I’m Tired.

I will never forget the first time I ran a 5k charity race. My friend and I ran it together. As we approached the finish line in the distance, supporters waved flags, a band played, people cheered and snapped photos.  It set my feet on fire. My friend and I committed to giving it everything we had for that final stretch. I have never run with so much gusto in my life. I got the runner’s high, sweat poured, and my legs burned. I loved the energy from the crowd. I felt a huge sense of pride and accomplishment.

But when we got to the finish line we saw the sign. “CONGRATULATIONS!” it read in huge bold letters. Underneath, much smaller it read, “HALFWAY THERE!”

WHAT?!!?! That felt like a punch in the stomach. How could we keep going? I just gave it all I had. How did we not realise we weren’t done? Our sprint became a very laboured jog. Our enthusiasm waned.

Only Halfway There.

I thought about this today. I think I set my goal post at getting everything sold, donated, packed, and closed down in England, that I didn’t save any energy for the next leg of the journey. It felt like I was finished when I got on the plane with my one way ticket. But in fact, I only just started.

I have a few more hurdles I have to jump through and then I think I need to walk a bit. I feel alarmed because it seems like by the time all the logistics are sorted and we have a new normal, I am going to have a newborn baby that needs cuddling and feeding and nurturing—-for the next 18 years.

And so I feel a bit like I did when I read that sign that day: a bit gutted, exhausted, and tired.

On the day of the 5k, there was one silver lining. I had a friend beside me to finish the race with. Running or walking, it didn’t so much matter how fast we finished. It just mattered that we finished, and we did it together.

In the marathon I’m currently running, I have my amazing, endearing, capable and strong husband alongside me. Through prayers and the cheers of the crowds around us (our friends, family, colleagues and friendly strangers), we will finish strong . . . even if we walk a bit.

 

 

 

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Bad Moms? More Horrific than Hysterical.

Dear Grandma,  Please don’t read this post. 


Wanker.    Dick.    Cock.

If you find that funny, you will like Bad Moms.  I just saved everyone else $12. Male genitalia euphemisms dominate the entire plot of the movie Bad Moms.

Don’t see it. It was produced by people who fantasise about MILFs making out with each other. I was totally hoping for a reality based laugh at the hysterical challenges that come with being a mother. Instead, there was no depth to the humour, just cheap jokes that way over exaggerate stereotypes: mothers as competitive, spiteful, perfectionist, bitches. I laughed at a few clever comments, but beyond that, it was just disgusting. The more I think about it, the more angry I get. I actually want an apology from the producer.

The main character’s husband has an affair. His wife’s answer to her family breaking down and his complete betrayal? Get laid by any guy she can get . . .  as if that takes talent.

Girls: Guys will stick it in any warm place they can find.

Sex isn’t anything unless commitment and intimacy come first. Bad Moms glorified adultery, divorce, and promiscuity. The movie attempted two nice themes. This guy compliments the main character stating that anyone can raise kids with great grades, but actually raising good people is what matters.  I liked this idea, but two seconds later, the character is bedding the guy. There is a word for that, and it isn’t bad mom. Even prostitutes have the dignity to get paid.  This chick didn’t even get a nice dinner. Oh, but he did send a sweet text message. Awwwww

Women, when did our bodies and our sexuality become so cheap?

Where is the intimacy, affection, tenderness, communication, commitment? Where is the love? I’m sorry, no man gets in my vagina without laying down his life for it. People will find that statement shocking, but won’t mind paying to look at one during a movie.

Wake up! 

I’d rather be in a country where our bodies are so precious, only my eyes can be seen than to watch trash that promotes women as sex toys.

The French are okay with topless women on the beach, but send police out to penalise women who want to cover themselves up because they know their value. If I were a lesbian mother watching the film, I would have been outraged even more. The whole movie reduced all human relationship to a quick shag.

Last week I had guests over.  When the doorbell rang,  I threw all the toys scattered on the kitchen floor into the dryer. Two days later when I finally got around to folding that laundry, I blamed my three year old for putting toys, dishes, pencils and all sorts in the dryer. He denied this of course, because I did it- but had forgotten. That is a bad mom moment, but this alcoholic mom needs a social service referral, not a leading role as a heroine. In a glorified “Teen Mom” kind of world, what are we teaching girls about the most important responsibility you could have? What is more valuable in society than raising children?

