Tag Archives: working parents

Confessions: When my husband and I have over lapping work travel, I feel…

Disjointed:  No hubby to tag team with…

Sad:  Gaps between spending time as a couple – and spending time as a family.

Anxious:  Shit! Am I forgetting to make allowances for something?

Busy: Juggle juggle. Hustle hustle.

The need to overcompensate: Kids will be without both parents at the same time– are they being scarred? (Erm…isn’t this why you chose a multigenerational household?)

Tyrannical:  Making sure everything is intact before I go – whatever that means. Lists lists lists! (Oh stop it already!)

Stressed:  Just so many details – mostly self-imposed. (Stop making rules for the sake of making rules!)

Tired: I sleep horribly when hubby is away….still, after 13+ years. (But I sleep great in a hotel by myself.)

Brought back to sanity:  I have my mother-in-law who  is a conscientious listener when there is overlapping work travel.

Grateful: That I have help and support. I can shake off the madness and focus on what I need…and the multigenerational family continues to function properly…based on what WE decide we need.

Silly: We’ve got this system down to a science…and have been working out the kinds since 2007. Why go there?

Understood:  Before Hubby and  I go and when we return from work travel – the kids are just fine. They look at us casually as if to say, “Oh, you’re back from work? Great! Grab a Wii remote! And…Grandma handled things without a hitch.”

FortunateHelping others avoid this unnecessary “here we go again” thought process.

As we were…

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Too stressed to have sex?

Cleaning out your inbox for your work email takes a bit of time, especially when you let things pile up. (Whoops!)

During this clean-up process, I came across an email thread between a working mother friend and me. The email message was from March, and you’re probably wondering why I would still have that in my inbox. Well, a big chunk of the thread was about sex.

My friend, let’s call her Sally, sent me a link to a blog post entitled New Study: Working Parents Too Stressed to Have Sex.

What? Yes, I was going to have to read this post right away.

Sally and I both agreed as working mothers we are both stretched and sometimes wearily look at our task lists. Neither of us is overly concerned about the state of our houses. Neat is good, immaculate is overrated – so we feel liberated in not keeping that front going. Sally and I live in different states and we have leaned on each other by sending text messages to help get us to the gym and applying some friendly peer pressure.

We both have leadership positions in our work organizations, and Sally feels a tad bit more stressed than I do in this area because she’s in a male-dominated field. To combat this, Sally has contracted me to do some leadership coaching.

We agreed that sometimes we are overly plugged into work through technology, so we have been encouraging each other to have some “unplugged” downtime – such as dinner, exercise time, time out with friends, wooing the spouse moments,  cocktail hour, and bath/story time.

As we discussed this blog post, we were both patting ourselves on the back for being open and honest about the aforementioned challenges. We were thrilled neither of us were trying to wear a super-working-mother cape because that is not who we are trying to be. We want as much work/life balance as possible, thriving families, girls’ nights out, and healthy relationships with our respective spouses.

Then Sally went back to this section from the article:

“This survey finds that despite successful careers, our work is impacting our personal lives in unhealthy ways.  Working moms, particularly those with young children, are exhausted and stressed by a workday that for many never ends because we are tethered to technology 24/7,” Sachs said. “It’s no surprise that moms who are toting buzzing BlackBerries in their bags chock full of work emails, can feel tapped out and not eager for sex. Stress kills the libido.”  

Sally said to me,

“I’m not sure if I’m getting a gold medal in the bedroom.”

My response,

“Who said we needed to be Olympians in that area?”

This moved our email discussion to childcare challenges and how that does play into the on and off button of our libidos.

Sally has a full-time nanny and I have a full-time granny nanny (my mother-in-law). Sally does worry about her nanny getting sick or getting a better offer to work with another family. I have brief moments of worry that my mother-in-law may run off with a leather-clad motorcycle rider, but I’m sure she’d give me proper notice before she would leave her grandchildren.

