Friday, June 15, 2018

Three Things On My Mind

(1) Marriage (Meh-widge)

I listened to a podcast about do's and don't's for marriage and it got me thinking about my own experiences (almost fourteen years of them!) and my own advice... Here are my top three do's/don'ts:

1. Do talk to your partner like you're talking to a co-worker.
I guess this assumes you have a healthy work environment and you're not, say, Harry Weinstein, but I know how easy it is to be short or sharp with the person you've become permanently yoked to. I actually called David out one time in a fight for being nicer to the people he works with than he was to me (dramatic, but possibly true in that specific moment) and I realized that unfortunately that same accusation probably applied to me, too.

When I have a problem at work, I make an effort to be courteous when I ask for help and to express appreciation for my coworkers. Even if I wanted someone to take over a part of a project, I would say, "I could really use your help with this" rather than, "OMG I'm doing EVERYTHING here can you just take care of this one thing?" (and a lot of it has to do with tone, obviously). It's really about being polite and respectful of their time and energy, and when you're under stress or in the trenches of parenting, that's not always easy to remember!

2. Don't keep score.
I think this one is pretty standard. It's just about recognizing that your spouse may be doing more than you give them credit for (although you are obviously doing the MOST work) and not feeling resentful about what's not getting done. This also connects to "don't assume s/he can read your mind" which David and I both have also been guilty of (although, honestly, him more than me as I'm very comfortable expressing exactly what is on my mind so he doesn't have to wonder--haha).

Sometimes I feel bitter about the loads of laundry (not the doing it so much as the putting it away) even though D does all the yard work and a lot of the cooking and it's easy--especially when we're busy--to feel a little tit for tat about who's doing what when and who's getting a massage or playing a ball game or going to yoga or going out with friends or always on bed/bath/toothbrush duty (I don't mind bath time at all, but I loathe supervising the toothbrushing, particularly if someone else is lying around looking at his phone at the time...). But we're both contributing and trying to make life better for each other, so scorekeeping does not help.

3. Laugh while you fight.
I can be for real pissed at David and still dissolve a little of the tension when one of us makes a joke or talks in a stupid voice. Sometimes when I'm angry, instead of yelling, I just text him the middle finger emoji. While were are standing in the same room having a "discussion." And then we both laugh because how stupid and immature is that? But also? He gets that I am still mad. You can be funny without giving in on an issue that is important to you (like the fact that your partner ALWAYS skips the flossing part of the kids' toothbrushing and that is NOT COOL).

We are both pretty good at diffusing tension with stupid jokes and I think that knowing you can be silly with this person even when you are legitimately angry about a specific issue is a reminder that it is the issue rather than the person that you hate.

I think those are my top three tips for staying married without losing your mind. Any you would add to that list?

(2) Avocados

You know what I'm tired of everyone making a big deal about like it's some kind of amazing super food?


They are smushy. They taste like a weird kind of smushy leaf. They are perpetually underripe or overripe.

I'm over them.

(Also I barfed every time I ate guacamole when I was pregnant with Coco--three times... I'm a slow learner--and now I just want to avoid avocados.)

(No need to defend avocados in the comments. I trust that my moratorium on them will not harm the avocado industry. I'm just saying... NO THANKS, green mush.)

They may be healthy and you may think that avocado toast with sea salt is god's greatest gift to the kitchen, to which I say: girlfriend, you need to try Nutella.

(mic drop)

(3) Summer Nights

Here's the thing about an 8pm meet up with a friend on a weeknight. In January, this would feel absolutely impossible. In June? It's fun and totally manageable. Daylight savings in the summer is my best friend. I love how summer days stretch on forever. I've always said that 8pm on a summer night is my favorite time of day. 8pm in February is bedtime. 8pm in July is happy hour.

I may try to cultivate more of a summer mindset this winter... we'll see how that goes. I think the best thing about living in the midwest is the seasonal shift... it's possible that each season gives us something we need, but this year spring was so late coming and winter was an unending January, so I'm not entirely sure about that. 

