Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Favorite

This is my daughter, Aryn.

She's the one on the right. The lady on the left is the local "weather specialist." She's not a real meteorologist. She's a dinosaur. Been around since the days of dry erase weather boards. When they had to draw isobars and storm fronts by hand and simulate their movement by swaying in front of the camera and flopping their arms. I imagine she made swooshing sounds.

And always with that damn smile.

You'll notice my daughter is not really smiling. Even though she'd just won second place at the Johnny Appleseed Festival Apple Dessert Baking Contest. That weather lady was one of the judges. And my daughter? She's not convinced the weather lady is the real deal. See that skeptical glance? The almost smirk? She's not sporting that weary look because she'd stayed up until the wee hours of the morning slaving over the filling for her Dutch Apple Pie Cones. Oh, No! Behind that glare, she's calling bullsh*t.

Just one of the reasons why Aryn is my favorite kid.

There are other reasons:

1) She's the only one of my kids that will go see the movie that I want to see, even though it isn't rated G. Recently, we sat through Avatar, munching on buttered popcorn with caramel-flavored powder sprinkled on top, sipping a five gallon Mr. Pibb made complete with a shot of vanilla, and then talked afterward about how it most definitely was NOT Dances with Wolves: Redux, like everyone claimed.

2) She knows what Redux means.

3) She also knows what loquacious means; a wellspring of trivial chatter, she never fails to make me laugh.

4) Her creativity knows no bounds. Like me, she is often in the midst of a plethora (another favorite word of hers) of projects, and doesn't know what to do with herself if she has to clean up her mess.

5) She's a voracious reader. It's not unusual to find her holed up in her own special corner of Barnes & Noble, our favorite hangout, with a pile of books around her, many of them long and mostly finished before I'm ready to leave. I've never been a particularly fast reader, so I envy her a tiny bit.

6) She hasn't given up on asking questions. Unlike most kids who think they have it all figured out really early in life and so avoid staring at the grays of life, she probes deeper. She's the only one of my kids who will routinely engage me in discussions about God. Or the lack thereof. For Aryn, the pursuit of knowledge is a never-ending journey worth taking, with signposts of occasional wisdom leaning on the roadside.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. She is close to my heart, parallels my own personality in ways both delightful and frightening, and at this point in her life needs a father who is also a friend.

Now, I have four kids.

Aryn is not the oldest, and she's not the youngest. She's right there in the (sort of) middle, older than the little ones still in elementary school, yet younger than the sophomore in high school.

The little guys think I'm cool, especially when I take them to the roller skating rink or play the PS2 with them. They really dig me if I remember to bring home barbecue Pringles or Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

And the oldest thinks I'm an alright chauffeur for him and his girlfriend. He was my favorite once. When we played Dungeons & Dragons together. When I could still beat him at almost any game we popped into whatever console we owned at the time. But somewhere along the line, I became his father. The one who complains too loudly about his grades, or the amount of time he's spending on the phone.

Time for a cleansing breath . . .

Do I love each of my kids? Without a doubt. Would I step in front of a train or take a bullet for any one of them? In a heartbeat, and without batting an eyelid. Do I spent quality time with each of them? Moments where we hop in the car, or in my recliner, and just do stuff? Stuff they will remember tomorrow morning? Or when they're older and writing blogs about me? Stuff that is sometimes nothing at all?

I believe so.

Will Aryn always be my favorite? I can't answer that with any sort of certainty. Hormones are about to hit. But for now? She still likes to be with me. I don't embarrass her too badly. I see myself in her. In her eyes. The shape of her face. That pensive look she gets. Some people say she zones out a lot. But that's not zoning. That's digging. Trying to make it all make some sort of sense when that hardly seems possible.

She needs to be my favorite. And perhaps I need to be her favorite as well . . .


aka The Cheek of God

aka Tysdaddy

I Have A Favorite Child....ok, not really, well sorta...

Hey, Just Jules here. Shelle presented this question to me- Do you believe that you have a stronger bond with one of your children ? More so than the others...

My take:
I chose this topic simply because we have a larger pool of children to observe these sort of behaviors then some of you do. Out of our four children I see unique relationships between us and them and even between them as siblings..

Now here is the deal - I refuse to use the wording "stronger bond" though. I will say that when it comes to my children, like adults, there are personality types that click better than others.

The birth order of our children is boy, girl, boy, boy. Their ages are 10, almost 9, 7, 5. Their personality types can be divided as equally as their looks. The oldest and the youngest are similar and they look more like my husband. It just so happens that they act more like him too. (on right in pic) The middle two look more alike - similar to myself.... and not so surprisingly they act more like me too. (on left in pic).

Now I can deal with, relate to, talk, and get along with all of them. However if I HAD to pick one that "clicks" with me best it would be the third child. (holding the stuffed animal) he is goofy, funny, very sensitive, considerate, notices how I look and mentions it. He knows how to have fun and isn't afraid to do so. However, he is also wild, first to cry, gets too pig headed to understand, has trouble reading, he cries often, would rather destroy then build- if something breaks he usually is the one that broke it, did I mention that he cries (alot)? Because of these "however" characteristics of this boy he tends drive my husband batty (especially the crying part)But I can deal with him.

Now my oldest... he is a pleaser. He worries, in fact it is almost like he is only comfortable when he has something to fret over. He isn't good at reading social cues, but he is smart - years above his grade level. He has a memory that is a bit frightening and has coordination to envy. He is good at any sport he tries and school work and friends come easily to him. But he drives me batty. My husband on the other hand doesn't see it.

You get my point. Are either of these my favorite, or least favorite? Absolutely NOT. Do I have a stronger bond with one over the other? No again. I am bonded with each and every one of them. I can read them from across the room. Their emotions sink into my bones and their concerns are mine. Even if I had to chose which one of the four to do something with - a weekend away etc. it would be
a toss up. I would enjoy each of them. But, when it comes to personalities and "clicking" yeah - I can pick one out then.

