Tag Archives: parenting

#35: Tips on not becoming a junkie.

23 Nov

Credit: fuffer on Flickr

An iPhone junkie, that is.

My husband and I both have iPhones (I’ve got a 3Gs, he’s got a 4.) I don’t think he ‘plays’ with his iPhone as much as I do; but in all fairness (to me and my bad habit), he just got his after switching from a very old Blackberry, and he doesn’t know how to download and use all the nifty apps yet.

Here’s what I use my iPhone for:

  • Checking my work email
  • Checking my personal email
  • Looking at my ‘friends’ feed in Facebook
  • Checking for Facebook notifications
  • Reading celebrity gossip
  • Playing Bubble Shooter (free edition)
  • Googling anything I don’t know
  • Checking my bank account
  • Checking my Amex account
  • changing the channel on the tv (thank you Verizon Fios app!)
  • Texting my family
  • Talking on the phone

What do you use your mobile phone for?

Now, I’ll be clear now. I’m not addicted to my phone. I’ve left it at home and not had a panic. I’ve forgotten my charger on vacation and not had a panic.

However, I’m on my phone way too much. It follows me around the house (as in, I bring it with me around the house.) I play too much Bubble Shooter. A lot of times, I just fiddle away on it while we’re watching television. My rationale is that, well, we’re watching television. It’s not like we’re interacting.

However, is my phone use contributing to any lack of interaction? I don’t know. But I’m not particularly wanting to find out. Especially since I read this article today online about how your happiness level actually seems to depend on your spouses happiness level (this was only true of married couples in the study.) It says that if you’re happy, you’re spouse is much more likely to be happy.

Well, how can my hubby know how happy (or unhappy) I am if I’m buried in my iPhone?

As a secondary point, my daughter is seven years old. I need to start NOW setting a good example about phone/digital device etiquette.

So here are some tips on good etiquette that I intend to follow:

I won’t text while driving. I typically don’t, but I’ll make an effort not to at all. I’m really not use to my family if I’m dead from a texting accident.

No phone during any meals. I never do this anyway. Mostly. The only exception is if I’m checking for texts from the babysitter.

I won’t play games/read celebrity gossip, etc for more than 10 minutes at a time. Hey, let’s face it. I’m going to do those things. My phone has practically replaced the computer for those sorts of things. But 10 minutes, max, especially if I’m hoping for some quality time with the husband. I don’t want him to feel ignored.

I won’t bring my phone into the bedroom at night. I’ll leave it to charge in the kitchen. This is a new rule for me. I bring it in a lot, and scan the news or check Facebook before bed. There’s no need for this. Bedtime is ‘cuddle’ time. Reconnect time. (You get the idea.)

What other tips can you recommend?

#30: “Do you have a Bandaid? Because I just scraped my knee falling for you.”

8 Nov

A cheesy pickup line? Not REALLY my thing, but when you’re trying to be as clever as I am on a daily basis, you think outside of the box.

So last week when I was in Florida and saw a ‘Pick-Up Lines’ Magetic Poetry Kit at a magnet shop (yep; a shop that just had magnets), I decided to buy it and have a little fun with it.

I can’t even remember what I put together for my first little quote on the fridge; it was something slightly naughty but mostly funny. He laughed and got a kick out of it.

Yesterday, I was opening the fridge and saw:

I love you all my life

Love it! My husband decided to play along! Ironically, I tried to be a little ‘naughty’ to appeal to the man in him (thinking that’s how he’d go about this little game), and interestingly enough he responded back with a mushy phrase.

This is going to be fun!

#29: What should we do everyday with our spouse but sometimes don’t?

5 Nov

Kiss. That’s right. KISS.

My husband and I are definitely in love, and definitely happy. But it dawned on me recently that sometimes a day will go by where we haven’t kissed at all. AT ALL!!

How can that be? He often jumps right out of bed to go to the gym in our building. When he gets back, I’m getting the kiddo ready for daycare, so he showers. Then all of a sudden it’s time for him to head out the door and it’s ends up as sort of a rushed, “Have a nice day!”

Same at night; he starts dinner, I feed the baby, we play with the baby, we watch a little tv or do some talking, and then we pass out cold.

Do you have any little routines or traditions you love in your marriage? We have one I love; it’s called ‘Family Time’, and as soon as we’re all home, we all pile up onto the bed and just chill for a few minutes. It helps as parents unwind for five minutes after a long day before jumping into dinner, baths, and whatever else we need to get done. We get to tickle and cuddle and play with the little one, and my daughter (if she is with us and not at her dad’s house) will tell us all about her day. It’s a great time.

