To the man in my life, your wife appreciates you

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For those of you who follow my blog, you may have noticed that I have been MIA for a while.

This is because my family has been in a transitional state for the past month. A transition for the better, however, it does require that the boys and I be separated from my husband for a few months. It also means that this will be the first Christmas that we will spend apart, which we absolutely hate.

So, for the past month, I have been flying solo for everything. I have been living the single mother life and it has been exactly what you would expect it to be. Hard, very hard, and exhausting.

This period has been my personal experience of not knowing what you’ve got ’til it’s gone because my eyes have been opened to just how much my husband does to ease all of my daily stresses.

Now I am sure that I am not alone here, but when my husband was here I often huffed and puffed, stomped around and made some loud sighing noises to clearly communicate that I was upset about “having to do everything”.

When he did help me with the laundry or dishes or pack away the groceries I complained that he did it wrong (aka not my way) so I refolded the clothes, repacked the groceries and complained some more. I am baffled as to why he continues to help.

I was always so negative and often belittled his contributions. I, like many women, never really stopped to appreciate the things that my husband does. The big things AND the little things.

So, for this post, I am going to do something that is rare in today’s world. I am going to give some love and appreciation to the man in my life.

To my husband,

Thank you for taking out the trash, every day, because you know I hate to. Thank you for dropping and picking up the kids to and from school every day because I had to work.

Thank you for playing with the kids and keeping them occupied when you know I just needed some time to rest, to do work or to catch up on my Netflix.

Thank you for killing all of those disgusting spiders.

Thank you for doing the housework even though I complain about how you do it. Thank you for not thinking that housework is only my responsibility.

Thank you for those amazing pork chops and honey bar-b-que wings that you make and for offering to make them when you know I am too tired or lazy to cook that day. Thank you for my back rubs.

Thank you for holding me close whenever I have a hard day.

Thank you for being a stay at home dad and for being a working father. In both circumstances, you provide for our family.

Thank you for being an involved father and a faithful husband. Thank you for spending all night playing video games or snoring my ear off because it means that you are at home with your family.

Thank you for doing whatever it takes to keep your family safe.

Thank you for taking care of everything car related.

Thank you for forcing me to buy something for myself whenever I feel guilty about doing it.

Thank you for every time you tell me I am beautiful and you make me feel like the sexiest woman there is.

Thank you for every time you make me laugh and for every time you wipe my tears away.

Thank you for supporting every venture that I get myself into and for helping me chase my dreams. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your dreams.

Thank you for your unending love. Your wife appreciates you.

 

If you liked this post, or want to send some love and appreciation to the man in your life, let me know in the comments section below and be sure to like and follow The Mummyhood Journals on Facebook and Instagram.

 

For better or worse – Living beyond “I do”

I was recently introduced to the story of Laura Browning Grant and her husband Johnathan Grant from a viral video of the two of them sharing an intimate moment.

The backstory of this amazing couple is that in March, less than a month before their fifth wedding anniversary, Johnathan, a Navy SEAL, was in an accident which left him with a brain injury and a low chance of survival.

Seventeen days after the accident, Johnathan, fortunately, started to show some slight signs of responsiveness and ever since then, has been on a very painful and difficult road to recovery with his wife right by his side.

Naturally, the article on the couple published by Cosmopolitan left me intrigued so I visited Laura’s Instagram page and I was moved to tears when I saw some of her other pictures and videos of her and her husband.

What moved me about the couple was just how genuine their love is and the respect that they have for the vows that they took five years ago.

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The institution of marriage has become meaningless to many people. From the moment a couple is engaged, all of their focus is placed on the wedding. The size of the ring, getting the perfect dress, the cake, the decor, the band. Very little thought goes into what exactly this next chapter in their lives really entails.

And when married life does not live up to their expectations, divorce papers are signed without even a second thought and they move on to the next.

When my husband and I decided to get married we had a discussion about what that would mean and what expectations we each had as we made the transition from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife.

I was actually very surprised, pleasantly surprised, at the level of importance my husband placed on marriage and our family. Marriage meant that we were a team, even more so than before. He has my back during my low points and I have his back during his. No matter what.