Side Note: I do find it funny that the kid who is most like me is the one that drives my husband wacko.... isn't that telling *wink

Just Jules can be found spinning in circles

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Group Therapy-Is his sex drive normal???

Welcome to Group Therapy: where we help each other through advice and comments!

"My husband and I have been married for just over a year. And I'm throwing this out there to see if this is normal.

My husband wants sex all.of.the.time! I mean, morning, and night, and sometimes in the afternoons at our lunch breaks. I can barely keep up with him! When we first got married I just thought it was the over excitement of finally being able to have sex (we waited until we were married to be sexually active), but now I'm just plain worn out! It hasn't gotten better or lightened up, if anything, it has gotten worse!

I understand sex is important in a marriage, but I'm getting to the point where I get up really early in the morning, quietly, so as not to wake him up so that I can get a break. Night time is unavoidable, he will wake me up no matter if I pretend I'm asleep or not, it's just easier if I give in and get it over with!

A few afternoons a week I sneak lunches in my bag for work so that I can work through lunch so I don't feel guilty for not going home. Only because I need a REST. I need a break! I'm was not born with such an extreme sexual drive!!!

I tried talking to him once and he asked if I felt like I needed to see a doctor to get a pill so that my sex drive would match his!?

He says he's normal and that I'm abnormal. And why wouldn't I want sex since it feels so good?I don't want to be a prude, but I think there should be some sort of balance right? Much more of this and I'm afraid it could be a really serious problem for us or me!

Please any advice or validation would help! I'd actually laugh at this if it wasn't ME going through it!--Frustrated beyond measure!"

***If you have any questions or problems that you would like to have addressed in Group Therapy please email me at blokthoughts@gmail dot com orrealworldvenusmars @ gmail dot com.

Leave your advice in the comments, comment on other comments, and feel free to comment Anonymously.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Insecurity and Jealousy because of my BFF...

I have a girlfriend I'm super tight with. We do everything together during the week; shopping, cooking, help each other with housework, tend each other's kids, etc. She's my bff. She's cute, talented, funny, and I love being with her.

My husband hates it.

For some reason I don't understand, he is jealous of the time I spend with her, even though he's at work when I do it. He seems to feel threatened by the fact that I have a close friend. I don't really understand why.

I have some ideas though, based on what he's told me.

* he feels like I talk to her all day and get all my "talking needs" fulfilled, and have nothing to say to him when he comes home.

* he doesn't want anyone to know anything about him, and he doesn't want me telling her anything about my marriage.

*he is afraid that I won't need him anymore, or less, or something, because I have someone else to confide in.

So basically, he's ok with me having a friend as long as I don't like her too much, don't tell her anything about me that would give her any info about him, and am still dependent on him for my every emotional need.

It causes some tension between us, because he doesn't want to be around her, and as a result of his veiled hostility, she knows she isn't fully welcome in my home. I feel frustrated that I can't invite my friend over for any activities when he will be home because they are both uncomfortable.

This has become a real battle. He resents that I have a bff, and I am not willing to give the friendship up to soothe his ego.

FWIW - her husband has an almost completely opposite view. He sees that this friendship is good for his wife and that she's happier, and he's fully supportive. She tells me everything, and he is ok with that. I am welcome in their home, and as a result I spend a lot more time there than she does at my house. It's almost like I have this second life that my husband is not a part of, by his own choice. I find it kind of ironic.

He calls my affection for her "an obsession" and even "addiction". He has even accused me of being emotionally unfaithful. It hurts.

My relationship with him is suffering, not because I love her more than him, but because of his insecurity and jealousy that there is another person that I care deeply about.

So what do you think? Have any of you been through this? What would you do?

StupidSmartGirl--I also blog HERE

Monday, January 25, 2010

My spouse is jealous of my best friend because...

...she often feels like she isn't really part of this relationship I have with my best friend. You know how that met your best friend years before you met your spouse. I can tell that you're nodding at this, but my case is unique in 3 ways: 1) I met my best friend after I met my wife, 2) my best friend is female, and 3) my wife is my other best friend. When you think about it, that means my wife is jealous of herself. Hehe.

Let's look at this from my perspective. Why is my best friend female (or in this case, 2 best friends)? I believe it has something to do with my upbringing in a post-divorce family. After my mom got divorced, a family moved in with us. A family of 3. It just happened that I was the only male in the house, surrounded by 5 females, 3 of which were in my age range. Because of this unique experience, my learning curve was accelerated and I believe I have a deeper understanding of the female perspective.

With this understanding, I feel I'm better in touch with my feminine side and I'm better able to relate to women. It may be because of the whole "nature vs. nurture" theory that women tend to be the caregivers and more nurturing than men. Who knows? I just know I'm better equipped at dealing with the nuances of the female psyche than the average male.

With my female friends, I know I can fully engage myself in an in-depth conversation, where both parties equally express and receive the information shared. I find it equally incongruent that there can be sexual tension or the complete lack thereof when discussing sex with a female friend. I'm not saying that I seek out discussions of a sexual nature with female friends or try to have sex with them (maybe, maybe not LOL), though I won't shy away from them, especially if they need somebody to listen to their frustrations or issues.

I find it amusing that my wife gets jealous...and it's not only because of my friends' gender, but she simply wants more time with me. It is possible that I enjoy talking to my female friends while my wife is at work because it helps fill the void of her absence. Maybe not. I've assured my wife that I'm simply enjoying time with my "girl friends". Of course, my wife looks forward to our pillow talk time. LOL

Friday, January 22, 2010

What Does Dad feed them? I'm sure it's not TOFU.

PICTURE came from HERE

***Liz is a Guest Contributor today. Read her post and make her feel welcome!

Driving home from play practice on Saturday, my daughter said she was hungry.

"You didn't give me enough to eat" she complained.

Just before we had left that house around 7:30 a.m., the DQ (that's my blogosphere nickname for her, and she's earned it) had thrown an entire box of wheat thins and a Clementine out of the bag as somehow unfit for consumption.

