbed her a water bottle and talked about the impending start of her career as a student. She proudly told everyone, “I go to school with Cole soon!” She was excited. Like really, REALLY, excited. Drop-offs were suddenly much easier, because as they hugged and kissed each other each morning, they’d exchange excited words about how soon Evie would be joining her big brother.
She was excited. I was all the feelings. Normally made of stone, the idea of having two kids in school proved too much for my solid core to handle. I just wasn’t sure I liked this. At all.
Then it was the big day. We got dressed in one of our new outfits. I busted out the chalkboard easel for important stats and pictures and a giant display of “Evie’s first day of preschool!” I took a thousand pictures of the three kids in every possible arrangement – sitting, standing, two sitting – Evie standing prominently, all three sitting together – Cole in the middle, Evie in the middle, Izzie in the middle – you name it, I probably have a picture of it. Evie looked happy and proud – probably a combination of first day excitement and the promise of a lollipop in exchange for endless smiles.
We loaded into the car, drove down to school, hopped out of the car and proudly marched down the hall. Which is about when all hell broke loose. To our complete and utter surprise, our cool, confident, happy-go-lucky, independent daughter freaked the F out. We thought we’d done everything “right” to prepare her! She knows this school, knows the teachers, knows lots of Cole’s friends! Plus the school happens to be on our church’s campus (though not affiliated) so she literally has been in the classrooms since the week she was born! We talked, oh how we talked, about what the first day would entail. And she was sooooo on board. Lest she forgets, this was HER IDEA!
But, as is a woman’s prerogative, she reserves the right to change her mind. And oh did she change it. My husband and I looked back and forth for a minute, telepathically running through our options.
Me: Evie, it’ll be fine. Cole’s right here with you. *Jump in here dude! Tell her it’s fine!!*
Chad: That’s right, Cole’s going to go do circle time, you can sit with him. *She’s screaming! Why is she screaming??*
Me: Honey, honey, honey, calm down, baby. *I don’t KNOW!! We gotta get out of here!*
Chad: *We can’t just LEAVE her like this!*
Me: *Like hell we can’t! She’ll be FINE! Band-Aid! RIP IT!*
Chad: Okay Evie, Mommy and Daddy have to go, you’ll be okay. *You’re a heartless monster*
Me: I’ll be back sooooo soon, you’ll have lots of fun, okay? We love you! *Oh, grow a pair*
Us: Bye sweetie!! We love you!!
I may have been the one to force us to leave, but I thought of my sweet little baby all day, hoping she’d calmed down and found some fun. I picked her up a few short hours later. Before she saw me, I saw her eating and laughing and I knew we had made the right call. She looked up, saw me, ran and jumped in my arms.
When we settled in the car I asked, “What did you do today Evie?” She said, with a big smile on her face, “I did art and crying.” I laughed at her and hugged the heck out of that kid. I said, “Maybe next time we’ll try for just art, huh?” She replied, “Yeah, I liked the art.”
So yes, in the grand tradition of first days of school, there were tears. Lots of tears. Mostly from Evie. But, as terrible as it is to say, the tears were a nice reminder that even though she’s a sassy, independent, stubborn, “I can do it myself” kind of 2 year old, she’s still my two year old baby, that just needs her Mama once in a while.
I run this house.
This isn’t a bold statement, it’s just really honest. My husband participates, he helps whenever I ask, he fills in where and when necessary. He thinks that he’s super vital in the day to day ops, but the real truth of the matter is that he changes the kitty litter and pays the bills. Of course there’s much more than that as far as his overall role in our lives. We love him dearly, he’s a great Dad, and I don’t say any of this to diminish his status around here. It’s not meant to be as harsh as it comes off.
Basically he’s a moderately hands off CEO that rolls up his sleeves when his employees are really in the weeds.
Until the weekend hits. Or he’s on vacation. Then he’s like the guy that buys the company and starts to make all kinds of changes before he asks any questions. He doesn’t know how things work, but that doesn’t mean he won’t give you all his GREAT ideas of how to make things better.
I didn’t realize Chad was this kind of Dad until recently when a few conversations made me realize he just doesn’t understand how things get done around here. A few weeks ago he suggested that we change breads:
Chad: That bread Joy had the other day was really good! We should start using that!
Me: Yeah, it was. I checked though and it’s like twice as much as the bread we buy….
Chad: Well that’s no big deal. What do we use? Like a loaf every few weeks?
Me: Uh, no bro. We use two loaves. A week. Every week.
