Monday, February 15, 2010

The Apron String is barely there!

"Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat." - Joanne Woodward

That has nothing to do with what I'm about to talk about... I just think the quote rings true.

I can fully say, with complete confidence now, that the apron strings which connect me to my parent/family is very very very thin... like you can't really even see it. Really. At least I think. Or I mean... kinda. Maybe you can still see the teeny tiny edge that connects the string to my skin... because I hear it is thicker at that point, but as the string gets in the middle I mean... you can barely see it.

I would hate to completely break free because I think it is important to stay connected to the two people who helped mold me into who I am... which, of course, is totally awesome! I mean we have to assume that is why my husband married me right? Looks only goes so far, and for some, not far at all. So we have to bring out the only thing that may redeem us, which is PERSONALITY, and my parents helped mold my personality.

Growing up my mother and father instilled in me that family comes first. Any decision conflicting with school/friend life and family I would always get, "who comes first Shelle"? When any family member performed, played, or had ANY event... we'd pack up the station wagon and come rain, snow, or shine we would head to whatever it was and be there for SUPPORT. With 6 kids in the family we ALWAYS were supporting SOMEONE. I was the black sheep because I was always saying, "You've seen me dance this 10 other times, no need to come to this performance." Yet, they were there. If not my brothers and sisters, my parents were. My Father has three girls. Each of us did the dance team in high school. Poor guy had to sit through each one from beginning until end. Each and everyone one. That's a lot of competitions-I'm telling you, he should be beamed to Sainthood for that.

My husband comes from a family that well... is pretty much opposite of mine.

Two extreme's.

So when we got married he had a hard time with me wanting to drive three hours in extremely hazardous snow weather to make it to a football game of my brothers or cancel our plans because my mother had made impromptu plans and wanted the whole family there.

We had a lot of intense arguments "discussions" on cutting the apron strings. His Point: because I was married I didn't have to jump when my mom said jump or ask how high. My husband introduced me to the word NO *shudder* when it came to my parents... and believe me, that first time I used it I almost crapped my pants I was so scared.

But that wasn't the only string that needed cutting.

The other one my husband wasn't to fond of was the one where I went to them for EVERYTHING! Meaning... when we got into any kind of argument, they knew about it, in explicit detail. As well as my two sisters... and sometimes my older brother. (What!?)

In my defense, my family, my MOM especially and my two sisters are and were my VERY best friends. Even WITH best friends in high school, (which I have ones that are still my best friends today and are more like sisters than just friends), my mom and sisters knew everything about my life before anyone. Even in high school when I did something I wasn't suppose to... I usually ended up telling on myself because I couldn't stand not talking to my mom about it.

So you can understand the difficulty of cutting my apron strings.

It has taken 10 years, and still I can mess up sometimes, for me to be able to put my husband in that role of confidant and priority. In my heart and mind he is and always will be first priority as well as my kids, but habits are hard to break. And even now when we argue I am chompin at the bit to tell one of my sisters or my mom just so I can vent, and if there is a family event that I can't make it to I feel left out and sad that I missed it.

But... not as much as I used to and especially if it's because my hubs and I are going on a trip or one of my kids has an event.

And if something good, funny, or even bad happens to me I find the first person I want to tell or call is my husband.

I can see how this might be a deal breaker for some couples though, because if the partner can't put their spouse or significant other first than that SHOULD be a problem. When you get married you agree to put that other person first before anyone else even your family. For those of us who are religious "...For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall acleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?." (Matt 19:5 and Mark 10:7) the more one does this the more they rely on the one person that is and should be most important in their life. It creates that unbreakable bond.

So like I said... the string is still there... but you can barely see it.

Any of you have this problem? Or have had this problem? How have you gotten through it. Is it a deal breaker?

Tomorrow Sage will tell us his perspective on it so come back tomorrow, warning though, you may laugh.




Anonymous said...

We were both fortunate that our parents lived several hundred miles apart, and we often landed in between them as we moved around after our wedding.

My wife is very close to her siblings, so even now, twenty years on, she still talks to one of them at least daily. And as they've gone through crap in life, she has had to deal with the feelings associated with being far from them. But this has always been a strength, something I have never seen as a deficit in her character. I can appreciate the closeness, and her interactions with them has never driven a wedge between us as a couple.

Great post, Shelle. Well written and from the heart. Sounds like you and your husband have a great plan to keep things running smoothly, and I applaud that . . .

Anonymous said...

I like that cleave part best.

Though hit her with a cleaver is more accurate after being married 15-20 minutes.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

TD-Yea, I use to talk everyday to someone in my family, actually still do because I live in the basement of my parents home and have a sister and brother that live near by... But I don't NEED to like I use to. Lol. I love that u see her connection as a positive!

