Category: Relationships

An Emotional Week

This week has been emotional for me.  It’s been tough and I’ve been struggling with how to be a friend while trying to make sure I protect myself at the same time.

First of all, my girlfriend whose husband got laid off last month, lost her own job this week.  Long story short, she made a not-so-smart move, but had a boss that was looking for any reason to fire her.  They have two young children and have zero income now.  And since her and I have talked so much about finances, I know they are basically a paycheck-to-paycheck family.  When she called to tell me what happened, I felt sick to my stomach, because I immediately began to spin, thinking how they are going to pay for their mortgage, bills, food?  What happens when they don’t have insurance and one of them gets sick?

Had lunch with another girlfriend this week and she’s staying at her mom’s this weekend with her two children, in an attempt to give her husband a wake up call.  They recently had their 5 year anniversary and he didn’t even get her a card.  And in the past month, he got drunk and told her “he needed a break” and has stopped wearing his wedding ring.  She fought back tears telling me what was going on and I really felt for her, as she kept saying, “I just want someone to tell me what to do.”  Add to that, her mom thinks she somehow contributed to their marriage problems since she lived with them for awhile.  In the midst of dealing with her own emotions, she feels obligated to soothe and reassure her mother.  Then she has another friend telling her to be careful what you wish for, because she might find something worse out there than what she already has.  Not exactly encouraging words for someone who really needs them.

Then on Friday, I checked in on a colleague, whose aunt was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.  The initial diagnosis came two months ago, and she was hospitalized this week with breathing problems.  The cancer has been pretty aggressive, and her lungs are now filled with tumors, in addition to her spine, other organs, etc.  They put her on hospice.  My heart was breaking as my colleague told me how her aunt was heavily medicated, but when she would wake up, would yell “Help me!” to those in her room.  Even now, typing these words out, my heart feels so heavy for their family.  It’s both a blessing and a curse to be there as someone is dying.  I know as I watched my dad die from cancer.  On one hand, you are thankful for the time and opportunity to say goodbye.  On the other, every time you leave, the worry is that it’ll be the last time you see them.  Same thing with going to bed that night, even if you’re there.  You wonder, “Is this the last goodbye?  Will they be here when I wake up?”  Then there’s the dread waking up the next morning, as you wait to discover if they are still of this earth or not.

I’ve tried to offer as much support to my girlfriends as I can, and I worry for each of them because I love them so much.  The hard part about this though is the feeling of helplessness.  I can’t get jobs for my one girlfriend, or help financially support them in any meaningful way.  I can’t repair my other girlfriend’s marriage to prevent a divorce.  And as much as I’d love to, I can’t wave a magic wand to make my colleague’s aunt’s cancer go away.  It’s hard to watch your friends going through difficult times.

But I’ve also been thinking to myself, “Is this what our future holds?  Are we prepared if one (or both) of us loses a job?  Are we going to end up as a divorced statistic sometime in the future?  Are we doing all we can to stay healthy?”  We had a job layoff in 2016 (me!) and managed that one OK.  But the divorce and cancer parts?  I can’t say we are immune to either situation.  We’ve had our fair share of problems ourselves and I have a history of cancer in my family.

If I can name one positive, this week has been a reminder to me to be grateful. Thankful for what we have, and that at the moment, we aren’t going through a crises of our own.  Life is hard, and the moments without struggle are fleeting.

 

Running Away…for Girls Night Out

I’m running away tonight.  At least that’s how I feel right now.  I can’t get out of the house fast enough.  I’m meeting a friend/former colleague for dinner tonight and am so geeked to finally catch up with her!  We have a lot in common and have similar life situations, and find ourselves chatting up every topic under the sun.

I feel furiously angry at the moment, and I’m sitting alone in our bedroom while husband has the kiddo at the playground, trying to process my fucking rage.  He was on a business trip this past week.  Left last Sunday, and he got home Friday night around 6PM…just in time for him to change into the costume I laid out for him for a friend’s birthday / Halloween party.  I’ve managed the household by myself this entire week, which included 2 days of offsite workshops for MY job, which resulted in 3 hour round trip commutes those 2 days (the norm is less than an hour).