No wonder she was starving.

So perhaps it was predictable that she asked me whether she was spending the night at her dad's on Monday. When I said she was (she almost always does) she sighed hedonistically and said: "He makes great salads."

The truth is that, in almost every culinary category, my ex's cuisine apparently is superior to mine.

As my son, Mr. C. put's it: "You cook the healthy food, Mom. Dad cooks the food that tastes good."

Lest you think I'm one of those nutrition Nazi moms, let me reassure ya.

Though I insist on fresh vegetables and have been known to try to (unsuccessfully, by the way) sneak tofu into our dinners, I probably have enough chocolate to keep the entire neighborhood in dessert for a month.

But the truth is that their dad loves to cook, and I don't. He downloads recipes, has copies of "Cook's Illustrated" rarely eats out of a box. As for me, Trader Joes would go out of business if I stopped making my weekly trips.

I find cooking stressful, something that has to be done so that the children don't live on chips and pizza. He seems to find it relaxing -- and he actually follows a recipe. Imagine that!

I am well aware that the stereotypical gender roles are reversed in this case.
But I come from a family in which my mother, who was a fabulous chef, sweetly told her new husband that in her middle-class family, they paid someone else to do the housework.

So I don't mind paying the ACME, or the local pizza parlor, now and then.
While I don't feel jealous of my ex's prowess with the saucepan, I do suffer from occasional guilt about the amounts of salt and white flour my kids sometimes take in.

Last fall, dreaming of chilis and vegetarian stews and pastas, I bought a slow cooker.
My children were suitably impressed. In fact, my son said it's one of the first dishes, a vegetable-cornbread bake, was some of the best food I've ever made (which is really kind of pathetic when you think about it).

Then he left half of it on the plate.

I must find out what his dad feeds them when they stay with him.

I'm quite sure that it isn't tofu.

Guest Contributor LIZ, who also blogs HERE

P.S. I love to have Guest Contributors! Liz wanted me to add something to the end of her post. She needs help! Here is what she emailed me:
For a long time, I've wanted to begin a Friday column on my blog titled something like... "Ask Pastor Liz" (Title still not set in stone)
It's an advice column for folks who might never set foot in a congregation.
But I haven't had people to send me questions! I need questions from readers. If people have questions about personal, religious, sexual, political, or even financial etiquette, they are welcome to send them to me at They can be assured of complete anonymity and can use a tag like:
Baffled in Buffalo

So if you would like to ask some questions send them LIZ's Way!!! :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

He Said, She Said: Snooping through your partners email, is it okay?

All I asked of the contributors is that they take one side of the issue and tell us why they believe that! Comment and tell us who you agree with or what you believe or think! The topics are suppose to illicit a response and start a conversation in comments. Enjoy!

Topic: Is it okay to SNOOP through your partners email if you suspect them of cheating?

She Said:

To snoop or not to snoop, that is the question. For Hubman and I this is not a problem. We both have access to each other's email accounts and can read all emails, chats, etc. that are in our accounts. Hubman chats and exchanges photos with some very lovely ladies, and he lets them all know that I have access to everything and that I can see and read all. I like that, because one I do get to see some very nice pictures and two, there is no sneaking around going on.
I also go into Hubman's email not to snoop but so that I can either see his blog comments, or because his email is way, way more interesting than mine.

Hubman: It's true, my e-mail is pretty interesting, thanks to some lady friends in the blogosphere :-)

However, I know that not everyone operates this way. I think that if you have nothing to hide, letting your spouse have access to your email is not a big deal. If you have something going on like Christmas or birthday shopping and you don't want your spouse to find out what you are getting them, then locking them out for that period is fine.

Hubman: Around Christmas time, I asked Veronica not to go into my other e-mail account, the one in my real name, because there were messages from online retailers that I didn't want her to see. That sort of request is understandable and respected.

I can also see wanting to have your privacy. So, if you want to make your password available to your spouse but ask them to respect your privacy I think it is fine to do that.

The main question is, "If you suspect your spouse of cheating, should you check his e-mail account?"

And my answer is "Yes, but..."

The but is such: if you are going to look, are you going to be prepared for what you find? Do you really want to know? What are you going to do with this information if you find it? It's the same thing for checking the cell phone records, checking receipts or flat out asking your partner if he or she is having an affair.

I think that checking the email would be kind of a dead end, because your partner would be smart enough to have an email account and password that you do not know and would not check it on the computer that you share. The same thing with an Ashley Madison type account. If your spouse is really cheating, would they do it in plain sight like that?

There are many articles on the Internet and other media that help you ascertain if your spouse is cheating. However, I think that if most people listen to their gut and their gut tells them that something is off, then they should listen to their gut.

However, when you start looking, you have to remember that you might not like what you are going to find. Or your partner might be completely innocent and you are going to have to have a talk about why you are not trusting in their fidelity.

Either way, uncomfortable conversations are in your future.

Unless of course, you keep it open and above ground.

Another Suburban Mom (Not Safe For Work)

He Said:

Now I know if y'all read me at my place you probably think I am a skeptic on all things and maybe even suspicious but actually I am a very trusting person. I trust everyone until they prove to me that I can't trust them. When that occurs I terminate the relationship, whatever that might be. Business, casual, sexual whatever, if I can't trust you then in my opinion you are a low rent piece of trash that doesn't deserve my time nor my energy. I don't look for things to distrust about people, it always comes out in the wash eventually.

I am also pretty private myself. I do NOT want people plundering through my stuff, be that actual physical things or my words, thoughts, or correspondence with others. I would be pissed if someone plundered through my email or diary (if I had one) or something, and I wouldn't allow it if they requested it. I would instantly terminate a relationship if I found someone snooping through my stuff without DAMN good cause. Hell I don't like folks in my stuff at all! People don't even ride in my truck, yes that includes the bride, I bet in the 10 years I have had it she hasn't been in it 20 times.

