Wednesday, April 27, 2011

To judge or not to judge?

Ahhh.  Something that I think that we are all guilty of at one point or another.

Judging people.

Actually, I think most of us do it everyday.

I think it's natural, and quite automatic.

But does that make it right?

I'm not sure about the answer on that, but I think it depends on if your "judgment" is malicious or not.

We all come to conclusions about people when seeing them for the first time.  What they are wearing, how they look, and how they are presenting themselves.  This is why we have all of these (fabulous) reality shows about how to dress yourself better.  All of these shows have a point.  If you represent yourself in a certain way, people assume things about you.

For example.  When I roll out of bed and take the Munchkin to school with coffee breath, shmeared makeup, and crazy hair, and dragging the little ones with me, someone might assume that I have a bit of a crazy life with three small children.  Uh, yeah, crazy wouldn't be the word, but close.  If I then drag the two little ones with me while having the coffee breath, shmeared makeup, and crazy hair to run errands, someone might label me as possibly not caring enough about myself to get ready, and possibly even put me in the trashy category.  We don't like to think that people are going to make these assumptions, but that's reality.  I don't have the time in the morning to get myself showered and prettied up.  I will forever take the Munchkin to school bleary eyed with coffee breath.  I will tell you that every parent and teacher at her school has been where I am, and don't think anything of it!

This is where the putting yourself into someone else's shoes comes into play.  When I see harried women toting one, two, three or more children around wearing something that kind-of doesn't resemble jammies, and possibly wearing slippers as shoes (hey, I've done that too), I feel her pain and time limits because I know she is probably trying to get as much done as she can while she can.  Not everyone thinks that way.

Are we able to judge without being judgmental?  I know that sounds like it isn't possible, but I think it is.

You can come to conclusions about people, but not hold your assumption about them against them.  You never know what is going on with someone, you don't wear their shoes.  You can only try to see more than one side of the story.

If you come across someone who is rude, or one of your friends says something that rubs you the wrong way, you may consider that they could just be having a bad day.  Try to see it from the opposite side of where your conclusion landed you.

Some people have had the opinion that while I was working, I was unavailable to be with my husband and family (uh....that would be one of the people that lives in my house who shall remain nameless).  In this case, it was only seen from one point of view.  I was sacrificing time with my family to work and bring in money to help support the family.  This goes for time spent at school as well.  I am trying to better myself to make a better life for my family.  Other people would ask me how I managed to juggle everything.  How did I keep going on 5 hours of sleep, working full time, and three small children and a husband.  Why I must be superwoman, right?  Well, superwoman maybe (but I'm still waiting for my cape), but I didn't do it alone, and I had the support of my very wonderful husband and totally awesome friends.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with two other moms last night and had a great time talking to them!  They are moms who use cloth diapers, and breastfeed, and all that good stuff.  I am not one of those moms.  I love my disposable diapers, and breastfeeding didn't and wouldn't have worked for me.  But the most wonderful part of this?  I didn't think of them as tree-hugging hippie moms, and they didn't think that I was a horrible mom.  We are all just moms who are trying to be the best that we can be and doing what works for us!!!!  And, we can offer advice and an ear to one another if all doesn't go as planned.  I can also feel confident in saying that there will be no judgment involved in that.  We are trying to support each other and help each other in any way that we can.  Now THAT is totally awesome!

So what I guess I'm trying to say is that while we judge people, we don't have to be mean and cruel about it.  We can come to our conclusions, but try on the other shoe to see how it fits.  Maybe just maybe you might understand more people than you ever thought possible.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Comfort in Love (Repost)

I was just reading through some of my postings just to read.  Sometimes it can remind of something that I should be thinking of or working on.

I thought that I would re-post this and share with you, because it's so true for me right now.  So many people have trials in their relationship, and we need a reminder that we really do love our spouse.  And also a reminder to smack ourselves upside the head when we aren't behaving as well as we should.


There is comfort in love.

The comfort that you know that you are loved.

The comfort that someone is there for you when you need to be loved.

There is also that time when love BECOMES comfortable.  