Sage-im almost positive my hubs felt the same way. Poor guy is stuck forever!

Anonymous said...

I had this issue in my first marriage. I didn't tell my parents about our fights, but I would drop everything if they said to be to a family event or hurry to support my brothers at a sport event. Mind you, my husband LITERALLY had NO relationship with any of family (now I understand why--but that's another issue)-NONE. We ALWAYS had holidays with my family and he just wanted to stay home. I would be in tears because I couldn't be with my family. He didn't get it. I caused MANY arguments and problems.

Anonymous said...

Hm. I don't think I have this issue. Growing up,I wasn't close to my parents. They worked at least two full time jobs each just to keep a roof over our head. We were raised, mainly, by my maternal grandmother and her husband. I'm extremely close to Nana. I tell her almost everything.

But, this relationship with my Nana has never affected my relationship with my husband.

It's the same with my husband and his parents. He's not close with his father. His mother, though, calls him all the freakin' time. Does it annoy me? Nope. Not unless it's 6 O'Clock in the morning and it happens sometimes seven days in a row. But, again, it's never affected our relationship.

But I've also shown my husband that he comes first, above my family. He's shown me the same. There have been arguements between me and my MIL, to the point where I've kicked her out of my house. My husband has stood by my side and it really showed me just how devoted he is to me.

OneZenMom said...

My mom is one of my best friends.

We - my husband and kids and I - do things together with my parents all the time - even including some vacations together.

We actually *like* to hang out with them - just not in HUGE doses. ;)

My husband, on the other hand ... well, his family is, um, different, than mine. To me, their relationship seems formal and distant.

My parents live five times farther away than his do. And yet, we see my parents about 10 times more often than his.

The good news is that the ZenHusband fits in great with MY family - always has. He genuinely enjoys their company and their "family style" too. Which is weird. Considering the family dynamic that he grew up with is so different than mine.

But, I try not to look a gift horse in the mouth. ;)

Anonymous said...

I hope this doesn't derail the discussion, but I wonder if maybe sometimes, especially as our parents get older, if THEY don't have trouble cutting the strings.

My dad calls me all the time, and for the most inane stuff. This mild computer woe or that little thing he saw on TV and just had to tell me about.

A typical phone conversation:

Him: "Hey, what's going on?"

Me: "Nothing much."


I hate to say it, but I often just hit Ignore on the cell when he calls. I figure I'll get back in touch when enough time has passed.

Is this . . . sad?

Just Jules said...

the strings are cut for us - we made sure of it right from the start. we knew if we were to make it on our own that we had to do it together and not with our parents as the middle of the teeter totter.... so, we moved away - far away - 24 hrs away . far enough away that we couldn't call if the car broke or if we had a fight. we HAD to do it on our own - no other choice... we knew NOONE in the town we moved to, and there was nothing around us but mountains for hours. When we moved back - we did the same thing make sure we were close enough to visit but not so close as to get sucked into the whole - we are having a get together for so and so's 10th anniversary of their anniversary of their divorce from ... yeah whatever.

now if you ask our parents - we have taken it to an extreme lately -but honestly we have a family to take care of, we haven't moved for 10.5 years and the door is always unlocked - always.

The Bare Essentials Today said...

I have had this happen in past relationships. I have always been and still am super close to my family. The guy I was living with the at the time hadn't seen his parents in three years and his older brother in 7 years! I couldn't comprehend. We would get into huge arguements when I would say, have to go pick up my parents from the airport that was an hour away. He couldn't understand why I was always having to run to do things for them or why I wanted to go to their house for dinners on Sunday, etc.

Unfortunately I don't have any advice execpt to compromise. We didn't last and I'm sure me being as close as I am to my family played a part, a small one, but still, in our relationship ending.

But this is also the guy who came down to FL with me to visit my family and took a cruise while we there. By himself. Never even asked if I wanted to go.

Things that make you go hmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

lol tysdaddy. That sounds exactly like my MIL.

She called the other day to tell hubby that a Winter Fair was happening near the town she lives in and she just HAD to tell him because that was where he was conceived. Jeeeez!!!

Joanna Cake said...

I think the lack of apron strings is part of what's wrong with our society today.

In olden times, most children would not stray too far from the family hub, which meant that they were always there for each other in times of trouble and celebration. It was expected and understood. There was always some older member of the family available with sage advice or a watchful eye for the kids and grandkids.

However, these days some parents can be excessively dominant, to the detriment of the husband/wife thing and that can cause real problems. But the same can be true of the husband/wife in terms of familial duty in some cases.

And, of course, our lives are so much busier because of the number of commitments we have in terms of our children's social engagements. In my own childhood, I might have had one or two hobbies that required a performance during the term. These days, the kids just do too much and that puts a huge strain on the amount of time we have available to spend on each of them as well as leaving room for our own commitments to the rest of the family.

