The day he kicked me out of the house

My husband has always been really good about taking care of his own needs. 

This isn’t to say he’s selfish; quite the opposite.  He does a ton around the house and with the kids.  I couldn’t ask for a better partner, or father.  But he is also adept at knowing when he needs a break, and asking for it.  He’ll go out for a beer with the guys, go catch a game on the big screen, or get in a few rounds of golf.

I’ve always encouraged him to do this.  I wanted him to be happy and to find an outlet to let off steam that I knew he needed.

But when it came down to doing this for myself?  Not so easy.

As much as Jay prodded me to get out and take a break, I always had lots of excuses.  And in retrospect, they were just that… a bunch of hooey-laden excuses.

I had to be home to feed the baby.  Malarkey.  There was a whole freezerful of perfectly good breastmilk waiting to be used.

No one can else can put the baby to sleep.  Malarkey.  Dad can be just as good at putting the baby down as I was.  Maybe even more so, because he didn’t have the distraction of boobs.

There were dishes/laundry/butts needing to be wiped at home.  Malarkey.  Well, part of this was true.  There were mounds of dirty dishes and clothes that needed tending to, but they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon (unfortunately).  And my husband was just as good as I was at wiping butt.

The truth is, a big part of me wanted to be the one to do it all.  Jay says lovingly that I have a hard time letting go, which is the politically correct husband’s way of saying I am a control freak with a rampant Type-A personality.  It’s so true. 

I thought I could be the ideal mom, maintain my notion of domestic perfection, and still manage to keep my sanity and sense of identity.  In reality, that was a bunch of malarkey.  I was swimming in the self-martyrdom I had created, and not doing a very good job of keeping my head afloat.

And one day, it all hit the fan.

One Saturday, Jay came home from golfing after I had had a particularly rough day with the kids.  He was in a great mood, and was tan, refreshed and smelled of beer.

Needless to say, I did not greet him like June Cleaver.  I was tired, frazzled, and snippy.  And admittedly, I was a little jealous that he had been out having fun while I battled the terrible twosome on my own.

My husband took one look at me, and did something I’m still grateful for.  He kicked me out of the house.  With strict orders not to come back until I had done something fun for myself.

I can’t remember what I did that day.  I just know that it wasn’t until I got out that I realized how much I craved and needed a break.  Or how much I missed “me” time.  I also know I came home happier, slightly recharged, and feeling a bit more like myself. 

And ready to tackle those dishes, which were of course still sitting in the sink.

He started a new tradition that day.  Once or twice a month, we’ll take turns kicking each other out of the house for a few hours or an evening away.

I look forward to those days.  I look forward to reclaiming some of the “me” time that seemed unattainable before.  Most of all, I look forward to coming home to the husband that isn’t afraid to kick his own wife out of the house.  Because he loves her that much.

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How to (not) party like a rockstar

A couple of weeks ago, Jay and I went on our annual pilgrimage to our own little Mecca, otherwise known as Vegas.

My favorite activity while we’re down there is to lounge by the pool, baking in the 110 degree sun.

A close second would be poker.  Texas Hold ‘Em, to be exact.  We played quite a bit before we had the kids but, obviously, don’t have the occasion to do much of that nowadays.  So, when we’re in Vegas, we definitely get our fill of Hold ‘Em.

One morning, after I had sufficiently roasted by the poolside, we decided to hit the tables a little earlier than usual and play poker in an afternoon tournament.

Enter Mistake #1.  As the tournament director yelled “Shuffle up and deal” (which is a fancy way of saying, “Let’s get this ball rolling!”), I answered back with a huge yawn.  I was baked (sunwise, that is), and I realized too late that instead of sitting down for hours of poker, what I desperately needed was a nap.

The grizzled old player in the seat next to me noticed my near-narcolepsy (which, as you can imagine, is kind of a faux pas in poker), and gestured towards the drink the cocktail waitress had just brought him. 

“Rockstar,” he said.  “You should try it.”

And so I ordered one.  Even though I had never tried an energy drink before. 

Enter Mistake #2.

After that first sip, I was hooked.  It tasted fruity, refreshing and zingy.  I might even describe it as effervescent.

I was instantly awake.  And wired like you wouldn’t believe.

Fast forward four hours, two measly potty breaks (tournament schedules were not designed for women who have been pregnant), and three additional  Mistakes (aka Rockstars) later.  Somehow, I’ve miraculously found myself playing one-on-one at the final table.

I don’t remember the final few hands, or how I won the tournament.  To be honest, I was too amped up on my new favorite beverage to concentrate much on what cards I held.  I’d like to think it was my stellar playing that drove me to victory.  According to bystanders (aka my husband), it was more likely my effervescent personality nonstop, 100 mph chatter that drove the other player from the table.

And, as the laws of physics dictate, what goes up… must come down.  I spent the entire next day of our vacation feeling like a miserable wretch.  I didn’t know it was possible to O.D. on Rockstar, but I’m quite sure I did.  The next day, I was the antithesis of effervescent:  deflated, flat, and very un-zingy.

But… the moral of this story?  If you see me drinking this at a poker table:

Be forewarned that I might end up looking like this:

And I will probably beat you.

Either that, or I will talk you into submission.

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What’s that?  You say rambunction isn’t a word?

Actually, until two minutes ago, I thought it was a clever term I made up, but according to Urban Dictionary, it is actually a word.  And you know, you can always trust everything you read on the internet.

Anyway, we have plenty of rambunction around our house.  As parents to two spunky, rambunctious munchkins, sometimes I think it positively oozes from the walls.  Especially after sugar has been consumed.

Our cure for rambunction?  We’ve enrolled Bobo in about every activity imaginable.  We’re not trying to create a future Wheaties box athlete, but at this age, we figure the more exposure she gets to different sports and activities, the better.

Also, the fact that she sleeps like a log on the days she goes to activities is a serious perk.

We started out with dance class.  The class was called “Creative Movement,” which is a fancy way to describe six little girls in pink tutus running maniacally around the room to the sound of music.  The tutu issue was actually almost a roadblock, as Bobo insisted on a blue, not a pink tutu  (thank you, eBay).  We stayed in dance class until just before the end of the year recital, when we realized that expensive costumes and makeup weren’t really something we were ready or willing to embark on with a 3 year-old.

(I have a blue tutu (size 3T) hanging in the closet if anyone needs it.)

Next came Soccer Tots.  This was a fun one to watch.  But if you think you can play soccer “Red Light, Green Light” with a bunch of preschoolers and not have every single one of them cheat when you have your back turned… well, think again.

And then there was the brief yoga phase.  I can’t imagine the skill it must take to get ten rambunctious preschoolers to be anywhere near meditative.  And apparently, it didn’t take too well with my own child, as she was only interested for a few days.  I do have to admit, though… it was pretty cute to hear her shout “Namaste!”

Her latest endeavor is Taekwondo, which they offer at preschool.  I admit I had mixed feelings about signing her up for a sport where kicking and punching were involved, but so far, she hasn’t attempted to try out any of her new moves on Chip.

Funniest moment so far?  We were driving home from preschool, and I asked what her teacher’s name was.

She thought for a split second, then answered matter-of-factly:  “His name is Yes Sir.”

I think we have a winner.

And, as you can see, we’re still searching for the cure for preschool rambunction.

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