Debate: How Becoming A Mother Changes Marriage

Having children together is a big step in any couple’s relationship and one that will invariably affect the dynamic between them. For some people, like Zsofia McMullin, the arrival of a baby can put a strain on the marriage. For others, such as Carinn Jade, the joint act of childrearing can pull a couple closer together.”

Having Kids Strengthened My Marriage

By Carinn Jade

My husband and I met in law school, both of us on the clearly marked path to becoming lawyers. We built our relationship on equal ground, walking parallel and in the same direction. With a healthy chemistry, complementary personalities and a similar vision of marriage, careers and kids, we felt confident as we moved swiftly towards our future together.

We were in sync, but we never learned to operate as a unit. This reality set in only after the outpouring of love and support that held us up during our engagement celebrations fell away, and everyone else moved on with their lives once the wedding was over. We knew we were expected to do the same, but we didn’t know how. We felt unsure and alone as the new entity of “married couple.” We dealt with those feelings of isolation in very different ways, causing our parallel paths to hastily diverge.

We broke the vows we’d made—love, honor, cherish, for better or worse—like naughty schoolchildren testing boundaries, and no one came to save us. When we arrived at the point of collapse, we faced one another with the daunting choice to stay together or divorce. On paper, it would have been easy to leave: we had been living apart, we had no children, we had absolutely no idea how to fix us. Yet neither one of us could do it. That visceral knowledge has proven powerful beyond measure. Surviving that period created some sort of invincibility shield that has protected us from everything else life throws our way.

Read the rest of my essay and the beautiful other “side” of the debate (hint: there’s a lot of gray area) on Brain, Child…

How To Survive A Job You Hate

The movie Office Space is a classic for good reason: We’ve all had a job we hated so much we wanted to take the printer out to an open field and smash it with a baseball bat.

Sometimes you’re stuck because you’re waiting for your end-of-year bonus, need health insurance, or simply want your vacation days for an upcoming trip. Even if you’re in the right place, we all go through periods of disenchantment.

In the meantime, here are some dos and don’ts of surviving the daily misery of a job that sucks.

Stay Engaged

DO: Evaluate what’s not working. It’s not productive to rant about how much you detest your job without isolating the aspects that really ruffle your feathers. Is the work not challenging enough? Pitch yourself for a promotion or look for a job with more responsibility. Do the people get under your skin? A lateral move might be all you need. Do you long to work with kids, or animals, or spend your time outdoors? Research what it would take to pursue a change of career. Every problem has a different solution. To find the answer for you, identify the source of your strain with as much clarity as possible.

DON’T: Become indifferent. This is a recipe for sleepwalking through the next decade of your life.

Read the rest at DailyWorth…

Who Do You Love? (When Your Family Are Your Friends And Your Friends Like Family)

Yesterday my parents rescued my children from their viral 102.2 temperature mother and even though I could barely say my name or knew where I was, the way these four greeted each other was a moment instantly burned in my fevered mind.  My son dropped my hand and ran to his nana with a quiet joy and ferocious hug that is part of his silent and strong nature.  My daughter hopped up and down at the curb waiting for my dad to come around from the driver’s seat shouting, “grandpa, grandpa, I’m so excited!” with her usual over-the-top bravado.  The scene was the definition of love.  Of family.

It’s hardly a secret that I’m close with my family.  They are everything to me.  Emergency babysitters.  Voices of reason.  Whispers of contradiction.  Gut-checks, head-checks, lice-checks.  Secrets, laughs, frustrations.

When I need inspiration, everyone knows I call (ok, text) my little brother.  He’s a seeker like I am, but he leans into it whereas when I was his age I tried to plan against it.  He was in high school and I in my late 20s when he told me about this amazing book he’d read: Siddhartha.  That book changed my outlook on life even as I flipped the pages.

When I’m about to make a big move in my life, everyone knows I call my other brother.  He will raise every point as to why I shouldn’t do exactly what I’m about to do and I know if I can live with everything he’s said (because he’s always right) then it’s time to make whatever crazy jump I’ve dreamed up.  If not, it’s back to the drawing board.

When I’m trying to make sense of things in my life, everyone knows I call my dad.  My first spiritual guide, my dad sees a world washed in gray.  He knows that black and white is easier, but nothing in this life is that simple.  As a scared little girl, then as a know-it-all college chick, and even as an adult who has lost her way from time to time, my father has always given me comfort from the uncertainty of life – somehow, someway.

And then there’s my mother.  Everyone knows I call my mother every damn day.  For big reasons, for little reasons, sometimes for both, or sometimes for no reason at all.  My mother is my best friend.  She always has been, always will be.  It’s simple to say someone is your best friend, but writing about someone who is so close to you, who knows who you are at your core — not just who you are with the mask of “student” or “lawyer” or “mother” on your face — is almost an impossible task.

Nevertheless, it was a task I was willing to take on when Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger, the editors of The HerStories Project: Women Explore the Joy, Pain, and Power of Female Friendship, asked me to be a part of their book.

I could have written a story about any one of my girlfriends – the ones who show up to surprise you on a random, insignificant birthday just because that’s what friends do, or the ones that make plans with you even if it’s at 7am on a Tuesday because that’s the time they have on a quick business trip to your neck of the woods, or the ones you haven’t seen in years that you still wish the best for every single day.

(Of course it must be said that I could have easily written about my husband, who has every single one of the qualities I relish except the book was about female friendships.)

I chose to write about my mother as my best friend.  Others wrote about childhood friends, changing friendships, or those rare gems we meet later in life.  These stories represent the best, the most complicated, and the most relatable parts of female friendships.  I’m so proud to be a part of this project.

And even though I buy in to all this junk, I still hate the Sprint Framily plan commercials.  

Combining friends and family should be a slam dunk, so how do they get it so wrong?   Why are all their friends so creepy?  I promise none of the stories in Herstories are like that.  Seriously.

More Truths About Pregnancy

Recently a couple of celebrities have been talking about the not-so-wonderful aspects of pregnancy. And it made me want to puke. I know – that’s so shocking coming from me – the woman who reveals way too much about her prenatal and post-partum body. But it’s true. In the business of revealing “the truth”, some of them will be homeruns that everyone can understand and some of them will get you a face of disgust from the person across the table (or internet, as it may be).

I wrote a piece today at Mommyish revealing the “interesting” new truths from Drew Barrymore, Lisa Osbourne, and Snooki.

Do you relate or want to gag?

The Problem With Telling The Truth About Pregnancy

Last Night I Was Celeb Couple Crushing

I adore the Garner-Afflecks.  Ok, I know no one actually goes by that name, though I am thinking about adopting it as my own now.  Because I just love Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck.  Some moments I want to be Jen’s best friend, sometimes I want them to adopt me as their fourth kid, other times I manifest an intention* for our children to meet and one day marry (Sera would be a great fit for my Gavin or even her son Sam and my Chloe).

Since none of those has yet happened, I resort to soaking up everything about this couple that they offer me up by way of the satellite cable company that beams their images into my house.  Last night’s Oscar show was a smorgasbord of G-A goodness.   Continue reading