Episode 32: Chores: We’re, Uh, Doing it Wrong?

It has officially been a year of podcasting! What? I feel like it’s been 5 years of podcasting. Ha. Not that I am an expert, but I haven’t I been doing this for way longer? Crazy.

On this episode we hear from YOU! With a Kamel and Lauren commentary track plus tangents. Things I learned:

  • We are apparently immature babies about doing chores and there is clearly a more elevated system we are not capable of.
  • Some of you have some SWEET setups!
  • I want in on that.
  • Everyone needs a house husband.

If any of you are also immature chore losers, or of the elevated variety, please discuss in comments! I am genuinely fascinated by how others manage to do the dirty work of life.

Episode 30: No Trade-Backs

Today is a call to action!! We are talking about household responsibilities and Kamel’s constant wish that we could switch it up and my constant reply of “No.”

But now we really want to hear from you. How do you break up the house work? Is it a space of tension or is it seamless? Do you feel like you do more or less or equal? Does your partner bitch about it? Let me into your world! And share it with the rest of us.

Also if you have opnions on how Kamel doesn’t want to do the kitchen anymore and I won’t let him quit, feel free to share on that as well!

Voicemails are needed by December 16th. 

The number to call is: 415 275 0551

Episode 28: In Sickness and In Health

The podcast has returned!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In this episode we talk about what it was like for us to go through a major medical event (not pregnancy and postpartum life) within our marriage. This is something neither of us have had a lot of exposure to. The photo above was titled “the face of troopers” and was taken the day after kamel’s surgery when shit was hard and stressful but we were making it happen!

In the episode I reference an article I read from the caregiver perspective. It’s really interesting and honest and you should definitely read it. It’s called What it’s like to be married to someone with two chronic illnesses.

Enjoy season 2 (yes we’re still at season 2), Episode 28!

Misogyny Lives Here

Today is election day. It’s one of those iconic moments in history where it could either go one or or another and the ripples will be felt in either direction. I’ve had a post brewing for a few weeks now so I thought today would be a good day for it. As the nation faces yet again the unmistakable glass ceiling and this election that was more about the treatment of women, and especially women in power, more than any other issue. This election that was in so many ways a slap in my face, the daughter of two generations of strong working women. That we are still fighting this fight and being told we are less than, is un-fucking-believable.

My own mantra has been that if I expect the world to be a certain way, then it better also be that way in my own house. And guess what, world… misogyny lives here too.

It creeps in. It’s sneaky. It happens when my husband tells me how to make myself happy even when I strongly disagree with him. When he insists that the things I want are not the things I want and the reason I am pissed/frustrated/annoyed are really because of something completely different.

It’s how I know where the baby socks are. Or where we keep the crib blankets. Or where the baby wipes live. And my husband has to ask me.

Its there when it is assumed that I am home with the children even though I work full time, sometimes more than full time. But I work from home, so that must also mean I can watch the kids.

It’s there in the gas lighting. THE GAS LIGHTING. That I try to battle by calling it out when I see it. To which my husband shrugs off, “I hate when you say that…” I know a fix for that.

It’s there when I have to work late and my husband is annoyed by this, tells me it shouldn’t be this way, that I work too much. But when he is on a deadline, and oh how he has been at the most inconvenient of times, we make that work. Not that I am a saint and have not been annoyed at last minute solo-parenting, but in general? It is, “you need to push that button at 3am? No problem. You need to go to that work function at 7pm? Totally ok, I’ve got it. You need to work through dinner with your laptop on the table next to your plate? I get it.” Where is my career support? I’m sorry me being tired is an inconvenient.

If misogyny lives here, then it lives most everywhere in the hidden nooks and crannies of our lives. And sometimes not so hidden. It’s in the assumption of primary care give for the children, or the uneven distribution of household chores, or the ability for partners to have hobbies outside of work or home that are just givens to their happiness without there being a balance.

Kamel told me a few days ago that he is voting for Hillary Clinton, not for himself – because he is a privileged man whose life wouldn’t change that much in either direction – but for me. Because he’s seen the bullshit. He’s seen the grotesque inequality and how much harder I have to work at it all. And these are kind, loving, empathetic comments. Even though they are wrong. He’s right about the privilege. But a world that is fairer and kinder and better for the most amount of people, is a world that benefits him too.

