I am absolutely positive that you will remember my very first commercial if you happened to be of TV-watching age in 1994.
Chances are pretty good you’re wearing a hat today, yes? Me too.
Today on RG: easy hat hairstyles (and every single hat in my wardrobe).
Today’s objects of affection include some lovely Valentine’s Day picks, a perfect napping spot…and MarioKart, of course.
How to combat dry skin from head to toe, today on RG.
Three screenings of Planes (for real; I think someone was excited about flying), one waffle, one banana, one cup of blueberries, one cup of pasta, one cup of cereal, one cup of dried green beans, two applesauces, three crackers, one yogurt parfait, and one McDonald’s egg-and-cheese biscuit later (what can I say? the child can eat), and we’re in San Francisco!
Of course, the first order of business was to head straight to In-N-Out Burger for some animal style action. Because we were starving.
Seriously, though: that plane ride went so well. It wasn’t just “not horrifying”: it was fun.
You know, I read somewhere that every parent has an age that they “rock” – infancy, toddlerhood, teenagers, whatever. And I think this is my age.
Now, let me be clear: I am in no way saying, “oh, I TOTALLY GOT THIS I AM AMAAAAZING.” I don’t “got this.” No no no. I still worry about pretty much everything and feel guilty about everything else, and – oh right – there are those Bed Bath & Beyond meltdowns that, granted, are a fairly inevitable part of two-year-old life but do exactly the opposite of making you feel like a not-terrible parent. I’m just muddling my way through the same as every other first-time mom and hoping that we all come out the other side of this “growing up process” reasonably sane and happy.
So no, I wouldn’t say that I “rock” this age, exactly…I think it’s just that I understand it. More than that, I love it. The first year of my son’s life I read the books and listened to advice when it was given, but mostly I just tried to figure out what in the world to do with the baby who had all of a sudden shown up in my apartment, and most of the time was terrified that what I was doing wasn’t even close to right. It was enchanting and heartbreaking and beautiful in ways that surprised me every single day, but sometimes it felt like barely a second went by that didn’t feel almost impossibly hard.
It’s just so hard.
At two, though, something changed, and I think it was that I suddenly started feeling like my son wasn’t only my “child”…he was my friend. I just love hanging out with him so much. And I love that we’re starting to be able to for-real communicate, which means he can tell me what he likes, what he did with his friends today, what he wants to play with tonight. I can explain to him why he needs to stay in bed awhile longer, or stand right there, or go pick up that toy.
I love that.
It’s scary, though – because I finally (finally!) feel like we’re getting in a bit of a groove, he and I. I feel like I can handle things like six-hour cross-country flights, no problem. And now we’re about to change it all, throw everything upside-down all over again. In a few months, there will be no more calm cross-country flights…or calm trips to the corner store. Not for awhile, anyway.
So I do worry that I’ll lose this very tentative equilibrium that we’ve established, the balance that’s let me regain those quiet moments that felt so few and far between those first couple of years, and that’s let us – all of us – find our fun, for real. I know we’ll work through it and it’ll be hard and exhausting and wonderful and exciting all at the same time…but still: I want to hold on to every one of these last, sweet moments when it’s just my guy and me, looking out the window of an airplane and counting the clouds.
I can’t think of an especially good reason why I would ever wear anything other than this, ever.
Q. Hi Jordan,
I’ve been dealing with some new circumstances as a newlywed, and I was wondering if you could help. My husband and I have exact opposite work schedules. I am alone at home a majority of the time and we often go days without seeing each other in a state of consciousness, and I find myself getting lonelier and lonelier. I’m a very social person, I have a really fulfilling job, we have a dog, and I work out all the time, but it’s a totally new type of experience when the house feels so…alone.
Spending time with him is obviously a huge priority for me, but it feels like my life is constantly dictated by his schedule, from when I get to see him to trying to schedule with my friends to when I get to eat meals to how much sleep I get. I’m really struggling with how much more this affects me than him, and it feels really unbalanced and, honestly, unfair.
We don’t have any kids, but I thought you could relate, what with Kendrick in grad school. I was wondering if you have any strategies for combating that feeling that creeps in a few hours into being solo at home so much.
