It’s a metaphor I use with my patients (especially couples) when one is so angry with the other that he or she is ready to throw their hands up in the air yelling “F*** it!!” and just walk away…far far away with no interest in even considering another solution.
Now I’m not saying don’t have feelings. It’s perfectly normal to feel angry, sad, hurt, frustrated and even hopeless in the moment. Having the feelings and acknowledging them is absolutely okay…it’s what you do with them that makes or breaks the moment.
Let’s say you’re having a tough week: You’re getting over a cold, your work has been exhausting, your toilet just overflowed because one of your kids decided to flush their mini Beanie Unicorn down the toilet, and to top it off you’re two days out from your monthly visit from “Aunt Flo.”
You’re clearly not interested in anyone else’s “problems.”
As you’re standing in the kids’ bathroom holding the sopping, disgusting, wet Beanie Unicorn your husband enters the room and explains how angry he feels that for the umpteenth time you (in front of the kids) criticized how he was disciplining and how condescending your unsolicited remarks are. At that moment you feel your blood starting to boil from the bottom of your feet up through your legs into your belly and up into your chest. Suddenly you throw your arms into the air and yell, ”FINE! I’m DONE!!!” and with fury you chuck the Beanie back in the toilet and storm out.
Hmmmm…you know what you just had? Yup – a tantrum.
Look: you can feel furious. You can feel beyond frustrated. You can even feel painfully exhausted and wanting to fall to your knees and cry, but emptying the water from the bathtub doesn’t mean you should empty out the baby as well. You can take a time out and excuse yourself to be alone for 5 minutes, but chucking the Beanie Unicorn back into the toilet (which you just plunged out along with other awesome things which only belong in the toilet) is really not cool.
Have you ever seen a child focus with all their might to build an extraordinary tower of blocks but after one piece falls to the ground they flail their arms and legs into the tower knocking it down while screaming with hair pulling frustration?? Well my friend, that was you as you chucked that magical little unicorn into the toilet and slammed your bedroom door behind you. Furthermore, you now have to deal with your husband’s frustration which just went from a 5 to a 10+ because of your not-so-smart tantrum. Plus think about the modeling you are giving your children. Again: not so smart.
So when you feel your entire body begin to boil to the point where you can’t see past your own eyelashes, that is your cue to STOP. PAUSE. Take a deep BREATH and say to your husband, “Please give me 5 minutes alone so I can calm down and not turn into a crazy person and then I can hear you.” It’s unlikely that he’ll fight you on it and if anything you may have just earned an extra point or two where coming back to talk may not be so bad. Ladies do yourself a favor: No matter how hard you’re working on your tower of blocks, if some of the pieces begin to fall don’t just kick the whole thing down. Instead pause, take a deep breath and simply put each one back one by one by one.
Be smart and choose the road leading to the deep breathing adult and not the road leading to the tantruming child.
(p.s. – the magical unicorn will probably thank you)
I should have cleaned up the house today.
I should have spent less time this week watching mindless television with my husband.
Dammit, I should have exercised this morning because then my brain would have worked better and then I definitely would have cleaned up the house which I really should have.
I should have have woken up earlier and then I would have cleaned the house.
I should have been smarter about it.
I should have planned better for it.
I should, I should, I should, I should, should should should should, could could, would would, blah blah blah blah blaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…
Is this you?
Do you allow yourself to get sucked up by The Shoulds just like a little, bottom of the barrel sea fish that gets violently swallowed by a terrorizing shark?
If the answer is yes, then do yourself a favor: Knock it off….NOW.
Seriously people, you need to cleanse yourself of The Shoulds because THEY DO NOTHING FOR YOU except keep you from actually living your life. Think of some sadistic, abusive “thing” living in your house rent free….clearly, that would be wrong – beyond. Well my friends…so are The Shoulds.
So maybe this new year is the year to just dump those parasite, blood sucking shoulds.
P.S. – If you really want to take my advice to a whole “therapy-esque” level, then ask yourself this: Who in your family passed The Shoulds down to lucky you? Because just like criticism is a learned behavior, so are The Shoulds.
Ucchhh…just get rid of them already.
Given that today’s world is full of excess more than ever, I think we all struggle (hi…I’m one of them) to “take in” the simple and authentic joys of every day. That said, I recently heard of a study where people who wrote down what they are grateful for felt 25 percent happier after ten weeks than those who did not. So…I started to make a list.
Even in the midst of tantrums, piles and piles (and piles) of paperwork to always rummage through, disgusting dirty fingerprints all over my living room walls, or some kind of crisis, I am finding that when I reflect on and add to my list I feel more present, a little calmer, and a little more grounded.
Here is just the beginning of my list….
3. My marriage – it forever challenges me in ways which only help me grow
4. Listening over the monitor to my son and daughter have a conversation – just the two of them
5. Laughing with my husband so hard that my stomach hurts
6. A rewarding occupation as a therapist
7. My own therapist (yup…and I am beyond grateful)
8. My office
10. Kirkland baby wipes (aka a mom’s best friend)
11. My girlfriends
12. My close colleagues who are also my friends
13. A morning hike
14. A good comedy
15. My children’s teachers
16. A swimming pool on a hot summer day
17. A quiet morning to myself
(and the list grows and grows and grows…)
Today, try to make a list of your own or create one as a family or with a loved one. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday full of love, happiness, health and good fortune.