So in the spirit of happy traditions, the other night while my husband and I were talking, I asked him if we could start a new tradition. It went something like this:

Me: So, I was thinking….

Husband: Uh oh….

Me: No no, this is good! I’m not about to tell you that you did something wrong.

Husband: Okay…

Me: I was thinking we could start a new tradition. Let’s make sure we kiss at least once in the morning, and at least once at night. And I mean a NICE kiss. Not just a quick unthoughtful kiss.

Husband: Yeah, but we do that already.

Me: Do we?

Husband: Hmm.. Maybe you’re right…..

So with that, our new kissing routine was born. And I’ll tell you, it’s great! We spent some nice time last night kissing like teenagers before bed! And this morning, as he was leaving for work, we hugged, and then he remembered and gave me a big kiss.

This sounds silly and simplistic, but think about the implications if you DON’T kiss for long stretches. I think it makes it that much harder to be intimate in general, and especially if you’re stressed, have had an argument, or something of the like. I think NOT kissing allows the distance between a couple to grow, which is never a good thing.

Be honest; how often do you kiss your spouse/partner?

Off Topic: Your 5 year old may or may not be gay??

4 Nov

“My Son is Gay. Or Not.” is the title and first line of one of today’s Freshly Pressed blogs on WordPress.  A mother, who clearly loves her child, wrote about how she was fully supportive of her five year old son as he dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for his preschool Halloween party.

And I agree with her. At five years old, kids are creative, expressive, interested in everything around them, and just want to have some fun. If my son wanted to dress as Daphne for Halloween, then so be it. This mother even wrote about how some of the mothers at the preschool approached her and told her how inappropriate his costume was, to which she responded that really it was none of their business.

This woman has over 7,000 comments (update: 35,000) to her post, with most being, “how awesome! you rock as a mom” and similar. I think that’s the easy comment to make, after all; this woman stuck up for her kid. But something about this post really bothered me; I had to reread this post several times to figure out why. What really bothered me about the post was her choice of title. And I can’t believe more people don’t have a problem with it.

Here’s what I commented on her blog:

I can’t overstate how happy I am that you are letting your son just be who he is. He’s five years old, for goodness sake! Halloween is about fantasy and dress up. Anything ‘out of the ordinary’ at five years old is surrounding gender roles…not sexuality.

But something has been nagging me for the past hour since I’ve read this:
The title of the post. And it’s like a rock in my stomach.

This post is about your five year old being who he is, and close minded parents A, B, and C. This isn’t about sexuality at five years old (though I have no doubt whatsoever that you’ll love your son no matter what.)

What if your son finds this blog when he’s older, having no prior knowledge of it? I think, no matter how accepting and loving I am of my son (and I am), he would be so hurt. What if he didn’t read the whole post, but instead finds an archive of the “Freshly Pressed” page – all Freshly Pressed has regarding your post is a picture of your son dressed as a girl, and the title, “My Son is Gay.”

I can imagine my son would be hurt or humiliated, with either “I can’t believe how embarrassed I am by this post” or “I can’t believe my mother outed me when I was five years old to thousands of people.”

If I wrote about this, my title wouldn’t be “My Son is Gay. (Or not.)” It would make more sense if the title were, “So what if he’s dressed up like a girl?” or something similar, because then you’re not addressing the sexuality of a five year old, but instead gender roles.

If her son ever finds WordPress’s Freshly Pressed Archives, here’s exactly what he’ll see:

I’m sorry, but I could not do that to my son. 7,000+ people, however, have failed to consider this. Read her post and some of the comments, then tell me what your thoughts are.

Situation #6: Weekend update.

11 Oct

DC Bomb Scare. 5mph on the highway. A cranky husband. Those are just a few of the things that have occurred over the past three days.

As most of you know, my husband went away to a conference last week, and I wasn’t sure how I’d handle it. As I mentioned in my last post, I thought I did pretty darn good!

I couldn’t WAIT to see him. He’s been a ball of mush lately, and I’ve been riding the wave of the whole ‘in-love’ part of marriage for the last few weeks.

Trying to leave work:

Friday afternoon, we texted all afternoon, and I was so excited for him to board his flight to head home. About an hour before leaving work, one of my colleagues noticed lots of police outside our office and that the road was closed. I’m not an alarmist, but here’s something I haven’t mentioned yet;

  • Fact #1 I live in Washington, DC. And if you guess that police action in DC is common, you’d be guessing right.
  • Fact #2 I work in an office that is VERY close to The White House (and yes, I know the picture I posted is not of the White House).

