From Mediocre to Great

Its the little things. You know it, I know it, we ALL know it. We can hide from it all we want but the fact is,  the little things matter! This could not be more true that with your marriage/relationship. Let me tell you how I almost destroyed my marriage, and how I am still working to make it more than mediocre. Who wants a mediocre marriage anyways? We should all strive to make it GREAT!

When we first got married I used to write about my problems on Facebook. Many nights my marriage was the topic of choice. He didn’t pack my moving truck correctly, he didn’t show me enough attention, blah blah blah. Anything that upset me automatically went to Facebook, almost as a way to gain support and ammunition for my next argument. “Well Jane agreed that it was stupid of you to fold your socks. Who does that anyways?”. In all honesty, I was a shitty wife! And I’m ashamed that my husband ever had to endure that amount of disrespect and embarrassment.  What seems like something harmless can usually do the most damage, and it did! In my mind all I wanted was justification for my feelings/actions but in his mind I did not respect his difference in opinion or is needs. Essentially I was degrading him to make myself feel better. If you didn’t know this already, that’s a big no no. Under NO circumstance is it okay to make someone feel lesser of themselves just to make yourself feel better. And who wants their friends to believe that they have a shitty husband? Now I strive to build him up, to make other people say “man you’re lucky to be his wife” because you know what? I am VERY lucky!

I also would knit pick. Now this one I really struggle with even now. Old habits die hard, but they do indeed die if you put in the effort. Lets go back to the sock scenario. My husband separates his long work socks from his every day socks. In the beginning of our marriage this annoyed me to know end. Who was he to expect me to separate his socks? That’s ridiculous! But was it really? No. I used to complain about every little move he made that I thought was wrong. He didn’t fold the laundry my way, he didn’t load the dishwasher my way. He didn’t pick out matching clothes for our kids. The list is endless. If it wasn’t done BY ME then it was wrong. And then something magical happened. Instead of listening to me bitch and degrade him, he just stopped helping. Oh and there was more bitching to be had. How dare he! But you know what? I was selfish and ungrateful! I had demanded, not even asked, I demanded his help and here I was tearing him down for not doing it my way. Wrong move honey.  Its a sure fire way to get him to quit helping  altogether!

Anyone else got caught up in their feelings and denied him sex? Am I the only one? Surely not! After all “women only control one thing and that’s sex” right? Right? Men need sex the way women need romance and attention. Sex is not only a way to feel closer physically but emotionally as well, and that is true for both men and women! By constantly putting his needs on the back burner you’re setting yourself up for the same response from him. We demand our needs be met yet we so often forget that he has needs too. Often we are to tired, just not in the mood, or all touched out. In our minds that is reasonable, after all we’ve had a long day chasing kids. But for the average man its almost like saying “I don’t love or desire you anymore”, and for men this can be a huge hit. I never realized how huge of an impact this had until my husband said “you hate me don’t you?” when I turned him down for the 10th night in a row. His statement couldn’t have been further from the truth, but in his mind I didn’t want to be close to him in the way he needed so he felt unloved and neglected. I’m not saying you should be his sex slave, I’m saying you should think about your reasons for saying no and ask yourself if its worth hurting your marriage over.

Our marriage was not a healthy marriage in the beginning. I’m ashamed that either of us acted the way that we did, but honestly, its become the norm in todays society. You make one mistake and I’m gone. Divorce is on the rise because its easier than putting the work and effort into it. I chose to take the road less travelled so to speak. I chose to honor and love my husband in all that I do. Do I fall short? Almost every day! We all do! But I wake up and tell myself, today you will be a better wife than yesterday! It takes effort, it takes commitment, it takes selflessness. Its easy to get caught up in the me me me of life. But I am prime example, if you put yourself aside and put your spouses needs first, it will make a world of difference.

I started by letting go and realizing that he is human and humans make mistakes. I make mistakes daily, why can’t he? Once I realized the double standard Ive been working hard to fix it. Now I’m working on not picking apart every move that he makes. We are different people with different opinions and mannerisms. I cannot expect him to do everything the exact way I *think* it should be done. And I show him I love him daily. I do the extra little things without him needing to ask, I tell him I love him often, and I remind him that I am in this for the long haul. Poor man is stuck with me till death do us part! I won’t be another statistic, will you?

 

Much Love,
SHM

 

 

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Thanking the Dads

I tend to ramble on and on about my motherly duties and how tiring they can be, after all the blog is called Staying Home Mommy. But I don’t mention the man standing beside me through it all. A lot of times he gets left out in the stories as if he wasn’t there, but the truth is, most of the time I wouldn’t have made it through the day without him.

This weekend, EASTER WEEKEND, every single person in our house came down with the nastiest stomach bug. It started with one of the twins, then moved to the other. They were both fine for a day and then BAM! Older brother and both parents woke up sick the following morning. It wasn’t until this happened that I was more thankful than usual for the man next to me.

