Saturday, January 28, 2012

Our Blazers Game (Steal-a-Post)

We took our three older kids to the Trailblazers game last Monday, but my friend Kelly wrote all about it, so I'll just let you read about it on her blog.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sometimes Someone Says It For You

Every once in a while you find someone who writes exactly what you wanted to say, but better. I don't know if all parents feel this way, but I sure do...

Don't Carpe Diem

Monday, January 16, 2012

The One Place Where I'm Always Too Thin

As a mom of four I constantly find myself spread too thin, despite my best efforts to take stuff out of my life. I wish I could take this talent and instead constantly find myself too thin around my thighs or abdomen, but alas, my talent is limited.

It doesn't help that today the kids had the day off of school. I had what I thought were very modest expectations for the day: take the van in to get the remote locks fixed, clear the junk pile off my computer desk and maybe make sandwiches for lunch. I somehow got sucked into several of loads of laundry, dealing with a temper tantrum and transferring CDs to my computer and several other things.
It's a familiar pattern. I start what seems like a simple task. As I make ever-more-desperate attempts to finish I get constantly interrupted by the latest crisis: by Jackson head-butting into me for the fun of it, Addy climbing on my lap, Jared explaining exactly why Camryn is in the wrong in their latest disagreement, Camryn asking if I will let her make breadsticks, the dog chewing a plastic container lid or Addy deciding to bite my arm just for the fun of it (10 seconds ago). Eventually I give up and flee my laundry folding/desk organizing/dish-doing attempts for the temporary consolation of facebook/blogging/eating a snack that doesn't look like it has too many calories.

There are people out there that have children and appear to still be partially sane. What's their secret?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Today I was slated to teach a song for Camryn's activity days. Jared wanted to stay home, so I let him. Jackson was getting ready to play "Don't Break the Ice" and didn't want to come. Nonetheless, Jared and Jackson fight like cats and dogs so I insisted that Jackson come with me.

He screamed the whole way here, the whole time I taught the song and continues to whine while we wait for Cam to be done. Yay.

PS Blogging on an iPhone with a screaming toddler on your lap is less effective. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Feminist Rant of the Day

Recently I found a link to a website on Pinterest that just pushed all my feminist buttons and I just needed to have a good rant about it. It is a cutesy blog about "strengthening marriages," but to my admittedly very jaded eyes it just screams "ignored wives trying to get self-absorbed and checked-out husbands to actually acknowledge that they exist."

I freely admit that the concept of "dating" your spouse is a really good one-- I've always been an advocate of that-- but the idea (which the website implies) that it is entirely the wife's responsibility to plan dates, "spice up the marriage" and "focus on her husband" really rubs me the wrong way. I'm all for dating, but whatever happened to just getting some food and having an honest, real conversation for three hours? Or maybe having your husband take a turn putting in some effort to plan something fun and creative? You know, like a loving, mature relationship of equal partners? But beyond these *minor* irritations, it's just plain hard for me to not instantly hate a website where one of the writers lists as the craziest thing she's ever done: 

"Get ready for it..........I modeled a swimsuit on TV just 8 weeks after delivering my triplets!" 

Well you know how I react when that happens... Seriously?! Ohmygosh, I just HATE it when I do that. My DEAR hubby was so {embarassed} for me when I did that. ROFL! You are SO {crazy}!. .... So way to pin a rose on your nose. Yes, I'm a bitter old woman. I think we've established that. [Disclaimer: I make no pretense to being impartial, objective or fair in my representation of this website. I reserve the right to quote only the *best* portions of said website.]

So here is their intro:

"We began this lil’ venture of dating our spouses, just like anyone else…..waaay back before we said, “I Do”! Back when dates were the most important element of our life and held a high status over all else. {WINK} Being at the top of our lists, the focus on dating helped us fall MADLY in love with the men we now call our DEAR husbands." 

I don't know about you, but dates were always the most important element of my life and held a high status over all else. {Wink} Dumb things like my education, developing my talents or trying to contribute to the world were always on back burner, FOR SURE.
"We all know that marriage can become TOO comfortable {a.k.a. routine} and dating your amazing spouse – the way you did when first falling in love… is the sure-fire way to keep that SPARK in marriage!" 

And that means crazy, over-the-top dates like having dinner on a table set up in the middle of a traffic median. What better way to fan the flames of romance?

Lest you question their cred in giving marriage advice, they have pictures of each of the "divas" posted to prove their attractiveness.  But wait... one of these things is not like the other. No, wait. They all are. Exactly like the others. Over-made-up. But who could love a woman without piles of make-up on? Whew. You wouldn't want to get marriage advice from anyone who was unattractive. {Eek!}

Their website tells us how all of these girls had the same "problem":

"Each of them was married to a super-duper hottie, of course, but they were discovering that they were letting LIFE take over...and weren't focusing on their husbands as much as they would like!"

