How To Have More In-Law Holiday Jolly

Ok look, I’m having trepidation about spending Christmas with my husband’s parents.  Overall, they are good people – they are nice, like to play games and don’t have a problem talking.  Hell, we’ve been married nine years, you’d think that I’d be used to hanging out with his family by now.  However, I always get a bit unsettled because I feel so ancillary to our family gatherings.   I’m never quite so sure if it’s an east coast-west coast thing or if it’s just the BIG love of my husband and the boys that leaves me out in the cold.

To add to it, Husband and I have been on rocky territory lately and I’m feeling even a bit more unsettled than usual.  We’re regularly going to counseling and it’s absolutely been making a difference for the two of us, but I’m concerned about this trip and that the general stress of the holidays is going to throw us into the deep end again.  I think I freaked out on him for buying a kid gift that I thought was crossed off the list.  However, he keeps insisting this it’s worth the cost, we’ll make space for it and the boys will love it. (I keep saying to myself, “Jen, let it go. Let it go.”)

And one more thing… [Read more…]

How To Rehab Your Relationship

Going to good couples counseling is something like repairing an injury.  We’ve hurt each other with our words over time and have learned ways to limp along in our relationship, not quite as strong as it once was.  So going to marriage therapy for me is like digging in a wound, trying to line it up straight and strengthening what has been there all along.  This is work, people.  I’m not sitting on the sidelines anymore crying about my emotional boo-boos.  I’m in rehab.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m in it to win it.  So I’m doing the work even though I have moments of pain and discomfort.

A part of our regular practice these days is to talk more (so obvious, right?).  I don’t just mean talking about the family schedule or finances, but the things that have injured our relationship.  The hard stuff.  And because we can’t spend $200 an hour on all of our little stuff, it’s gotta start with us.  So our wonderful therapists, gave us this common Couples Dialogue to structure our conversations (or at least get us started).

I know, the name even sounds mamby-pamby, but if a couple can agree to the process then I tell you, this helps to reset the injury so that you can be strong again. [Read more…]

How To Know When To Get Relationship Help

One of my earliest posts for My Mommy Manual was How To Move Past the Nit-Pick.  I have taken my own advice.  There has been a lot of deep breathing, accentuating the positive, and looking toward the long distance.  However, it’s come to a point where I just cannot click and move on.  In fact, there’s been a lot of clicking, but we’re not moving on.  I am stuck with the question of how do I accept another’s shortcomings and still be authentic about what’s not working in our relationship.

My husband and I are at an impasse. We’re not communicating well. We’re not having sex. We can barely have a conversation right now without one of us taking a sassy tone with the other.

I’ve seen other relationships crack under the same pressure. He works too much. I feel over-burdened by having to manage all things related to the house. You know…keeping the house picked up (kids’ toys!), cleaning, laundry (oh the never-ending piles of laundry that need to be washed, folded or simply put away), meal planning and cooking, paying the bills and balancing the checkbook. Then there are our two boys with drop offs and pick-ups, soccer practice, swim class, homework and play dates.  Let’s not forget the trips to the library, Target or whatever other household need there is. I’ve asked Husband to do the dishes after meals that I cook and yes, he has had to put away a load of laundry now and again. He’s complained that he’s doing a lot more around the house and I’m not doing enough. Them are fighting words, Buster Brown.

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How To Find That Quality Time

‘Tis the season for back to school.  This is our first year at kindergarten and we are all so excited.  We have our school supplies, new clothes, new backpack, and new lunch bag.  Like many moms, I’m just as giddy as BigBoy and determined not to cry on the first day.  I still need to enter in the school calendar in my Outlook, but I’ll get to it after I drop him off. BigBoy’s soccer also starts next week and I need to enter those dates into my calendar too (practice on Thursday and games on Saturday).  Husband has soccer games on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings. I have Jazzercise on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings.  Like many families, we are scheduled to the hilt.

My biggest concern is that as a family we get so scheduled, that Husband and I don’t make time for us.  Since I am the social calendar keeper, I’m literally going to schedule in date nights and make sure that we have at least two per month.

I’ve written about the sex formula and as ridiculous as it sounds, I’ve discovered the need to plan and set expectations for nights devoted to our intimacy.  We don’t always follow the formula, but when we do it is great.  When we don’t, well let’s just say it’s a slippery slope (and not in a good way). [Read more…]

How to Have the Heart Grow Fonder

Husband and I may have started a tradition that could be considered a bit unconventional, but it works for me.  I say “may have” because this is only the second year of taking separate vacations with the kids.  (As in, I fly solo with the kids on a vacation.  Then he flies solo with the kids on vacation.)  I don’t know how long we’ll do this — it would be nice to eventually have a family vacation– but for now it works and so far, so good.

Last year, Lola (my BFF) and I took our four boys (aged 10-1) on a weeklong road trip/vacation to visit my Mom & Dad in Durango, Colorado.  It was a lot of craziness, dancing on the brink of insanity, yet we had a great time and made wonderful memories together.

This year, I took my boys (now 5 and 2) on a 13-day road trip/vacation again to Colorado.  First, to visit my brother and his family in Castle Rock and then to visit my parents, where on the last weekend, we held our biennial Davis Family Reunion.  My Mom & I had been planning this event for months and upon my arrival we were getting down to the nitty gritty of activities, games and meals for 30 people mostly from Texas (where we’re all originally from), but now spread out through California, Colorado and North Carolina.

BigBoy's arm around his little brother

I wrote about the road trip through Utah with the boys on my blog (and here) and overall I’m surprised about the number of comments that I received from people shocked that I would drive them solo for two days.  I’m not exactly sure how to respond to their disbelief.  [Read more…]

How To Add Sparkle to Your Relationship

Sex and the City 2 (c) 2010 HBO Films

Two of my girlfriends and I went to pay homage see Sex and the City 2 for an early birthday celebration.  The movie got me thinking about how I’ve changed and how my relationships have changed.  Sometimes I have a difficult time reconciling my single-dating life with my current life.  It’s like the person I thought I was turned on its axis.  I was a good dater.  Think about Carrie Bradshaw in her hey-day.  Now I’m a stay-at-home mom of two boys who cooks dinner almost every night.

What the hell happened? I wake up in a cold sweat sometimes remembering where I am.  Okay, well, it’s not that bad, but you get the picture. Lately I’ve been wondering, “Would I date my husband?”  Worse yet, would he date me? [Read more…]

How Relationships Go the Distance

When we got married, our dear friends and officiants gave us this great little sign that reads, “Kiss slowly, forgive quickly.”  I literally look at this sign every day, but didn’t get the depth of its instruction until reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.

I’m talking about forgiveness, as in your ‘daily bread’ variety.  People talk about it all the time like it’s the key to everlasting relationships, but I never understood what the big deal was. (Sometimes, I can be a little thick-headed.  I like to think that I’m not, but yeah, I can be.) [Read more…]

How to Move Past the Nit-Pick

It’s amazing to me how many times I’ve asked my husband to pick up his underwear off the floor.  Here we are now three months later and I’m going to have to bring it up again.  Want to know what really fries my twinkies?  It’s when he comes home from soccer sweaty and peels the uniform off and leaves it there with the underwear on top.  C’mon, I’ve seen enough poop already today, don’t ya think?

Are there little things that your husband or S.O. does that can drive you mad?

[Read more…]