Category Archives: Husband & Wife

Not Your Slave

Marrying a man who was a doormat has been an interesting experience…

In the past I was a doormat as well.ย  I allowed people to walk all over me, use me, take advantage of my generous nature, and even abuse me.ย  Then one day, I had enough.ย  I wanted to be better.ย  I wanted to feel better about myself.ย  I knew I deserved more than I was allowing myself to have.ย  So I sought help.ย  I went to therapy, worked on my self-esteem and anxiety issues, applied those skills to my real life, and started standing up for myself.ย  My newfound boundaries and ability to tell people no lost me some friends, but afterall, they weren’t real friends anyway.ย  They were just users, and I didn’t have room for that nonsense in my life.

Now I’m married to a man who had the same sort of background.ย  Jarrod was used by MANY people in his life, and after many years of being used, his friends and family came to expect a certain attitude and behavior from him, naturally.ย  But then he got together with me, and I saw his struggle.ย  I saw him feel run down and defeated by giving in to everyone’s demands of him, even though he didn’t want to give in.ย  He often gave in to avoid confrontation because he just didn’t want the drama and conflict.ย  He and I had conversations about it, and I assured him that he deserved better.ย  That he deserved the respect of his loved ones.ย  That he deserved to be able to stand up and say no to the demands and even to simple requests if he so desired to say no.ย  I encouraged him to defend his boundaries, and make decisions that he wanted to make rather than what everyone else wanted.

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Jarrod and me, September 2017

At first everyone thought I started being the one bossing him around, pulling at his puppet strings and making all his decisions for him.ย  I’d like to say over time they all came to realize that he does, in fact, have a mind of his own, with is own opinions and desires, and his own ability to make decisions.ย  And I was absolutely not making all his decisions for him.ย  But as of yet, they still haven’t figured it out.ย  I’m still getting the “blame” for his changed behavior.ย  When all I’m really doing is just telling him that it’s up to him, and supporting his decisions.ย  I’m building him up, making sure he knows he’s important and what he wants matters.ย  It’s frustrating to me that no one gives him the credit for being in charge of his own life, and that I’m pretty well disliked because they still think I’m controlling him.ย  But most days I know I just can’t let it get to me.ย  If his loved ones actually love and care about him, they will someday come to realize that he is his own man, and can say and do whatever the hell he damn well pleases without anyone telling him what to do.

As far as decisions that affect the both of us, or our whole family (us and our children), our decisions are 50/50.ย  Always.ย  We talk to each other, discuss the pros, cons and options, and come up with a decision we are both satisfied with.ย  For everything!ย  From little stuff like chores and household rules, to appointment times and dates, all the way up through family vacation ideas and living arrangements.

So, am I sorry?ย  HELL NO!ย  I have nothing to be sorry for.ย  I love Jarrod, and I’m doing everything I can to make his self-esteem better, and his own needs and desires met.ย  He does the same for me.ย  We’re soulmates, and that’s what we do for each other.ย  And if anyone has a problem with all of this…. keep it to yourself.

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Over the last few days, even weeks, I have been trying toย find who I am.

When I was in high school I was goth/punk.ย  I had friends, I had a social life.ย  I went to concerts.ย  I went to movies.ย  I had a boyfriend.

Once I entered my 20s, I settled down and had babies.ย  When that first marriage didn’t work, I dated around.ย  I didn’t know who I was anymore at that point.ย  My social life got flushed down the toilet when I gave birth to my first baby.ย  I didn’t go out and do anything anymore.ย  I stayed home with my kids and did what I could to give them a good upbringing myself rather than have a child care provider raise them.ย  I didn’t even go out or do anything, as family wouldn’t even keep an eye on the kiddos long enough for me to do anything.

Once I reached my 30s, I found a guy who would be my 2nd husband, and my boys were old enough to leave alone while I worked.ย  I found identity in my work and marriage.ย  I was a wife, a mom, and a veterinary assistant, which I LOVED.ย  I gained a couple friends so I had more social interaction again, and became slightly wider known and respected in my community.

Then due to physical limits from a slowly progressing disability, I lost my job at the vet clinic.ย  Then my husband left me.ย  I ended up dating someone who should never have been anything more than an old friend, and abuse ensued.ย  I lost a lot of my identity again.ย  I pushed away friends and family.ย  I neglected the emotional needs of my children.ย  I neglected all of my own needs.