Gasp! Oh no! Everyone knows that a woman's greatest purpose in life is to focus on her husband! How could they? The obvious solution? Over-planned cutesy dates, making sure to choose their husbands' favorite take-out spots instead of their own. (Because we all know how selfish those mommies are. Stuck on themselves and their babies! Hardly any sex at all! Good grief, what's a man to do? Any problems are always due to the wife not focusing on her husband like she needs to. Duh.) P.S. I'm glad they reassured us that their husbands are "hotties." Why would you waste time on a guy who wasn't physically attractive above all else? That is the most important thing in a person, right?

Before I get angry responses that there is nothing wrong with devoting time/attention to your husband, craftsy-ness, "not letting yourself go," doing nice things for your husband, being unselfish in a relationship or actually planning a date, I freely acknowledge and concur with all of the above. I'm sure many of the date ideas mentioned on the website are really good and would be fun. I'm not implying that women should just ignore the needs of others, be selfish, be ashamed of being craftsy or promote boring/serious dates that aren't "super-cute" (well, at least not too much). But my personal experience is that way too many women with families become totally caught up in the needs of others and lose track of the fact that they are people too, with needs and feelings of their own.

I guess my beef with the whole thing is the implication that it is the wife's responsibility to "focus on her husband" and that if the quality of the relationship is sliding it is because she needs to make things great for him, rather than a relationship being a partnership and built between two people. And I think there is a very strong cultural bias that makes women feel like they are failing personally and need to fix something if their partner is disengaged or not meeting their needs. I'm not implying that you can or should try to make someone else change, but you shouldn't immediately assume that it is your fault because you are failing or doing something wrong either. Each partner needs to attend to his/her own needs, their partner's needs and their needs as a couple and work through those together.

"Focusing on your husband" can perpetuate a cycle where the wife over-functions in their relationship (often while under-functioning in regards to meeting her own needs) to desperately try to get the husband to engage. Meanwhile, the husband habitually under-functions in the relationship and slides along while his wife tries to compensate for him ignoring what should be his contribution to the relationship. She pursues/he distances. She over-functions/he lets her take care of everything. (See Harriet Lerner's "The Dance of Anger," "The Dance of Intimacy," et al). And issues like that might need to be addressed more directly than by making sure your make-up is cute and you have an elaborate plan for your upcoming date. But that's just my nerdy philosophizing. And if you don't agree with me, at least you'll get some great marriage mileage out of the following ideas:

  1. Personally, I think handcuffing your spouse to your arm and dragging him to get take-out is always a good idea. What guy doesn't love being dragged to his favorite take-out spot in feathered handcuffs? Super-cute!!! {WINK} 
  2. Um, seriously? We all know the solution to a low female libido is not attention to HER sexual or emotional needs, sharing, emotional connection or feeling heard, but just Batman underpants. ("But honey, I found this great idea on a website...")
  3. This one is particularly barfy. The thing every new mom needs to be told after surviving nine months of pregnancy and delivering a baby is to...
  • Be sure to lay out your husband's pj's for him so he can relax
  • Send notes to him "from the baby" on his phone all day long
  • Don't talk about how hard your day was
  • "Dress up cute for your man and be there for him. They understand what you are going through so they will be happy with anything that you do. So dressing up cute (or even a little skimpy – ahem, especially if you are nursing – WINK) would lead to other things without involving intercourse [while you're on your post-baby 'pelvic rest']."
  • Buy him a Willow Tree statue of a dad holding his baby with a cute note attached. [What every man dreams of! Okay, who knows? Maybe there are men that are into that kind of thing....]
  • And since no man could possibly survive six weeks without sex, they will prep you on how to care-take him there too. Phew. Because the most important thing you need to think about during those first six weeks is NOT recovering from a major medical event, adjusting to parenthood, trying to maintain your sanity with no sleep, meeting the needs of a new baby, adjusting to breastfeeding, recovering from stitches/tearing/afterpains or wondering whether you (including your nether parts) will ever feel/look/function the same again. (Or maybe wondering how YOU will survive without "getting some" for six weeks or how it will work if a baby screams in the middle of it or if it will ever not be painful post-episiotomy or tearing.) No, the most important thing is making sure your husband can survive that six week "dry spell" while you are "selfishly" wrapped up in the baby. Because the only possible reason for a woman to exist is to do cutesy things for her husband, provide sex and have no needs/thoughts/feelings of her own, right?? And everyone knows the only way that a women feels fulfilled is by having a man who wants to have sex with her. 
I'm not saying that you don't need to include him in parenting, address your husband's feelings or his physical/emotional/sexual needs upon becoming a father, but the implication that it's the wife's responsibility to anticipate/fix everything is downright pukey to me. How about a simple, "Honey, this is what I am feeling and needing right now. What are you feeling and needing right now?"

Sure, I could also make snarky comments about the men's websites full of tips on "lookin' good for your spouse," how to date your wife, "spice it up" and make sure your wife is "fulfilled" during the six weeks she is on pelvic rest after a baby, except-- oh wait. There aren't any. Actually, I lied. There are a few websites on "How to Date your Wife," but the only ones I could find were either written or co-written by women. You mean we have a cultural void in that area? You're kidding! Too bad.