When love becomes comfortable it can mean different things.

It can become comfortable in the way that you relax and you can be yourself and know that the other person will love you no matter what.

It can also be comfortable in the way that you get lazy and can get trapped in a cycle that can lend itself to carelessness.  You can land in that place of taking your love for granted.

Both of these things go hand in hand.

I think that we have all been there.  I know that my husband loves me.  I also know that he is guilty of taking me for granted.  I will absolutely say the same thing about myself.

I am not perfect.

He is not perfect.

Why then do we expect our LOVE to be perfect?

I haven't figured this one out.  Jon and I are quickly approaching 14 years of being together.  We STILL can't figure out how to love each other without hurting each other.

Maybe love IS part of the problem.  I've heard a lot of people say that you hurt the ones that you love the most.  Is this because we truly believe in the unconditional love that is formed?  Or is it because we just take for granted that the other person will stand up, dust the hurt off, and continue on?

I would LOVE to figure out HOW to find comfort in love without becoming too comfortable.  I realize that it's a two way street.

I have honestly never tried harder in my life to be more loving and considerate...not only to my husband, but to other loved ones in my life as well.

Though I must say, my husband is the one that I struggle with the most.

I guess it might have something to do with the fact that we have three children 3 and under.  It also might have something to do with the fact that we very rarely get to spend time alone.  It also might have something to do with the fact that we are both exhausted...physically and mentally.

So here is the what point to we get over ourselves and get on with our love for each other?

It's a work in progress.  Every day needs to be a new start.  I say that here, but I really have to implement it into my life.  Again, I'm not perfect, so in progress.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Marriage Class #4

Have you bridged the gender gap?

Well, I suppose it depends on what you mean by "bridging" the gap.  Ha ha ha.  Okay.  All jokes aside.

I'm going to say sometimes.

This is a little more specific than the communication class.  It's part of communication, but more detailed.  It's the parts of us that make us, well, us, and therefore, how we communicate.

Acknowledging and appreciating the differences between us (you and your spouse) will improve your relationship.

First thought.  Really?  I have to appreciate what he does differently even if it drives me absolutely batty?

Second thought.  Okay.  I get it.  We are supposed to compliment each other, not be the same.  (Uh which is part of the fun part...that we aren't the same)

Okay.  We were given a list of things to rank in importance(from 1 to 6) to us (as an individual) and then compare answers.

                                        Beth                          Jon
Admiration                         3                              2
Affection                            6                              5
Commitment                       6                              6
Companionship                    6                              5
Conversation                      5                              3
Financial Support                 3                              3
Honesty                             6                              5
Intimacy                            5                              6
Personal Space                   4                              4
Respect                             6                              5
Rootedness                         5                              3
Security                             6                              5
Sex                                   5                              6
Shared Activities                 3                              5

So, we are fairly close on most of them.  The biggest difference for us was conversation, rootedness (which basically means stability), and shared activities.

Conversation is probably our biggest challenge.  I like to talk.  A lot.  Gee, can you tell?  Anyway.  I also have what Jon calls a train wreck of thought.  Which means I can talk about 20 different topics during a 5 minute conversation.  Which, I sometimes have to explain how I jumped from one subject to another.  Jon doesn't always want to talk.  He's actually kind-of quiet, so it's a work in progress.

Rootedness, eh.  I guess it's important, but not.  We agree on this actually.  We know that we can weather any storm.  That doesn't mean that it's easy, but we can get through anything.  You name it, we've been through it.

Shared activities.  This is an interesting one.  We spend almost all of our time together.  Most of the time our activities revolve around the kids.  Which we love, and we don't really get time away from them, so it's really just a non-issue at this point.  I mean having activities that we share that don't include the kids.

So basically men and women are different.  Really?  No kidding, but it's nice to have some things pointed out so that they are obvious enough to smack you upside the head when needed.

Men focus on achievement, women focus on relationships.  

That's basically true.  I am very goal-oriented myself, but my relationships are very important to me as well.  I think men often overlook the importance of relationships with people.