So of course my alarm bells were ringing. Then our front desk told us that it was a bomb scare. I left work and went to get the kiddo from daycare to head home.  All in all, it took me an hour and a half to leave work, get the kiddo, and get back home. That’s less than 20 miles, by the way.

Getting to the airport:

I fed the kiddo a quick dinner, packed up the baby bag with goodies in case we had to wait too long at the airport, and we took to the road. It’s 29 miles to the airport. Husband’s flight was scheduled to arrive at 8:49pm. I left the house at 7:15pm I figured that would give me time to park, find his gate, and be waiting at the appropriate area for him.

I was wrong. There was a major accident on the highway, and I was slowed to 5mph. For OVER five miles. Now, there were several exits I could have taken to get off the highway and take backgrounds, but wouldn’t you know, he was arriving at the only DC area airport I haven’t yet been to (we have three major airports here, one I can SEE right out my window. He was not arriving at that one.) So I couldn’t get off the highway; I had no idea where to go. I eventually made it, and arrived right as he was exiting the terminal. Right on time!! It was so exciting! He was with a colleague, so I didn’t get all mushy right away. As his colleague was walking away, he said to my husband, “See you on Monday!”

See you on Monday? SEE YOU ON MONDAY??? Monday is a holiday!! I have it off. He thought he had it off.

He texted his boss to confirm that Monday was a work day. It was. I had to bite my tongue. I hadn’t seen my husband in days, and thought we were going to have a nice long weekend together. It wasn’t his fault, though. No use taking it out on him.

The weekend

My awesome wonderful husband was a crank all weekend. He complained that there was a basket of laundry that wasn’t folded, that there were dishes in the sink… the list goes on. I felt totally deflated. I thought I did a good job! Between the kiddo being sick, me trying to work, trying to get everything done…ugh. I know I’m not the most tidy person you’ve ever met. I admit I’m not. And I know it frustrates my husband, because, well, he IS rather tidy.

I don’t like being untidy; I just FORGET to do stuff.

Saturday afternoon, I went over to Barnes and Noble and bought a weekly planner. In the back, in the notes section, I wrote out a checklist of all the stuff I should be doing on a daily basis (one page for morning, one page for afternoon). And then on the actual days, I’ve started writing other chores that need to be done; for example, today I need to sew a button on a pair of pants. Had I not written it on the calendar for today, it may not have gotten done until next weekend.

The Rest

Even so, the husband has still been a bit cranky all weekend long, and a little distant too. I was frustrated. I know I’m not neat, and I know it frustrates him, but was that reason for me to totally feel deflated? It’s a pretty crappy feeling.

So this morning I sent him an email:

Hey handsome. I love you, and the kiddo and I miss you today.I’m really not sure what happened this weekend.. (besides our great lovin’), I just felt like you were distant and somewhere else. I was so looking forward to seeing you after your trip, and I feel like it just did not go  anything like I thought I would. I thought things had been going great for weeks, I felt really good like we were in a good place, but this weekend was just a down weekend I guess. I felt you come across as negative and cranky all weekend, and it got me really uptight. I’m sorry about all the stuff around the house; I’ll keep trying to work on it. I’ve got a little list going today. I love you lots, and I really look forward to spending the weekend with you next weekend.

He sent two responses, which I’ve edited and put together to save space:

I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to come across that way. I’ve been stressed out about work. It isn’t happening fast enough and that just doesn’t bode well. Everything that I’ve put together has fallen apart and everything of value is taking too long to materialize. So, it’s been weighing on me for a few weeks now.I should have told you that this was stressing me out and not made you feel like it’s you, and I’m sorry if I’ve been taking it out on you.

I learned a few lessons, here:
  • I thought this was all about ME. The world doesn’t revolve around me.
  • I’m glad I had some self-restraint. Earlier, my husband had told me he appreciated me picking him up at the airport, and that his colleague’s wife wasn’t picking him up because it was too much of a hassle. When he started getting on my case about the laundry and the dishes later, it took every ounce of me to not say to him, “Well perhaps this is why your colleague’s wife doesn’t pick him up at the airport; she’s probably too busy at home tidying up to perfection so he doesn’t complain when he gets home.” I can guarantee, though, if I had said that, there’s no way he would have opened up to me and told me he was stressed at work with his new job. He would have been justified in making it about me.
  • It’s best to stay calm and not rush to judgment.
  • My husband is TRYING. He’s REALLY trying. He’s not exactly Mr. Openupandsharefeelings, especially when I bitch back at him, so this is major. He wants to work hard for our marriage, and it’s a conscious thing. He’s not just subconsciously or peripherally thinking about our marriage and our family.

