The keys to a healthy relationship: from the mouths of couples

Now I know what you’re thinking. What does this lady know about marriage? Why should I listen to her?

Well I absolutely agree. I am not even thirty. I’ve already been divorced once and remarried. I don’t have any degrees that would help on this topic. So don’t listen to me.

Listen to all of the couples I’ve spoken to on this topic. I’ve talked to couples that have been together 60+ years. I’ve talked to divorced couples on what went wrong. I’ve talked to couples of different ethnicities, sexuality, and religions.

The most surprising thing that I discovered was how simple the advice was that was given. I kept hearing the same few things over and over again.

Here are some of the things that were repeated most often:

  • Spend time together and apart. It’s wonderful to try to understand someone’s passions. It’s great to want to share things with your partner. If you like bowling, go bowling together. If you like video games, play together. If you like a specific tv show, watch it together. But also spend some time alone. Read a book, listen to music, join a club with some friends. Have a girls/boys night. If you like different things, it’s okay. It will make things more interesting and give you stories to tell.
  • Communicate Never let things fester. Discuss problems while they are still small and you will have an easier time solving them. If you don’t speak up, the person won’t know it’s a problem they will continue to do it. The anger will grow inside of you and soon you will be so angry and coming at your oblivious partner guns blazing. They will feel attacked and be less likely to listen.
  • Be too honest. Obviously don’t cheat, manipulate, or do any of the other “big no nos”, but it’s more than that. If you lie about the little things, it adds up. Getting caught in little lies about buying clothes or eating something not on your diet can cause big problems in a relationship. Tell the truth. Your partner will respect it. (This was advice more from divorced couples).
  • Show appreciation. If your partner always makes dinner, let them know how much you appreciate it. If they take care of the finances, occasionally mention how helpful it is. If they see that you’re stressed and make an extra effort to help out, thank them. Whether it’s something that they do every day or something special they’ve done to show they care, let them know that you’ve noticed. Don’t take them for granted or they will stop putting forth the effort.
  • Be a team. You need to discuss important things like finances, how to raise the children, and major life decisions. Talk to each other. Listen to each other’s ideas and points of view. Communicate. Try to see it from the other persons point of view. Especially with children, you need to be a United front.
  • Adding on to the last one, compromise. You won’t always agree on everything. That’s when it’s a good idea to compromise. Find a middle ground. If it seems like there is none, get creative. He wants to go somewhere historic for your vacation, you want to go to someplace warm with beaches. Try to find something close to both and spend some days going to museums and some days on the beach. You want tacos for dinner, they want burgers, either have both or say you’ll do one today and one tomorrow. Big or small, try to find some way to make it work.
  • Everything above falls into one piece of advice. What I hear the most is that relationships are hard. You can never stop working at them. You can never get complacent. Never stop trying to learn more, understand more, grow more as a couple and an individual. Sure the original excitement might wear off, you might switch dress clothes for sweatpants, you might switch going out dancing for staying in and cuddling on the couch watching Netflix, but that doesn’t mean that you can stop working at your relationship. The minute you stop trying, things will fall apart.

Now I’m not an expert, and neither are the couples I talk to, but their advice seems pretty sensible. Communicate, appreciate, Be honest, And never stop trying.

Later y’all

Calling all psychologists!!

Ok hear me out, because this may sound like a dumb question.

Why don’t I exercise and eat right?

I have a BMI of 28.6 and I’d like to get down into the 24 range. The question isn’t how, because I know how. The question is “why don’t I do it?”

On a psychological level, why don’t I just do what I know needs to be done to achieve my goal?

I know that not only will exercise and eating right(more veggies and less carbs) help me to lose weight and become healthier, but it makes me feel good! It will give me an energy boost, a confidence boost, and make me feel like a new person. I know this from past attempts at weight loss.

So knowing that there are so many positive outcomes, why do I still have such a hard time? And are there any techniques to combat this? Please help me understand.

Thanks!

Dating myself

My biggest regret is that I never dated myself. Now I might never get the chance.

Did any of you jump from relationship to relationship?