I was hoping to feel encouraged, uplifted, and most of all to see myself and my friends in their mom jeans trying to get this thing right. I was hoping to giggle at dads with massive egos struggling to parent- sending kids into school with pyjama tops on and wonky pony tails, making cereal and toast for dinner two nights in a row, apologising to moms because they didn’t realise just how crazy life can be with children. I wanted to laugh and feel affirmed. I wanted to see kids loving us moms in spite of our many failures. Instead, women paid for the privilege of being disrespected.

Why am I so agitated?

My son might see Bad Moms and think it is ok to lie and cheat. Or even worse, your son will think of mothers as sexual objects without dignity, class, or passions- and then date my daughters. I want women to know how priceless their bodies are and what a gift sex was intended to be.

Would you give your car away to a man you just met?

Never. Then why are we giving away our bodies and souls? What has more value?

 

(s)EXPERT

After I posted Laundry, Dishes & Sex: The Chore of Intimacy (months ago), I had so many interesting conversations about sex that I decided to post some other topics on the same theme of intimacy and sex.

I’m not a sexpert (I just made that word up and love it), but I have taken undergraduate courses on healthy sexual relationships and graduate courses on sexual dysfunction.

These courses explore sexuality, both healthy and unhealthy, from  physical, emotional,  and societal perspectives. Because sexuality is so broad and so unique to each couple, it is interesting to understand what is a ‘typical’ and the range of ‘normal.’  How much is “enough” sex? What is reasonable? Some spouses have unrealistic expectations, both too much and too little. This is something a couple has to negotiate with each other, but I think knowing what everyone else is doing, without actually having to ask, can be helpful.

So what is the frequency of sex in married couples Alfred Kinsey is the pioneer sexologist and most of what we know about the sexual response cycle is from his research. He also put together these figures.*

Age Group 18-24 25-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70+
Not in the Past Year

11.8

3.5

6.5

8.1

22.0

37.9

53.5

A few times per year to monthly

14.7

11.6

16.3

21.7

23.7

20.0

25.4

A few times per month to weekly

14.7

47.7

50.2

46.6

36.2

35.9

18.3

2-3 times per week

35.3

35.2

21.9

20.8

16.9

6.2

1.4

4 or more times per week

23.5

2.0

5.1

2.7

1.1

0.0

1.4

What is your reaction to this? Are you surprised? Would your spouse be surprised? What I would love to know is that for each group, what percentage of couples would report satisfaction in their marriages at present and 5 year intervals to see if there were any correlation. I would like to meet the 1.4% of women over 70 having sex 4+ times per week- that’s only 0.6% less than married couples 25-29 with the same frequency. Seriously, you go girls. Let the good times roll . . .

The next question on the blog that has come up over and over after the first post is:   Is it a wife’s or husband’s “duty” to participate in sexual encounters? This is hotly debated. Feel free to comment your thoughts. I’ll also share my most embarrassing moment of my life, which has to do with how I know some of this stuff. It’s G rated- I promise.

*These are figures reported by wives. The husband’s reported very similar numbers.

The Play-Doh Theory of Love

When your dreams, fears, emotions, and desires are shared with your spouse you create emotional intimacy. If this were made of Play-Doh, how would it be described? Lately, you have to bang me on the table a couple of times to get me out of my tub, and my Play-Doh is no longer a primary colour. My husband and I have been married for 7 years. In those years, we have both been guilty of leaving each other’s emotional Play-Doh lids off at times. We are a bit hardened- pulled too tight and stretched too thin in places. 20160128-IMG_8202
Play-doh evolves constantly. You have to be present with your partner to see how it is transforming, and how one thing leads to the next. Play-Doh isn’t like clay; there isn’t a finished product. It’s all about the process: the journey, not the destination.

Quality and Quantity time are essential for emotional intimacy. If enough time elapses in-between the meaningful intimate conversations, your spouse will be in a space completely foreign to you. You might recognise that the person you married changed, but you won’t understand why or how. I want a marriage where my Play-Doh is mixed with my husband constantly, because every mom knows, once Play-Doh colours are mixed, they are mixed for good. I want shared dreams, visions, and goals.