What every Husband should know about his Wife:
She needs to be cherished.
She needs to be known (really know her...thank her for sharing).
She needs to be respected.

What every Wife should know about her Husband:
He needs to be admired (although my husband doesn't agree with this).
He needs to have autonomy (which my husband says women need too).
He needs to have shared activities (at this point he said he would rather have the other list).

So moral of this story is that if you meet each others unique needs, then you are on the right path to a better, healthier marriage.

Sounds good to me.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Marriage Class #3

Class number 3 = communication, or at least learning how to communicate.

Seems easy.

Not so much.

You can "communicate" all you want, but if you don't understand your spouse's "style" of communication, it gets you nowhere fast.

I think that Benjamin Franklin had it right.  "Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."

I, probably like most people, have difficulty with this.  It's easy to get snarky and let your filters shut off, and really did I just say that in my out-loud voice?  You know what I'm talking about, we've all been there.

Men and women communicate much differently.  Well duh, right?  Uh, guess not.  Because if we KNEW this, and it wasn't an ISSUE, there wouldn't be marriage classes to learn how to COMMUNICATE  better.

Here it is.  In the most broken down form.  For men and for women.

Can you say what you mean and understand what you hear?

I'm 31 years old.  I would think that I would be able to put how I feel and what I mean into fairly easy to understand words by now.

Not.  So.  Much.

I find myself asking more and more, do I need to say this differently to make myself clear?  (okay, this sounds way more snotty than intended, but you get the drift)

And no.  I don't necessarily understand the words that are coming out of your mouth.  As much as I try JUST to listen to your words, I still THINK I know what you mean.  Totally not the case.  I have to stop and remember that there isn't some underlying meaning to what you just said.  Yes.  Totally my bad.  That's how my brain functions...unfortunately.  Umm, hello communication issues!

Which would be why this class is helping!

We learned that there are 3 personal qualities of good communicators.

Warmth = acceptance, and it bolsters confidence.

Genuineness = tone, and what you are doing while you are talking.

Empathy = put yourself in their shoes.  Does the person you are talking to understand what you are saying?

And of course.  The BIG gender difference.  HOW we communicate.  Meaning...WOMEN excel in rapport talk.  Women want to build rapport with another person, become connected by communicating.  MEN excel in report talk.  They want the facts, they give the facts and move on.

Really.  This is why men "seemingly" don't have anything to talk about.  They condense everything into an outline.  They went to work and their day was good.  Women want to know the details and "feelings" of the day.  At work, so and so was wearing this, so and so was late again, this person is having problems with their child, yadda, yadda, yadda.

So if we are clear on what type of communication our spouse is expecting, then we can find the happy medium, and the important things might really be able to be well, communicated!

Well, I know how to talk...onward to communication.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Marriage Class #2

So class #2 ended up being about anger.  

We watched a video of the author of the Love Dare speak about anger and how it can affect your life.

I talked a little bit about this in the overview about me and the hubby.

In the video they also featured clips from FIREPROOF the movie.  Which I now would love to see.  And can I say Kirk Cameron is still totally hot!


Anger.  It's a horrible, destructive thing.  Believe me, it has it's place, but when you can't let your anger go, it can virtually destroy your life.

We learned how your own personal anger can cause you to shut yourself off from your spouse (and your children).  It also causes your spouse (and children) to shut themselves off to you.

With ever present anger, you can't be open to love.  You can't allow yourself to love or to be loved.  

This was the biggest wake-up call ever.

I was literally crying during the whole video.  This was it.  This was our problem.  We were both so angry, for who even knows why.  

It's so very hard to let go of anger.  And it's only been a couple of weeks, so it's easy for it to pop in occasionally.

My husband is making a grand effort of letting the old anger go, and not to allow new anger to come in an turn our lives upside down.  I am trying to do the same.

Some days it's REALLY HARD not to be angry.

I'm not saying it's bad to have any anger at all, but when it's an ongoing, festering thing, it's really unhealthy.

It's also a change in the way that you need to view each other.  It's about getting rid of the things that help foster anger in your life.

