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How Do You Balance Life with Kids?


maritalbliss86
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I too am a Plant Murderess.

 

LOL.

 

My husband and son grow some plants -my late father in law loved gardening.

 

My mom has a green thumb. I think she gets it from her father, who was a farmer when he lived in Greece. She used to be embarrassed as a kid, growing up in New Jersey, because my grandfather basically farmed his entire small suburban parcel, raising fruit trees and grapes. The image I get of that in my mind reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.... my mom certainly enjoyed that movie!

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Do you actually get plants to grow? I kill all of my plants. It's not intentional. I'm just terrible at it. My boyfriend actually gets upset whenever I bring a new plant home. He calls me the Jeffrey Dahmer of plants.

 

Yes, my mom also loves plants so I think I get it from her.

 

This isn't our wall of the plumbago blue plants, but it gives you an example of what they look like. They draw so many butterflies and the light blue is really nice, matches the sky!

 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gardenia.net%2Fplants%2Fplant-family%2Fplumbago&psig=AOvVaw1BeSJ1q_f65fcB5ntmrNlp&ust=1604625874989000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCMjbpqyf6uwCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAU

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LOL.

 

 

 

My mom has a green thumb. I think she gets it from her father, who was a farmer when he lived in Greece. She used to be embarrassed as a kid, growing up in New Jersey, because my grandfather basically farmed his entire small suburban parcel, raising fruit trees and grapes. The image I get of that in my mind reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.... my mom certainly enjoyed that movie!

 

LOL... I grew up in a rural area, so I understand the farming aspect. I do grow small mandarin oranges, blueberries, blackberries, grapes and lots of peppers of different kinds (we like really hot peppers) and cucumbers, squash in the summer and lots of zucchinis!!! Tons of fresh tomatoes... but all of that is in the back :D not in the front where it'd be embarrassing LOL. I love growing our own food though... just made it so much easier when COVID panic hit and it was too hard to get to the store.

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In the front I have the bougainvilla plant called Juanita Hatten in front of our porch, and they've taken over and almost become tree-like (I have to cut them back quite a bit, but thankfully when you do that it just makes them bloom more).

 

https://i2.wp.com/www.gardeningchannel.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/bougainvillea-66533_1280.jpg?fit=1280%2C853&ssl=1

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So awesome. Did you every watch the show, Gardner's Diary? Probably not. It wasn't very popular and it was cancelled like 10+ years ago. But it showcased people who did "aggressive" gardening, so to speak. It came on early in the morning and I watched it as I got ready for work. It was actually very relaxing to watch. And inspiring. Made me dream about becoming a gardener....

 

In the front I have the bougainvilla plant called Juanita Hatten in front of our porch, and they've taken over and almost become tree-like (I have to cut them back quite a bit, but thankfully when you do that it just makes them bloom more)

 

My mom used to tell me this story about my grandfather. He cut the heads off of one of his mum plants and stuck the heads right in the dirt along the front of our house. She said they grew like crazy. But she was never able to replicate that trick. His thumb was apparently greener than hers.

 

I remember helping my mom dig out flower beds in the back yard when I was a little kid. She showed me what earthworms were. She didn't like them, but I thought they were neat. This is a picture of us playing in the dirt from 1978. I was just over a year old. She is pregnant with my sister. You would think that starting out planting at this early age, I'd be good at it. But I'm a disgrace, lol:

 

200265996650602.jpg

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Wow Jilbralta, that is such beautiful and touching picture!

 

I never got to see that show, I'll look it up and maybe find some on Youtube, thanks for mentioning it :)

 

And yes, about your grandpa having a greener thumb than your mom, that's how I feel about my mom - she has all kinds of really weird tricks that actually work, but they're things that aren't even on a Google search , they're that weird. I ask her about what to do all the time, and usually her answer is something really really odd LOL

 

So maybe I'd be a plant murderer, too... except I have access to some kind of Plant Whisperer who understands the very odd stuff they need LOL!

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I mean... here's an example...

 

My bougainvillas were looking gorgeous and growing faster and bigger than my husband and I expected, almost in a hilariuosly alarming way like, "Oh my God... do you think these plants were a bad idea here?" lol

 

But then suddenly they started getting tons of holes in the new growth leaves at the ends of their branches. It started looking really bad and I knew something was eating them, but didn't know exactly what.

 

My mom suggests that I have to mix up a very specific portion of Seaweed liquid to water, and spray all the new growth foliage because it's so tender that that's what the, "web worms," like to eat. Sure enough, a few weeks later I found a little green web worm curled up on a leaf further down on the plant and snapped a picture of it and sent it to her on the phone.

 

So now... I have to spray my beautiful bougainvillas with SEAWEED liquid! Which makes them smell like a FISH TANK. It's working... apparently her secret knowledge tells her that it makes the tender new growth tougher so that they can't eat it or just don't like it.