I'm curious... for people who work 12 months out of the year--does summer feel the same for you? Like it's still a bit of a vacation even though the basic routine is the same?


  1. Summer still feels great as someone who works full time. Getting out of work and still having sunlight is amazing and also makes taking a walk or doing anything after dinner, really, much easier. It does make me think sometimes I should have went into school librarianship instead of public, though. Summers off would rock.

  2. I work 12 months out of the year and summer feels like a vacation because I do not have to get the kids ready for school before I leave for work. Not having to deal with that is fantastic. I get up, get myself ready and leave. Most of the time the kids are still in bed when I go. I have four kids 11,9,6,4 so our mornings are sort of a freak show. Who am I kidding? Most of our life is a freak show, lol. I enjoy the slower pace of summer at home even if there's no break from work. Oh, and no homework. I am so over kids homework...

  3. Love your marriage tips! You sound as though you are writing about my marriage (the flossing!). We are going on 15 years this summer, and one of my big ones is to talk respectfully about your partner in front of others. I get the venting with girlfriends, but I really try to great my marriage as the sacred (sometimes, maybe) thing that it is.

  4. Totally on the avocado. Lipstick on a pig, doesn’t change a thing. Vis a vis marriage stuff. I’m old, but we’ve done the dont sweat the petty stufff/don’t pet the sweaty stuff adages. Choose your battles.

  5. One thing I read a long time ago was about experts predicting longevity/strength in marriage by how respectfully the couple talked to one another, even when angry. The other big factor was really listening to your partner when they talked, even when it was about something you had no interest in.
    Summer feels wonderful, even though for years it was our most busy and challenging time schedule wise. The magic of sunshine (and AC when needed!)

  6. I do remember a couple of fights with dh where we both wound up dissolving into fits of laughter. More fights should end like that...!

    Avocados have never appealed to me, much less guacamole (yuck).

    I'm not working anymore, period, but summer still feels special, and did when I was working too. Being able to just walk out of the house without putting on boots (or shoes at all, if I was just walking around the yard), coat, hat, scarf, gloves... what's not to enjoy??! lol So much more seems possible when the weather is nicer and the daylight lasts longer!

  7. I seriously love avocado. I could eat it on toast everyday and never tire of it. I ate it everyday on vacation. But, your Nutella line was hilarious. If I ate Nutella everyday on toast I'd be a 1000 lbs though. I don't think I've had it in 22 years, which is when I lived in Europe and nobody in the US even knew what it was. It is delicious though, but it's probably the quickest killer for my daughter. She sees Nutella in a container and shivers and walks the other direction.

    Your marriage thing reminded me of an old Diane Rehm show where she had her (now deceased) husband on to talk about marriage. I love DR, but I remember feeling really weird about that show. Her husband was quite a bit older than her, and she's no spring chicken, so I was oddly weirded out about their conversation on intimacy. I swear they said the best way they overcame tension and arguments was with sex and I was like "plug my ears, not listening" - it was like listening to my parents or grandparents talk about it. (This was probably 18-20 years ago, this show.) Anyway, I STILL remember it, so it obviously made an impression. And I'm not going to lie, I think it's the best advice. ;)

    1. LOL. Sex advice from Diane Rehm. Juicy. Better than avocados!

  8. Ad 3: Yes, totally! In the UK, permanent academic contracts cover all 12 months, but summer totally feels like a vacation. Exams wind down and are done by mid June; and then next term doesn't start until October (we don't have summer school...yet), so I've got FOUR MONTHS of reading and writing time! And only 6 weeks of that is my 6yo off school! I still go in to my office -- I work better there -- but I'm often the only one, which means I can crank my music up loud, or take my laptop down to the common room and sit with my shoes off and my feet up and the door to the garden open so I can get the sun and fresh air. And then, since at midsummer it doesn't get dark until past 11pm, I get home in the evenings and it's LIGHT and I have SO MUCH ENERGY and I DO THINGS.

    Ad 2: avocados are gross.