We were given handouts with some suggestions on how to push the negativity out.  I'm going to share a couple of these with you.  There was a handout for husbands, and one for wives.  The husband handout was a list of 25 ways to honor your wife (I'm not going to list all of them...some of them are redundant).  The wife handout were 3 ways to honor your husband in a life changing way.

Honor your husband in your heart.  Basically, the way that you inwardly talk about your husband will effect how you feel about him.

Honor your husband to others.  Okay...easy.  Don't trash talk him.  I mean there is always some sort of issue that you may have with your husband, but there is a big difference between telling people you think he's lazy, than if you complain about how you don't understand how his socks get so dirty.

Honor your husband to his face.  This one seems like it might be easy, but really, if you're used to being angry at each other, you have to put it in your mind to be nice.  There are always multiple ways to say things, try the nice way.  (one of the things I REALLY need to work on...honesty doesn't have to be mean)

The point of all of these is to help you view your husband in a better light, and in turn he will feel better about himself, and you.  

Includes his wife in envisioning the future (team effort!).
Is willing to say "I am sorry" and "forgive me".
Discuss and fairly distribute household responsibilities with his wife.
Seeks the consultation of his wife in everything and about everything.
Follows through with commitments made to his wife.
Initiates meaningful family traditions.
Lets his wife and children into the interior of his life.
Honors his wife in public.
Allows time for his wife to pursue her own private interests.

I think it's all VERY valuable information.  I don't think that the wife list is just for the wives and the husband list is just for the husbands.  It's important for EVERYONE to make an effort and implement things from both lists.  

Some things on the husband list really pertain to me more.  I mean, I have always been the one to balance the checkbook and pay the bills.  I have made many financial decisions on my own, without consulting Jon.  While I feel that I am completely qualified to make the decisions on my own, it's not fair to Jon.  He may have a better idea than I do.  He may want to be a part of the decision.  And quite frankly, if it was him making all of the decisions about our finances and he didn't consult me, I would be ticked.

So lists in hand, and reminders of how not to be angry.  

Long.  Road.  Ahead.

Less arguing on the journey.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Marriage Class #1

So going into this, we had no idea what to expect.  We were a little worried seeing as how we were going to a church class.

We are not the most religious people in the world, and we are used to having it crammed down our throats.  Jon grew up in a Catholic household, and I grew up in a family with a Baptist background.  Hell.  Fire.  Brimstone.

It was very much a pleasant surprise.  It's a non-denominational church, and they really just want people to show up and learn.

Ahhhhh.  Relief!

So.  Marriage class.  Now what?

We learned about the Five Love Languages written by Gary Chapman.  I had heard about it, but never picked up the book or went to the website.

The Five Love Languages are:

Words of Affirmation:  verbal compliments, encouraging words, kind words, humble words.

Quality Time:  togetherness, focused attention, quality conversation, quality activities.

Receiving Gifts:  gifts are visual symbols purchased, the gift of self.

Acts of Service:  helping your mate, using a positive spirit, household chores.

Physical Touch:  time to touch/hold, holding hands, hugging, kissing, sexual touch.

The exercise was to rank these of importance to you (from 1 to 5), and then guess your spouse's order of importance, then compare what the answers actually are.

It's actually really interesting to see how your spouse ranks them as opposed to what you think they would rate them.

Beth's Ranking                                            Jon's Ranking

Words of Affirmation                                   Physical Touch
Quality Time                                               Quality Time
Physical Touch                                            Acts of Service
Acts of Service                                            Words of Affirmation
Receiving Gifts                                            Receiving Gifts

So, as you can see, it differs a little bit for us.  I didn't really expect Jon to rank them as he did, but that's the beauty of the exercise.  You get to find out how your spouse ACTUALLY feels.

It has made a big difference.  I think we understand so much more about each other now that we know what is important to make us feel loved by each other.

Men and women are so different.  I think that the rankings above prove that.  If we try to meet our spouse's needs, then our own needs will in turn be met.