 

But ... I end up sometimes catching the wind and the spray hits me and I smell like a fish tank. All for the love of gardening. *face palm* LOL

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LOL.

 

 

 

My mom has a green thumb. I think she gets it from her father, who was a farmer when he lived in Greece. She used to be embarrassed as a kid, growing up in New Jersey, because my grandfather basically farmed his entire small suburban parcel, raising fruit trees and grapes. The image I get of that in my mind reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.... my mom certainly enjoyed that movie!

 

Love that movie too so much!! And of course loved the one who played her husband who played Aidan in Sex and the City.

 

Maritalbliss- I'm glad you get so much out of gardening!

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I went back last night and reread all of your great advice at the beginning of this journal. Thank you all for helping me process this life change. I'm very grateful and now I can reread it since I seem to forget everythign verry easily with the sleep deprivation.

 

Baby just hit a huge milestone though today - he started standing up all on his own :O !!!!!! I feel sad my husband always misses these things because he's always working when it seems to happen, BUT I got a few great pictures and texted him right away and he was so happy, too.

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I went back last night and reread all of your great advice at the beginning of this journal. Thank you all for helping me process this life change. I'm very grateful and now I can reread it since I seem to forget everythign verry easily with the sleep deprivation.

 

Baby just hit a huge milestone though today - he started standing up all on his own :O !!!!!! I feel sad my husband always misses these things because he's always working when it seems to happen, BUT I got a few great pictures and texted him right away and he was so happy, too.

 

Wonderful! My sister raised 4 kids and now has 4 grandchildren. To make extra $ way back she'd babysit and if the baby reached a milestone she'd hope the baby did it again when the mom returned and she'd pretend it was the first time!

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Wonderful! My sister raised 4 kids and now has 4 grandchildren. To make extra $ way back she'd babysit and if the baby reached a milestone she'd hope the baby did it again when the mom returned and she'd pretend it was the first time!

 

That's sweet and cute! Awww ... my husband is just too smart for tricks like that to work.

 

Plus with all the other kids seeing it (our oldest saw it first!) they'd spoil it by saying, "Oh he already did that earlier!"

 

He did get to see it tonight though :D babies grow up too fast!!!!

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Just an update on my husband's family situation...

 

He's always had a really sad relationship with his siblings. Growing up, he was close to his sister until his brother was born (and he was 5 yrs old), and she started preferring his younger brother to him, and they continued leaving him out for the most part. That really gets to me emotionally because our middle son is 5 right now, and it would kill him inside if he was left out and his two other siblings around him preferred each other over him. We make sure that doesn't happen by encouraging them all to get along together at different levels and make sure they bond with each other. This takes active intervention sometimes on our part though as parents.

 

It's like I can see it how it all happened to my husband though, and my heart breaks for the boy my husband was who just wanted to be loved. And they really continued to reject him... in sooo many ways throughout school and then college and then in our 20's and now our 30's. They aren't going to just suddenly change and want to be nice to him.

 

Then his parents never let him have boundaries. His brother and sister would steal his food, he'd try to get his parents to correct it, and apparently they wouldn't correct things like that. He wasn't allowed to have boundaries with his toys, so he had to share them with his younger brother, who would then break them. He'd cry to his parents and they didn't care! This is just so hard for me to imagine... I mean, what horrible crappy parents would be like that to a child. We allow our kids to have boundaries to decide if they want to share their toys, and we don't force them to let younger siblings use them, especially if it's toys that could be broken because they'd be too young or immature to handle it.

 

So now his siblings are both adults and still disrespect him all the time, but in subtle ways. They were never taught to respect him as his own person in childhood, so why would they see him differently now?

 

His sister was extremely spoiled, but has leveled out to be a more normal person. She isn't too involved in our kids lives really, but does make some effort to see them and give them cards sometimes or gifts for their birthdays. Other than that, she never calls my husband and sounds annoyed when he calls her and gets off the phone as fast as she can. She doesn't really want a relationship with him and is still much closer to his younger brother. So he still feels left out, but doesn't dwell on it.

 

His brother and his brother's wife though completely ignore our kids and have for years now. They never call my husband to see how the kids are or send the kids birthday cards.... no Christmas cards or gifts. It's literally ZERO involvement, and really hurts my husband. They completely ignored our latest baby's birth, which shocked him. It's like they're getting worse. We've brought it up to them that maybe they could be more involved, but the response is a hostile attitude and to deny they aren't involved (very odd!).

 

Recently his brother made a group text with my husband's parents involved, telling my husband he, "needed," pictures of our kids (after their mom sent pics of his sister's child). My husband felt awkward and pressured to send pictures... I mean his brother and SIL have nothing to do with our kids, but he sent them anyway.

