Role Reversal!

Dear Readers,

This past two weeks my partner and I did an experiment.

After about 9 years of the same arrangement, we decided to change the rules of how we manage our household.

As we were both bemoaning how hard each other had it, so we decided to put each other’s shoes on to see how it felt.

No, that doesn’t mean Jeremy is now wearing my blue Chucks, or even my sparkly red sneaks.

It means that I am doing the grocery shopping and cooking,

and he is doing the dishes and Vivienne’s laundry and towels.

I definitely had some doubts about this but in fact it has been extremely eye-opening for us.

The first thing we had to do was let go of control (for a control connoisseur like me, it’s been hard) over how our respective tasks would not be done on the same way because they would be done by (gasp!) someone else.

First things first, I took Vivienne grocery shopping with me, which is a job within a job, so seeing it from his perspective was very helpful. She is an adorable handful, and that took some maneuvering (also known as, she would grab something and put it on the cart, and I would have to take it back out again) such fun!!!

<insert heavy sarcasm here>

I did have to call Jeremy 5 or 6 times to confirm the brands he normally gets and questions about what was on the grocery list. It was not lost on me that he answered each time and never lost patience and said, “Figure it out!”

It was okay once I got used to the dance of keeping her away from the shelves and out of grabbing distance. It wound up working out to have her with me when checking out, because she put items on the cart! Thanks Vivienne!

She is such a great helper, she helps with dishes too.

In fact, just last night, we were decluttering and I asked her, “Give away” or “Keep” and surprisingly she opted to give away two bags of toys. So happy that she is already learning to let go of stuff!

But now for what you are waiting for, it’s been two weeks, I have cooked twice (we do batch cooking) and shopped once. Jeremy has done several loads of laundry and dishes, so as we were talking about it, we both uncovered that we are pretty happy with this arrangement. In fact, we used the phrase, “getting off scot-free” okay, that was me, not him, but we are both happy with the role reversal.

Is it permanent? Only time will tell, but I really like it!

The biggest takeaway for me, two weeks in, is how hard shopping and cooking is, so I greatly appreciate all the years that Jeremy has been doing these tasks.

It hasn’t all been wine and roses, we are still duking it out over the dishes.

I am confident we will “figure it out” and for now, it’s still all on the table.

So, what’s your household duty? Can you do a switcheroo like we did to see how you like it? You might even find a new way to do things while experimenting.

I encourage you to experiment and see what you learn and as always, report back!

Think About It.

Chasing Your Happy

Dear Readers,

(Vivienne is chasing her happy in artificial snow, that’s right, it was 72 degrees out, hence the lack of coat!)

This past weekend was my birthday and I also consider it a “new year”.

That concept is a lot easier to sell in January, but I digress.

In general, I am a pretty happy person and “chase my happy” on the regular but of late, given the aforementioned tsunami of stress and setbacks, I have been having a hard time “finding my happy” and then this past weekend while observing a friend eat her nachos with “dancing fingers” heard her say, “I should get a napkin”, another friend, observing this said, “chase your happy” and it just struck me as such a great phrase so it’s sticking with me as I cast about to consider what to write about this week.

Me “chasing my happy” means asking friends and family to “bring kindness back on my birthday”

My goal is to make acts of kindness commonplace, not random- Professor Haston

On my birthday, my sweet husband made it possible for me to experience something I didn’t even know I wanted…

I am now a bonafide Disney Princess!!!

Any princess worth her salt, has birds that land on her hand, right?

It was a super fun time and watching Viv chase “her happy” with ALL the fish was pretty cool. “Finding Dory” is a frequently watched movie in our house.

So as we hit the midway mark to the week (tomorrow), I have this to ask…

What are you doing to “chase your happy”?

Think About It.

Why Don’t We Talk About How Hard Marriage Is…?

Dear Readers,

Last week I referred to people having problems in their marriage.

With permission, I have gained from my partner, I have this to say. I am “people”

These pictures make it look like we are the perfect couple and always smiling but that’s only half the story, friends.

It’s not as if I have a picture of us fighting that I could show you… but trust me, they exist.

We work hard at this marriage thing.

It’s HARD. Way harder than anyone talks about. Why is that? Do we think if we don’t talk about it, that it will somehow be less real or stressful? Well, I don’t think so. There is nothing so gratifying as when talking to a friend that you hear those words, “you too?” and you feel that innate sense of connection.

