I’m Not a Perfect Wife…..

I’m not a perfect wife; I do not have a perfect husband.  There is no such thing as a perfect marriage.  There is such a thing as a good, healthy marriage though.  A marriage that is based on trust, friendship, communication, intimacy, and humor.  I have been married now for 10 years; for some that may seem like a long time, but for others it may seem like only a drop in the bucket.  Here are some things that I have learned over the past 10 years of marriage that I feel help to keep a marriage happy and healthy:

1.  Make Time for Your Spouse:

From as simple as asking your mate how their day was (and truly listening and engaging with conversation and eye contact) to making plans for date night!  Especially when you have kids in your life and most things throughout the day revolve around them, it’s very important to have that time together to continue your relationship with each other.  Turn off the TV, put down that book, stop doing work on the computer, and take time out for that special person in your life to let them know they truly are special.

2.  Keep Common Interests

Continue doing the things you enjoyed together before marriage and in the early years  to help sustain the marriage.  It’s easy to change as you age and find new interests, but keeping some similar interests (or creating new ones together) is an important part of making a relationship successful.  For instance, we have always loved to travel, so for our 10-year anniversary we planned a trip together to Ireland (a country on our joint wish list of places to travel), and we went by ourselves (thanks again to my parents who watched the kids!).  It was a great experience to focus on us as a couple, and not just the us as parents.

3.  Talk Things Out

This is probably the hardest one for me, because I do have a hard time not becoming overemotional and hurt during a discussion, but it truly does help to have honest and open talks about your feelings with each other (even if you do feel hurt by it at first).  My husband is able to talk about his feelings in a very open, calm, and logical manner.  Even so, I still sometimes get hurt and defensive, but in the end it’s always good to have that open line of communication to know how the other is feeling.  It makes the relationship stronger when you share and communicate with each other and do your best to meet the other person’s needs.

4.  Have Fun with Each Other

They always say laughter is the best medicine, so a fun-loving household is beneficial to everyone in the family,  parents and kids alike!  My husband truly is funny, even though I don’t always let on that I think he is, and he brings so much joy and laughter into our family and into our relationship.  A fly on the wall would definitely hear some laughter coming from our house.  Laughter helps relieve stress, brings people together, and just makes for an all around happier environment.

5.  The Importance of Intimacy

Intimacy should not go out the door just because you get married, it should continue to be a part of your relationship (one in fact that should even get better with time).  This can be from a gentle touch to rubbing your spouse’s shoulders, or even just the way you look at your significant other.  Everyone wants to feel loved and important, and both partners need to continue to show the other that they are important, attractive, desired, and even just cared for.  Keeping your intimate life strong keeps the bond of the partners strong.  Go snuggle up to your spouse and give them a kiss!  Tell them they are loved!

 

All marriages have their ups-and-downs, because as I said before, no marriage is perfect.  Marriage takes time, commitment, understanding, and hard work to keep it strong and lasting.  Sometime you have to give in, and sometimes you have to know when to let things go.  Compromising and communicating can be difficult, but in the end if the prize is a healthy marriage then the work is worth the effort.  Working toward a good, healthy marriage is on-going, but continuing to put effort in together brings the couple even closer.  My husband has taught me a lot (and continues to teach me) about how to be a better person, mother, spouse, and friend.  He is my teacher, my friend, my partner, my confidant, my imperfect loving husband, who I will continue this journey called marriage with!

A Happy Couple………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makes for a Happy Family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

* What do you think is important in your marriage to keep it strong and healthy?

Kristin Wheeler

Anxiety About Leaving Your Kids….

My husband and I are going on a trip to Ireland for our 10-year Anniversary.  I am definitely excited about the trip, but I’m not too excited about leaving my kids behind.  Even when I am exhausted and losing any bit of patience I have left at the end of the day, there is nothing more I want than to be with my kids.  I can’t imagine being apart from them for an entire week!  No stories at night, and no hugs and kisses!  I’m not sure how I’m going to survive.  Everyone says once I’m there safe and sound and having fun, then it will be easier.  I guess we will see!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(At our Wedding – June 2001)

The kids are staying with my parents, and they live close to my brother and sister as well.  There will be a lot for the kids to do with their Papa, Gaga, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  Hopefully, they will be entertained and not missing Mom and Dad.  I will probably be the one missing them more!