He’s been gone all week, barely got home in time for us to head out the door and go somewhere else.  He’s had to do none of the work related to our family.  No uninterrupted sleep because the kiddo woke up crying or the dog decided to make you his pillow at 3AM.  No litany of chores to do before even walking out the door to go to work.  Then heading into a job that is so ambiguously vague and with a boss who doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing, just to up the anxiety and frustration levels I was already feeling at home.  I sobbed Tuesday morning before work, because I was tired and felt like I was running on fumes, and was trying to figure out how mentally I was going to make it through another shitty day.

We had a great time last night, but I feel like it all dissolved this morning.  Our child woke up at 5:30AM.  When I saw the monitor, she already had her bedroom light on and had toys out and was playing.  No going back to sleep for mom.  My hubby ended up sleeping until almost 9AM.  This afternoon he left 20 minutes before she woke up from her nap (both her and I were asleep), and was gone almost 2 hours running errands all by himself.

He couldn’t figure out why I didn’t want to take our kid and the dog for a walk by myself, without him.  I suggested a family walk and he agreed, but then said he had to poop.  I sighed in frustration, because the family walk would have to wait until his leisurely shit was done.  He jumped down my throat about how he can’t even take a poop without me getting pissed.

It’s not that.  It’s not the poop itself, it’s the cumulative pile of shit.  It’s the build up of frustration of me having no one to tap out to all week, and then continuing more of the same over the weekend.  When I thought it’d be my turn to get a break.  When I thought him coming home would bring some kind of relief.

What I really wanted was for him to say, “Let me get up with her since you’ve been holding down the fort all week.”  All I heard was his snoring beside me as I got out of bed.  All I wanted was for him to ask, “How can I help you unwind after this week?”  All I wanted for him was to think of me and how he could help relieve some of my frustration or irritation.  What I wanted is a little bit of the reprieve he had this week, being on his own.  I wanted a little bit of equality.

So yes, I’m totally fucking running away tonight.  Even got my running shoes on.

Strike Three

Strike Three

Well it’s Friday night and I’m waiting for people to show up at a Meetup event I’m hosting. Half an hour past the start time there are exactly zero attendees here. Just me.  This is the third Meetup and even though people have RSVP’d to events no one has shown up at any of my events. Meetup flakes 3, Erin 0. 

*Waves from the table for one while sweeping the tears out of her eyes*

It’s been a really emotionally shitty week and this makes me feel so loser-y. I feel like crying because sometimes this trying to make new friends shit is hard. But!  In an effort to try to reframe things in a more positive light.    Let’s see how this goes…let me count the ways

  1. I’m enjoying a Thai boba tea on a beautiful night 
  2. I am getting some time by myself
  3. I get to enjoy some artsy-farts stuff 
  4. Dinner tonight is being made for me versus me making it for others
  5. I get to take a leisurely stroll outside 
  6. I am attempting to relax and chill
  7. I am getting some good people watching in

And if these people don’t want to meet me then fuck them!  They are missing out getting to know a funny, reliable, sometimes emotional friend. Their loss. 


Me enjoying my Thai boba tea. Alone.  And that’s ok. 

Meeting New Friends

I’ve written before that I’ve struggled to find my tribe of women mom friends.  Since moving to Atlanta, most of our friends don’t have children.  In an effort to make new friends, I’ve tried creating my own meetup group.  Out of the 4-5 meetups I’ve hosted, I’ve had exactly zero people show up (womp womp).  Despite feeling like a loser, I’m still trying to put myself out there.

I recently heard about an app called Peanut, that helps to connects moms.  The advertisement was during a parenting podcast that I really enjoyed, so I thought…why not give it a try?  It’s basically tinder dating to find mom friends.  You swipe one way if you like the person and swipe the other if you don’t.  I’ve been looking at it, and connected with a few moms through the app, but nothing had led to any kind of substantial communication so far.  And then, it happened!  I had a mom reach out to say hi and we hit it off!