Now that sounds all nice and neat and wrapped up in a little bow.  (Maybe even a Tiffany blue box with white satin ribbon).

It's not really that easy, but if you have something to remind yourself about your differences, it makes it easier to try to speak in your spouse's language.

All that being said, our marriage is still a work in progress, but this really helped re-open the door of communication.                  

You can take your own assessment here!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Making Friends Monday!!!!

I am joining a blog hop today!  It's called Making Friends Monday!  Here is to making new friends!


I am having technical difficulties with the other button, so I opted for the Mailbox Monday button.  It is Monday......

Friday, April 8, 2011

Identity Crisis!!

Sorry to my normal readers...all four of you.  I know there is more of can you do me a favor and sign up to follow me.  If I have like 6 followers, I won't seem as pathetic.  If you are having issues finding where to subscribe, let me know and I will help you out!!!!
I am having a bit of a blog identity crisis.  I think it needs a new look, so I'm changing things, decorating and moving things around.  If you like it, let me know.  If you don't let me know that too.  If you have suggestions, I will gladly take them!

Love and Hugs

Thursday, April 7, 2011

End of a Chapter

Seriously?  I couldn't think of a better title?  I guess not since that's the one I ended up with.

So I want to talk a little bit about my mom.  Her hospitalization and the realization that she wasn't going to see her home ever again.  

I know that my mom and I didn't have the best relationship.  This is why it's hard for some people to understand my feelings about her death.  No matter what, she was still my mom.  Bad or good, she's the only mom I had.

I remember the day that she was admitted into the hospital.  I was at my parent's house cleaning, and my dad came home while I was there.  I asked where mom was and he said that they had to admit her because she was having trouble breathing.

Holy crap.  I knew at that instant she would never leave that hospital alive.  I don't know how I knew, but I did.

She was in the hospital for 3 days before they had to move her CCU (Cardiac Care Unit) and put her on a pressurized mask.  It was not quite a week later that she died.

I am grateful that I decided to spend as much time at the hospital as I could.  My husband was great at allowing that to happen...but not very happy about it.  That was one of our communication breakdowns.

I was there every single day.  I brought photos, and had the kids color pictures for her.  I brought her jammies.  I helped get her cleaned up and did her hair.

I didn't do it so that people would say...oh what a wonderful daughter you are...I did it because it was the right thing to do.  I don't regret a single second that I was there.

There were issues that arose with my family while my mom was in the hospital.  With my dad and brother specifically.  The details don't really matter at this point, but I was trying to make sure that my mom got what she wanted, and I felt like there was a different agenda going on.  What that is, I can't really say, but it doesn't really matter anymore.

I know that I was there for her, and that she appreciated it.  I was maybe able to give her the love and caring that she wanted to give me but never could.  I tried to make her feel as loved and as comfortable as possible in her last moments, and I feel like I accomplished that.

So yes, it was the end of a chapter, and a new one has started.  I don't really know what the title of that is either.  Hopefully I can come up with something far more witty.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Me and the hubby, an overview.

Oh my.  Where do I start.  I know not at the beginning, because really, do you want to hear about the entire 14 1/2 years of our relationship?  Yeah, I didn't think so.

So, as you know, Jon and I have our moments.  Good and bad.  Unfortunately the majority of them were getting lumped in with the bad side.

I know that my anniversary post was one of the last good moments that we had until about two weeks ago.

I'm not saying that it was all bad, but it wasn't really good either.  Things got even more complicated the day my mom was admitted to the hospital.  She was in the hospital almost two weeks before she passed away.  I was spending hours upon hours at the hospital and not at home.  Very much understood, very much not understood.

We were NOT communicating.  He was angry, and I put my walls up.  We were both totally at fault.  I was going through the last part of my mom's illness and death, and I tend to pull away when major things like that happen.  Not always the right thing to do (duh), but it's a way of self-preservation.

We had a two hour counseling session about two, maybe three weeks ago.  It didn't go well.  At all.  While on my way to work, one of my wonderful friends called me, or I called her back, something like that.  She invited Jon and I to go to a marriage class with her and her husband at (are you ready for this) church.  Okay, I'm not an overly religious person, and neither is my husband, but honestly, we decided if we didn't like it, we didn't have to go back.