Even if we get our first female president today, there is still so much work to be done. And it starts at home.

All The Things

You guys. My best friend got married, it was so beautiful and I kept having not to cry all day and then I did cry a little when the stress of my children being late crashed down upon me. More on that later.

And then yesterday my husband had surgery and he is home being in pain and I hate it so much. And since this blog is all about ME I’m going to take two seconds to say: Being the caregiver is hard and sad and stressful. And it’s ok to hate it. While also helping them put their pants on and laughing good naturedly at their sheered section from where they operated and making sure they are drinking water and staying on their medicine schedule. During that time it is also ok to grumble about having to be the one to do all the house things and all the kid things and all the usual things while your partner plays video games and does what they are supposed to do – which is to HEAL and REST because if they are fucked up for 1 more goddamn day outside of the 6 week schedule… so help me god.

In other news: I am trying to jump start this space and I have not forgotten it or abandoned it. Tomorrow there will be pretty (and stressful) wedding stories to share and hopefully my husband will also be in less pain.

Episode 26: The Shower Debate

Sometimes I begin a podcast thinking we’ll have something poignant to say and then it devolves into arguments over having time to make eggs for breakfast and taking long showers. This is one of those times

As a follow up – this morning Kamel got up at 530 and got showered and dressed before the kids got up. I also got up at 530 and prepped a bottle for Fae in case she woke up before 6 and I wouldn’t have to scramble. The kids chilled in their room until a little after 6:00. It was a great morning where everyone got to eat breakfast. Success!

Episode 23: Celebrations

This weekend we are (finally) going to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary! But it is really easy to neglect celebrating your partner in the face of LIFE and EXPENSES and SHOULD WE REALLY SPEND THE MONEY ON THAT?

The answer should be yes! But it isn’t always. This week, Kamel and I break down how we approach celebrations and how we should probably not neglect each other for Christmas, even though that seems like it is maybe becoming a trend. :/

5th Anniversary: Wood

The first day I met Kamel he took me to the woods. He had rented a hasselblad and needed a “model” (<– not the fancy kind, but the real kind) to practice on. I volunteered via twitter. He picked me up on the corner of my street and drive me to an undisclosed location. I was never nervous or afraid. I probably should have been. He took photos of me, awkwardly standing around the woods. I was wearing a long sleeved floral shirt, jeans, and flip flops. Today I look at the photos and hate how my feet look. He still thinks I looked amazing. At the time he said my shirt was clashing too much with the trees, and would it be ok if I went home and changed into something else? His driving made me carsick and I was very hungover, but I did my best to play it cool. I thought he was interesting.

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A few days before we got married we rented a Dodge Charger and took a roadtrip to the peninsula of Washington state. We walked through the woods in La Push and entered onto one of the most magical beaches ever ever in the history of shorelines. Aside from the large rock structures that poke out of the water, there are giant logs that have washed up on shore. They are perfect for climbing and they are so big they make you feel small. I first had gone to this beach with Maris, and going there as an escape from all of the wedding planning hubbub had felt like perfection. Still, even just a few days ago, we talked about what a good idea it was to get away for a day right before the wedding. Perfect timing, perfect us time, perfect adventure.

SONY DSC

On our first anniversary we lived in an apartment with a wall of windows that faced large eucalyptus trees. They all stood in a neat row and were so high it was difficult to get a photo of them even when I tried. I have never been able to replicate the sound they made when the wind blew. Like waves pounding the shore, but gentler. I miss those trees and that apartment.

By our second anniversary we had Gabriel. We ordered takeout from a fancy italian restaurant, ate a late dinner because we had to stop at Target first, and took turns soothing a fussy baby during his witching hour, while the other one got to eat semi-warm bolognese. There were no trees.

By the time we had a third anniversary we had moved back to Seattle. It took me a year to get over how green it is here. Yes, yes it is the Evergreen State, but how often are those nicknames even relevant? It is so lush and so sparkly and so alive here, it blows me away.

On our fourth anniversary I had just given birth to our little bird. We drank champagne while she slept on our chests. I was tired and sore and life was hard, but life was good. We stayed inside all day except for when we took Fae for her 2-day check-up.