We need to find a healthy balance.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Anon-there has to be give and take. He has to realize even when you are dating that you are very close to your family. He shouldn't pull you away from them either... that's not okay. But HE should be first before them.

Alex- Whatever strings we attached to other family members always should be cut for our spouses I agree. And you have a great man to stand up for you to his mom. My husband has had to do that a couple of times for me...even with my own family! They are the ones to keep a hold of no doubt.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

ZenMom- You definitely have it good. For sure no reason to complain. My husband fits into my family but his family is so opposite that sometimes he finds how close we are unnerving. He'd rather just be home with me and the kids. So yes, you are really lucky!

TysDaddy--no worries. a discussion is a discussion to me!

My mom totally has a problem with cutting the strings as well as my dad. They are really afraid to be empty nesters... you could hear their sigh of relief with after 4 months of having nobody else in their home we moved down to live in their basement.

We were their lives up until we move away and sometimes... they don't know what to do with themselves when we no longer need them as much. They are bored and get lonely and we TRULY become their only friends sometimes.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Just Jules- You guys probably did it the right way. Having to count on each other from the beginning. We lived a 1/2 hour from his family and from some of my brothers and sisters and only like 3 hours away from my parents. Plus a phone call is a phone call... and since my Mom was my go to person and cell phones are pretty accessible... we talked still all the time... distance didn't really effect me.

But it looks like your plan worked. I do believe though that we can become to distant from family. I don't love that idea.

Bare Essentials--you need to look for someone that wants and enjoys your family. Because that is really a BIG deal if your family is very CLOSE to you.

And loser cruise guy was definitely and douche and THANK GOODNESS you are no longer with him... I'd have to slap you upside the head!!! :)

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Alex and TysDaddy--That sounds like my Mom and Sisters... lol... um yea. :)

Joanna-- I totally agree! I think separating oneself so far from family is not good. They center us and give us a sense of home and unity. That is good for the human spirit I think. The family unit is being attacked by society and we should remember that keeping close to people is needed. But the family you create with someone else should always come first! Always.

Time is also a big issue for the family--I agree and well said. Thanks for your comment! :)

Anjeny said...

I don't have this problem. My hub and I both feel the same way about leaving the parents and cleave unto the spouse thing. And it's always a good thing that we live so far away from both sides of the family.

We call both sides of the family, get updated on what everyone's up to, give a little advice if need to, lend some money if we have but other than that, we're completely apron-stringless...if that is a word. I actually like it this way.

Don't get me wrong, my hubby is close to his family, I'm close to mine too but we just like the arrangement we have. We try not to tell either sides of the family the problems we have as a couple, we just battle it out ourselves and move need getting the family involved.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Anjeny--see we are getting there or I should say I'm getting there. My hubs has been there from the start!

The Songer said...

When we lived in Utah, it was very easy to say NO and not let everyone know our drama when it happened.... BUT now that i live 2 minutes from my parents, 30 seconds from 1 sister and in walking or driving distance to my other 6 sisters, It has become very hard not to call them with my drama and tell them when i have become frustrated with my husband... and the whole parent thing always getting into our business and grandparents over stepping their boundries with my children, it happens almost weekly, just this weekend my mother did it again! And this is one reason we will probably end up leaving hawaii after i graduate!

tiki_lady said...

I know my parents love us but they were rarely at any of my sporting events or anything that I did. I know I really didn't want my mom to watch me because she would criticize so harshly if I had messed up or missed a spike, or a basket. Humor was found through more unhumorous ways. It is foreign to think about my mother and sister being my best friends. The only true confidant I have IS my husband.

I could never tell my parents of any issues that Mr. Incredible and I had because they would have just said, I told you so, they also wouldn't forget the horrible thoughtless selfish thing he did and bring it up at next thanksgiving. Yet, I never told on the horrible selfish things that I did. I wouldn't go to my mil. My sil turns to our mil and tells all about her husband to her. I don't want to do that, tell my husband's mother. WE have always learned to rely on each other both in good and bad. However, on both sides family and the love and desire to travel for family runs thick on both sides. It is both he and I who travel our kids every where so that they can be part of both sides. But, family doesn't travel to us much. Both sides, feel well. You both chose to move away so you travel to where all the family is. Makes sense I guess.
No matter what the dynamics. Family and your relationship with family is what YOU the individual chooses to make of it, no one closes any doors except for you, because we are always in control to open or shut them.

SciFi Dad said...

I used to have that problem until I was 19 and my mother tried to force me to not move away for school by threatening to cut me off financially. I went, and they spent the next four years trying to get me to accept any financial help from them whatsoever (in the end I let them pay for 1 term of books as a favour to my younger sister).

My wife on the other hand, was a lot more like you, so I feel your husband's pain.