Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.


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37 1/2 Questions

Recently, while searching for a new exercise video on YouTube, I stumbled upon a video series called 73 Questions.  73 Questions are videos, filmed in a single shot, of personalities (mainly celebrities), asking 73 questions about what they like, hate, and know.  They make the videos appear random, like someone happened to stop by and do an impromptu interview, and ask a few questions.  However, the videos are obviously scripted and practiced.  They are still fun to watch.  I started with Nicole Kidman (her Australian house is amazing), and ended with James Corden.  Check them out for yourself here.

I thought it would be fun for me do something similar for my blog.  However, I have no interest in doing the video portion of the interview or for 73 questions.  I decided to create a list of 37 1/2  questions I’ve been asked regarding my upcoming move to Italy.   Since announcing my decision to move with the family, I have been bombarded with tons  of questions.

Here we go.

1) How did this happen?

I’m not sure I understand the question.  How did what happen?

2) How did you decide to move to Italy?

Oh.  I accepted a job to work over there.

3) No.  I mean…how did you even think of applying for a job in Italy?

Well, 20 plus years ago I worked overseas in London, England.  It was a great experience,and I’ve always wanted to live overseas again.

4)  Did you talk about applying for the job with your family?

Of course.

5)  How did they respond?

Indifferent at first.  They knew it was my dream to live overseas, but didn’t think it wouldn’t really happen.

6) Were they surprised to hear you got the job?

Yes and no.  I’d been talking about applying for jobs for a while, but the fact I got a job offer was a surprise.

7)  How did your family react?

Mixed.  Husband was proud, excited, but nervous.  Older boys were fine, as long as they could stay at their current schools.  Little Boy cried.

8)  Was it hard to have Little Boy cry?

Yes.  Before I accepted the job, we had several family discussions.  There were a lot of questions, and emotions during those conversations.

9)  Is Little Boy still sad?

I’m sure he is, but he also is excited.  We all are.  

10)  What’s the hardest part about making decision to live overseas?

Making sure everyone needs are being met.  Years ago, when I lived overseas I was a single person. Now I am married, with three kids, own a home, and have aging parents.  Making sure we had a plan how to make it work was crucial prior to accepting the job.

11)  What work will you be doing?

I will be the Director of Child Youth programs on an US Military base.

12)  Will you live on the US base?

No.

13)  Do you speak Italian?

No.

14)  Have you been to Italy?

No.

15)  Is everyone moving to Italy with you?

No.  My husband and youngest son are coming with me, but two older boys will remain in the United States.  They want to finish high school and college in the US.

16)  Did you offer for them to come with you to Italy?

Of course.  The older boys have friends, and connections in the US.  They are also ages 18 and 20. They are old enough to decide what they want to do for the future.

17)  Are you sad to leave them?

Yes.  It’s hard to think about,  but they will visit and they will stay with us during vacations and summer.  We are a close family.  We will make sure to stay connected.

18)  How long will you live overseas?

Three years.

19)  Can you stay longer?

Possibly.  It depends on a lot of factors.

20)  Is your husband supportive?

Yes, very.

21)  Was he always supportive?

Yes and no.  At first, we didn’t have all the details worked out.  It was a complex process to see how we could support three boys, three schools, own a home, and two careers.  I’m the dreamer in the family.  He’s the practical one.  His practical side needed to be fulfilled, prior to accepting the job.

22)  What has been the response from family and friends?

Mixed.  Sad, excited, shocked, and happy.  We feel all the same emotions.

23)  What has been the most unusual response to the move?

Silence.  

23)  What will you miss the most when you move?

The people.

24)  What will you miss the least?

Nothing.  I love where I live, my family and my friends. 

25)  Why leave then?

Five years ago my husband and I talked about our future.  We both love to travel, and both want meaningful careers.  This job opportunity offers us both things.  Leaving doesn’t always mean you are unhappy.  Sometimes we leave to experience something more.

26)  What will happen to your house?

We will rent it out.

27)  What about all your belongings?

We will take most of our things with us, and store the rest.

28)  Are you scared?

No.

29)  Really?

Yes, really.  I have concerns, but scared…no.

30)  I’ve never heard of someone taking a job overseas.  Isn’t it unusual?

Not really.  Military families move overseas all the time.  This experience has given me great appreciation for US military families who move frequently and to overseas locations. The process is daunting when you have a family.  

31)  Do you like Italian food?

Is this a real question?

32)  Do you worry about crime in Italy?

Not more than I do in the US.

33)  What happens if you get homesick?

It will happen.  We will get homesick, but we will support each other.  This move is different from my previous one.  There are many more ways to stay connected.  We will also travel back to the US at least once a year.

34)  What would you say to someone considering working overseas or following a dream?