But a lot of people, at the first sign of hardship, be it an illness or financial difficulties, tend to run away. Because the situation makes them uncomfortable or makes them unhappy, they become distant and all of a sudden the marriage stops being less about we and more about me.

Marriage isn’t a fairy tale that ends in happily ever after. There are good times and there are bad times. But marriage means that you have someone to laugh with during the good times and someone to hold your hand during the bad.

When I read stories about couples like the Grants, who, no matter what, are devoted to one another, day in and day out, in sickness and in health, it makes me feel relieved. Relieved that there are still persons out there who truly honour the promises that they made when they said I do.

Click here to read the Cosmopolitan article on the Grants.

 

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Married with kids – the new meaning of romance

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When you have kids nothing is your own. Not your time, not your privacy and not your bed.

Needless to say, the term romance takes a whole other meaning when you have to juggle your relationship with your significant other and your kids.

Before kids, my husband and I used to be spontaneous. Go wherever the breeze blows. Now, that breeze has to be scheduled weeks in advance to get a babysitter or, if no one is available to babysit, around our kids’ bedtime and in our house.

Before kids, a romantic dinner included a nice restaurant, nice food, wine, you know, the usual. Now, a romantic dinner is whatever my husband and I eat together while watching a movie, again, while the kids are asleep. At least we are alone, and we have wine.

Before kids, making love in different places of the house (let your imagination run wild), was a matter of choice. It is now our only option as our bed is always occupied by our kids. It is actually amazing how creative you can get when you are in the mood but your kids are awake.

Romantic moments with my husband have definitely changed since having kids. I mean they aren’t necessarily the things good romcoms are made of, however, as unsexy as they may be, it is important for us to continue having these moments. These moments are what bring us closer together and keep our union strong. These moments give us something to laugh at 15 years from now when the kids are grown and we finally do get to have the house to ourselves. Until then, we will just continue to sneak ice cream in the car, while the kids are asleep in the back seat.

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Help wanted!

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Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pre-babies I was always a very organised, punctual, independent woman. My house was always clean, I never needed any help with anything, I could do it all. I was proud of my abilities.

Post babies, my laundry basket is never empty, I am constantly cleaning, cooking, washing and ironing. Add in taking care of “my son’s” puppy, helping with homework and being the best boo boo fixer and 5 year old problem solver there is, it is safe to say that I am overwhelmed.

I no longer have it under control and, even though I hate to admit it, I can’t do it by myself. I need help!

Now I know that the first thing many hard working mothers out there might think is “I could relate, I get absolutely no help from my husband either and I have to do everything in the house while he sits back and watches television”. But that isn’t why I am drowning in laundry, dirty dishes and poop (the baby kind and the puppy kind). My husband is always willing to help and to be fair he does do most of the gross dog poop activities, but I don’t get help because I never ask for help.

The independent, single woman in me still feels as though I could do it all and believe me, I still do try, unsuccessfully, to do it all. But that constant struggle to be a “super mom” just results in me being an exhausted wife and mother who is moody because she is tired and because the laundry basket is still full for some reason even though I spent the entire day washing.

Apart from wanting to be a super mom, I think that most women feel as though their husbands should just know when we need help, that we shouldn’t have to ask and that stomping around, complaining about how much we have to do should be a clear enough indication that we need help. But it isn’t. If anything all that does is tell them that we are in a mood and that it is time for them to leave the house to “give us space”.

My husband always says that men aren’t mind readers, if I want something … ask, and that is a fair statement. We aren’t mind readers so why should we expect them to be.

Another thing that I am guilty of doing that renders me help-less is complain. I complain about how my husband folds the clothes incorrectly, or that he puts too much detergent in the washing machine, or that he didn’t pack the dishes in the correct order (I am a little bit OCD with these things). But all that does is deter my husband from helping. He wants to help but then when he sees me refolding the laundry that he just folded, what’s the point right.

I want the help but I am not willing to let him help me. I am not willing to let go of needing things to be done my way which in my mind is synonymous with the right way.

But when you need help and you just want to see the bottom of that laundry basket and still have time and the energy to be a fun and involved wife and mother, any way will do.