 

To me that's just another way his brother is comfortable disrespecting him... telling him he, "needs," pictures of our kids? Even though he's not involved in their lives in any way whatsoever? Good grief! They really do disgust me and I have to be careful there.

 

It's sad our oldest is figuring it out on his own that they aren't involved and don't really love him and his siblings. He compares my husband's brother to my brother, and says my brother is a much better uncle even with his serious mental illness! How crazy is that, that a man with schizophrenia is a better uncle than a neurotypical man who just doesn't care enough to be in their life?

 

I feel so sorry for my husband. His family dynamics hurt him in his childhood and are continuing to hurt him in adulthood. He just has to accept it.

 

On the other hand, we have such a great life and are genuinely happy people, regardless of them being in our lives. His brother and SIL are always miserable when we've seen them. They snipe at each other like a bitter old married couple, even though they've only been married less than2 years!!!! They don't seem happy at all, poor people.

 

Maybe if they were kinder to children they'd be happier... LOL

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"On the other hand, we have such a great life and are genuinely happy people, regardless of them being in our lives. His brother and SIL are always miserable when we've seen them. They snipe at each other like a bitter old married couple, even though they've only been married less than2 years!!!! They don't seem happy at all, poor people."

 

On them not seeming happy...

 

His brother lived with his now wife for almost 10 years, never marrying her... their aunt had to pressure him to make it official because it was starting to look embarrassing to the family. I guess the wife has a lot of resentment over that :(

 

Then her husband self-sabotages himself in life, which is also really sad to watch from the sidelines. He completely failed out of college in his 20's. He fails tests he takes to become other occupations that make more money. My husband really tried to help him get into his profession and tried to give him tons of tips on how to do great on the testing, but his brother still sabotaged himself by never studying and staying up way too late the night before the test.

 

He doesn't make much money, so his wife had to buy their house (before he married her), so she's kind of had to be the responsible adult in the relationship. So I can see why there'd be a lot of resentment... it's like she's dragging him through life and having to do everything herself :(

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I'm sorry your husband had such a challenging childhood and family dynamic!

 

As far as his brother, the problem is no one should be pressured to marry and no one should marry someone who has to be convinced to be married. Does he ask your husband for help? If not then it's not really helpful to get unsolicited input especially from a sibling IMO.

 

She doesn't have to drag him through life, at all. She signed up for this by marrying someone who didn't want to get married. He is not interested in making a lot of money, he is not interested in being a provider to a wife or family -and that's ok. Not everyone wants to own a home -I could, financially and have been able to for many years- I choose not to, not interested. Not everyone wants or needs a college degree (I did, my husband did, our families did but not everyone wants a college degree or to achieve a college degree or to achieve success in a career). Not everyone chooses that path. But your sister in law chose an easy way out too -she gets to be in control, she gets to be with someone who is not that into her so if she leaves she can use that as an excuse.

 

Of course his wife might resent this but she signed up for it.

 

I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a close male friend about 15 years ago. I was single, he was married with two young kids -he explained that they were going to buy a house, near to where they rented their apartment. He described it as "you know it's the next step in life" - as if there was some preordained steps to take to be an adult - that is how he described it - but - I was single. I was 38 or so at the time. I was working 70 plus hours a week in an intense career and living in a major city in an apartment. I also did volunteer work, had an active social life, and was dating someone seriously (not my future husband at that time). But yet I was supposed to assume that because I wasn't married, with kids, buying a house I wasn't being an adult taking these "steps" - that is how I interpret your take on your sister in law having to "drag him through life" -she's dragging him through her definition of "life". But there are so many and so many are perfectly "adult" too.

 

(My friend is still happily married with his two teenagers!).

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I get it, I always hated that buying a house equaled something one, "had," to do. My financial-sense always told me they're way way overpriced and I kind of looked down on people who bought big houses almost as if to show off, when in reality, they were just in tons and tons of debt. But my husband loved the house we're in when we were looking at places to buy (we took a lonnnnnng time to buy... we were VERY comfortable with renting for over a decade). I fell in love with the house, too, even though I hated the idea of a stupid mortgage (thank God you can refinance with lower interest rates!).

 

I just think that their actions didn't seem very adult like. I would never have just lived with a man for a decade if I actually wanted marriage. We've known couples who DID live together for years and years though, but they were adult about it... they weren't pressuring each other into something one didn't want to do.

 

Or with the whole taking your life seriously thing... like an adult... to me that means not allowing yourself to self-sabotage... or maybe going to counseling if you see yourself doing that. To me... he kind of still acts like a teenager :( it's not that he CHOSE not to go to college (which is adult!) it's taht he spent thousands upon thousands of MONEY and let himself fail because he preferred to stay up late and play video games (that's what my husband witnessed at least).