I will be able to talk to the kids each night on Facetime (the Mac version of Skype), so at least I will be able to see their cute little faces and speak with them.

(Family Photo – Papa, Gaga, Aunts, Uncles & Cousins)

A week will probably fly by!  It’s all planned out and we will be moving around (Dublin to Cork to Killarney), so I’m sure I will be back home before I know it.  I love my kids, but I love my husband as well.  This should be a nice time for us to focus on “us,” which we have not been able to do in a while.  It’s easy to put relationships on the back burner when you are raising two kids.  Focusing on married life is very important as well, which I fully understand.  The kids are now ages 4 and 6 , so I am finally ready (sort of) to be able to leave them – but ONLY for a week (my husband wanted longer)!   I will post after my trip and let you know how it all goes!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

(My two cute kiddos who I love SO MUCH!!!!  I will miss them!)

* Have you left your kids for a trip?  How old were they?  How did you feel?  Any tips on getting through the week?

 

 

Kristin Wheeler

How our “Domestic Partnership” Morphed into a Marriage


As May draws near, I’m reminded of a strange and nagging feeling I’ve been getting every year for a while now: that I am forgetting something important.  I eventually figure it out by either having it dawn on me, or most often by my mother-in-law calling to wish me a Happy Anniversary.  It’s actually somewhat understandable because Doug and I have a back-story many of our friends don’t know: we married when I was pregnant with our third child.  In fact, we had originally intended not to marry. What!!!  Let me explain.  We both had what we lovingly refer to as our “starter marriages”, neither of which produced any children.  We also both had large, traditional and expensive weddings that ended in divorce five years into the union.  

When Doug and I fell in love, we mutually confessed to feelings of failure, and a lingering confusion on the subject ofGoldie Hawn marriage.  At the time there were famous couples eschewing the institution: Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell who are still going strong; Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins who are not – although I have to say that they had a long run, and there was blessedly no messy divorce to string out in public.  With those couples in mind, Doug and I decided to forego the marriage route for a Domestic Partnership agreement. Since we resided in San Francisco at the time, we were able to procure one fairly easily, and that was ideal because we planned to start a family right away. Although Doug and I had grown up together, we had not found each other again until our mid-thirties, and we wanted children before it was too late.  Doug wanted four, but I was a ‘one-at-a-time and we’ll see’ girl.  As it turned out, four was our lucky number.

So how did we get to be married midway through our burgeoning family?  Honestly, it was strictly an insurance driven issue.  Doug and I were very happy being co-parents and domestic partners, and would probably still be today were it not for a move to Florida in 2002.  While San Francisco had offered us an option, Florida is not cut from the same cloth.  Anyone remember Anita Bryant?  We were told in no uncertain terms that as far as the State of Florida was concerned, a Domestic Partnership Agreement was how you and your roommate divided your chores, and might as well be used to paper your walls.  We felt having children made us more married than most, and well, we both knew how saying “I do” didn’t necessarily mean it lasted.  But there I was, six months pregnant with our daughter, Olivia, and feeling deeply opposed to seeing her birthday arrive uninsured, Doug and I decided to meet during lunch at the Justice of the Peace in Delray Beach.  To this day, nine years later, we still have trouble remembering our anniversary, and often stumble over the question of how many years we’ve been married.  To us, it’s from when we pledged our love and commitment by cohabitating and starting a family together.

Us!

But married we are, and with that came the specter of divorce.  Somehow when we were not married, we felt safer, buffered if you will, from the awful statistics of marriage dissolution. Doug’s parents divorced when he was 7 and it has always been complicated for him.  Somewhere deep inside he wishes it could have been avoided, remedied, although the circumstances brought a wonderful step-father into his life, so who can know.  With that in mind, we work, sometimes really hard, to keep our marriage healthy and together.  If something happens to rock our world, like death or job loss, we run to a counselor to hash out our feelings.  If we can stem the tides by good open communication beforehand, then we take that approach first.  I even found a website that sends me helpful emails on marriage fitness. I love the little nuggets of wisdom that Mort Fertel  sends me. I find them to be plain good sense, and truly helpful.  Honestly, we’d do anything to keep our marriage intact, but that’s what’s it’s really all about and always has been, both before and after the ceremony– commitment.  Anything worth having is worth working for.  Happy 9th or 13th Anniversary Sweetheart!