Sure, it’s just bread, but did he really not notice that I make at least three people toast every morning? And a sandwich for our son to take to school three days a week? And I can’t blame him for not knowing how often Evie and I eat sandwiches for lunch during the week while he’s off eating Chipotle or something glamorous. But a loaf every three weeks?? At this my radar went up that he was REALLY out of the loop.
Then on the drive home from vacation:
Chad: What should we do for dinner tonight?
Me: I probably have something in the freezer I could throw together.
Chad: Awesome. And like a salad?
Me: Well, I’d have to run to the store real quick, but that’s doable.
Chad: Oh, we don’t already have salad stuff?
Me: I mean, we’ve been out of town for a week. I don’t usually stock the house with fresh produce before we go out of town.
Poor kid was incredibly disappointed. Because he really was thinking there would be fruits and vegetables and a bounty of salad awaiting him when we arrived home. Like, does he not know how grocery stores work? Or the shelf-life of lettuce? I swear it was only a few years ago that he was living on his own, responsible for his own groceries, but apparently that info in his brain also has a short shelf-life!
Then one day I realized I needed to harness this lack of household intelligence…
Chad: *checking spending on Mint* Hey, big trip to Target today, huh?
Me: Dude, we needed a lot of diapers…
Chad: Like $167 worth of diapers?
Me: Well I needed regular diapers for Evie and Izzie, and Pull-Ups for Evie cause she’s going to need a lot when potty training at school and [his eyes start to glaze over] and then I needed swim diapers for the girls, we’ve been swimming SO much that we’re burning through those and…
Chad: Got it. Diapers.
Did I spend $167 on diapers? No, I did not. But he has no clue how much diapers actually cost. Or bread. Or how produce works. Or basically anything about our day to day operations. And if it drives me crazy all the other times, I might as well get to cash in once in a while.
Welcome to the first in our ongoing series of Salty Mama Book Reviews! We hope you’ll join us in The Salty Mamas Book Club – read with us, join us in discussions on Facebook, and check out our reviews!
There are two things you should know before you add “Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More, Argue Less and Communicate Better As Your Family Grows” to your “to-read” list.
The first is that you must either a) read this book in total secret or b) be ready for anyone and everyone to ask if you and your partner are doing okay. I’m a big fan of carrying a book EVERYWHERE. Which means that inevitably I leave books all over the place. Which leads to everything from sad looks from strangers or concerned questions from close friends and family when you read a book that implies that the baby in your belly is going to destroy your marriage. So just be prepared.
The second is something a very good friend gave me a loving heads up about, and I am now paying that forward to you, dear reader.
There is no delicate way to put this, so I’m not going to dance around the issue.
This book is going to tell you to do certain acts. Oral acts. A MAJOR takeaway from this book is that these loving services may very well save your marriage. So be prepared.
That stuff aside, there’s a LOT of awesome information in this book, so even if you think “are you kidding me? I made him dinner and am raising his kids and am up to my elbows in spit up and poop and now I’m supposed to do what???,” just trust me for a solid second and give it a try. The book. And probably that-which-shall-not-be-named, but the book for sure.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, onto the review!
Gut reaction: LOVED IT.
There were some MAJOR takeaways that I implemented darn near immediately. One of the first things I realized was that I’m HARD on my husband. On a daily basis, I don’t think I am. I think he has it easy. Heck, I generously give him TONS of advice on what to do and how to do it! How loving is that?? Unfortunately, I learned recently that he just think this makes me a control freak! And guess what? It makes it not super fun for him to do things with the kids! Fun fact: Men do not like to do things when they are set up for failure. Now, I try to empower him and set him up for success. In some cases have I lowered the bar for him? Sure have! But it gives him a chance to fly over it. To gain confidence. And the positive reinforcement makes him WANT to do more with the kids. Win – freaking – win!!!
The other thing that I now preach to everyone I can find is to GO OUT OF TOWN AND LEAVE THE KIDS WITH YOUR PARTNER. Whenever I first suggest this to someone, I always get a response that’s some version of, “Oh, I can’t do that.” Why? “Well he doesn’t know what she eats.” “My kids are REALLY busy and it’s just a lot to take care of.” “He’s never been alone with both kids for more than a couple hours.” “We have a unique situation because my kids are [fill in the blank].” Well guess what? Lots of people have kids that are really busy. And we ALL have unique situations. But if you don’t give him the chance he will never know what she eats, he’ll never be alone with the kids, and by God he will NEVER understand what you do each and every single day until he gets the opportunity to live your life. Not for a few hours, not for a day, you’ve got to go out of town for a solid two nights to let the reality really sink in.