All that being said I would NEVER snoop and never have. I respect others things and I respect other people so I wouldn't breech their trust unless it was a matter of life or death or imminent danger to my family or friends. People have a right to their things and their privacy and again if you read me you KNOW I am big on rights. This is very important to me. The same way that I hold a secret and seldom if ever ask a person to tell me something told to them in confidence.

Hell a whole of y'all have given me your email and passwords before for various reasons and I have never done anything outside of what you specifically asked me to do, and I wouldn't and I think those of you who have trusted me with those things knew that or you wouldn't have come to me to help you. Can you even qualify how low rent and how big of an absolute loser it would take to go through someones email or their things when access was granted you to help that person? Dang that would make you on the level with dust mite turds.

Snooping shows total lack of respect for the other person. To me it means that you yourself are hiding something or have a guilty conscious for some reason. Why would you not respect someone to the point where you plunder through their stuff? Why would you be part of a relationship where you can't trust the other person? Shouldn't you confront the person and just ask them? It also blatantly shows a lack of trust, of course, and I think it is born of a lack of self confidence when snooping on a partner or mate.

I personally think that is juvenile. What am I a 12 year old girl? That is really kind of 7th grade if you ask me. How can people live that way? Suspicious, worried, jealous, scared. I have never ever picked up my brides phone and scrolled through it, that's candy assed B.S. if you want my opinion. I have never looked at my brides email and I know the password. I have never even looked through the nightstand on her side of the bed. I just ain't gonna live like that. I refuse to spend my time worried about what she might be doing or thinking or who she might be doing it with or thinking it about. My true take on it is regardless what she did do or think about it ain't gonna measure up to the real meal deal she has anyway. Short on confidence I readily admit I am not, and I also admit I have zero cause to be!

An old man told me once "if you tend your garden son you never have to worry about weeds".

I tend my garden. I don't fear weeds, I have no reason to.

He Said is OUT. (Not Safe For Work)

Now Comment away!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Group Therapy: Sex everyday for 30 days!

Welcome to Group Therapy

Could you have sex with your partner everyday for 30 days?!?

I came upon THIS article and suprisingly it isn't the first time I have heard of this, in fact, some marriage therapist suggest it for those couples who are having sex or intimacy as their primary problem in marriage.

This article even suggests that it helps ones health and can help in getting over an addiction. I kid you not they have proof!

So... could you do it? Could you have Sex EVERYDAY for 30 days with the same life and stresses you have now? Is it practical? What do you think?

***Have any questions or topics you want addressed in Group Therapy? Email us at realworldvenusmars @ gmail dot com or blokthoughts @ gmail dot com.

Please comment and comment on others comments! Have fun and thanks for your opinions!

Monday, January 18, 2010

How does Duke stand to watch this crap?

At our house the T.V. dominates.

I am not proud of this as I grew up with no T.V. in the living room.  You were required to go downstairs into the family room to watch television.

Duke was raised with a T.V. in every room.  It isn't unusual for his parents to have a different program on in each room,. both blaring at 8 decibels.  It makes me so crazy to go visit... an overload of my senses (and I don't mean his mothers gas problem either).

So when we got married there was some adjustments that needed to be made. Duke bought the biggest T.V. Circuit City had in stock and carried it home like a 23 year old new momma with her infant baby.  I developed selective hearing.

We have graduated over the years to larger and larger T.V.s... first we had to have flat screen and then HD.

The television is always on at my house.

I have a house full of boys so I know all there is to know about most sports... some I can handle and some I can't.

I feel like this place is my second home

and these gentlemen are beloved members of my family

I love football.  I can watch a lot of football without complaining.  I will watch a little bit of basketball but I would rather be blogging.

One sport I don't understand that Duke really loves is Nascar.  I have tried to watch it, to get involved with the drivers, figure out the strategy that Duke swears is there... but I can't.   It is mindless noise and endless circles of cars with commentators and pit crews that use horrific grammar and have horrible dental hygiene.

Someone explain it to me because after 10 years of trying to find a love for it... it just doesn't make sense.

As much as I hate Nascar there is one other sport that I refuse to watch.  Duke is required to wait until I am gone or asleep before he watches it.

A sport shouldn't make you feel sick to your stomach and the Ultimate Fights really bother me.  Why would someone want to watch another person beat a human being to submission?  Why would someone want to be beaten so badly that they are unable to think for themselves?

Let me clarify, Boxing is completely different that the UFC.  While I don't care to watch it either.. it isn't as violent and ugly.

Why do men want to watch this?  Does it have to do with the testosterone?  Do they secretly wish they could beat another human stupid?

Someone explain it to me...

Here's where I hide most days... shhh... don't tell the boys!

all images courtesy of ESPN.COM

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He Said She Said: Emotional Dependency a strength or weakness?

All I asked of the contributors is that they take one side of the issue and tell us why they believe that! Comment and tell us who you agree with or what you believe or think! The topics are suppose to illicit a response and start a conversation in comments. Enjoy!

: Emotional dependency or attachment in a relationship, a strength or weakness?