It was great to chat back and forth with her, because it made me feel happy to have someone with similar struggles (i.e. hiding under the crib to look at your iPhone while your darling falls asleep, or dealing with a kiddo meltdown).  Our online rapport and banter had been so much fun, that we decided to meet up for a coffee date this weekend.

I was nervous and excited to meet this new potential mom friend.  What if our online chemistry didn’t translate in real life?  What if we didn’t jive or the conversation was awkward and weird?   What if she thinks I’m a total weirdo (and not in a good way)?!?  Finding new friends, even platonic ones, comes with all the same kind of worries of dating!

I worried all for naught, because we hit it off immediately.  When I found her, she immediately reached out to hug me.  I loved this, because I’m a huge hugger too!  She reminded me a lot of a good friend from Los Angeles.  In some ways, she talked very similarly to my friend that it threw me for a loop at first.  We sat down at a table outside and talked for two hours straight.   We had such easy conversation and my cheeks hurt from laughing and smiling.  I didn’t want to leave, but I also didn’t want to overstay my welcome either.  We made plans to meet up again soon, next time bringing our daughters with.

There have been lots of new things lately.  New job, new approach to my same old problems, new dynamic in my relationship, new way of trying to view myself.  I’m hoping that today is the start of a another new thing.  A new friendship with a kindred spirit.

Let’s Talk About Sex (after) Baby…

Let’s Talk About Sex (after) Baby…

Shit changes after you have a kid.   Physically. Emotionally.  I remember distinctly the anxiety and nervousness I felt before having sex the first time after giving birth. It shot me back in time, feeling like a virgin who was going to “do it”.  How would it feel?  Have my lady parts recovered from birth?  Will he notice a difference in how it feels?  How will it feel to me?  Holy fuck, what if I get pregnant again right away?!?

I had some birth trauma, and was getting physical therapy for my pelvic floor muscles, so I was incredibly worried I’d somehow pee on my husband involuntarily.  (Side story:  when I was cleared for exercise, I went for a short run and pissed myself.  Not just a little leakage…full on could-have-wrung-out-my-pants pissed myself.  I think the anxiety was warranted in this case.)

More than anything, I felt like this body, that I’d known and lived in for all these years, suddenly felt completely foreign to me.  I had to re-learn what would feel good in the sack.  And conversely, what wouldn’t.  I had to come to the realization that sex post-baby wasn’t going to be like it was pre-baby.  And that was OK.  This was a new phase for us as a couple and for me as a woman.  I can say this, now that my daughter is approaching 2-1/2, with some degree of confidence.  In the moment, I felt like an insecure hormonal wreck.  This is the shit about parenthood and pregnancy that people don’t tell you about, but really should.  Everyone talks about the joy of motherhood…not how you and your partner will be rolling around like teenagers trying to learn the lay of the land (again) while simultaneously trying to keep quiet so as not to wake the baby!  More than one time I cried after sex.  Not because it was terrible, but because it was different and seemed to fill me with overwhelming emotion.  I blame hormones on that one.

Things change for our partners too. My husband witnessed the miracle of birth and actually helped deliver our daughter. That meant he got an up close and personal view of what happened to my lady bits. He was traumatized for months. On top of that it took him awhile to reconcile that I could be a mom to our child and want to get laid at the same time. It was difficult for him to see me as a sexual being and not just a mom. We struggled to find a rhythm and flow to our sex life for the first year after baby.

We still don’t have sex as after as we’d like to, but the demands of raising a family, and us working full-time tires the shit out of us.  I hate to say this, but it’s a reality I want to share with you.  There have been plenty of nights where I have chosen sleep over sex….and I find my husband incredibly attractive.  We also don’t have any family close by, so there’s no one to give us a break.  And he travels frequently.  The list of reasons go on and on.  I write this, while my daughter is asleep and my husband retired to bed.  I really should be sleeping myself but wanted to write.  Ah, the trade offs.

For those men reading this that may be horrified and may never want to get their partner pregnant, it does get better.  I can tell you that.  It really does, it just takes time.

 

Taking a Risk

I’ve struggled to make friends since moving to Atlanta in 2013. In LA, I had a close group of girlfriends that were my people. We regularly hung out, explored new things around LA and had each other over for dinner. It was a close group of women that I knew had my back no matter what. I miss that comraderie very much. 