When I finally snapped out of that pit of despair I found the love of my life, Jarrod.ย  He threw me a rope, so to speak, and pulled me out of that pit.ย  We got married, had surgery to be able to expand our family, and had our baby.ย  The older boys are teenagers now, and my husband’s daughters are also teenagers.ย  The boys and girls had very different upbringings, and clash with each other.ย  The rules the boys were raised with were very different than what the girls were accustomed to when they moved in, so things got lessened and a lot of slack was made for everyone to adjust to the new arrangement.

Now, 2 years later, its IMPOSSIBLE to tighten up rules to fit everyone.ย  We have tried and tried, and no one follows any rules.ย  Our house is a lawless wasteland.ย  No chores get done by kids ever, no matter what punishments or rewards, so if I want this house remotely tidy or sanitary, I have to do it myself.ย  Being a stay at home mom again, you’d think I have all the time in the world to get the house at least somewhat tidy.ย  But no, my baby is extremely demanding of my time and energy.ย  Most days I’m lucky to be able to feed myself supper, let alone scrub a toilet or mop a floor.

So since I had our baby, I’m having a crisis of identity again.ย  I’m a wife.ย  I’m a mom.ย  And that’s where it ends.ย  And I have a hard time even calling myself those two things…

To me, being a wife is being able to be my husband’s companion.ย  To talk to him, support him, enjoy time together with him (and him reciprocating those sentiments), and being a team when it comes to parenting and all the big and little decisions in life.ย  But instead, I feel like it has become an odd partnership, where he works and busts his ass for this family, and I’m at home not accomplishing anything that needs done, while the kids do whatever they want, whenever they want and I cannot keep up or enforce any sort of order.ย  When he comes home from work he is annoyed by kids’ behaviors.ย  When we do get a chance to talk, rather than text, its mostly made up of he and I both venting about our frustrations, and not really having much else to say because frustrations aren’t exactly conversation fuel. Also, by the time he gets home from work in the evening, I may have just laid down the baby and he will likely wake up and need put back to sleep 10,000 more times before I give up and just go to bed for the night.ย  Therefore leaving no time for us to just relax and watch a TV show, talk, or anything else married couples do in their time alone.

To me, being a mom means understanding the needs of the children and doing everything I can to meet those needs within reason, teaching the older kids life skills that will help them survive and thrive on their own such as cleaning, cooking, money management, appropriate social interactions… but this is where I’m failing miserably.ย  Every single one of the children who live in our home have serious issues with several of these things.ย  None of them follow rules.ย  None of them are motivated to do well in school.ย  None of them have any inkling of what should be a priority.ย  They have zero respect for adults, especially Jarrod or me.ย  And they do pretty much whatever in the fuck they feel like, all of the time.ย  The baby is just a baby, so I can’t be upset with him… but he is very needy.ย  A “Velcro” baby if you will.ย  He wants to be held, and when he is on the floor or somewhere playing, he wants me nearby and giving him attention still.ย  In the evenings, he gets fussy because he doesn’t nap during the day and doesn’t typically sleep well at night.ย  So I cannot make supper most nights due to trying to console a fussy and very overtired baby that fights sleep like it is the worst thing in the world. So the older kids end up fending for themselves for supper.

So yes I’m a mom, and I’m a wife, but I don’t feel like I’m doing well at those two things.ย  And that’s all I’ve got.ย  I don’t have any control over my household or my life.ย  I don’t have me time anymore.ย  I don’t get to watch TV.ย  I don’t get to watch movies.ย  I don’t get to listen to music.ย  I don’t get to go for a walk.ย  I don’t get to hang out with friends.ย  I don’t get to pursue any interests, passions, education or career.ย  If I did, this household would fall further and further down this spiral of chaos.ย  The only reason I even had time to sit down and type this is because I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown and I got pissed, screamed, stomped to my bedroom and slammed the door, like the teenagers do.ย  Honestly, due to all the difficulty with everything I attempt right now, I’m feeling like a failure as a human.

And while I’m going on about all this other shit, I might just throw in there that when I got pregnant, supportive people came out of the woodwork.ย  Family, friends… everyone was so happy and couldn’t wait to meet the baby and play with him.ย  And when he was born a few people showed up at the hospital.ย  But since then?ย  Nothing.ย  Literally even those I was closest to just vanished.ย  So yeah, I can’t even turn to anyone for emotional/moral support.ย  Jarrod and I are really on our own.