She Said:

I want to state that I have in many of my relationships whether with men or with friends been at one point or another Emotionally Dependent or Attached to that person, believe me when I say, this is a weakness and in no way it is a strength.
In THIS article it defines being Emotionally Dependent as, "Emotional dependency occurs when the ongoing presence or nurturing of another is believed to be necessary for personal security.” I tried looking up Emotional Attachment but it just brought me to articles on being attached but not always emotionally. For the sake of consistency I will just argue the point of being emotionally dependent. Another article over HERE defines it as, "Emotional dependency means getting one’s good feelings from outside oneself. It means needing to get filled from outside rather than from within." So clearly defined it is a weakness. If you are emotionally dependent in a relationship then you have little self worth. You are depending on that relationship to feel your void of self love for yourself. You NEED them to tell you your worth and you depend on it. That puts the other partner in the relationship in a position of power over you. This allows that partner power to control how you feel about yourself and to pretty much walk all over you if they choose. Emotional dependency and this unbalanced power, in extreme cases, leads to abuse. Abuse emotionally as well as physically and yet they are to dependent on their abusers to leave. Because women in general tend to thrive off of their emotions they are the ones that fall prey to this most often. That leaves the man, who usually can and does emotionally distance themselves because of years of practice as not to come off as a sissy or softy, in the place of power in the relationship. Now that is not to say that a woman can't be in a place of power over a man but it usually isn't because of the emotional part of the relationship it usually tends to be the physical part (of course this is in general and not the exception). Those that are emotionally dependent also are the first ones to deny that they are, because if they do admit to it, then they have to admit that they aren't confident in their relationship as well as confident of themselves and their worth as a person. There is no strength in that when you have to hear from your partner or from others how much you are loved and adored because you can't see enough of that in yourself. Weakness defined in "an inadequate or defective quality, as in a person's character; slight fault or defect". By that definition and the ones I stated at the first of this clearly proves that being emotionally dependent or attached in any relationship is not good and is definitely a flaw in ones character. I have actually been in relationships where I was less emotionally dependent then the other person, but most often it is my weakness and my character flaw. As for myself I wish there was an easy way to overcome this "defect". An easy way to love myself more so that I wasn't emotionally dependent on my relationships. Marriage has helped me a lot in slowly realizing I needed to work more on myself in order to have a stronger relationship. I love myself more now then I ever have in my life and I become less and less dependent on my husband to fill my well of self worth and I can attest to the fact that it has helped our relationship immensely. So yea, being emotionally attached or dependent in a relationship is definitely a weakness. Shelle-BlokThoughts Okay DGB mic's yours :)

He Said:

Wow Shelle, I feel like I’m in debate club. That was a well-researched argument. But you take for granted that the person is flawed or weak to begin with, or that they are in a relationship where emotional abuse is present. What about healthy people who are in solid relationship? Is it okay for them to be emotionally dependent? My emotional well being is intertwined with my wife’s. I cannot be happy unless she is happy and vice versa (at least that’s what she tells me). We are dependent on each other to provide happiness and comfort. On an episode of Mythbusters, the gang interlaced the pages of two phone books. When combined, the phone books proved to be so strong that two trucks could not pull them apart. This is how it can be in a relationship. Two separate entities coming together to create something stronger. I don’t want to be in a relationship where my emotions aren’t connected to my partner’s. I need to care about them and their well being. Otherwise, what’s the point of being together? Sure being emotionally dependent can be taken to unhealthy extremes. But isn’t that the case with anything? For those of us in healthy relationships, I think a level of emotional dependence is a good thing. DGB

She Said... again:

A healthy relationship, such as mine now, usually still has someone that is more emotionally dependent than the other, I'm not emotionally abused at all, yet... it is still a weakness because I need him to compliment me and adore me to fill that need of self worth where a strength would be for me to find that self worth inside myself so I didn't need that from my husband. For some men it comes off as clingy which can in turn make them feel trapped. Not that that is the case with my relationship... at least I don't think so :) If both parties are emotionally dependent equally or close to equally then that would work better. In most cases and most relationships one person is usually more dependent or attached emotionally than the other and it makes them the weaker party in the relationship. ---Shelle-BlokThoughts

Okay guys... let us know where you stand. What do you think? A strength or weakness?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Group Therapy - SAHPs unite!

I have been a slacker. I have been a worker bee. I have followed. I have led. I have done what I was told to do. I have ordered people to do things against their will. I have done nothing. I have done everything. In between of all me, a man who has worked and lost his job.

I have had extremely stressful jobs and I have had jobs that seemed like I was in paradise. All of that in which I experienced with previous jobs pales in comparison to my current...profession...that I am in, but I can say that what I have learned is not, and never can be, applicable to what I do now.

I am primarily responsible for just one other person for a good portion of the day - from 8 am until about 3 pm and then I am responsible an additional person...sometimes 2. That is when I pick up my older daughter from school, and sometimes I will pick up my wife's best friend's son. The person I spoke of earlier is my younger daughter.

My daughters are literally night and day in terms of personality and how they handle stress/situations. The older one is laid-back but studious and voracious with reading and TV. The younger one is strong-willed and extremely resourceful. Where my older fears to tread, my younger will jump in without any hesitation.

Why am I talking about all of this? How does all this factor into this post? Here's the salient point - what I have learned in all of the jobs I've worked, on all of the committees I've served, and with all the politics of clubs' board of directors is totally useless in the domestic management world.

I can talk about the gender switching ramifications but I'll leave that to others. I can talk about the difficult transition as a man but I'll leave that to others. I can talk about emotional conflicts but I'll leave that to others. What I want to focus on instead is the dynamics of a family with a male SAHP (Stay At Home Parent)...right down to the youngest member.

My younger has learned what "Just a minute" means and when it doesn't...and she is not even 3 years old. When she has ascertained which one I meant, she will harass me until I do what she wants. No, I am not wrapped around her finger. LOL My older has understood what has happened and she has not felt weird or uncomfortable with the change.

However, my wife has chafed at her current role as the breadwinner because she would rather be home and do occasional job assignments when needed. She had that before I lost my job. She made the transition to a full time job and I've never felt threatened or emasculated by her salary.

The dynamics has changed. I used to come home from work and unload. I used to have few hobbies/addictions. I used to do some chores around the house after coming home from work and not complain...much. I used to rely on my wife for additional data whenever my girls talked to me about their day. Not the case anymore.

How else has the dynamics changed? Now, I am happy when my wife comes home so I can shift the burden of domestic management back on her...just like she used to do to me. Naturally, this has created some tension between the two of us because she has forgotten what it was like when she was the SAHP and she just wants to see her girls. I have reminded her on numerous occasions that I used to look forward to seeing my girls when I had a full time as well so I fully understood how she feels.