Lest you think I don’t practice what I preach, after reading this book, I booked a three day cruise with my girlfriends. Yes a cruise. I couldn’t turn around, come home early – shit, I didn’t even have cell phone reception. I left my husband with three kids. Cole was 3 years, 9 months. Evie was 2 years, 3 months. Izzie was 5 months old. And had never taken a bottle, no matter how hard we tried. And yes, I left them all. Here you go, take a minute to be appalled at how heartless I am, I can handle it.
Done? Okay, moving on…
Guess what? He handled his SHIT! He kept the two older kids fed, entertained, alive. He got the baby to take a bottle. He did all the carseat buckles and got clothes on the kids and kept them in clean diapers the whole weekend. Did I think he could? Eh, I was pretty skeptical to be completely honest. Did he think he could? He was a healthy blend of overly confident and naïve enough to have no idea what he was getting himself info. But the end result was that he stepped up, took care of the kids, and best of all, had an opportunity to bond with the kids that was never available to him with me always hanging out in the wings. And I knew he could do it, which is such an amazing feeling to have.
Now, I know I said I wouldn’t bring up you-know-what (and yes, I’ve equated this act with Voldemort a few times, so sue me) but I feel like I need to clarify something before y’all write me off as someone who turned in their feminist card, put on an apron and bowed down to serve my husband. THAT is not what the book is endorsing. At the end of the day, you need to find what makes your husband feel loved. Feel appreciated. Feel special. That-which-shall-not-be-named is generally a safe catch-all way to show your partner appreciation. But that might not be your Boo’s favorite way to be appreciated. That might not be on your menu. That’s FINE. But find what is, and do that. A lot.
These are just a few of the nuggets of advice that I swear I couldn’t live without. And in case you’re thinking, eh, our kids are older and my partner and I are doing just fine, I’d STILL say to read this book. I finally got around to reading it when we were gearing up for Baby #3. It’s like a textbook in my house. I am forever flipping back through it to find a helpful hint, tip, or piece of advice.
I can honestly say that my marriage truly is better because of this book. And that is worth every single penny.
Grab your copy here! We’d love to hear what you think 🙂
Next month we’ll be reading/reviewing “It’s Okay Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids.” We hope you’ll get a copy and join The Salty Mamas Bookclub!! Don’t forget to follow The Salty Mamas on Facebook so you don’t miss out on our upcoming Facebook Live event, The Salty Mamas Book Club Margarita Monday, on September 18, 2017!
The Salty Mamas send each other a LOT of texts, because we value our sanity and sometimes you just HAVE to share your day with someone else that’s in the trenches. Then at some point you need to go look for something and when you see it all together like that you think, “Dear God, my life is a shit show! Literally!”
But the best way to feel better about the weird stuff you’re texting about is to send it out there in the world and see what comes back to you. (Or at least that’s what we’re hoping…) So here, dear friends, are our 25 Texts You Should Never Have to Send from July. Please make us feel better by adding yours.
- Best case scenario it’s food poisoning
- There’s a pursuit headed your way!
- No vomit yet, but the day is still young. I’ll keep you posted.
- Are we still friends or is it all over?
- URGENT: Corny (the stuffed corn) has gone missing. Do you know where it is??? This might be a matter of life and death.
- I’m listing my mom as my life partner on my membership.
- Eff. Oh, EFF. We can pay the extra $150 if we have to.
- She hasn’t had the firmest of poops…
- I almost dropped Abram putting him in the Ergo. People legit screamed. Out loud. I am the shame of Pretend City.
- Dude, your baby has the leakiest butt.
- Hey, so I’m getting a red light camera ticket.
- We took a ride on the hot mess express today. Keep your expectations for this evening low.
- Guess which of your children had a massive blowout. You’ll be wrong.
- She’s watching TV half naked, surround by books, eating stolen sugar.
- My son stole food from a homeless person today, so I’m pretty sure you’re a better Mom than me.
- Sorry, typing slow. Booger fingers.
- There’s a bird in our yard that sounds like bells jingling and I’m gonna murder it.
- He came home with a man cold. FML.
- He was like, “Why am I peeing out of my butt????”
- We survived. Ish.
- It’s better than a brain tumor, which is what Google told me it was.
- Jk regarding naps. Everyone suddenly awake. Three hours to go 😭
- I just drove through McDonald’s with my boob out.
- How many times do you think your kid has to throw up at Souplantation before you’re banned?
- We are COMPLETELY out of coffee.
I definitely hope I don’t have to send any of those again. Now it’s your turn! GO!