As a stay at home Mom, I’m a little set in my ways. I have a routine down with my kids and somewhere along the line I started to think that the only way things could be done was my way. I became increasingly frustrated with the way my husband was doing things, because frankly, I thought he was doing them wrong. He was getting annoyed and volunteering to do things less. He wasn’t as hands on as he had been in the past and I grew to resent that.
Eventually, I found myself asking, “Am I too hard on my husband?”
The answer was totally yes.
If you think you might be too hard on your partner, here are 5 ways that I lightened up.
This week, our Facebook and Instagram feeds were flooded with grand gestures of love. Long stem roses, chocolate covered strawberries, sparkly gifts, prix fix dinners out on the town, or homemade dinners for two. Meanwhile, Jaymi and I shared a romantic evening of chicken and chocolate chip cookies in heart shaped containers because the Daddy’s were working late. Once upon a time, we may have grumbled about the apparent lack of affection and romance on our Valentine’s Day, but this is what our life is these days. And the truth is, we don’t mind a bit.
Yes, we still LOVE our husbands, and sometimes we even gush about them, but romance looks very different these days. The key to making it work is embracing all the little ways our partners are romantic, and not taking those for granted. So here’s our thank you, for all these little things our fellas do year round to show us how much they love and appreciate us.
A few weeks ago, we had the honor of attending an absolutely gorgeous wedding. The couple was so in love, the setting was truly beautiful, and the food was on point. The bartender totally hit on me, and they even had hand-churned nitrogen ice cream for dessert. It was a truly beautiful day.
And it was also the first day I felt old in a good way.
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”→
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.
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!
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 🙂