I was so afraid to be alone, that I never was. I wasn’t picky about who I dated, just that I was with someone. I’ll tell you what, sometimes my lack of standards really brought in the winners(sarcasm).

I’ve never even lived alone. I moved out of my parents house and in with my first husband. Then when we got divorced, his sister(yep. You read that right. HIS sister is my best friend) moved in to help me through it. Then my current husband moved in and eventually she moved out.

Now that I’m married with kids, that might be my biggest regret.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret getting married or having kids. My husband and my kids are my world. I just wish I would have lived a little BEFORE I met my husband.

I wish I would have spent more time on myself. I wish I would have taken a break to find out who I was and what I wanted.

I should have taken myself to the movies or out to dinner. I should have bought myself jewelry and a spa day. I should have showered myself with compliments and support.

I wish I would have lived by myself for a year or two and learned how to cook better. I wish I would have put as much effort into myself as I did in relationships.

There’s a good possibility that I won’t live alone until I’m much older(or never). I will never get to see what it’s like to only have to take carry of/worry about myself.

I have this dream where I wake up, crank some music, shower and get ready for work. Then afterwards I’d come home, cook something simple, and hang out in front of the tv.

I know I’d have to clean and do laundry but cleaning for one and doing one persons laundry sounds AMAZING! Think about it moms! Think about all of the laundry that CONSTANTLY needs to be washed/folded/put away. How much of that is yours?

I don’t know about y’all, but I HATE kids clothes. You think one basket is not that much but that one basket holds 50183948393729373 pieces of tiny shirts, pants, onesies, etc. Its a basket of LIES and DECEIT!

Plus doing laundry while watching kids. Or even better, when they want to HELP. That makes a 5 minute task take 15-20 minutes.

I miss doing laundry alone. I miss doing anything alone.

I recently took up wood whittling as a hobby. Cause what goes better with kids than sharp knives and blocks of wood…. 😣 I probably get two hours a week of hands free, kids free, time. Do you know how long it takes me to finish one project? Wayyyy more than 2 hours. If I were single, I’d love sitting down and whittling the day away.

The point is, I regret not taking time for myself. It’s an experience that I feel everyone should have. Plus I feel that if I spent this time figuring myself out, I’d have saved a lot of time and tears on the wrong guys.

I know being alone seems scary when you’re in highschool, college, and especially after college when you have to figure life out. But, when you find yourself married with kids and never alone, you’ll wish you could go back.

So if you’re like I was, and the fear of being alone makes you jump from one relationship to the next, maybe just take a break after the next breakup. Even just a month can teach you a lot.

If you’re like I am now, surrounded by people and noise and chaos, never ending piles of laundry and dishes, just wanting a day to curl up and read a good book, you’re not alone.

Try your hardest to find that time. It may not teach you life altering lessons, but it might stop you from pulling your hair out.

Cliff notes of my 20s

My 20s were filled with abuse, death, love, and finding myself.

The first time I wrote this out it was long and detailed and probably pretty boring to those of you who don’t know me. So here’s the cliff notes of the last 10 years.

Stupidly got married at 20 y/o while in college(2009) Guy was an abusive tool.

Dropped out of college at his bequest.

Got pregnant in late 2010.

Lost the baby at 39 weeks and 4 days(June 2011).

Guy started cheating and eventually left me for another woman. (June 2012)

Realizing that I was 23, divorced, and had already buried my child, I got on a dating site and went through a very short “wild period”.

Met a guy on that dating site who wanted more than just one night. (Sept. 2012)

After therapy and time, finally let that guy in. (March 2013)

He was patient with me and helped me through my ptsd. He understood that I didn’t want kids.

He convinced me to go back to school for my bachelors.

2 years after we met we got engaged. He was the best thing to ever happen to me. I was truly happy. (Aug 2014)

1 year after that we found out I was pregnant(September 2015). I was mortified, terrified, and absolutely didn’t want that baby.

Set up an appt at a clinic to terminate the pregnancy. Many long talks later we decided to keep it.

A most terrifying and stress filled 9 months later(may 2016), out pops a healthy baby girl. She was one of the two best things to ever happen to me. She filled a hole in my heart that I didn’t know I had.

A while(September 2016) later we walk down the aisle with our four month daughter as an honorary flower girl.