Do the research.  It was not an easy process for this to happen.  Take time to research how it can happen, and begin the process.  If you really see something in your future, you have to take the steps to make if happen.  

35)  Anything else?

Stay positive.  Many times I’ve been discouraged because things didn’t go as quickly, or as smoothly as I wanted.  Surround yourself with positive people who support you.  You will need their encouragement.

36)  Regrets?

No, not yet.

37)  Final words?

I’m grateful for this opportunity.  It’s happening because of many people who believe in and support me.  Timing and luck had a lot to do with it too.  I get to do valuable, meaningful work, see the world, and be with my family.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

371/2 )  And?

Ciao.  We’re done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Happy Anniversary

Today is the third anniversary of my blog.  I had no idea until I happened to check my email and WordPress congratulated me on the big event.  Interestingly, I am also celebrating my 20 year anniversary of marriage with my husband this month too.  Anniversaries are a good thing to celebrate because they show a commitment.

To celebrate my blog anniversary I am writing today’s blog.  To celebrate my 20 year wedding anniversary my family and I have just returned from a two-week trip to Ireland/England for our spring break vacation.  It was an amazing trip.  What seems more amazing is how I have been married for 20 years.  It seems yesterday when my husband and I took our vows as husband and wife.

We took our boys with us on our anniversary celebration overseas.  People asked why my husband and I brought the boys along if we were celebrating our life as a married couple.  The reasons we brought the boys are simple.  First, we wanted to visit both countries and didn’t have anyone to care for the boys if we went away. Second, the boys are part of our marriage.  They are a result of my husband and I being married, so it seemed appropriate to bring them along.  Third,  we wanted to give the boys the gift of travel.  Overseas travel is something my husband and I enjoy and we haven’t done so since we got married 20 years ago.  With college starting soon for Old Boy and then for Tall Boy soon after, now was the best time to show the boys that a world exists outside of the United States.  Our hope is to inspire the boys to make their own plans for travel when they are older.  This may have been our only overseas trip with all five of us, so we wanted to make sure if was a trip to remember.

Taking three kids on a two-week, two countries trip was no easy feat.  Planning took months.  Years ago when my husband and I traveled we did some pre-planning, but most of the fun was taking a drive and seeing where you ended up.  If we wanted to stay at a place longer we would.  This is wasn’t an option for us traveling with the boys.  We planned each place, with the boys in mind, to reduce the amount of stress it would place on us and them.  Our planning worked.  With minimal stress we were able to see and do all the things we wanted to do.  Every hour I spend researching details of our stay was worth it.

The anniversary trip to England/Ireland had an impact on me.  It made me realize how much my husband and I have in common.  We enjoy seeing and experiencing different cultures and learning new things.  We don’t often do much out of the ordinary in our home, daily lives and yet were more than willing to do and try everything while traveling.  Some folks have no interest in staying in endless lines at the airport for the sake of traveling, but my husband and I are.  I wish I could say our boys shared their parents’ enthusiasm for travel, but at times they longed for the comforts of the familiar more than the spirit of a great adventure.

My husband felt discouraged because our boys weren’t more expressive with gratitude about allowing them to join us on our anniversary trip.  I was less concerned.  My boys are nice guys, but aren’t mature enough yet to realize the sacrifices we made to take them on the trip.  I don’t expect them gush how wonderful their parents are because we gave them a gift.  We willingly chose to take them with us.  The boys didn’t ask to come.  I know ( or hope) they will understand the size of our gift to them some day.  The next overseas trip my husband and I will be alone though.  As much as we enjoyed having the boys with us, my husband and I realized we would enjoy the next trip much more without constantly catering other people’s needs.

To be honest, I’m not happy to be home.  I know I will be in a few days, but our vacation was good at taking away stress.  The moment I walked through my front door I could feel the weight of life responsibilities push down on me.  There are bills to pay, emails to read, laundry to wash, food to shop for, and thank you notes to write.  The joy of living for only in the moment has passed.  As much as I would like to continue in the mindset of my vacation I know the daily grind of life will not allow me to feel as free.

The anniversary vacation reminded me of how fortunate I am, especially for my marriage.  My marriage is the single greatest gift I’ve been given.  I hope my husband and I have many more celebrations in the future.

Happy anniversary to my husband of 20 years and happy anniversary to another year of blogging.

 

 

 

 

 


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Love

 

A conversation between a wife and a husband.

Husband and wife sit together by computer.  Wife looks at computer screen and then looks at husband.

Wow.  That was a lot of work.  Creating a budget for my new job was harder than I thought it would be.  The spreadsheets look amazing.  Thank you, Sweetie.” – Wife

No need to thank me.  It’s the least I can do after all the sacrifices you’ve made to support me in my career and to care for the boys.  You spent a lot of years putting us first and now it’s our turn to help you out.” – Husband

“Wow.  That was a really sweet thing to say.” – Wife (wiping tears from her eyes)

Wife smiles at husband gives him a hug.