Photobucket

Looking for Love in Unusual Places

     As single ladies this day and age… we look for any sort of clue or sign that love is coming our way soon. Well, at least my friends and I do. So while in Las Vegas for a girls weekend… my jaded single New York friend and I took our search to a “higher” level…a psychic!  We called our hotel concierge to see if they could suggest a somewhat reputable psychic… they told us about someone way off the strip… which sounded like too much work for us. We then casually blew off the idea and decided to continue on our search for love on our own. However, the higher powers had another plan for us. We went into O’Shea’s which,  if you don’t know,  is a cheap sort of college way to gamble in Las Vegas… and low and behold… there was an in-house psychic. It was a clear sign… or a coincidence… but I am going with a sign!

psychic

     We each sat down, dropped $40 bucks and were ready to find out when/if we are going to find love!!   Kileen (our psychic) sat us down… we meditated and then she started flipping her cards. Kileen had an accurate reading about me. She told me I was hurt in the past and I was still getting over a bad relationship… blah, blah, blah. Yes, somewhat true. I did have a bad relationship in the past,  but I think I pretty much over it. I mean do I hold grudges… yes, but what girl who was burned by a boy in the past doesn’t hold him in a negative light??

     I starting to think my psychic reading was more like a therapy session… shouldn’t I be at least laying down on a couch or something. Every time I tried to throw out a question she continued to ramble on about finding the true me and being more self-confident. Good point.  I will definitely work on it but tell me if my Mr. Right,  father of my future adorable children is out there!! Long story short… my fifteen minutes of psychic fame were over and I had zero answers about my future! Was this a sign I am meant to be alone… FOREVER?!

     As Kileen tried to politely kick me out of her beaded tent I asked the questions I needed to know.  Is he out there for me and will I have kids???  Her answer: Yes and you’ll have two kids. That was it. Whatever, I will take it. My silly girl brain needed that reassurance (even if it was forced and very brief) that maybe happily ever after is out there and waiting for me. I guess time will only tell!

Photobucket

Surviving Unemployment… or the “Pink Slip Blues”

Help WantedIt comes out of nowhere, or maybe it’s been looming for months.  You’re going along, following your routines, and meeting your deadlines, and  *whoosh! * the rug is pulled out from under you.  You’ve been laid off.

We all know someone who’s lost their job, but it seems like something that happens to other people – until it happens to you.  If you’ve ever seen “Up in the Air” with George Clooney, then you’ve seen very realistic firings and the varied responses that people have to them.  Well, when my husband lost his job in January 2009 his reaction was one  of positive thinking – we would ‘tighten our belts’ and ‘tough it out’ until he could find another job.

Wouldn’t you know that month would be the month that our dishwasher would bite the dust.  With his new found free time, my husband tried like mad to fix it.  He got out his soldering gun and looked up the broken part online, but to no avail.  He broke the news gently, “Honey, we are going to have to wash the dishes by hand until I get a job.”  And so we did.  I pulled out a ‘stepper’ I had purchased from Get Toned at Home, and stepped while washing.  I did have much nicer abs that year.  I saw it as a “make lemonade moment”.  Little did I know there would be so many of those moments that year.WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS, MAKE LEMONADE

One of the most wonderful outcomes of this challenging time was learning just how great our community is.  We felt no shame in our situation.  My husband was a top producer at his prior job, but the corporation was tanking on Wall Street, and few were spared.  So, we told everyone our unfortunate news, and what a good idea that was!  We learned quickly how many programs exist to help those in need.  From the children’s school lunches to their sports fees, to extracurricular classes, we were able to find lots of financial assistance.  I learned that food stamps are now dispensed by a gold card called EBT  that you can swipe easily and discreetly at the machine you use for your ATM/credit card at check out.  What a help that was for our family of 6!