 

To me... all of that isn't very adult like :(

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I get it, I always hated that buying a house equaled something one, "had," to do. My financial-sense always told me they're way way overpriced and I kind of looked down on people who bought big houses almost as if to show off, when in reality, they were just in tons and tons of debt. But my husband loved the house we're in when we were looking at places to buy (we took a lonnnnnng time to buy... we were VERY comfortable with renting for over a decade). I fell in love with the house, too, even though I hated the idea of a stupid mortgage (thank God you can refinance with lower interest rates!).

 

I just think that their actions didn't seem very adult like. I would never have just lived with a man for a decade if I actually wanted marriage. We've known couples who DID live together for years and years though, but they were adult about it... they weren't pressuring each other into something one didn't want to do.

 

Or with the whole taking your life seriously thing... like an adult... to me that means not allowing yourself to self-sabotage... or maybe going to counseling if you see yourself doing that. To me... he kind of still acts like a teenager :( it's not that he CHOSE not to go to college (which is adult!) it's taht he spent thousands upon thousands of MONEY and let himself fail because he preferred to stay up late and play video games (that's what my husband witnessed at least).

 

To me... all of that isn't very adult like :(

 

Yes but did he ask your husband for his help? And yes, your sister in law did not make a healthy decision to stay that long if she wanted marriage and then to marry a man who really didn't want marriage in his own right.

 

I love renting. I love that we can call maintenance and everything is fixed ASAP and if it's an emergency like a broken fridge it's right away. Totally get the upsides of home ownership, why some would never want to live in an apartment or rent other than temporarily. I just don't agree that home ownership is a necessary adult step. And neither is marriage. I think we agree on that!

 

Is he self sabotaging or simply lacks the backbone to say what he really wants so when he's pressured he acts out by not putting in the effort?

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Yes but did he ask your husband for his help? And yes, your sister in law did not make a healthy decision to stay that long if she wanted marriage and then to marry a man who really didn't want marriage in his own right.

 

I love renting. I love that we can call maintenance and everything is fixed ASAP and if it's an emergency like a broken fridge it's right away. Totally get the upsides of home ownership, why some would never want to live in an apartment or rent other than temporarily. I just don't agree that home ownership is a necessary adult step. And neither is marriage. I think we agree on that!

 

Is he self sabotaging or simply lacks the backbone to say what he really wants so when he's pressured he acts out by not putting in the effort?

 

You know I'm not actually sure if he asked my husband for help. He willingly seemed to accept it though, but my husband did get the idea that it was his parents trying to push him to go that route, since the overall effect was that his heart wasn't in it. But he never said anything otherwise, he seemed to accept the help willingly, so my husband just tried to give him advice assuming this was really what his brother wanted. How confusing!!

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And yes! I miss that aspect of renting where everything got fixed for you. Our landlord was very resistant to wanting to fix things, though, it was always very hard to get her to do what needed to be done. One time I had to threaten legal action it was so bad, so that really pushed us to view home ownership in a different way... We could have control over when things got fixed by doing it all and paying for it all, ourselves and not feel like we were getting jipped!

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And yes! I miss that aspect of renting where everything got fixed for you. Our landlord was very resistant to wanting to fix things, though, it was always very hard to get her to do what needed to be done. One time I had to threaten legal action it was so bad, so that really pushed us to view home ownership in a different way... We could have control over when things got fixed by doing it all and paying for it all, ourselves and not feel like we were getting jipped!

 

I think that makes all the difference, to be honest. I'm fortunate that in both of my apartments, I have had great landlords.

 

My boyfriend and I occasionally think of buying and often dwell on the maintenance aspect of things. We have it so easy in that respect.... But if we had a terrible landlord, I bet we'd be a lot less hung up on it!

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You know I'm not actually sure if he asked my husband for help. He willingly seemed to accept it though, but my husband did get the idea that it was his parents trying to push him to go that route, since the overall effect was that his heart wasn't in it. But he never said anything otherwise, he seemed to accept the help willingly, so my husband just tried to give him advice assuming this was really what his brother wanted. How confusing!!

 

It's not confusing. It's simple - don't help people who are adults unless they ask or unless you're sure that they don't know what's going on. Perhaps he did accept the help but obviously he didn't follow the advice. Totally normal since he didn't ask in the first place. People who allow themselves to be pressured by other people often feel they benefit from that -they can play the victim, not have to act, excuse to be passive, stay in a comfort zone, etc.

 

We have an amazing maintenance staff. Many of our homeowner friends have experienced broken appliances like refrigerators during this pandemic. Ours seemed not to be working. Fixed within about 12 hours. When it broke twice over the last several years it was replaced within a day. Same with other appliances. They're always prompt, efficient, covid-safe (one friend's friend contracted covid from a maskless plumber), and friendly. Otherwise we wouldn't live here.

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