“It’s all about love, Baby.  It’s all about love.” – Husband

 


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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Girlfriend Circles

A while ago I was talking to my husband about our friendship. We discussed my frustration with him about a male/female situation we were dealing with.  We both had very different ideas on how the situation should be handled.  The differences came because of our gender differences.  It was one of the first times I didn’t feel understood by my husband.

About midway through our discussion I told my husband I needed to talk to someone else.  He agreed with me.  As I walked away I tried to think who I could talk too.  The problem was the situation was personal and painful.  I couldn’t think of the right person to discuss things with.  My husband has been my best friend for over 20 years.  He has always been the one I talked to when I needed someone.

I let the issue go and worked it out myself.  But after a while thought how nice it would be to have one or two close female friends who I could confide more, personal things.  I am very fortunate that I have a lot of close friends, but not one best female friend.  Best friends are very popular these days.  We hear the term BFF (Best Friends Forever) all the time.  My oldest sister has a BFF.  They have been best friends for over 30 years.  When a situation comes up they call each other first.  Often they travel together and have leaned on each other during the hard times.  I began to wonder if maybe I could find a BFF too.

During my search on the internet I came across a wonderful blog about female friendships.  The blog is called Girlfriend Circles, written by Shasta Nelson.  The blog is about friendships, not just best friends.  It focuses on the importance of having and maintaining friends through our lives.  Using research based information, Shasta, writes ways to improve you existing friendships and even how to find a BFF.

One of the most interesting parts of the blog is understanding what types of friendships we need for happiness.  I was under the impression friendships were basically in two groups:  close friends and acquaintances.  I learned that there are several more groups of friendships that we need types.  Shasta writes about the concept of needing different types of friends with her “Circles of Connectiveness Continuum“.   The Continuum is a broken down into five friendship groups.

  • Contact Friends
  • Common Friends
  • Confirmed Friends
  • Community Friends
  • Committed Friends

Each groups of friends needs to be cared for and developed.  After reading “Circles of Connectiveness” I realized I have quite a few contact, common and community friends.  I consider myself to be social and have many connections.  However, because I know so many people I often have trouble making deeper connections with people who could lead to the BFF group, Committed Friends.  It makes sense.  It you spend your time with many people you don’t have enough time to develop deeper level friendships.  It also explains why my husband is my best friend because we spend so much time together.

I love this blog for so many reasons.  Each week a different topic about friendship is discussed everything from, “What to do with a toxic friend?” to “How to make new friends in a new city”.  Often we take times to learn ways to improve our marriage and parenting so why not also have a resource to help out with friendships too?  Shasta has a new book recently published which I plan to purchase called, Friendships Don’t Just HappenThe book reviews so far look good.

I hope this will be a helpful resource for you. It has been for me.  Who knows?  Maybe finding a BFF will happen sooner than I think…if I can remember to make the time.


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The Vacuums

A conversation between a mother and a father.

“Morning.  How did you sleep last night?” –  Mother

“How do you think?  Terrible.  Little Boy has to sleep in his bed at night, not ours.” – Father

“Well, just wake up and put him back to bed.” – Mother

“He comes to your side of the bed.  Why don’t you put him back?” – Father

“I’m too tired.  Having him in the bed at night isn’t nearly as draining as having to entertain him all day.  It’s like having a vacuüm stuck to your head sucking the life out of you.” – Mother

“I totally agree.  We have teenagers.  I thought our imaginative play days were over.  Playing dinosaurs isn’t fun anymore.  I always have to be the wimpy dinosaur.  The one that gets eaten.” – Father

“At least you don’t have to pretend you’re the mother cooking dinner.  Nothing like reenacting the thing you hate doing in your real life.” – Mother

“Shh.  I hear something.  Be quiet or the Vacuüm will wake up.  Then we won’t have a moment alone.” – Father

“Okay.  I’ll speak softer.  How about some breakfast?” – Mother

“Sure.” – Father

Mother opens refrigerator door and looks around.  Mother closes the door.

“Where are the eggs?  Are we out of bread?  There isn’t any milk.  How are we supposed to eat breakfast when there isn’t any food?  I went shopping two days ago.” – Mother

“It appears the teenage Vacuums have eaten all the food.” – Father


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Miracle

A conversation between a mother and a father.

Mother and father are sitting at dinning room table talking after dinner. Mother looks about and notices children are not around.

“It’s awfully quiet. Where is everybody?” – Mother

“The big boys are in their room.  Not sure where the little guy is.” – Father

Mother and father look at each other with panicked faces.

“I’ll look for him this way.  You go that way.” – Father

Mother and father walk away from kitchen to search for little boy.  After a few minutes father approaches mother.

