Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
Babysitters – the right babysitters – can make a huge difference in your sanity, your marriage, and your ability to be a GOOD mom.
Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
Babysitters – the right babysitters – can make a huge difference in your sanity, your marriage, and your ability to be a GOOD mom.
Sex is an important part of a healthy, committed relationship. Unfortunately, there are a number of complications that can get in the way of a healthy sex life and interrupt the intimacy and passion you have with your partner. If you are having issues that are preventing you from having the sex life with your partner that you want and need – and that he or she wants and needs – you can discover ways to keep your passion alive. Even if your issues are constantly present or you are miserable and in pain and not really thinking about sex the way you would be if you felt fine, there are ways you can continue to have a healthy and mutually satisfying sex life.
When you’re in a committed relationship, it isn’t just about the pursuit of an orgasm. Sex is also about intimacy and connection and closeness and love. When you can’t have that intimacy, it’s much easier to feel disconnected from your partner in every way, not just sexually.
It takes both partners to work through these times. Be supportive when your partner is in pain, doesn’t feel sexy, feels like his or her insides have been twisted into carnival rides, or just can’t find the inspiration to be sensual or sexual. If you are suffering from a sexual health issue, try to put your woes aside and find other ways to let your partner know you’re still madly, hotly passionate about him or her.
If you have a partner struggling with a sexual health problem, don’t push or demand or pout about the necessary non-sex you’re having. That makes it easier for him or her to want to find ways (and believe me, there are many other ways) to make you feel good and to keep your sensuality and intimacy alive. Spend more time cuddling and caressing, kissing and fondling, teasing and flirting.
If you are struggling with a sexual health issue, from polycystic ovarian disease to prostate troubles, from post-menopausal lack of libido to impotence, try to find some way every day to let your partner know that even though you’d rather have your doctor remove everything from your lower body that is remotely sexual right now, your partner is still someone you are attracted to and find sexy. When you feel horrible, let your partner care for you. When he or she needs reassurance, be sure to provide it.
A loving relationship does not need sex to thrive, but it does need intimacy.
MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Amy Nielson
The party’s over, the gifts are unwrapped, and the honeymoon’s coming to an end. You’ve spent the past handful of months planning your wedding, and now you and your new spouse are officially entering the world of marriage. Your first year of being married can be a really difficult one because it’s all about adjustments, and even if you think you have an idea what these adjustments will be, it’s guaranteed there will be way more than you imagine. Weddings are a romantic and exciting affair, but afterwards, when you’re learning to live with someone brought up with different morals, habits, and expectations than you, life can be decidedly unromantic. Don’t panic. Figuring out the important questions that all newlywed couples have to deal with will soon set you on the right path to discovering how you want your marriage to be and how you can make it last.
There’s no way to underestimate how important tackling money issues are in the first year of marriage. A report by the Daily Beast says that couples with fewer financial assets are over 70 percent more likely to get divorced than wealthy couples. Money issues can be incredibly stressful, and fighting about money puts a strain on your relationship that can last for years. It’s better to start out with a budget. Talk through your monthly expenses and think about some big purchases that you want to save for, like a house or a dream vacation. You should decide whether to get a joint bank account and whether to put both names on your utility bills, which most experts recommend in case something was to happen to one of you. Also look for married perks, such as discounts that come from combining your auto insurance policies, like the discounts offered at www.motortradeinsurance.org . The most important thing to be sure of as you move forward is that you’re both on the same page when it comes to finances.
It’s not uncommon for couples who rarely fought before to start fighting over every little thing after they get married. What’s behind this phenomenon? It may simply be that you’re both pretty scared about the transitions you’re making. Marriage is hard, and forever can be an overwhelming prospect even after you’ve said I do. If you find yourself getting really upset over dirty dishes in the sink or the choice of restaurant on a Friday night, stop and breathe for a moment. Remember that you’re probably feeling nervous about the bigger picture. Couples can also fight about surprises after marriage. Maybe you’ll discover something in your spouse’s past or even just a bad habit they have that you never noticed before. It’s important to remember that you couldn’t possibly know everything about a person before you marry them, and that these surprises can be seen as positive. Discovering new things about each other is part of what keeps marriage exciting.