If one of Sally’s children (she has two) is sick, Sally typically misses work because her husband is a key player in his organization, so it’s difficult for him to get away. If one of my kids is sick, my mother-in-law usually takes care of everything because (1) she ran an in-home daycare for many years, (2) she used to be an EMT (3) she raised three of her own kids and she knows exactly what to do, and (4) she is invested in helping my husband and me raise our children and not have to worry about childcare while we are at work.

Sally said she has considered having her own mother be a granny nanny, but she knows they could not live in the same house. I totally get that. I also know that multigenerational living is hard work and depending on how healthy that living arrangement is, a couple may or may not be going for the gold in the bedroom.

The wrap-up to my email thread with Sally ended with me saying, “Hey, you’ve got to set your own libido goals. Shoot for a realistic target and go for it. Don’t listen to a study to tell you how often you should be having relations with your husband.”

Sally’s response,

“So you’re saying I should take up archery?”

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Staying connected to your spouse

How do two super hands-on working parents, with a live-in mother-in-law, reconnect after a busy season of work and work travel (and the list could go on)?

You might suggest a date night.

We suggest date days…9.5 days to date each other.

No, not impossible.

Yes, this can happen, and yes it did happen for us.

My mother-in-law took the kids to Minnesota for 9.5 days, and hubby and I lived it up. (Maybe we lived-it-up a bit too much because I was on the exhausted side when I wrote the outline for this post.)

Hubby and I planned activities that were fun, highly interactive and easy.

Top 4:

  • Rockies baseball game
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Camping
  • Raunch-movie-fest (Bridesmaids & Hangover 2)

Most of the others activities involved eating and drinking – just keeping it real.

The date week kicked off with us going to brunch at a restaurant new to us. The food was delicious and the bottomless mimosas were relaxing. We spent time discussing all the things we accomplished during this last academic year (yes – we speak in terms of the academic calendar as opposed to the annual calendar).

Our list (that I remember after all those mimosas):

  • Another successful, albeit bumpy, year of multigenerational living
  • Thriving kids
  • Hubby’s new opportunities at work
  • My life coaching program bringing me so much joy (launching my coaching practice in January 2012)
  • Doing some overdue landscaping to the house
  • Staying mindful about slowing down (work in progress)

We moved on to discussing how to stay connected throughout the year, and not just when it is the two of us. During the summer months, hubby’s work projects intensify, and this was one of the main reasons we moved my mother-in-law in. Hubby is gone from the house anywhere from 14-20 hours a day (no, I’m not exaggerating). That’s a challenge on so many levels – and the main issue is time – time hubby and I have to connect without resentment, neglect, and abandonment coming into play.

I was sharing with hubby, Denene Millner’s article I had read entitled Reconnect with your Spouse (I also follow her blog).

Denene says,

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that day-to-day life filled with work and chores and kids and (stick your ball-and-chain problem here) can wear down even the most loving couple.”

Hubby and I both laughed  at this statement because he is close to being a rocket scientist and we needed to be having this conversation while we were both relaxed (a tad bit overly relaxed with mimosas) and not in crisis mode.

Some things we agreed to try during this next academic year, to stay connected:

  • Try to have one date day during each month – a day when we both take off work and spend time together while the kids are at school.
  • Write notes to each other – and not just a text or email message. We agreed to real handwritten letters and notes.
  • Take a class together. We haven’t decided what type of class, but we are leaning toward something that deals with fitness.
  • Write blog posts together. We have fun doing this because we both enjoy creative writing.
  • Read to each other. We both overly enjoy books and early on in our relationship, we used to read to each other. Yes, were’ bringing this back.
  • Speak from the heart. Both hubby and I are very analytical and sometimes we over-intellectualize things when we should be speaking more from our hearts (feeling state) than from our heads (what we’re “supposed” to say).
  • Kiss each other more, whenever we want in the house, even though it may repulse the other folks in our multigenerational nest.

After this tough past week and a half, hubby and I are revisiting our list – and it’s good we have one.

How do you stay connected to  your spouse/partner?

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Wordless Wednesday

Feel free to leave the link to your Wordless Wednesday in the comment section.

For more Wordless Wednesday check out 5 Minutes For Mom.

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