I can handle poop like its nothing. It does not phase me in any way, not the smell or look of it. After having 3 kids I think I’ve become pretty immune to it. But puke I cannot handle. I would rather change 6 billion diapers than have to clean up one puke mess. My husband is total opposite. He cannot handle poop but does puke like a champ. It was this weekend that I realized we made the PERFECT team. We had all the bases covered and the weekend went pretty smoothly despite it.

Sometimes I feel like dads get overlooked. Household duties tend to fall on the mother. Diapering, changing, cleaning, clothing, all of that is a “mothers” job. That is not how it works in our house. My husband and I share the duties equally. I cook dinner, he plays with the kids. He gives the kids a bath while I get clothes and milk ready. We play as a family and put them to bed together. We take turns getting up with them on the weekends and split all diaper duty. He is not your average man and I am so thankful for that. He is not afraid to get his hands dirty or to clean up. He has mastered folding laundry (when we met his mother would even pack his overnight bags for him!), he doesn’t mind cooking, and he loves to play with our children more than anything.

We actually don’t have a lot of friends because we are not the normal couples our age. We have been invited out to party and things and he will respectfully turn them down because he is a man that wants to spend time with his family. Now don’t get me wrong, he does like a beer every now and then but he usually will wait until all the children are asleep and cuddle with me on the couch beer in hand. Its just what works for us. Its not the norm anymore for men to WANT to be around their families. He has lost his best high school friend for this very reason. Both men have  grown up, gotten jobs, and grew their own families. My husbands best friend likes to go out on the weekends and drink with his friends, leaving his wife alone to fend for herself. She does all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and caring for the children alone. Our family is complete opposite of this.

My husband just two weeks ago had a vasectomy. We are pregnant with baby #4 and knew long before now that we did not want any more so he had the procedure done. Now I’m not sure if any of you know that goes but after the procedure he was instructed to rest for 3 days with little to no physical activity. That weekend just so happened to fall on our grocery shopping weekend (we only shop every two weeks). I was going to pack up all three kids and go by myself. It wasn’t a huge deal to me. I actually wanted to give him some down time to relax a little, we all know he needs it every now and then. But he refused. Such a stubborn man he can be. Shopping is a family affair and he did not want to miss it despite my pleading. At that moment it made me quite angry. After all, who didn’t want to sit in peace and quite for a few hours? I know I sure would sometimes! But not him. He wanted to be where his family was.

Its just little things like this that make me realize how truly blessed I am to have found a man so family oriented. They are far and few between for sure. He does a lot for us and a lot of times goes without thanks. So I want to stop and take a minute to thank the man that is the glue to this crazy family. Without him I am not sure what we would do.

So my awesome husband, thank you for providing, caring, loving, and being involved. Thank you for all the things you do that most of the time go unnoticed. Thank you for working hard and putting us first. Thank you for cleaning puke, wiping little noses, and kissing booboos, those seen and unseen. Thank you for being everything a man should be and so much more. We love you more than words can describe. Oh! And thank you for putting the toilet paper roll on the right way and the toilet seat down even if I am the only girl in the house right now. 🙂

To all the men out there who are not scared to get down and dirty and do “womens work”, I commend you! The world needs more men like you!

Much Love,

SHM

Respect starts with the parents!

I tend to be a people watcher of sorts. I like to see how people react in public and with one another. One thing I watch for in particular is how parents react to their children and vice versa. Having 3 of my own children I know how stressful it can be to take children ANYWHERE in public. There are so many things that can trigger a meltdown and I have felt the embarrassment of having to deal with one in the middle of a crowded place but I handled it accordingly and moved on, as most parents should, but don’t always.

We take our kids out for a special treat every few weeks. It’s usually nothing fancy and today was certainly no different. We ended up at McDonalds so that our oldest could play and run off some energy. The weather here cannot seem to make up its mind and it decided to snow this morning, although it did not stick. So after a day of being stuck in the house we all needed a little break.

Upon arrival I took the kids to the play area while my husband ordered food. I walked into the play place with three kids in tow and it truly was like walking into a zoo. I was not comfortable even sitting my children down or letting our oldest go play. There was a group of children between the ages of about 4-8 years old. There were 5 of them altogether but even in such a huge open space it felt as if there were 300. They were climbing on the slide, jumping OFF of tables and chairs, swinging from the railing of the play area, jumping into the mesh net so hard it seemed as if the polls would fall over, and at one point were wrestling one another to the floor and choking each other. They came very close to knocking my 4 year old down a number of times. I know the saying goes “kids will be kids” but I am a firm believer that children should grow up with respect for people and others property.