The first area to be cut– sitters and socializing.  I still had my Book Club and playgroups for the kids to keep me connected, but what I found was that I had the best kind of friends, too – the kind that are there in need.  When my dear friend Elizabeth (a contributor here) had a home party for CAbi clothes that winter with the new girl from Dallas as presenter (Carrie Humphreys – also a contributor here), I went to the party knowing full well that I wouldn’t (couldn’t) buy anything.  I started helping the others try on clothes after Carrie’s presentation, and Carrie asked me if I might consider being her assistant.  I said yes and have been with her ever since.  That day a few friends secretly picked out two pieces from the line for me which they casually bestowed on me at one of our kid’s sports games.  I was bowled over!

That was only the tip of the iceberg, though.  These amazing women never left me out of a lunch celebration or group outing.  For a year they kept me close and cheered us on.  We learned that the beauty of loss is when you see what you still have.   My husband and I grew closer to each other and our community in our hour year of need, and what seemed to be disaster was really a blessing in disguise.  Learning to live lean is a great lesson in these uncertain times, and I know the experience opened our children’s eyes to a new reality – one that much of the world faces daily.  Is it possible that we are better, more empathetic people now?  I sure hope so.  What I do know is that it really does “take a village” to get through the tough moments.

By the way, we replaced that dishwasher and I smile every time I turn it on.  Do you have a layoff story or a tip to share?

Photobucket

Divorce. Protect the Kids, They’ll Thank You.

Retro MomThose of you out there who have children will agree with me that raising your child has to be one of the most rewarding, yet difficult things you’ll ever do.  We all know how stressful bringing up children can be when you are married, but it is just as difficult, and at times even more so, when you and your spouse get divorced.    

Having been divorced for over five years now and raising an eleven-year-old child, I have developed my own tricks of the trade for raising children with your ex-spouse.  These tricks do not always involve drinking a box of wine, eating an entire bag of peanut butter cups and counting to 10 very slowly (okay, sometimes 100!) It is not always perfect but there are ways in which to make it easier for both you and your ex and more importantly, for your children. 

 Here is my own David Letterman “Top Ten List” for raising children with an ex spouse.  Well, it is actually a “Top Five List,” but who’s counting?

 Tip Number 1 – Put yourself in your child’s place ALL THE TIME –       The most important thing that you need to remember is the well-being of your child. He/she did not choose the decision you made to get divorced, so he/she should never suffer the aftershocks of it as either.  Before you say or do something that involves your ex, think about it from your child’s point of view and put yourself in his/her place.  Always remember that there are consequences for your actions.

 Tip Number 2 – No Monkey in the Middle!   –     Your child should never be in the middle of any argument between you and your ex.  It is very important to NEVER use your child as a pawn to make the other one upset.  You must put your differences aside (and trust me, you will have them) and ALWAYS put your child first!

 Tip Number 3 – Leave the boxing gloves at home! –  If you run into issues where you and your ex do not see eye-to-eye, then find a convenient time when your child is not around to talk about them.  Try to find a time when your child is in school, asleep, or even while he/she is outside playing.  You can take those opportunities to work out your differences, and try to come to an agreement without the chance of your child overhearing. 

Take the gloves off, in front off the kids

Take the gloves off, in front off the kids

 Tip Number 4 – If you cannot say anything nice then do not say anything at all – This is one that I feel is very important.  You should never talk ill of your ex-spouse in front of your children.  It does not matter how upset they make you or how furious you are with them, you always need to take the high road.  Your son/daughter needs to develop his or her own relationship with each of you, and berating each other only hurts you, and ultimately, your child.

 Tip Number 5 – Try to put yourself in your ex’s shoes – This tip has definitely helped me in times of turmoil.   It is common for both married and divorced couples to disagree on different areas of raising the children.  Heck, plenty of couples argue about everything from what kind of shoes to buy the kids to which colleges they should apply.  But, it’s important–whether married or divorced– to presented a united front.  You are always going to have differences of opinion, the key is to consider your ex’s point of view.  If you can have a healthy relationship with your ex, in the end, it will benefit everyone. 

Again, your child didn’t choose your spouse and the split certainly wasn’t your child’s fault, so they should never have to suffer for those decisions.   Once you have that mindset in place, chances are it will make things much easier for everyone…and your child will thank you down the road.  Mine has…

Divorce cartoon

My son drew these.

Divorce Cartoon 2

Kids notice everything

 

Do you come from a broken home, or are you a divorced mom?  I’d love to hear how you handled the turmoil with your kids or how your own upbringing affected your adult relationships.  Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Photobucket