A couple months after that (December 2016), I graduated with my bachelors in marketing.

2 years later, (after being pressured about having another kid so Charlie doesn’t turned out “spoiled”) we decided(resistently) to have another kid.

Got pregnant February 2018.

I spent the entire pregnancy feeling like we made a mistake and being afraid I was going to hate my child.

We had a boy(October 2018), and it was love at first site. He is one of the three best things that could ever happen to me.

If you would have told me, 10 years ago, everything that I would go through, I’d never believe you. I’d never believe that I was strong enough for the first half or lucky enough for the second.

Sometimes things happen for a reason. If I wouldn’t have lost my son, I might still be with my abusive ex. Id never have met my current husband, and I never would have had my two amazing kids. God works in mysterious ways.

I’m turning 30 in February and ready to start my next decade off on a much happier foot!!!! I MADE IT!!!!!!

5X7

As I look around during the 4 am feeding, I can’t help but notice how much my life has changed.

I used to say “I want ONE room to put ALL the toys and whatnot. That way if anyone comes over, they get the illusion that we’re adults.”

Well obviously that didn’t happen because when I laid down for a nap today, I found a “little people”(my daughter and I named him Bob), under my sheets. Yes… Bob went places that no toy has gone before.

We have puzzle pieces in the living room, one of those annoying walk on pianos hiding in the office, and don’t even get me started on all of the toys that have snuck there way into our laundry.

I don’t think that there is a room in our entire house that doesn’t scream “KIDS HAVE TAKEN OVER OUR LIVES!!!”

Now we get to add tummy time mats, and baby swings to the mix. And don’t even get me started on the laundry and dishes that never seem to end!!!

While I sit here thinking about all of the chaos that our life has become, do you know how I feel???

Like I want A maid and a stiff drink!!!!!!

What? You thought that I was going to say that I feel blessed, loved and something or other about seeing the bigger picture?

Yea…. I guess I’m in more of a 5X7 mood tonight.

Later y’all

Lucky in autism?

So many people have told me that I’m lucky with my 2.5 y/o daughter’s autism, and I agree.

Now before you bite my head off, give me a minute to explain.

I’m not lucky that my daughter HAS autism. I would never say that. Anything that makes her life harder than it has to be is not lucky at all.

What I am saying, is that I’m lucky with the ‘type’ of autism she has, or rather the type she doesn’t have.

My daughter has no problems with sensory overload. She doesn’t mind bright lights or loud noises. She doesn’t mind being touched(though she doesn’t particularly like to cuddle or be held for long periods of time either). In this sense, I am very lucky.

I can take my daughter to the grocery store and she will sit quietly in the shopping cart, looking at all of the different things. Sometimes she will even point out things she likes and just babble away about them.

Next month I am taking her to see Disney junior live. I will enjoy it more than she will, but I am still so blessed that I have the opportunities to do these types of things with her.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes her autism is very hard. She has a very small vocabulary and we both get frustrated when I can’t figure out what she wants or needs.

She can be very dramatic at the most random times. She will be fine one minute and then fall to the floor dramatically and start repeating “oh no” over and over again. She pretends to fall everywhere she goes.

She is afraid of other kids and will stand in a corner and watch them have fun, which breaks my heart. At the autism center, I always here that she will tel other kids to “shoo” when doing a group activity. She just doesn’t understand the idea of playing WITH someone. This is pretty normal for a two year old, she just pushes things a bit further.

Sometimes these things can seem overwhelming, but she has an amazing group that works with her and she will, hopefully, not have too many issues as she begins school in the next few years. We are very lucky.

There are some parents/kids who have a much harder time than we could ever understand. Some kids don’t liked to be touched. Some can’t go out for the simplest errand without feeling overwhelmed. Some will never be able to experience places like theme parks, concerts, or even pep rallies at a high school. Others will never be able to live alone and experience autonomy.

As a mother of a child with autism, I feel very very blessed. Things could be so much more difficult and I sometimes wonder if I’d be strong enough to handle a more difficult situation with as much grace and determination that I see in other parents.