My partner and I have been together for the better part of 11 years and married for 8 of those years. We have weathered the storms of getting out of debt, miscarriage, and several other tsunamis of stress and complex and intimate details I won’t share here, maybe ever.

We all have chapters we would rather leave unpublished.

So the thought I had recently is “why is it so hard?”- I mean, I love him, he loves me. We laugh together, we dance, we cry and we even sing together sometimes.

We also do not agree and get loud and emotional when we don’t. In other words, we fight.

I have heard it said, It’s okay to fight in front of your child, but also be sure that they see you make up or resolve it. I think for the most part we do that well.

I used to think that didn’t make too much sense, after all, won’t it scar them for life to see their parents fighting? Well, my guess is that like everything else, unless you model behavior for them, how else do they learn?

I sure didn’t learn how to fight from my parents. They fought and never resolved anything.

My father did a lot of avoiding fighting and so when it comes to our marriage, I definitely do not want to repeat those mistakes, so instead started making all new ones. But seriously, we have help, we take advice and we choose every day, every hour, every minute, every second to be married, and we choose each other.

It’s a hard thing for me to be so selfless for someone else and I am glad to say, he returns the favor and we definitely do the dance of healthy compromise and we find our way down new paths every day.

It’s not easy, AND it is worth it.

Think About It.

“Me Time” For The Win!

Dear Readers,

How often do you take “YOU” time? A lot of folks call it self-care but I prefer to call it “ME TIME”

Whatever words you use to describe it, let me ask you again, how often do you take it?

My guess is it’s not something you prioritize and I want to challenge you to do something about that.

You can’t give to others if you are empty, so keep finding ways to care for YOU and you will be happier.- Jenn Haston

It’s the beginning of the year, so a great time to focus on a new goal, or maybe an old goal that you haven’t quite gotten off the ground.

Approximately, 3 years ago, I was bemoaning the levels of stress that come from marriage and parenthood and really just life getting me down and out, when a dear friend, and fellow artist suggested I try mediation. I really didn’t expect it work for me, because I despise yoga and it’s yoga-adjacent, but 821 days later, I can honestly say it does work.

A big part of why it works is that streak.

I am competitive (sometimes to a fault, I will admit) even with myself so in this case it really spurred me on to keep at it, and even when I didn’t “feel like it” that streak would spur me on to be consistent about it.

Just yesterday, I noticed how much calmer I have become in general, and how it takes more to rattle me. Note, that I said “it takes more to rattle me” not that I am no longer rattled. Yesterday, was one of those days that things just didn’t pan out the way I wanted them to and instead of just noticing “oh there’s a feeling of frustration, that’s what’s going on right now”

I got really mad (as humans do) and super stressed, and did my best to run around and move in 17 directions to preserve my plans in the face of “life happening” which in retrospect seems very silly and all of those feels were valid, they just weren’t very productive in solving the deeper issue which was the loss of my “ME TIME”

It’s amazing what a good heart to heart with your family and some chocolate milk will do to help you to right your ship/world.

Chocolate milk is not always the answer, AND sometimes it’s good to comfort that 5 year old who is stamping her foot and no longer 5, so giving in to her now, is actually an act of self-care.

****Vivienne, do not get any ideas! *****

But this post is about you, dear readers, and how you take care of you, or put another way “fill up”- this is anything that helps you connect to your truest self.

Maybe it’s carving out a block of me time to be an artist,

or writing a blog post.

It might be taking a walk outside

or insisting on leaving the office on time and even taking a planned day off, or half day, (see above, that doesn’t always work out) and it’s important to try)

It might be (bliss) seeing a movie all by yourself!

Whatever it might be, and you get to define what self-care means to you.

I strongly encourage you to figure it out and start by scheduling an hour a week to do something you really want to do but don’t, because of — insert household chore or life obligation here– then make a conscious effort to make a plan to do that thing and actually put it on your calendar as an appointment.

I know it feels silly to plan “self-care” and if you didn’t forget to do it, you wouldn’t need to schedule it, now would you?

We schedule appointments for everything else, why not for YOU TIME? Don’t You Deserve That?

Think About It.

Now go update your calendar!