I have this saying when a tough hand is dealt to someone (or even me) - "Life is a bitch...and she has sisters." ;) Well, there is another saying that fits well here - "Life is how well you play your hand as dealt to you."

I have illustrated how the dynamics has changed when people have to reverse their roles...I would like to hear from you what you think about the dynamics.

Also after reading this I wanted to ask you guys. How do you feel about NV unloading the "domestic management" back onto his wife? Fair or Unfair?--SHELLE


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Working Mom, Stay-at-home Dad

Household roles are changing all the time and it's a new world when trying to find the right balance. Here's how things work for us.

I am actually pretty lucky in this department. I work full-time and hubby stays at home with our girls (ages 6 and 9). He gets them off to school, cooks all of our meals, washes and dries laundry, gets the garbage out, and does the outside chores as needed. I work, commute, do most of the cleaning, the dishes, the bills, the school meetings, etc. One trick, since I’m able to work from home one day per week, is using my lunch break to do dishes so that I’m ahead of the game for that evening. Our kids also have chores and when they get them done, it works amazingly well.

Sometimes we even have someone come in and clean once a week. This is mainly because my stress level is directly related to the messiness of the house. Since I work full-time and commute 2 hours per day, I don’t want to have to clean everyday when I get home. I’d rather be playing with my kids or watching their sporting practices/events.

We also split up the homework help into the subjects that we each enjoy the most. I help the girls with reading, writing and math; he helps them with science and history. We’ve been married for 11 years and this seems to work pretty well for us so far…that is, until the kids are smarter than us.

Our plan is not always perfect, but I feel that we’re a lot closer to 50/50 than most couples.

How do you balance the workload and make it work best in your relationship? Any suggestions to help others looking to find a better balance?

Thanks for reading.
I write over at Domestically Disabled

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who's The Man Around Here

Topic: How about household roles of men and women and how it is changing with working at home, and the concept in our modern world of being equals.

When I decided to take on the above topic, I hesitated. I said to myself… "I don't work at home, so this doesn't apply to me". But the rest of the topic was very appealing, so I had to run with it.

I must admit that I adore domesticity. Be it from parenting to cooking— I love it. I do not know how many men share this (even if it is secretly), but I am not ashamed of it at all. I think that we tend to place household roles into stereotypical roles and are embarrassed to "cross the line".

You used to hear statements like "A woman's place is in the home"— but this is no longer the case. Probably starting with Rosy the Riveter women started to work outside the home and became more empowered. With the advent of Women's Liberation in the 70's women started to demand equality. Is this equality changing women into men, and vice versa?

When I was a teenager, my mother insisted that I do my own laundry. I find it interesting to hear about women who do all the laundry for the men in the house. I wonder if those men were told to do their own laundry that they wouldn't mind doing it once and a while.

I love to cook. Perhaps it is the satisfaction of being able to give something to somebody and seeing them enjoy it that makes me love it so much. I have spoken to several women who admit to me that they do not cook. I have even heard them exclaim that they would like to find a man who loves to cook so that they do not have to.

My wife does cook. In fact, I feel that she cooks a lot better than I do. She allows me to cook because it gives her a break from cooking. She used to joke that she did all the cooking for years before she met me and welcomes the break. Perhaps the roles have reversed in this sense. I now find that I come home and my wife asks me what we are having for dinner.

I learned early on that dishes are part of cooking. You can't just cook and leave a dirty sink. So I wind up making dinner and doing the dishes after I am done serving. As I am doing the dishes, my wife is in the living room watching TV. Now I understand the frustration that women have when the man is in the other room and they are stuck in the kitchen. This does not mean that she refuses to do the dishes. In fact there have been many times that she has done the dishes and not after any prompting either.

My wife and I do not mind sharing the household chores. I believe that because I am comfortable doing those chores, that I can take on any of the chores without complaint. This makes our home more equal and allows each of us to be able to take on other tasks because our partner can do any of the chores that need to be done.

Do you and your partner share the responsibilities of the house? Are there some chores that you refuse to do? Do you take on those chores that are stereotypically associated with the opposite sex? Do you teach your children that they can do any chore— even if it is typically done by someone of the opposite sex?


Friday, January 8, 2010


The ZenHusband and I take turns picking up the 5-year-old Minion from kindergarten. The other day, we were comparing notes and an interesting fact came up:

He has had several complete conversations with many of the other kindergarten parents waiting to pick up their kids.

I've never said so much as a word to any one of them.

That pretty much sums up one of the biggest differences between me and my husband:

He is an extrovert - a bonhomie for whom it is easy and natural to strike up a conversation with darn-near anyone.

And I am the introvert - I'm borderline anti-social when it comes to meeting new people. "Socializing" does not come naturally to me; and most social gatherings are just varying degrees of uncomfortable for me.

So much so that strangers and casual acquaintances have described me as unfriendly and even snobby. I don't think that's accurate. I like to think I'm actually quite a nice person, when you get to know me. :)

But I understand why I come off that way - I don't make it at all easy for people to know me.

Let me clarify here: I'm not shy. I'm introverted - two different things. "Shy" describes someone who avoids social interaction because of nervousness. Shy people want to interact, but they are anxious about it. Introverts are not nervous about social interaction - they just don't enjoy it.

In other words: A shy person is lonely. An introvert is just alone.

For me, there are some exceptions: With friends and close family, I can be very friendly and talkative - it can sometimes be hard to shut me up! At work, I'm never slow to speak up - in fact, formal and informal communication with all kinds of people is a key element of my job. A job that I happen to be pretty good at.

And yet, I'm the last person in the world who would strike up a casual conversation with a stranger. In fact, I'm more likely to be the person striding purposefully, headphones in my ears, avoiding eye contact with passersby.

Random chit-chat with strangers? Casual communication without purpose?

Meh. I'll pass.

I just don't have the inclination for "small talk" - it doesn't interest me. It feels forced and uncomfortable. It drains me. I'd really rather not do it.