Psychiatrist Margarita Tartakovsky says one of the biggest challenges for newlyweds is being perceived as a unit socially, legally, and religiously. It’s therefor important for both halves of the couple to assert their individuality. This could mean holding on to your personal bank account or simply maintaining your own hobbies and activities. And just because you do things as a couple doesn’t mean you have to do them the same way. Embrace your differences and be willing to talk about ways to compromise. Tartakovsky also explores the decreased intimacy that newlyweds experience when the so-called honeymoon period of the relationship inevitably comes to an end. The changes in your sex life can go hand in hand with the changes in every other aspect of your life, and it’s important to give each other time and communicate openly. Don’t panic if you aren’t having sex every day of the week. Don’t panic if marriage is a lot different than you imagined it would be. Remember everyone feels this way at first.
When you start your married life, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re playing house. The feeling of transitioning into adulthood can cause you to miss your parents, even if you haven’t lived with them for years. Juggling your changing financial situation, along with a possible move, a new name, and a host of responsibilities you never considered, can make your fantasy wedding day seem like a distant memory. But remember that somebody is choosing to spend their life with you, and that’s something you should be grateful for, even if every day isn’t an adventure. It’s okay if your definition of romance changes, too.
Whether you’re just starting the dating and relationship process or you’ve been married for 30 years, relationships take work, compassion, understanding and effort. Here are 10 steps you can take to having better relationships:
A relationship by its very nature is not about you alone. It’s about you and the other person. When both partners put the feelings of the other on equal footing with their own feelings, love blossoms (in friendships and in romantic love).
2. Let your partner be himself or herself.
If you go into a relationship thinking something is wrong with the person but that given time, you’ll be able to “fix” it, you should not be in the relationship. The things you want to fix are what makes the him or her unique. Love without wanting to change your partner.
3. Relationships mirror the effort put into them.
Relationships take work. You have to communicate, be tolerant, learn to understand each other. You have to love each other enough to recognize that you’re both human, imperfect, and make mistakes.
4. Don’t take everything personally.
Two people, no matter how much they have in common, will occasionally disagree or see things a different way. Don’t take it personally if you and your partner don’t agree on everything. How boring!
Communicate about everything. The more you talk, the stronger your relationship will be.
6. Don’t judge.
Long lasting relationships become long lasting when two people can trust each other enough to open up and be vulnerable. That cannot happen when judgement and condescension are more likely than loving support.
7. Believe in your partner’s dreams.
Partners in love, as in business, should be there to support each other. Instead of pushing your partner to become what you want him to be, believe in his dreams.
8. Act like grown ups, play like kids.
Treat each other with the respect that comes with being mature enough not to have a temper tantrum when things don’t go your way, but don’t become stodgy and old and let your relationship wilt. Have fun, play, and laugh together as often as possible.
9. Never stop dating.
No matter how busy life gets, never stop prioritizing time for just the two of you.
Don’t lay blame, don’t hold grudges, never go to bed mad, and always make up the first chance you get.
Today was a really special day for Dave and I in our travels. We left Newport and drove up 101 – a beautiful drive if you ever get the chance – to Seaside, Oregon. Seaside is special to us because it is where Dave – on one knee, in front of the whole beach full of people, with a very romantic speech – proposed to me.
I said yes.
Didn’t even have to think about it.
We took the kids (Derek, Kira, Kyle, and Parker) to visit the cherished site in 2001 while on vacation, but this was our first time back since, and Anika’s first time ever.
After letting the kids feed the seals at the Seaside Aquarium, we headed East for the first time in 19 days, arriving in Portland in time to enjoy a wonderful dinner with my very special Auntie Lori (my mom’s only sister).
Thanks to Auntie Lori (Anika later announced, “It’s official! I totally love Great Aunt Lori!), the kids got a giant cookie with ice cream on it for dessert and then got to go swim at the hotel pool for an hour.
It was really cool to have family around to spoil the kids – it is something they have sorely missed, and only encouraged more begging for us to move to Utah (or Portland, or anywhere West of the Continental Divide).
Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
The biggest key to having a successful relationship with anyone else is to first have a successful relationship with yourself. In fact, I would say loving yourself and knowing yourself are so important that it is worth not having a serious relationship with anyone else until you do love yourself. We all have moments of self-doubt, but generally, you should wake up in the morning happy with who you are and what you are doing with your life.