On this fifth anniversary we spent most of the day apart. It was Fae’s birthday party! And so many things needed to get done! We had hot dogs to grill and decorations to hang and cake to pick up and bags of ice to buy. At the end of the day, when we finally did get a minute for ourselves, we pulled out our wedding champagne flutes from the back of the cabinet and poured ourselves a glass. Of course the pop of the cork woke up Gabriel, so I moved our tiny anniversary celebration into our bedroom while Kamel settled him back down. It took a while. By the time Kamel was shutting the nursery door behind him, it was nearly 11pm. He crawled into bed and we began a little toast about the last five years, only to have me knock a giant splash of champagne all over myself and the bed. So, press pause again while we strip the sheets and change the linens and I change my pajamas. By the time we had even had a sip the champagne was warm and we were both so, so tired. Much like I am right now as I try to finish this post.

Five years is a long time. But it feels like maybe two years ago we got married, not five. Where did these children even come from? Why is the fifth anniversary wood? Because trees start out as saplings and just keep chugging along until they are mighty redwoods? Hm, maybe. Because they are both strong, yet comforting? Solid, yet soft? Perhaps. I think five years is wood because even the most evergreen tree experiences seasons. There are periods of drought, and threatening forest fires. There is spring time with pine cones or seeds that float through the air, and fall with a splash of color or no color at all. Winter (is coming, just kidding) can be both beautiful and barren. And marriage is all of those things. Hopefully you and I haven’t seen them all in just five years. But we will. And even through the great moments and the desperate ones, the tree stands. Sometimes all anyone can ask is that you show up. Showing up to marriage is much more than 50% of the game. Sometimes all you can do is be there, standing next to each other.

To Kamel on our 5th wedding anniversary. Thank you for being my tree. I love you, you coo-coo bananas man of mine. How amazing is this family we’ve built? I would relive it all over again just to see it happen one more time.

Episode 22: Sponsored by Therapy

This week’s episode comes from a long time blog reader who is now engaged. Hooray! She wrote to me way back in April about tips and tricks on figuring out how to fight with your partner.

Learning to fight is a constant work in progress in our house and, I think, in many houses. Being compassionate and being able to listen even while pissed is a skill that takes practice and patience with yourself and others. Fighting in general is exhausting. Fighting while engaged? That’s a whole other pile of poop.

How have you learned to fight with your partner? What works for you and what doesn’t? Did you fight more than usual during engagement? We did! I only know from my experiences, so any other points of view are definitely encouraged!

(Also, this is a very well timed episode as our 5 year wedding anniversary is on Saturday! LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!)

Episode 18: Frankenstein

This is the second episode of the season, but the first with a reader driven question. For some reason this struck a defensive nerve with Kamel and I even though we actually do an excellent job.

The question from the reader:

My biggest fear about having kids is that it will drastically and negatively alter my relationship with my partner. My question is: Does it? How do you deal with that? How do you maintain a strong, meaningful relationship with your partner after kids (especially little kids)?

And because I feel like this episode is a total mess and we may absolutely fail at actually answering the question, here are some bullet points – real world things we actually do to accommodate each other despite our children.

  • Guilt free time alone. Whether that is a movie or shopping or needing to hide in the bedroom to write (me). It is so important to gift your partner 100% resent-free space to still be a human. I think whether you have kids or not this is pretty major.
  • Being willing to take the kids places by yourself in order to give your partner space at home by themselves. This is different than the going out and about first bullet point. Because we all need to sit around in our sweats and not have to justify it. We all need to take long showers and paint our nails or finish a book or whatever, without being pestered.
  • Date nights and babysitters. Have many. Use them. It’s hard to use them, I know from experience. It is hard to ask for that. But it is SO AWESOME when you do and you leave the house together, without children, and then it’s like all you see are rainbows shooting out of each other’s eyes.
  • Ultimately be a team. Have inside jokes away from the kids. Steal their treats in the kitchen together behind your toddler’s back. Share knowing looks. Make out during nap time. Share a glass of wine after a successful bedtime. Celebrate each other. Be kind.

If anyone else has their own married-with-kids tips and tricks please comment. I will steal them all.