In our marriages, getting out our Play-Doh takes effort, it can often bring out dysfunction, criticism, or conflict. It often feels ‘safer’ in marriage to be a sealed up tub of Play-Doh. Hurt before, you keep the deepest parts of you bottled up.  You aren’t willing to get crusted and mixed with pieces of hair or sandwich crumbs. Other partners might dump their Play-Doh out day after day, hoping their spouse will “play” but instead become more and more dried out. When our emotional Play-Doh is ignored for a long period of time, affairs happen, insecurities deepen, loneliness builds, resentment mounts, or tempers flair, or you just get out of practice.  Our Play-Doh souls are designed to be mixed, moulded, and shaped together in a safe, loving context. If your spouse is irresponsible with your Play-Doh, don’t dump it all out at once. Give him or her pieces and build trust slowly again.

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Have your kids ever asked you to play Play-Doh when you just cleaned the kitchen? Opening yourself up is hard work. The timing could always be better. It is vulnerable. You might end up on the bottom of someone’s sock. But if you are sealed up, you won’t ever build anything beautiful with those Play-Doh dreams of yours. It seemed easier in the beginning with your spouse when the Play-Doh was new and fresh, didn’t it? If it’s been a while since you have had emotional intimacy with your spouse, it can seem like you are playing with dried out Play-Doh. It will take some work to soften and become pliable.

Are important dreams unspoken in your marriage? Sealed up Play-Doh never built anything. Even if the end-result isn’t exactly what you imagined, put it out there.

When my Play-Doh is being molded and shaped in my marriage, my kids benefit. I’m more laid-back, have a sense of humour about their mischievous ways, and more in-tune with helping them identify their own dreams and desires.

20160128-IMG_8291
My husband and I recently escaped the chaos of work, family, and routine to play in London for the day. We emptied our emotional Play-Doh pots, so to speak. I remembered how hysterical he is; we talked about our passions; we shared our fears. We laughed about how differently our lives turned out than we had imagined. We envisioned soft, unblemished Play-Doh, not the lumpy texture that we have. But hey, this Play-Doh has a story to tell- one that tells what the Happily Ever After looks like to us. It is far from perfect, but accepting, forgiving, open, and fun. Isn’t that what Play-Doh is about? Squishing out mistakes, always open to change, and having fun?

 

And finally, this advert for Las Vegas tickles me: Visit a place where your accent is an aphrodisiac. When I met my husband, I remember telling him, “I have no idea what you just said, but I like the way you said it.” Now that I know what he is saying . . . I love him.

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making sure you keep dating your husband

My Husband’s Girlfriend

Pre-babies,  I judged frumpy mothers- with their mom jeans, their t-shirts and sensible footwear. I thought I would never be one of those women . . .  just like I would never let my kids sleep in our bed.

HA, HA, HA!

I looked in the mirror this week and saw that mom I laughed about years ago. I now know the wardrobe struggle. I go through multiple shirts to find one that doesn’t smell of baby spit-up.  Even the little guy noticed, then demanded, “TAKE DADDY’S SHIRT OFF!”

eyebrowsLife priorities majorly change after babies. That stereotypical mom I judged so critically needs practical shoes to chase kids at the park. She wears mom jeans to tuck in the post-baby flab that feels impossible to shed. Her clothes are hideous because she put her career on hold to ensure that her kids were primarily raised by her and not by a paid provider.

I’m okay with my body and my wardrobe– as unfashionable as it might be. BUT, I don’t want to be the frumpy, nursing bra wearing woman all the time.  I want to put on make-up, do something grown-up, and keep falling in love with the man I married. I can’t be put together all the time- it isn’t even my priority–  but I don’t want my pre-mom self to be entirely lost either. So this week I made a plan to have regular date nights to give myself and my man a little special attention. This means declining some opportunities for the kids to make space in our planners and pocketbook to prioritise our marriage. Because after-all, I am my husband’s girlfriend, and I want to keep it that way. Just no one tell my 20 year old self that I am desperate for a car with sliding doors. She would die.

Like the photo? Check out my gallery here for some recent fall photos.

My post on sex has prompted many interesting conversations this week, so I think I need to work on a second one.