If you don’t, then love yourself enough to be selfish enough to be alone and get to know you – the real you – and learn to love you the way you are. For some people, this may be as simple as just having a few weeks of self-reflection, and for others it will require an in-depth examination of your life and motivation and why you are who you are. Ultimately, though, you cannot give to another person and love another person adequately until you love you.
While it’s great if you are physically attracted to your partner, the most successful relationships come when you actually like the person your partner is and don’t want to change anything. Love intensifies and diminishes over time, but friendship only deepens. Be friends, have things in common, and treat each other with respect.
Communicate with each other regularly. This is more than just a grunted hello as you roll out of bed in the morning. Make time to talk to each other and share your thoughts with each other. Be sure to do as much listening as you do talking. Pay attention to the needs, desires, and aspirations of your partner.
Spend time together. No relationship will grow or survive if it is not a priority. Make your relationship a priority – that means ditching kids, pets, jobs, and other obligations on a regular basis in order to nurture your relationship.
Expect to argue, but don’t argue to win or to hurt. Be mindful of what you say, don’t hold grudges, don’t dredge up the past. Avoid going to bed angry. Listen to your partner’s side of things. Be willing to compromise.
Be intimate. Touch each other, look into each other’s eyes, and tell your partner you love him or her every single day. Spend more time appreciating the person they are than being aggravated over their shortcomings.
It’s not always easy, and you won’t always be perfect, but if you really like and love the person you’re with, striving for this kind of nurturing is a great way to have a positive, happy, healthy relationship.
by Shadra Bruce
I am renewed. Happy. Joyous, even. I think my blood pressure is even lower.
Because my husband and I just escaped our normal routine and responsibility to spend six days away from home. Six glorious days away from work, phone calls, client demands, and most of all…children.
I know, this is a MOM site. Children are to be revered and honored, right?
So what am I doing celebrating six glorious days without my kids?
It’s those small escapes that make me a good mom. I feel guilty about leaving them, even though they are in the best of hands with their older (adult) sister. I lose sleep over the thought of something bad happening while we’re gone, even though we take every precaution to make sure there are plenty of people around to help if that were to happen.
But I go anyway.
You should too, you know. Getting away from your kids makes you appreciate them more. And you can appreciate being a mom more when you remember what it’s like to be a wife, a woman, and uncluttered from diaper bags, demands, and discipline issues.
When Dave and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2009, we went to Montreal to celebrate. Our daughter Kira offered to babysit the kids for a long weekend so that we could get away. It was so amazing that we decided to make it an annual thing. Last year, we went back for five days and spent the whole time wandering Old Montreal and eating at our favorite restaurants.
This year, we stayed at a quaint boutique hotel around the corner from our favorite Montreal bistro, La Marche de la Villette. We ate croissants every morning for breakfast. We walked, we talked, we held hands. We rekindled our romance. It was amazing.
We couldn’t do it without Kira. She’s like a second mom to the kids and has babysat them since they were born. We sweeten the deal for her these days with cash rewards and free car insurance, but it’s totally worth it. You really should try it, even if you just stay at the hotel in the next town.
Even in the supposedly enlightened 21st Century, my husband and I face criticism for the lifestyle we’ve chosen. It’s not all that out of the ordinary; it’s simply that I am the primary breadwinner who works full-time (albeit from my home) and Dave is a part-time substitute teacher, grad student, and the household manager. He cooks, does laundry, and grocery shops. Thank Goodness!! I’m quite sure my in-laws feel that I’m not the best wife because their poor son is burdened with all the cooking and most of the cleaning; my parents worry over my husband’s ability to provide for his family because he doesn’t work full time.
Here’s the thing, though: these roles work perfectly for us. I’m not sure I realized how perfectly it was working until Dave had to step back to recover from surgery. I tried, I really did. I would start a load of laundry, then realize six hours later it was still in the washer and I’d have to start over. I would spend hours longer in the grocery store because I had no idea what brand we buy or where everything was in the store. And I would dread dinner time.