That's where the (mis?)perception that I'm a snob comes from, I know. But it's true: If I'm not really motivated to get to know you for some reason, I'm not going to waste my time and energy - or yours - with idle conversation.

And then there's the internet ...

Where I bare my thoughts and ideas and opinions on a regular basis; where I engage perfect strangers in blog comments; where I strike up up random conversations on Twitter; where I trade jokes with Facebook friends.

For an anti-social person, I'm curiously entrenched in social media.

If you only "know" me online, I'd be curious to hear what your perception of my "socialness" is. Because I find it a lot more enjoyable to "talk" to people online than I do in person.

And I'm not sure why that is.

Why is it relatively easily for me to communicate with people online and yet I find personal engagement so uncomfortable? How can I have developed such strong bonds though a computer (and, yes, a few of my online friends have become very good IRL friends, too) ... and yet feel so completely removed from people I see every week - like the parents at my son's school?

Yeah, yeah, I know: It's not an unusual phenomenon. I gather there are many people like me - more comfortable conversing through a computer than face-to-face. There's probably even a name (and maybe even a pill, considering the state of things today) for it.

But, hey, this is my blog, I can naval-gaze if I want to. ;)

Whatever it is, I don't see it changing anytime soon. It seems like the older I get the less inclined I am to stretch outside my comfort zone and make the effort - and yes, for me it takes a great deal of effort - to "socialize" with new people.

And, you know, I'm really okay with that. As much as I love my darling, extroverted husband, I'm just not interested in sliding over to meet him on the extroversion-introversion scale - I'm not broken. I don't need fixing. 

Yes, I'm probably missing out on some interesting people in real life because of my (anti-)social quirks. But I'm pretty happy where I am - even if it is mostly in my own head.

So, I'll leave the socializing to The ZenHusband and he can leave the blogging to me. Maybe eventually he can introduce me to the other kindergarten moms.

What about you? Are you more introverted or extroverted? Is it easier for you to talk to people online then in person? Or am I just a weirdo? :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

HE said She Said: To stay or not to stay

Okay everyone, this is our very first He Said She Said post. All I asked of the contributors is that they take one side of the issue and tell us why they believe that! Comment and tell us who you agree with or what you believe or think! The topics are suppose to illicit a response and start a conversation in comments. Enjoy!

TOPIC: Should you stay in an Unhappy Marriage?

He Said:

Well there is not a lot of talk about the divorce rate really and I think their should be. I think that most of the problems in the country today are not due to the over reaching, socialistic, Democrats we currently have spending us into unmanageable debt, taking away our rights and generally being the worst administration since Washington won the war. No it isn't those people, it isn't even the 7 smart people that actually voted for these idiots. The root cause of the problems in this country (hey this is the only country I know anything about, it might be universal but since I deal in facts I'll just tell you the deal here) is the breakdown of the family. This is due to sorry assed men and women who make poor assed decisions. This is also due to the ease of divorce.

I think it is much to easy. Now I have no clue what it takes to get divorced but if it is a coin toss on your wedding day as to weather or not you will be getting divorced then it must be pretty damn easy. I think people should stay married if it is at all possible. YOU made a commitment. What does it say of a society when 50% of its of age population doesn't have a good word? 50% you can't rust to do what they said they would do? See my dad told me way back when I was young "Son you only come into the world with two things your name and your word, you need to be damn sure you leave it with both of them being good." Now he used "word" to mean your reputation of being a good person, your word being your bond, saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

Evidently everyone wasn't raised by my dad because evidently 1/2 of the folks word ain't good. Now I am sure that everyone has a good reason to get divorced. Yeah, I'm positive. The root cause is the one thing I harp on repeatedly, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. People don't care anymore, they don't have to be responsible for their actions so they aren't. They just do whatever feels good now. They strive for personal gratification with no long term thoughts. They don't give a damn what it does to their kids, who of course are much better off with a loving father and mother (or 2 same sex people), the same two people consistently for their whole life, than they are splitting time with parents. What does that teach your kids? Well kid if it does go just exactly like you want it then F it, just quit. What kind of parenting is that? Quitters. Thats the easy way out. When the going gets tough, the quitters get divorced.

Marriage is tough, damn tough. If you are gong to hop off the first time their is turbulence then it prolly ain't for you. You should get a government job and vote Democrat.

Put you big girl panties on people and suck it up. You decided to marry that person, I'm sure after months and years of studying the pro's and con's of being married till death to that person, having long long talks and recording for the future the promises YOU made to that person and they made to you so you should be sure by the time you walk the aisle. People seldom change, very seldom. Thats who you chose to marry. Everyone has hard times, some win the others quit. There are no losers just quitters.

Sage is out. (NSFW)

She Said:

"Some say that marriage is an institution. The last time I looked up the definition of an institution was, it is hardly something that I would consider what a marriage should be like. As defined by the dictionary – an institution is “an organization, establishment, foundation, society, or the like, devoted to the promotion of a particular cause or program, esp. one of a public, educational, or charitable character” the other definition: “is a public or private place for the care or confinement of inmates, esp. mental patients or other disabled or handicapped persons.”

Scary if that is what a marriage should be like. Not exactly how I would like my marriage to be. I define marriage as ongoing efforts of two people to build and establish a happy, satisfying and sustainable relationship. Some people succeed in building this relationship and some do not. Once two people no longer wish to put in the effort and the relationship is no longer happy then it is time to go.

I am not by any means advocating an easy way out, that should there be a disagreement or a crisis then just bail. What I am referring to is that there seems to be a lot of bickering over nothing; you seem to be withdrawing from each other and when the other individual is communicating their thoughts and feelings, you are rolling your eyes disrespectfully. In addition, I am also talking about, you no longer fight fair, you no longer have fun together, you have nothing nice to say to each other, you do not talk about your individual problems to each other, you no longer trust each other and need to put a gps to track each other’s ass.