It took me about 10 seconds to find the adult with these children. He was sitting in a corner at a table alone. Much to my surprise he actually was paying very close attention to the children. When looking for the caretaker of the children I just assumed that he would have been occupied on other things and did not notice the behavior of the children. Every parent in the room was watching them ‘go wild’ as they called it yet their actions did not bother the man. At one point an older couple had an employee politely come ask them to stop. When the employee left the children settled for a moment and then it happened. The adult with them got upset stating how ridiculous it was that his children treat their play place with a little respect, then reiterating that the children did not need to settle down. And off the children went to do as they pleased despite the employees request.

It made me realize that the lack of respect in todays society did NOT start with this generation but with their parents. If the parents have no respect for others things what is that teaching our children? If we refuse to discipline or correct in any way do you truly think we are going to raise well rounded citizens? No. The saying “lead by example” cannot be more true today than it has ever been. The sad part is that most parents would rather sit back and turn a blind eye than have to DEAL with their children. You are not doing a child any favors by allowing them to do as they please. Is it easier? Hell yes! There are days when my kids do something and I just do not feel like dealing with it for the ten thousandth time but if I do not correct it now then who will? The police a few years down the road? I refuse to let it get that far! Children need structure, guidance, discipline, and love. They need someone to teach them, as well as show them respect.

We live in a society where people feel entitled to things that they have not earned or worked for. Respect is not given freely to whoever believes they deserve it, it is earned. This is something every parent should be instilling in their children from a very young age. I am no perfect parent and make mistakes daily but my children always say please and thank you and I’ll be damned if they ever treat someone else’s property with such little care, especially if I am sitting right there to stop them. Parents, get off butt and do what parents are supposed to do! Educate and guide your children in the right direction. It is much easier to do it at 4 than at 14 because by that time it is usually much to late. My motto is this….  I would rather correct now and be proud later than to overlook now and be sorry later.

Much Love,

SHM

All Touched Out Today

Having kids puts a huge strain on marriage in more ways than one. This isn’t some huge top secret information, just ask any married couple with children. Its hard on many aspects of marriage. It pushes couples to stand together even if in doubt, to stay strong, to put themselves aside for the sake of another human being. Sometimes this takes a toll on the couples sex life. I can attest to this. From experience after our first child was born our sex life took a HUGE nose dive. By the end of the day I was just all “touched” out. I had changed, loved on,  hugged, kissed, and soothed K from the moment we woke until the moment he fell asleep in my arms that night. I was covered in baby vomit, food, and who knows what else.  By the end of the night I didn’t want to be touched anymore.

The thought of having to touch someone else or make someone else happy was utterly exhausting to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t WANT to make my husband happy I just didn’t feel like I had it in me to give myself over to another person that day. To surrender myself over to him when all I really wanted was a nice long bath, 5 minutes to read a book in peace and hopefully get a full nights rest. I wanted my husband to be happy but I couldn’t find it in myself to give up that 5 minutes of me time to make him happy. Not to mention how I felt when I looked in the mirror. I was NOT the person he married, physically or mentally. I now had stretch marks, an extra 20 lbs, and I just did not feel “sexy” in my own skin. If I didn’t find myself sexy I didn’t believe he would either.

This man made sacrifices for me daily. He worked 16+ hours a day and came home to a tired wife and grumpy child. He did bath time and bed time without complaint and even went above and beyond for me. He was putting in all this effort and all he asked for in return was to be touched and cuddled and I couldn’t find it in myself to give it to him.

It wasn’t until a very horrible argument that I started seeing what the lack of intimacy was doing to my marriage. After all this is the man that gave me such amazing children. How could I be so selfish to put my own wants and needs in front of his? My husband has never asked for much from me. He simply needs a little love and attention sometimes. It is his love language actually. And for me to ignore that made me feel like the worst person in the world.

I vowed that night to try to change things. I wanted to make this man happy. After all he did for our family it really was the least I could do. So I started making it a routine. I know this sounds like a ridiculous idea but it truly did save my marriage. I would prepare that day by doing the normal female things. I would shower, shave, pick out something sexy to wear under my clothes and I would send him a naughty text to let him know I was thinking of him. Once home and the daily to do list was done I would then take him to bed. In the beginning I really wasn’t in the mood. I would argue with myself daily and say “JUST DO IT! Just do it for him! Do it for the man you love!” and that little ritual worked. It took about two months of doing this at least twice a week to regain my sex drive. But I started to look forward to these days, to making my husband happy, because the harder I tried to make him happy the harder he tried to do the same but in his own ways.

Do I still feel all touched out some days? Heck yea! Fast forward 3 years and a set of twins later and I totally feel this way a lot. But I do not let it stop me from making him happy. Sex is what made the children but it doesn’t have to stop just because the ‘job’ is done. Intimacy and sex are key elements in a marriage, don’t let life get in the way of that. Even if you have to plan it as I did, your marriage will prosper from it.

 

Much love,

SHM