So yes, we went.  It was good.  My girlfriend said that she had never seen us that focused and engaged with each other in the ENTIRE four years that she has known us.  Um, hello!!!  Wake-up call.

We had a good time at class.  We had a good week...and then a good weekend, and then another class.  That class was about anger.  How it closes you off from your family, and how it closes off your family from you.  


Those were the bells going off in me head saying..holy crap!!  This is us!  This is EXACTLY what we needed to hear.  And then....that night I (we) tried to have a conversation about the class..and hello anger.

Jon was harboring anger because he felt like I was never home.  Whether it be at work, at the hospital when my mom was dying, running errands, school...I just wasn't home.  I was angry because he didn't understand.  I was so angry that I just stopped talking (not that night...but in general leading up to said argument).

We agreed to let the anger go.  We knew we were facing me being at home not just for the same time (after working opposite shifts for 9 years), but all of the time, and I didn't want it to start out badly..and I don't think he did either.

So.  Here we are.  Two weeks in.  Much happier.  Not perfect, but then again who is?  We are working on it.  Really truly working on it.  I am letting him back into my heart.  He is being nice (aka..not angry).

I am hoping at some point (soon) to tell you about the classes, the subjects and how they are helping us.  I have been taking you on a journey of our relationship together, and I think that sharing this part is important too.

Here's to sharing!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm back!!!!

Yes.  I'm back.  I really haven't been anywhere.  Well, other than on the crazy train.  The last few months have been an extreme roller coaster.  Including, but not limited to:


Emotional walls.


Death (too much of it).




Work ending.

Never ending laundry.

Fighting.  Hmm.  Yes, that means the husband and I.  We have been getting along pretty well for about a week and a half thought.  Hey, you have to start somewhere.  This subject just deserves it's own post. 

Emotional walls.  Ahh...the comfortable, the high brick walls...or maybe they're padded, I'm not quite sure.  I fight with people, my walls go up.  I go through hard times, my walls go up.  Just how I am.  Apparently it tends to annoy people.

Xanax.  Yes...part of my daily regimen.  I'm not going to deny it.  It helps.  And my doctor agrees.  Also, at this point, I'm sure that the husband does too.

Death.  Holy hell.  It happened.  My mom died.  On February 6th.  Super bowl Sunday to be exact.  This in itself is just hilarious.  She hated football, and my dad is addicted to it.  I'm pretty sure it was her last jab.  I think this one also deserves it's own post.  It has a lot of baggage with it, so yeah.  Also, my mother's best friend's youngest daughter (you following that) was found dead in her front yard not even a week after my mom's service.  My cousin's grandmother also passed away that week.  They always say it comes in threes.

School.  Never.  Ending.  We had not one, not two, but FOUR bomb threats at school.  Really?  That really threw a crimp into things...I mean especially when you only go to school ONE DAY A WEEK!!!!!

Children.  Need I say anymore.  My little life forces.  Nothing changes for them.  They still have high energy and I don't!  And my wonderful Munchkin at the ripe age of 3 3/4 has mastered guilt.  Wonderful.

Work. Well, I had to take some time off of work because of my mom.  Three weeks total actually.  And to be honest, they gave me no problems about it.

Work ending.  As of April 1st.  I am officially unemployed.  My job came to an end. looks like I will have more time on my hands....whatever that means with a husband, three children, a dog, and school.

Never ending laundry.  Okay.  Really?  We know my laundry plight.  If you don't, check out The Great Laundry Debate, and also my Dirty Laundry series.  Yes...I have been officially unemployed for two days, and I have been doing laundry.  No.  End.  In.  Sight.  Especially since three out of five people in this house are sick.

So yes indeed.  My crazy life is crazy.  If it weren't a little crazy, it would just be boring.  So please, rejoin me with my crazy life.  I love writing, and I have missed it, so write I will, and hopefully you will enjoy it.