The words “I do” does not necessarily mean a life sentence for two people. Granted somewhere along the line, they happen to have children and find themselves in an unhappy marriage, the children should not have to live a miserable existence wherein they witness their parents hurl insults at each other and argue because their parents uttered the words “till death do us part”.

Children also live what they learn. Children fair better experiencing and witnessing their parents separate and eventually try and establish some form of amicable relationship rather than being in a consistently volatile environment. Children who grow up in a household where there are consistent arguments and tension tend to not do very well managing their own lives.

There are usually questions one can ask oneself whether or not one should stay or not stay in an unhappy relationship and some of these are.

  1. Are the two of you fussing with one another over trivial matters?
  1. Does just about everything about your spouse irritate you?
  1. Has your spouse physically or emotionally abused you? Are you afraid of your spouse?
  1. Do you believe that your love, patience and hope have just all run out?\
  1. Can you communicate about anything or do you always end up in a disagreement? When you fight, do you fight fair? Do either of you bring up past hurts?
  1. When was the last time you had fun together? When was the last time you felt sexually attracted to each other? Do you still make love?
  1. Do the same problems keep resurfacing again and again? Have you tried counseling? Can you accept that your personal unhappiness is your own responsibility?
  1. Does your spouse constantly put you down, attack your self-esteem, and/or criticize you? Do you have any respect for your spouse? Does your spouse respect you?
  1. Are you willing to co-parent the rearing of your children with your ex-spouse?
  1. Have your goals and values outgrown each other.
  1. Can you compromise on important issues?
  1. Has your spouse been unfaithful, in your terms?
  1. Do the same problems keep resurfacing again and again?

If you answered Yes and had to qualify the answer with a but, then it is time to hit the road jack or jill and get a government job and vote democrats….

WannabeVirginia out... (WannabeViginia is a Guest Contributor who I asked to write her opinion because of a personal experience of hers. Thanks WV!)

** One note, of course nobody should be in an physically abusive situation, I try not to state the obvious in my posts but people will call me out sometimes if I don't. SS

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Group Therapy: What parent "babysits" their kids?

Welcome to Group Therapy:

No emails today so I have something that I'd like your guys' wise brains to discuss...

I was on Working Mommy's Blog and came across THIS post and she found this article on Yahoo that is entitled, "10 Things Husband's Should Never Do".

Some of them I agreed with but the one that if I were an irkable person would irk me is #1 which states:

Offer to “babysit” your own kids.

I honestly hate when I hear my friend's husbands say stuff like that. (My husband would rather play with the kids then do almost anything else so I never have this problem nor has he ever said this to me).

For example, one of my good friends wanted to join me and another friend for a movie. I happen to still be at her house chatting when her husband got home, this is how the conversation went:

My Friend: "Hey hunny, I think I'm planning an impromtu girls night tonight and going to watch that chick flick with Shelle and So and So."

Husband: Looks at her in shock, "So what? I have to babysit the kids?"

Me in my head: "Oh no you didn't!? You get to spend quality time with your kids while your wife takes a break for herself." (honestly the girl is one of those girls that feels bad that she gets to stay at home so never takes time for herself! Reminds me of a fellow blogger we all love... JULES :)

My Friend: "I'll make sure they are in bed before I leave."

Husband: "Okay then."

I kid you not people.

So what do you think? Is it babysitting if the husband is watching the kids? Guys, Gals, what do you think?

***Tomorrow is our first He Said/ She Said post so stay tuned for that and make sure to see what side YOU take! :)

***If you have any questions or problems that you would like to have addressed in Group Therapy please email me at blokthoughts@gmail dot com orrealworldvenusmars @ gmail dot com.

Leave your advice in the comments, comment on other comments, and feel free to comment Anonymously.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In-Laws Involvement with Grandkids or Lack of It

First, I want to let Sage know that I enjoyed his post on this topic tremendously. Which brings me to do a flip side post for the topic.

See, my family {meaning my hub, kids and myself} live in Hawaii which is practically a halfway point from each side of our family {his side of the family and my side of the family}. The only way either parents or grandparents in my kids' case can get involved with the kids is through air which we all know can be very costly. And of course, my hub and I like it just fine this way. I like having to do this parenting all on my own with the help of the hubby without any other interference from either parents. Oh don't get me wrong, I don't mind a few word of advice here and there but just the thought of my MIL or my mom undermining my authority when it comes to my kids is enough to drive me bonkers.

On the other hand, my MIL had taken this non-involvement to a whole new level. We've been living in our current place of residency for seventeen years and in all that time, she's only visited three times and each of those visits, the longest she ever stay was a total of one week. She had recently gained custody of her daughter's (my SIL's) two boys so basically her life is pretty much wrapped up around those boys. So the last time she came to visit, which was this past May for my daughter's high school graduation, she brought one of the grandson with her. That was a little on the hurtful side because her attention is not all focused on my kids, but on her other grandson who by the way lives with her and is therefore not deprived of her attention.

She used to be sooo good when it comes to Christmas and birthdays...she sends all of her grandchildren, not just the ones living here in Hawaii but all the other ones on the mainland, Birthday and Christmas gifts on time but since she had decided to play legal guardian to her other grandkids, she's totally slacked off. My kids would be lucky if MIL actually remember to give them a call on their birthdays.

I am grateful that my MIL is not too involved with my kids when it comes to parenting but I'm not too happy about the fact that she basically isn't playing her grandmotherly duty too well. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but in my opinion or from what I know, the grandparents are famous for doting and spoiling their yes, I feel cheated in a way that my In-Laws are not doing that to my kids.

Which brings me this grandparents only tote on their grandchildren if they're allowed to take part in the discipline part?

Friday, January 1, 2010

It must be AWFUL to be a girl...

Happy 2010 Everyone!

No Truer Words were spoken... :)-- Click on it if you want to see it bigger!!!

Calvin and Hobbes has to be one of my favorite comic strips...