I hate cooking, always have. It’s not fun for me at all. Dave, however, loves to cook, and sees it as a creative outlet. And if you’ll ask my kids, who have had to put up with my meals for the last month while my husband has recuperated, it’s a good thing daddy normally does the cooking, or they’d starve to death. I do the dishes and love it.
Dave, on the other hand, detests the traditional “man” stuff like putting things together, making repairs to the car or house, or building stuff. I, however, love to do things like install new toilets, build shelves, replace the car battery, or mix up some cement and patch the foundation (which is a requirement in a 200 year old house).
Up until I was 26, I never planned on having kids. Then I met Dave, fell in love, and inherited three. We added two more to the happy family and I’ve never looked back. I don’t think it was kids I was trying to avoid, though, but some of the “traditional” mom stuff that I grew up seeing my mom do. I wanted no part of it. Apparently, I still don’t.
For us, our partnership works. No, it’s not like the way most people do it. But I think it’s pretty cool that my kids are growing up without gender-stereotyped roles affecting them.
Dave still kills the spiders though!
MomsGetReal™ is thrilled to introduce our newest Contributor Brenda Neighbors
My husband and I have been married for 5 years, this year, and we have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. We both agree the holiday has been taken over by red roses, teddy bears, chocolates and mushy cards. Don’t get me wrong, we are madly in love ,but honestly, the roses will die and I’ll continually forget to throw them out, teddy bears just aren’t my thing, chocolate sticks to my…hips, and I’m going to feel guilty when I throw his card away! We just say Happy Valentine’s Day and move on with our day. Of course we spoil the kids, but as for my husband and I, it’s life as usual.
Valentine’s Day does allow me to reflect on the meaning of love. Sometimes I think we get into a routine of saying “I love you” and forget to reflect upon the value of those words. I find myself doing it after a brief conversation with my husband; like a routine. We have overcome quite a bit over the years, more than most adults face in their entire lifetime, and it doesn’t take much to remind me how much I love my husband. I think love is a word of great value.
I was watching a television program a few days ago, the show talked about the physical effects of words on yourself, and the people you speak them to. If you continually tell yourself you are a loser, you will be a loser. Your body will slouch, your head will hang, your job performance will be poor, you will be unhappy. But, if you tell yourself you are a winner, you will stand with pride, head held high and you will strive for achievement. Try it. Spend a week telling yourself how wonderful and beautiful you are and take note of the physical and mental change that occurs in you.
I believe that by telling someone you love them, they would experience the same effect you feel by telling yourself you are a winner. But, if individually we forget the value of those words, they can lose their effect. So how do you remember those words have meaning? How do you avoid falling into a routine?
My husband and I always find examples of how we are committed to each other and we communicate that. Tonight is a perfect example. I am very close to graduating with my bachelor’s degree and it seems every week I am hitting a speed bump in this process. Notably on the verge of an emotional and mental breakdown, my husband spent his 20-minute break at work listening to me rant and rave like some crazy lady about yet another hoop I have to jump through. After he interrupted me to inform me his break was over he said “I love you and it’s going to be okay, I am very proud of you”. As an instant feeling of relief came over me, I realized the value of his words. They made me feel loved, comfortable and safe. I took a breath and replied, “You are wonderful, thank you.”
Life gets busy. Between kids, jobs, bills, chores and so much more it is easy to let the romance in your marriage slide. Many couples counteract this by having regular date nights. That is not always doable for couples with small kids and/or on a tight budget. I love the book 101 Nights of Grrreat Sex: Secret Sealed Seductions for Fun-Loving Couples. It comes with 101 sealed ideas for creating romantic moments in everyday life.
The ideas are divided into “For Her Eyes Only” and “For His Eyes Only”. Before you even open them it will tell you if you have to drive somewhere, if food is involved, time of year, and the price range. So you can easily find a romantic moment to plan in the winter with little to no cost, which will make you and your loved one closer and give you a chance to experience new things together in the bedroom such as kegel exercises, role playing and other intimate things. I will admit that my honey and I haven’t done any events from the book in quite awhile but it is time to get it going again now that the kids are older.
I remember our first one was a kissing game that was to be played during commericals while watching tv. It was a hoot! You can find this book and other similar ones at Amazon or at almost any bookstore. It is a great Valentines gift (and a great Wedding gift too!)