I don’t know if it’s been because of my work environments or the area or what but the problem has been that any women friends I’ve gotten to know are either 1) younger than me and don’t have kids yet or 2) they are older than me and their kids are in high school or college (or they don’t have kids). I’ve also seen a lot of what I like to call “Southern Belle” syndrome where everything is just great. So great. Motherhood is to be enjoyed every single second. Their marriage is perfect. I don’t know about you but my life feels really messy. I want someone that can share with me honestly saying “I feel like a hot fucking mess right now” versus telling me how perfect their life is.  Those are the kinds of women friendships I want. Honest. Candid. Hysterical. Someone you can laugh with through whatever is going on, good or bad. 

And to that end, since I haven’t been able to find my tribe, I’m trying another approach. I created a Meetup group today where I’m looking to connect with other moms. I’ve created the first three meetups and after obsessively checking the Meetup group all day, there is still just 1 member:  me. I’m scared I will put myself out there and I won’t have any takers. Ever. That I won’t find my people again. But even if that happens at least I can say I tried right?!?  

I’m putting myself out there with good intentions and hope that the universe supports me and helps deliver some new friends. 

Wish me luck. 

A Savage Fight

A Savage Fight

I feel hungover this morning but not from alcohol. From an awful fight last night with the husband. I had put our daughter to bed and come downstairs and he is watching the news, as per usual. A panelist gets done talking and my husband is practically spitting the words “Shut the fuck up you fat, ignorant bastard” at the tv. I had just sat down but immediately got up and walked into the kitchen muttering, “I don’t want to be around THAT energy.”

He seethes at me, “You don’t want this energy?!?  Is that what you said?!?”

“YES!” I hiss at him. I feel my pulse racing and I’m white hot angry at him. Does he not realize I’m exhausted and I just want a little peace and quiet?!?  Does he not realize how much any kind of negativity physically affects me?  

He’s up off the couch and his face is all twisted in rage. “So it’s OK for you to be in a shitty mood but you don’t want MY energy?!?  WELL FUCK OFF THEN!”

He spins on his heel and leaves the room which I fucking hate. It’s so dismissive. I call after him and he returns. The fighting continues up until the point where he threw something across the room and I screamed “GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!”

Wait, how did we go from 0-1000 in like 5 seconds?!?  

He leaves. I’m shaking in anger. Then the sadness sets in and my body is wracked with sobs. I continue to get ready for bed because I still have to get up at 5am and I honestly have no idea if he’s coming back or not. 

How did we get here?  How are we at the point that we are screaming at each other over an insignificant news show?  What is going on with is?  Who have we become?

I have no answers. I lay in bed, shaking still. I don’t know if it’s leftover adrenaline or I’m just cold. I feel like I could throw up.  I won’t be sleeping anytime soon.

I text a simple “I’m sorry” to him. No response. I wait 15 minutes and then call. I’m  surprised when he picks up. “Two questions:  are you safe?” I ask quietly into the phone. Despite the fight, he’s still my best friend, my partner, the father of my child. 

“Yes.”

“Are you going to come home?”  I almost whisper. His anger seems gone but I’m scared to risk either one of us blowing up again. 

“Yes. Are you still mad?” He asks me. 

“No. Are you still mad?” I inquire while holding my breath for his response. 

“No.  I’m coming home.”

“Ok.”

He got home and we sat in the dark side by side talking. Trying to figure out what is going on. Trying to figure out how to fix our relationship. How to stop hurting one another. 

We talk about some ideas but there’s a sadness in both of us. I cry on and off. Bottom line we are struggling because we don’t have a village. No family here.  No real close friends that we can rely on. No one to help with the big job of parenting. No one to give us a break. We can’t be everything to each. It’s not possible and not healthy. We both chuckle as we agree that our dog is always there for us. At least we can agree on one thing. 

We head to bed, not because we’ve resolved anything, but because we are both exhausted and need rest before any more sleep is lost. 

Maybe today will be a better day.  Today is a new day.