So, what is this blog post going to accomplish?ย  Is it going to make the teens or anyone at all give a shit about anything?ย  Is it going to make the house clean?ย  Is it going to make the baby sleep?ย  Is it going to make me feel better about myself as a parent, wife, or human?ย  Nope.ย  There is no point really.ย  So if you made it this far, I’m surprised.ย  Sorry to say, there’s no point to any of this.ย  It’s just one big long ramble of a woman with a missing identity, purpose in life, and support system.

As If There Wasnโ€™t Enough Wrong

So, we’ve been down on our luck. Jarrod lost his job not long after Felix was born and had to find a new job. I had planned on staying home with Felix for a while after he was born, but about the time I thought I may wanna go back to work we were not only still dealing with colic, but other developmental concerns, as previous blogged about. We have had serious financial strain since I haven’t been able to work, and have been fund raising to get help paying for rent and bills. And now….

Jarrod was on his way back from Riot Fest in Chicago (tickets and expense money were gifts, not irresponsible spending). He was almost home last night, driving through very dense fog, and being unable to see well, he hit the guardrail-type cable fence along the side of the interstate. HE IS PERFECTLY UNINJURED, which is the important part. But the car’s driver’s side tires were shredded to the point of being non-existent. The car is totally irreparable.

So now we are incredibly broke AND without a car.

Yes, we have insurance. They are trying to work quickly for us, but they said it will probly be 4 days before we hear back from the insurance adjuster. It could be a couple weeks or so before we have any sort of payout to get a replacement. In the meanwhile, we need to find rides for Jarrod to go to work, for grocery / household needs, and most difficult of all, out of town appointments.

Can our luck turn around now? We need some good news. Some good fortune. Something to lift us up.

Meanwhile, I’ll be cuddling Jarrod a lot closer tonight, thankful he made it through that experience alive and unharmed.

Year By Year

I came across this Instagram photo the other day and it got me thinking about all the changes Iโ€™ve gone through in the last few years.

2016 (April): In the pic on the left I had just started on my journey to becoming healthier, and had already lost about 25 lbs. In this picture, we were in Florida (with my ex-husband) as a family on vacation. It was the first time the boys or I had experienced the ocean or even gone on a family vacation, ever. I thought my life was going well, even though my relationship was on the rocks. I figured weโ€™d work it out. I was working full-time, as was my husband. We were financially stable for the first time in over a decade. We were renting a house, and after we were done on this vacation we went home and bought a new vehicle. I had no idea what was in store for me in the future.

2017 (May): A year later, in the pic on the right, I had lost 60 lbs. and had a Panniculectomy (surgery to remove loose skin on my belly). Pictured here, Iโ€™m showing off my new, leaner body. My husband and I had split up and divorced. I had moved twice since the beach pic. At this time I was dating a life-long friends but he was incredibly verbally, mentally and emotionally abusive. I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt because of our history, and I wasnโ€™t thinking much about myself. I had been fired from my full-time job due to performance issues, which, looking back, probably had a lot to do with that abusive relationship. I wanted to be home a lot because not only was I worried about being cheated on, but I was worried about the safety of my children.

2018 (April): Jarrod and I had traveled to NC and I got a tubal ligation reversal. During that year, I started a new job delivering pizza at Pizza Hut, I kicked my abusive boyfriend to the curb for the sake of my kids, Jarrod and I found each other (at work) and fell head over heels for each other in a matter of days, we ran off to Colorado and got married, I got a panniculectomy revision and breast reduction, we merged our families into one home, and we decided to expand our family.

2019 (April): The final picture in this seriesโ€ฆ Jarrod and I and our new baby, Felix. In the course of the year, Jarrod had a vasectomy reversal, my middle teenage boy, Evan, had some serious mental health issues that needed to be addressed throughout the year, two of Jarrodโ€™s girls went to live with their mom, I fought a serious infection from my breast reduction resulting and 2 extra surgeries to clean out the infection and a lot of antibiotics for several months. I went through an entire pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby. Jarrod lost his job at Pizza Hut after Felix was born, and Iโ€™ve been staying home with Felix, which has caused us financial turmoil. But he has since found a couple new jobs and things are finally starting to look brighter.

So many changes year-by-year, it really makes me not take anything for granted. I never imagined back in 2016, that I would be where I am now in 2019. In fact, if anyone would have told me, I would have thought they were a fool. I am so very grateful for what I have now, who I have become, for my amazing best friend and husband, and for my growing family. Hereโ€™s to seeing where we are in another year.