So now that the elections are over, let’s get back to every day life….
Speaking of everyday life…how many of you are guilty of those “little lies” you tell your husband??
Oh come on now…you and I both know that we’ve all been guilty of this at least one time or another. But when does a harmless fib turn into a problematic habit which can ultimately damage your relationship?
Take a look at this recent article from Women’s Day where I gladly add my two cents about this controversial topic:
In light of the recent presidential debates, I couldn’t help but share my thoughts for all of us women out there…
So you’re probably wondering what the above title means…
For starters, I am in no way suggesting that you stop being a smart wife. What I am hinting at is something much bigger and greater:
After much thought, writing, brainstorming, more writing, and back and forth discussions with some of my brilliant marketing mentors (you know who you are), I have come to realize that what I am providing for you is at this point somewhat limited. You see, in order to be a smart wife, you have to be a smart woman. Think of the goal of building a strong house: in order to build a strong house, you better have a damn strong foundation, which is reliant on very specific elements such as proper soil, footing, proper grading, etc. Just as these essential “ingredients” effect the quality of a foundation, so do many pieces in the the goal of living as a strong and smart woman (hence becoming a smart wife). In essence, I want to help you Be the Smart Woman.
So…this means I will be offering you with tips and tricks on how to improve all areas of your life, because ultimately each one effects your marriage for better or worse. Also, my posts will not be limited to just wives, because whether you’re single, divorced, married, gay, etc., we all can use tips (yes, even I) on how to be a smarter woman in the world. That all said, I’ll be in “re-construction” mode over the next couple of months, so please forgive any redundancy or simplicity in the weekly posts as my energy will be focused more on greater changes for you, the readers. Oh and in case you’re wondering: the Be the Smart Wife name hasn’t changed………at least not yet. ;)
p.s. – Feel free to share with me any topics that you would like to read more about (ie: children/parenting, home tips, health, etc.) that will help you continue to be the smart wife…would love to hear from any of you!
…and honest ways ways to get to the root of the problem—and then back on track—together…
Check out this recent article at Prevention.com where I shared my two cents about some of these 12 reasons such as:
1) We drag eachother down
2) We always fight about the same silly things
3) We’re too sarcastic
Check out all 12 reasons HERE.
Look out for this month’s newsletter this weekend…and if you haven’t signed up yet for my newsletters SIGN UP HERE!
Yup, I’m finally back in a groove. Happy September to you all and let’s make a toast to everyone being back to school (my kids) and back to sanity (me).
For those of you who already subscribe to this blog, be on the look out for the latest September newsletter which will highlight all many of the changes you will start seeing here at Be the Smart Wife (and for those of you who haven’t subscribed yet, make sure to sign up here to get the full scoop).
Today’s post is (in my opinion) key for any person in a relationship, hence especially key to becoming a smart wife:
A wise woman (seriously…she exists) once told me: You can’t be scared in your marriage. If you’re scared in your marriage it will not work.
Hmmmm…I heard that and I thought: Well that actually makes a lot of sense…and then I thought of all the times I’ve projected my own displaced fears into my marriage such as:
- fear of being too direct
- fear of being too honest and hurting his feelings
- fear of asking for what I want or need
- fear of taking care of me vs. enabling him, etc., etc., etc…
Think about it…if you are truly an adult (with the exception of him chasing you down with an ax) why would you be scared of your partner?? Only a child can be scared of an adult. If you’re bringing the “child” into your marriage, then DUH: your marriage won’t work.
The moral of the story is…when your ancient fears spill into your marriage, know that you are tragically stuck in the past. If this at all resonates, then I beg of you to find a way to emotionally separate your past wounds from your present day life.
Be smart: put the child in the back seat and you in the driver’s seat.
As I become older (and older – thank you Target for always having quality skin care products on sale), I find that one of the key ways to becoming smarter at the home front is sometimes to just f*cking let go and not obsess about “getting it all done.”
That said, unlike the majority of this city, my children are not in school until September: one after Labor Day and the other not until September 10th (thank you temple pre-schools). So rather than kill myself to stay “on task” (not that I ever truly am) I have decided to surrender to the tide and enjoy the last days of summer with my family. Hence, I am taking a 3 week hiatus from writing any posts and giving into the tide.
So if you feel that you’re headed down the path of turning into a nagging, lunatic, frantic bitch at home because you’re not being realistic about what is doable vs. not doable, then pause and just stop fighting the tide………….that my friend, will make you smart.
Have a great Labor Day and I’ll meet you all back here mid September…
Even though he may not talk to you about them, your husband has fears too.
(Come on…he’s human like you)
A possible few:
1. “I don’t make enough money.”
2. “I’m about to lose my job.”
3. “My wife isn’t sexually satisfied.”
Hmmmm…want to read in detail about the above as well as the remaining possible 6 fears?
Then check out this recent article from Women’s Day by one of my favorite fabulous writers, Ms. Jenna Birch, who interviewed yours truly about some of these common fears in your man.
Check it out: 9 Fears Your Husband Won’t Share with You