 

Situation #5: Preparing for the husband’s return home, and perhaps annoying some feminists, too

8 Oct

My husband returns home tonight, thank goodness.

My initial thoughts on this whole situation? If my husband has to travel for work, there’s no way I can work full time and care for a ten month old and manage to feed us, clothe us, bathe us, and keep the house in order.

I’ve been reading a lot of great blogs lately written by other mothers, soon-to-be mothers, wives, and women in general ( Melbourne Mumma, Life in the Married Lane, Country Man’s WifeDalai Lina, In Like Flynn, As the Raven Flies, Mrs. Long, Conflicted Mean Girl, Miss Entregate, Give Thanks and Praise,  just to name a few), and they’ve all really got me thinking about what the heck my role is in my own life.

If my husband traveled frequently? There’s no doubt; I’d be a stay at home mother. A housewife. This is where I might annoy some feminists. I’m all for equal rights. Well guess what? Equal rights are on the books now. I can vote, I can buy property, I can have a job outside the home. I’m also entitled to equal pay, and I’m certain I’ve got that.

So the problem is, I know that I’m entitled to equality, and there are even laws on the books now to enable me to fight for these rights if they’re violated, but what if I don’t think all things are equal? What if by both parents working and trying to do everything, we’re spreading ourselves too thin? What if we’re both stressed about not spending enough time with work, both stressed about spending enough time with the kids, both stressed about getting things done around the house? How does that make sense? We’re supposed to BOTH run ourselves ragged because I want to feel equal?

Well, I do feel equal to my husband. Equally exhausted, I’m sure! If it were financially possible in our city (and it’s not – yet- I’ve run the numbers many many times), what would be so wrong with me staying home and taking care of the kids and maintaining the house? My husband wouldn’t have an extra 30 minute commute each way to work (on top of his already 45 minute + commute) to take our son to daycare, he could take the shorter route to work, I could spend some quality times with our son and older daughter, I could actually keep the house in decent order, get laundry and such done during the day, I could have dinner ready for my husband when he got home…I could go on and on. How is this bad?

I suppose if I had no choice and HAD to stay home, perhaps I would resent my husband? But I have a choice, so what would there be to resent? I think the only thing to resent would be the feminists telling me that I’m not fulfilling my own educational aspirations, my career aspirations, that I’m somehow being subservient to my husband. I think I’d resent being given that look of ‘Oh, you’re JUST a wife…JUST a stay at home mom…’ I think what I’d tell those feminists is that the world doesn’t revolve around me, and it doesn’t revolve around them, either. It’s not ALL about what I want, it’s also about what’s best for my family.

And with that, back to the point. I’m fortunate that my husband doesn’t travel often, so as of this evening when he returns, this whole supermom tryingtodoitall thing ends, and I get my amazing partner back.

Side note: Right after my husband left, our son got real sick, spent time in the doctor’s office, and we even have our own home nebulizer for the kiddo now. It’s been a rough few days with very little sleep. I am THRILLED to have my husband back, but I’m also proud of myself that I could handle all the situations that came up while he was gone. I have a tendency to lean on my husband perhaps more than I should. He deserves a medal!!!

#15 – Be more polite to my husband than I am to my boss

9 Sep

How come we treat perfect strangers and our bosses wonderfully, but sometimes treat the most important person in the world like crap?

Now, I don’t particularly treat my husband like crap, but there are times when I get snippy and disrespectful, which doesn’t make any sense at all, since he’s the person I love and respect most in the world.

I read an article about being a good spouse in The Times (a UK paper), and a post on the blog From Dates to Diapers about making your husband a priority.

Both essentially spell out that though your kids and jobs are priorities, your spouse is THE priority. Of course the kids are important, but if you neglect your marriage and it fails, that does them no good! If you make your marriage the priority instead of the kids, it helps in lots of ways:

  1. You stay married.
  2. The kids don’t have to go through a divorce.
  3. The kids see a great example of how a healthy relationship functions.

Today, I’m going to work on just being nice. Being nicer and more respectful to my spouse than to people I barely know. I know this is more of an abstract little project, but tonight I’m going to put in a lot of effort and see where things end up.

And of course, all these things, these projects,  are cumulative. Sure, I’m writing about each thing once on this blog, but as I focus on them once, I’m trying to continue focusing on them. (See my latest assessment for more on this.)

(Curious what my Marriage Project is all about? Did you read yesterday’s post about sending my husband some goodies at work?)

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