Fussy Baby Life

As of next week it will have been four months. Four months since Jarrod and I have had even a moment alone together. Four months since weโ€™ve been able to go out and forget our worries for an hour or two. Four months since we have been able to relax and be husband and wife, best friends, and lovers alone. Four months since one or the other of us wasnโ€™t holding a baby in our arms while trying to go about daily life.

Felix does not allow us to put him down. If we do, he cries. And cries. And cries. We have toys for him. A swing. A bouncy seat. An exersaucer. Play mats. The most time we get out of any of those is about 5 minutes. Then heโ€™s crying again.

Many of our friends and family talked about how excited they were for Felix to be earthside so they could meet him and play with him. Even closer family members…. and here we are four months later and we have not had even one person around enough at all enough for Felix to get to know them. We donโ€™t dare hire a babysitter because Felix would cry non-stop and we are worried about him getting abused or neglected by someone who has less patience for his cries and neediness. Itโ€™s just Jarrod and me.

As for me, it has currently been a year since I was well and whole and able to do things for myself and my family. Last May I was diagnosed with a severe post-breast reduction infection and put on medications that made me very sick. I was on them until November, with 2 surgical cleanings and frequent trips to doctors and having nurses in my home during that time. Once that cleared I was in my 3rd trimester and quite uncomfortably pregnant. And then Felix was born and heโ€™s basically been tethered to me ever since.

Jarrod is admirably working his ass off to support us, his family. And I canโ€™t help but be a little resentful sometimes that he gets to get away most days and get a break from being home. I am at home, day after day, with Felix and the other kids. I try to make supper and keep up with at least some housework. But most of my time is spent with a crying baby in my ear so I canโ€™t even carry on a conversation. He wonโ€™t take naps while playing down in his basinet. He will in a wrap on me sometimes. But generally not for more than 20 minutes at a time. I have no visitors because we canโ€™t even talk. No going anywhere to visit. No grocery shopping. I canโ€™t make supper. The older kids typically fend for themselves for meals.

Then Jarrod will be home after weโ€™re all in bed and Iโ€™ll do my best to make sure he isnโ€™t woke up when Felix gets up 4x a night to eat (breastfed) and stays awake for hours in the middle of the night. He would gladly get up with Felix, but I know he needs rest so he can drive back and forth to work, and also work.

By the time he gets up, I generally barely have time to take a shower, wash bottles, and do a couple things around the house before he has to get ready and leave again and the whole cycle starts over.

We previously thought his issues were colic, but I no longer think that has anything to do with it.

When Jarrod has a day off, Felix doesnโ€™t get nearly as fussy usually. Probably because the frustration isnโ€™t such an issue on those days, because we can pass him back and forth. It is also on those days that some housework can get done, and we can go together and get groceries, and other necessities from the stores, and occasionally go out to eat. But always with Felix with us.

And to go along with it all, Felix is behind on many developmental milestones. He doesnโ€™t smile much at all, and NEVER yet a big, open-mouthed smile. Heโ€™s giggled once or twice staring off into space. He wonโ€™t often look at anyoneโ€™s face. He doesnโ€™t use his hands. Heโ€™s not remotely interested in toys, he wonโ€™t bat or grab at anything. So on top of everything else, Iโ€™m also worried about his development. I think in part, itโ€™s that heโ€™s generally unhappy and has spent so much of his life either in pain (colic and gas) or sick with a virus of some sort.

He does have moments of happiness. He likes baths. Generally for an hour or two in the morning heโ€™s happy. When we leave the house and heโ€™s already in a good mood he does well for a little bit and then just sleeps the rest of the time. He likes being carried around outside and looking at the trees. And he will have a few minutes at a time throughout the day of happiness. Occasionally (and I mean like once every 2-3 weeks) he will have an entire happy day. Those are absolute blessings!

I know this all sounds like one big complaint. Itโ€™s certainly a vent, but not necessarily a complaint. I love Felix with all my heart, and so does Jarrod. We would never in a million years regret having him. Heโ€™s a blessing. But this extremely needy crying stage cannot pass soon enough!

As a side note here: I acknowledge that I have postpartum depression. I am seeking therapy. Meds make me sleep and since Iโ€™m 100% responsible for the household most of the time, itโ€™s not possible to live with that side effect. Itโ€™s hard to feel better, even with therapy, when I never get a break from an extremely needy baby. All I can do is take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, even one minute at a time, until this phase passes and we can move on with life.