Posted in Marriage, Random Thoughts, relationships, Uncategorized

The Communication Conundrum

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with anyone else, you know that sometimes communicating is the most difficult thing to do. We all have our own way of communicating, whether we’re more verbal or more physical, more emotional or more logical, more deal with it right now or deal with it later.

But what happens when your communication styles don’t mesh? How do you discuss things that bother you? Do you? How does anything ever get solved? And who ends up being the one to compromise, or do you both?

This is a problem that I have had numerous times. I can fully say that I’m an emotional communicator. I need to talk through my feelings, and sometimes, I don’t even want a solution. Most of the time, I just need to be heard. Look at me, listen to me, let me know that you’re understanding even a fraction of what I’m trying to say. And I can’t sit on something. The longer I wait to discuss something that bothers me, the more upset I get.

My husband, he’s quite the opposite. He likes to find solutions to things. He doesn’t want to hear about emotions, because emotions mean that you’re trying to manipulate. It’s illogical. If it doesn’t make sense, he can’t deal with it. And you’d better not try to talk about something for too long or too soon after the fact. He needs time and space.

As a couple, it’s one of the biggest issues that we’ve faced. None of the little spats that we have are really important in the long run. But the way that we handle them becomes the bigger problem. One of us has to give in. One of us has to compromise. And how to do that is still something that we struggle with to this day.

So how do you do it on your own? When do you decide that enough is enough, and we have to do things my way. Or his way? When do you find that middle ground and decide to settle things “our” way? If you’ve figured it out, please let me know. We’ve been married almost 8 years, and we’re still trying to figure it out.

However, there are a few things that I have learned over these 8 years. We’re not perfect people. We don’t always handle things the way that we should. And that’s okay. We’ve got the rest of our lives to figure it all out. But at least these first few things are a start.

  1. Don’t go to bed angry: Everyone says this, and you know what? There’s truth to it. I know if I go to bed feeling distressed, I wake up feeling distressed. The rest of my day is stressful. I can’t shake thinking about the events of the night before. I’m not as productive. I’m not as kind. I mentally check out and focus on the problem. And that is a problem. At least try to come to some conclusion before sleep. You’ll both feel better the next day because of it.
  2. Don’t blame, explain: I do a lot of reading, and it all says when you’re having an argument, to take responsibility for your own feelings. Don’t make your feelings your partner’s responsibility. You feel this way because of something. No one made you feel that way. There may be circumstances surrounding it, but no one made you feel that. It’s less of a pointing of fingers and more of a way to open up dialogue.
  3. Don’t insult: This is one of the things I hate the most when I fight with my husband. I take things out on myself with my emotions. I cry. I think I’m stupid. And when I try to explain the feelings I’m having, it makes my husband feel bad and he gets defensive. Sometimes, that means he brings up things or says things with the intention of hurting. If you think you’re going in that direction, stop and breathe. Take a moment to yourself. But hurting the other person never gets you anywhere.
  4. Remember that talking about these things now will save you pain in the future: Have you ever stored up something that was making you angry only to unleash it in an argument in which it had no place? It builds up and sits there, and then becomes ammo for your latest tirade. And that’s not good for anyone. While you may remember the incident crystal clear, chances are that it has faded for the other person in question. If you are irritated, bring it up when you’re irritated. Don’t wait for it to become a bigger problem than it is.
  5. Remember that this too shall pass: Nine times out of ten, the arguments that committed couples have are mild irritations. Feelings get hurt, people get defensive, and tempers flare. But that’s all it is. No one was ever married or committed and had a perfect relationship. People get on each other’s nerves, even when we’re in love. But know that it will fade into the background and that you’ll get back on the right path. Things will get better.

I know that there are probably more things, but I can’t think of them off of the top of my head. So help me out, will you? Are there any things that you’ve learned in being in relationships? How do you compromise? And how do you keep number 5 front in your mind when you’re feeling hurt? If you have any suggestions, write them in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you all!

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Posted in Motherhood, Uncategorized

The Age Old Mommy Debate

Let me say, I love being a mother. I love taking care of my son, I love watching him grow…labor and delivery wasn’t a cake walk, but I love what I have, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

But you know what I can’t stand? Other mothers. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. But it’s the truth. If you have ever stepped foot onto one of the ten million “mommy boards” online, you’ll maybe get a taste of what I’m talking about. It becomes a veritable pissing contest over who is the best mom.

“Oh, I breastfed my first baby from the time he was born until he left for college!”
“I’m going to do baby led weaning, but when I do, I just know I’m going to use all organic, non-GMO, gluten-free products.”
“I would NEVER feed my baby cereal!”
“If a mother doesn’t even TRY to breastfeed her infant, I consider her selfish.”

Those same comments go on and on, and are a frequent part of any trip to any board that claims it’s for moms. Now sure, not all women on these boards are like this. But the ones that are tend to be extremely vocal about it. And if you’re a first time mother, you can leave these places feeling like you’re the worst mother in the universe, instead of someone who is doing the best they can for their child.

I’m lucky that although I am a new mother, I have a wonderful support system around me. My mother and mother-in-law are both within a 30 minute driving distance, and they are both only a phone call away. So when I was making decisions about how to raise my son, I got a lot of input from both of them.

And I made a decision that has gotten me a lot of flak from the mothers in the community. I decided to Formula Feed from day one.

I’ve been judged. I’ve been called selfish. I’ve heard mothers extol at length the benefits of Breastfeeding, even for a few days. I mean, seriously, do these women not understand the inundation that most women get once they become pregnant? From your first appointment, the doctors tell you all of the benefits of breastfeeding. It’s not that I was ignorant of this information. But it wasn’t the choice for me.

I had a particularly difficult labor and delivery, complete with an episiotomy, which made recovery horrible. For at least the first day after delivery, I couldn’t get out of the hospital bed without immense pain. That meant that I wasn’t getting up to change or feed the baby. My husband did. And he was fantastic. And in order for him to share in that duty, we went with formula.

Another reason is that my milk never fully came in, and I didn’t really want it to come it. I was scared. And uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding. I know that it’s a natural thing, but coming from a family where it wasn’t done, just made me feel uncomfortable with the idea. Plus, I didn’t want to make a commitment I couldn’t keep. I had heard the horror stories of pain and sleepless nights…I know what kind of a person I am. If I had had to deal with that on top of my recovery, I would not have made it, and I know I would have felt guilty as a mother. A failure.

But you know what? I don’t need to justify my reasons to anyone. Why anyone feels the need to judge me for this, I will never understand. Does my baby get fed? Is he happy and healthy? Is he growing like he should? Yes, to all of these. R is four months old now, and weighs close to 18 lbs. He sleeps like a champ, from about 10pm until 8am. He’s happy and bright, is hitting his milestones, and has yet to be sick…AND I’ve brought him into the school where I work…twice.

Instead of making other women feel bad about their decisions, we need to work on building each other up. Motherhood is hard. Fulfilling. Rewarding. Magnificent. But friggin’ hard. I think it would be a lot easier if we had a support system of other mothers telling us that we’re doing what’s right for us and our babies, instead of making us feel like we’re inadequate.

Has anyone else experienced this judgement from other moms? Are you one of those mothers who judges others? Let me know in the comments! I look forward to hearing your stories!

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer