. With Love, From The Mother 'Hood: The Greenest Grass

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Greenest Grass

I was talking to a dear friend today about the struggles that can come with being a wife and mother and how as women we tend to put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. Perfection is overrated, and exhausting to try to achieve. Marc has taught me to see that at the end of the day if my kids are fed, all snug in their beds and relatively happy and clean we are doing ok. Through a lot of effort (14years together has given us lots to work on!)we have learned what a huge difference effective communication makes. I once equated a successful marriage to a beautiful garden; both require a lot of love and care and sometimes the work is hard, (especially the darn weeding part), but the results can be fabulous. So often we get caught up in the day to day things with kids, work, and just LIFE that we can lose sight of our role as partners, and our sense of self. Inevitably at times stress rises,and communication can falter. Throw anything extra in the mix - unexpected shtuff like an ill child, a partner who has to work long hours or constantly travel for work, financial problems - anything that you weren't really signing up for when you said your "Happily Ever Afters" - and things can go downhill quickly. Suddenly, the grass is looking greener everywhere else.

I don't think anybody takes their marriage vows and thinks about the real situations we are promising to stand by each other through (really, would anybody get married then!?): "I promise to stand by you through countless weird medical issues with our family, autism, AD/HD, ungodly work hours that come with trying to build your own business, being poorer long before richer, and some whopper arguments that nobody wins, proving just how strong headed we both are". Marc and I probably would have looked at each other and calculated how quickly we could make a break for it - see ya! Thankfully we have weathered a lot and learned to find the good, even in the bad, or at least to let the laughs carry us through the stress. Our kids do make us laugh - Marley with her new boots running around saying "my boobs!" and Max running into the kitchen when I blew my nose saying "What sounds like [whipped] cream?" - these are the moments that make the hard ones easier. We have fought hard to be where we are and things look pretty good these days, but I know we have to keep an eye on those weeds.

One thing I want to share that has worked tremendously for us during times we are really disagreeing (in addition to our fabulous therapist) is email. It may sound really impersonal at first, but it cuts out a lot of reactivity. Marc tends to have "angry eyes" and my hands fly around as if I was born Italian instead of marrying one, and we both tend to shout. Email cuts all of that out, and allows you to really take your time to say things thoughtfully in a way that can be heard. The whole point is to communicate without inflicting further hurt - too often the message is lost in the hurt and anger of an argument.

With that I will say Happy Days! and for my dear friend - I love you and when you read this know that you inspired me. You are beautiful and worthy of happiness and you do have it within yourself to find it. Sometimes the greenest grass is right where you are, you just don't see it under your feet.

3 comments:

  1. Your writing is outstanding, Missy, and very touching.

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  2. Ah, marriage...I've been married for a really long time,something over 30 years, so I probably should have some really deep insightful comments to make. I know that I always put the pecking order like this: Me first (cause if Mama ain't happy, no one is happy, then my sweetie pie, lover husband (because if our marriage fell apart it would effct everyone) and finially at the bottom the kids (since their happiness is built on the happiness of their parents), it seemed to work well. We have become more and more in love with each other over the years, the power struggles are over, the compromises made, and yet he still surprises me. I'm never bored because i can never really say what he will do next and yet i know him better than he knows himself. We never can stay angry with each other because we both are really funny and we end up in each others arms giggling and having crazy monkey sex. Yes, sex IS important- well at least for us and from my observations for others also. so have more.

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  3. Missy, the more I read your blogs, the more I think we are exactly the same. I have often written my husband letters when I was pissed off. For exactly the same reason. We can both think it through without just reacting.

    I have told others what the key to a happy marriage is, is the two big "c's.....Compromise (you can not always get things your way) and Communication. Maybe another blog for me........

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