My heart goes out to all parents of special needs children. I know that your hearts break and your will gets tested. I know that you wish things could be different for your child. You want them to have an easier life and be able to experience everything they can. Y’all are my heroes. You are strong and patient and your hearts are so big. Thank you for inspiring me to take it one day at a time and for showing me that autistic or not, my little girl is a blessing.

Later y’all

Angels and demons

So, we had it really easy with our daughter. The pregnancy was a breeze. The labor was slow but painless(thank you epidural) for the first 20 hours. Then they broke my water and we were holding Charlie in our arms within a half an hour. My husband always loved telling the story because both sets of parents(Charlie’s grandparents) had been at the hospital waiting for hours and they had just left to go to dinner right after the doctor broke my water. They had sat down at the restaurant and just ordered drinks when my husband called them to come back. He was always so proud to have a wife that “took the pain so well”. I was patient and nice and while pushing I was telling the doctors how good of a job they were doing and encouraging them. “Come on guys, we can do this!” “Let’s have a baby y’all” “you guys are doing amazing!”

Then when our daughter was born, she started sleeping around 6 hours in a row at night by a month old.

She was a little behind on sitting, crawling, and walking. She was wayyy behind on talking. That’s how we figured out she was autistic. But she was quiet and polite and loved playing on her own. She transitioned from a bassinet to a crib and then from a crib to a big girl bed with absolutely no issues. She’s a bit quirky and loves talking to herself in bed, but all in all, she is an amazingly easy child to raise. I even ended up only gaining 10 pounds(I’m a bigger girl) so after she was born, I actually ended up losing weight.

Everyone kept saying how lucky we were. It annoyed the poo outta me, because I thought they were assuming that things were soooo easy and as a first time mom, they still felt very hard.

I think you can see where this is going….

Our son…… welllllll, he is a different story. Now keep in mind that he’s only 12 weeks old, so I have no idea what kind of personality he’s going to have yet, but I can only assume it’s the personality of the devil himself. I had horrible pregnancy symptoms. I’m talking nausea constantly, heartburn all 9 months, symphasis pubic dysfunction, and all of the mood swings that the stereotypical pregnant woman has.

The labor was my worse case scenario. I got the epidural but for some reason it wasn’t working. The doctors didn’t believe me so they just kept upping the dose. I still had full feeling in my legs and felt every contraction, but since they assumed I was faking it or something, they wouldn’t let me get out of bed or move around. It was terrible. At around 7cm I started passing out from pain and needed to have a c-section. My poor husband was terrified at all of the screaming and I was using a few choice words that I rarely ever use. Boy oh boy did I have a colorful vocabulary.

Anyways, Jax was born and healthy and all was well. We thought the worst was over. Lemme tell you it wasn’t. I’m sure the worst is STILL not over. This kid woke up every hour on the hour to eat for the first 2 months. He had such bad gas that he was constantly fussy. He refused to burp after feedings even after 30+ minutes of on and off burping in all the positions I could find. Nothing helped. We tried everything you can imagine to help with gas and get him to sleep. I read probably 100+ articles, forums, books, etc. and we tried it all. From gripe water, to putting him on his belly to sleep(I know back is best but we were desperate. He’s back on his back now).

Now he’s up to 3-4 hours in one block at night and finally seems to have his days and nights figured out, But, he won’t let us put him down. I set him down to go clean or play with Charlie and Jax starts screaming! He gets so worked up that he starts coughing and gagging. It’s terrible. By the time my husband gets back from work, I have no energy left to do much of anything. He picks up the slack where he can, but he’s too busy giving me a break from Jax.

Our house is constantly a mess, we have piles of laundry that take forever to get folded, we never get a moment to ourselves. We are tired and frustrated and one of us is always on the edge of a breakdown.

The only break I get is when Charlie has class with her autism specialist Monday-Friday from 9-1. So then at least it’s just Jackson and I and I don’t have to feel guilty about not being able to give my daughter the attention she deserves.

It absolutely astounds me how different two kids can be. From day one he’s been trouble and she’s been an angel. I’m sure as they get older, they will change a ton and both will be a little of each depending on the day, but right now I’m just exhausted.

Ok. Rant over.

Later y’all.