So, the next time that you feel overwhelmed, open your mouth, ask for help and then close your eyes when you see the cup that is where the plates should be and a pillowcase in the sock drawer because honestly, it really doesn’t matter and at least you could say the dishes and the laundry are done.

 

 

Time for a little romance

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My husband and I recently celebrated our third wedding anniversary. With our second child only being born two months ago (in other words with us being sleep deprived zombies for two months) and having to focus on our first born’s fifth birthday the week after our anniversary, any thoughts of having an elaborate, romantic anniversary celebration went out the window.

I know what you are thinking, with the birth of a child, much less two, comes the death of romance in a marriage. However, the way I look at it, the romance in most marriages is not necessarily dead but in a comatose state. There is still life left but it needs extra care and attention (and some creativity) to keep it from flatlining.

Keeping the spice in your marriage after having kids can be tricky especially when your schedule calls for a 27 hour day and your clothes always seem to be covered in baby formula. But once you realise that romance is more than just date nights and roses; although those things don’t hurt; there is the chance for a full recovery.

True romance is about the little things that let your spouse know “yes we have kids, no longer have our own bed and are never ever alone but I still love you and think you are the most handsome man/beautiful woman I have ever met.  You still give me butterflies when I hear your voice and if given the choice I wouldn’t change a thing about our lives.”

It is about taking at least 20 minutes out of your day after your children have fallen asleep to just be alone with each other. To reconnect, to talk, to hold each other or even just watch a show together and fall asleep on the sofa.

It is about laughing together at the crazy things life brings even when all you want to do is cry and consoling each other when one, or both of you, finally does break down and cry.

It is about not being afraid to be silly with each other in public and ignoring the disapproving stares of your embarrassed children.

It is remembering to say “I love you” every day and to kiss each other before you leave for work and when you return home from work.

Yes, it does takes work and refocusing your priorities to keep the romance in marriage from dying. It does require placing your spouse above the laundry that has to get done or the dirty dishes in the sink that you just can’t leave for another twenty minutes or the Facebook/WhatsApp/Email messages that require immediate responses lest your phone explode.

Marriage and children do not have to signal the end of your life as a couple, all you need is to make time for a little romance.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

 

The List

I have an amazing husband, there is no doubt about it. He is loving, caring, respectful, attentive, an amazing father to our son and I am sure he will be an amazing father to our soon to be little boy/girl (as a bonus he also cooks for me and gives me back massages).

I am lucky!

So how did I find such a rare specimen of a man? I stopped following THE LIST.

We are all guilty of having a list, THAT list. The one that defines the type of man or woman (because men have lists too) we must date to guarantee a perfect marriage, perfect children and the perfect house. The perfect future.

These lists often tend to be filled with superficial details (tall, good looking, older than me, good job, nice car, athletic, takes me out to dinner, spoils me, buys me the moon and the sun and the stars) and often women and men find themselves missing out on what could be an amazing relationship just because one of those boxes is not checked.

When my husband and I met I will be honest it was not love at first sight, for neither of us. He was not  that tall, although he thinks he is; he was skinnier than I preferred; he looked a mess, which now he explains was tiredness because he had a long day and he was younger than I was, which was a big deal for me. He was not working at the time, which was not a major issue for me because people go through situations, but on paper, for those following a list, that probably would have been a deal breaker.

But I gave him a chance and he gave me a chance. We talked, we laughed and eventually I started to realize how much we had in common and how easy it was to have a conversation with him and be silly around him. How much he made me laugh and how much fun I had when I was with him. The more we spoke the more I saw how pure his heart was and how generous he was. I saw how he treated his friends and his family, often putting their welfare ahead of his own; how he treated my mother when she was ill and how wonderful he was with children. I started to see all of the qualities in him that would make him or any man for that matter a good husband and father. None of these qualities included money or positions or the type of car he drove but they were the characteristics that really matter and that truly determine whether or not you will have a happy future with someone.

We have been together for six years soon to be seven and will celebrate our third wedding anniversary this year. We do have ups and downs and go through financial struggles and other challenges just like any young couple, but my son and I are never in need of anything because he provides us with unconditional love, support and silliness when needed. I can honestly say that I have found the man of my dreams, or better than my dreams. All because I took a chance and got rid of the list.