A. I definitely can relate to and understand your situation, and I know it’s not easy. I’m used to spending a lot of time alone because I’ve been a freelancer who mostly works out of the house for years, but having Kendrick gone the majority of the time – he often gets home after I go to sleep or leaves before I wake up – was hard in the beginning, especially since, with a toddler who has a 7PM bedtime, it’s tough to make plans with others.
It’s still hard, of course, but because I knew that this was going to be a relatively long-term deal – two years, at a minimum – it was important to me to consciously work towards not only being “okay” with our situation…but actually making the best of it.
Here’s what has helped me.
1. Do Your Own Thing. When Kendrick first started school, I missed the little things that we used to love doing together, like cooking steaks and eating them at the coffee table or watchingAmerican Horror Story. And so I’d skip doing these things, saving the special meals and fun shows for when he was home…except, as it turns out, it’s not just “us” who enjoys those things…it’s me. I like steak whether I eat it with someone or on my own. I likewatching TV on weekday nights, after my son has gone to bed. It’s my shut-off time. And it’s important to me.
Beyond that, though, I noticed that “saving” everything for the weekends not only placed way too much pressure on “fitting everything in” and made us a little nuts…it made me resentful, that feeling that I couldn’t do anything fun five days out of the week (even though, of course, it was me making me feel that way and no one else).
And so I started making a point of making those “just me” nights special, too. I’ll make exactly what I want to make for dinner; I’ll watch the show that I really want to watch; I’ll go to bed at 8 if I feel like it. Of course this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t make an effort to do special things when you do get to spend time together; you should, absolutely. But you should also make sure to keep doing the things that make you happy, whether you’re doing them with your partner, with your friends, or all on your own.
2. But Explain Why You’re Doing Your Own Thing. Even though I really do think you should make an effort to do the things you want to do and not twist your schedule 100% around your partner’s needs, I also think it’s important to communicate to your partner why you sometimes need to do your own thing.
As an example, if he really wants you to wait up for him to get home but you’re finding that doing so majorly disrupts your sleep (and affects your mindset the next day), you should absolutely do what works for you…but you should also explain to him why you’re going to bed before he arrives, so that he doesn’t feel like you’re pulling away or de-prioritizing the relationship. The truth is, of course, that you’re doing this in the service of keeping your relationship feeling equitable and strong, and once he understands that he’ll almost certainly be supportive of your need to maintain a sense of normalcy.
3. Communicate Your Frustration. Of course I get frustrated by our circumstances sometimes, especially when you compound the loneliness with the fact that it can feel like so much of the day-to-day “stuff” falls on my shoulders (as it should, since I’m the one who’s physically here more often). I know this was a decision that we both made, and I’m glad we made it – no question – but sometimes it’s hard not to feel sad or isolated.
What’s been most helpful to me is to share how I’m feeling with Kendrick – to say, “just so you know, I’m feeling a little upset right now because it’s hard for me to have you gone so much.” It’s good just to have him understand, but he also usually makes an effort to let me know that he appreciates what I’m doing…which is really nice.
4. Have An Endpoint In Sight. Many years ago, I wrote an article for YM Magazine on long-distance dating and interviewed people in all sorts of long-distance relationships about what worked for them, and the one unifying factor that everyone said was absolutely vital was that you work towards a time when your circumstances are going to change. And I think that applies here, too: it’s important to put plans in place to eventually align your schedules.
Even if those plans are a couple of years down the road, it’s good to know they’re there waiting for you, because remembering that it’s not forever can help a little on especially dark nights.
This might be the most amazing quick-fix ever. I swear.
This is how to stretch out your too-tight shoes, and it will change your world (and save you lots and lots of money and irritating returns of Internet purchases).
A more subtle take on full-on lower lid eyeliner. (How-to here.)
Aging is an interesting thing.
It’s something that I’m thinking about more and more as I’m moving towards my mid-thirties, both in more abstract “am I happy with where things are” ways and in more superficial “where did that extra wrinkle come from” ways. I’m not scared of aging, not exactly – mostly because if there’s one thing these past few years have taught me is that life is capable of throwing some serious never-saw-them-coming surprises your way, and that’s an exciting thing to look forward to – but I do think about it, what watching my face and body grow older will make me feel like inside.