“Come here.  You won’t believe it.” – Father

“Oh no.” – Mother

Father leads mother to little boy’s bedroom.  Mother looks around room and notices little boy.  Little boy is lying in his bed asleep.  Lights are on.

“Wow.” – Mother (whispers)

“Wow is right.” – Father (whispers)

“It’s a miracle.” – Mother (whispers)

Mother and father walk out of the bedroom and turn out the light.  Mother gives father a big hug and father gives mother a high-five slap on the hand.

“We don’t have to put the little guy to bed.  We have the evening free to do what we want.  First time EVER,” – Father (big smile)

” It’s a miracle.  A true blue spectacle.  The miracle is you.” – Mother (singing)

It’s A Miracle by Barry Manilow. Brought to you by Youtube creator Miss Emerald Isle


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Taken for Granted

Taken for granted – To give little attention to or to underestimate the value of, to fail to appreciate

My husband and I are enjoying a revived honeymoon period in our marriage.  We have been together for twenty years and married for eighteen.  If you had asked if I was happy in my marriage a year ago, I would have said yes.  However, a year later I can honestly say I am much happier.

What changed in the year was my appreciation for being married.  Not only being married, but married to a someone one who works hard, is committed to his family and a fun person to be with.  I changed my attitude toward marriage.

A year ago my husband and I had an incident.  It was not major, but it was negative.  Misinformation was told.  Trust was broken.  In my twenty year relationship with my husband it was the most painful experience we have gone through.  It was the kind of event that made us question our marriage, not so much to end it, but where was it going and could it continue as is.  We were both sad, angry and confused.

My husband and don’t fight often.  We argue and bicker, but not big, drag out fights.  This situation was a big fight.  It was a disagreement on how something should have been handled.  Both sides remained firm in their own belief and unwilling to compromise.  Usually when we have argued in the past, one of use would give in.  Not this time.  My husband feelings were of anger and frustration.  Mines were of sadness and disappointment.  Our feelings overwhelmed both of us for a long time.

When I think back to our difficult time I wonder how we made it through.  Within the last two or three years we have seen several couples within our social circle break up.  Couples who have been together for many years, some even longer than us.  Watching people you love end their relationship is hard.  For the longest time I didn’t ever think my husband and I would even be in a situation where we would be unhappy, but that was before the incident.

After our disagreement, we realized in order for our marriage to continue happily we would need to make changes.  Big changes.  We could no longer expect our love to stay strong by doing the same things.  If we were to stay together we would need improve our appreciation for each other and not take each other for granted.

Having children has had a huge impact our relationship.  Prior to the boys we were a couple who spent large amounts of time together.  My husband and I are best friends.  We get along well.  After the boys arrived we shifted our time and energy to care for them.  We have always been very hands on parents and have done all the work of parenting by ourselves.  Our priority was meeting the needs of the children first and everything else after that.

The problem with our style of parenting was we were exhausted.  Making sure three boys are fed, healthy, schooled and entertained is very challenging.  At the end of the day my husband and I had little energy, time or money to spend on ourselves.  Over time my husband and I began to view each other as business partners in the business of raising three boys.  Our children thrived but our relationship slowly became one of two people working toward a goal.

In some ways I am glad we had a falling out.  It was a wake up call to changes we needed to make.  The boys are older and do not need as much caretaking.  We needed to shift away from caring from them  and for them to do more themselves.  We also needed time alone.  My husband and I do not feel comfortable leaving the little guy with many people, but we do trust the older brothers.  We realized both older boys were very capable to care for him on a much more frequent basis.

On Fridays my husband has elected to work from home.  At first it was a challenge to for both of us to work in the same environment.  However, now it is something we both look forward to.  I love have a co-worker for the day to talk to and so does my husband.  Usually we both finish our work early and head out for lunch.  It is extra time we get to spend together.

The results from our simple changes has been profound.  We still place our children high on our priority list, but now we also make sure our relationship is a priority too.  The more time we have spent together the more romantic feelings have increased.  Feelings that were pushed aside for many years to care for children, work, pets and the home.  It has been a slow process to rekindle old feelings, but it’s working.

Both my husband and I parent’s divorced when we were children.  The one thing we have always wanted for our boys is a home where the two parents stayed married.   However, we do not want to stay married for the sake of being married.  We both want to be in a relationship with someone we are in love with, who we know loves us back.

Sometimes my husband and I slip back to our old ways of putting everything and everyone before the two of us.  But it doesn’t last.  Friday comes every week and even if we miss date night we have one day each week to spend alone.

If someone asks me if I am happy in my marriage today I say yes.  Yes, because I like the guy I spend my life with and yes, because he is the one I am still in love with.

I work harder to not that for granted again.