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How 'Friends' saved my marriage

It allowed me to find the feelings—and thus the correct words—to define why we were so miserable.

How 'Friends' saved my marriage

I came of age during the Friends and Seinfeld years, and I had always been team Seinfeld. I thought the latter show was sharper, grittier, more original, more realistic. But now, I find myself drawn toward the arguably more mindless, though perhaps less intense, phenomenon that is Friends.

It's what I queue up on Netflix when I need something silly. It's what I watch clips of on YouTube when I need a quick laugh. I no longer have the energy for watching the terrible characters that made Seinfeld so iconic, even when I know the ending—instead, I much prefer the lighter tone and predictable plotting of Friends. And now, I can actually say that Friends has saved my marriage.

Recently, my husband and I had our home life blow up. Both kids had just been sick at the same time (resulting in lots of missed work for both of us), we were having our basement redone, we were having family coming to town, we were reviewing important legal documents like a will—obviously, we had a lot of stuff going on. We were barely keeping our heads above water.

But then the drowning came figuratively and literally after five straight days of rain, an unusual occurrence where we live. The contractors redoing our basement had jackhammered out part of the floor for plumbing work, which caused a giant hole in the foundation. This coupled with the six inches of rain in less than a week, caused our basement to flood.

We called the contractor immediately to halt everything. We called a flood mitigation company immediately for an estimate. We called our insurance company immediately to see how many savings we could salvage.

That isn't entirely accurate. I should say that my husband called the contractor. My husband called the flood mitigators. My husband called the insurance.

He's always been the go-to person for household matters. He meets with contractors, he deals with monthly budgeting, he mows the lawn.

I am the person to make doctor's appointments for the kids, research daycares and arrange activities, deal with legal documents and school forms. Not that we stick to traditional gender roles on purpose—that's just what we naturally gravitate to and what we're good at doing. We both share the everyday household chores like making dinner, dropping off and picking up kids, and cleaning the house.

And we make it work. Except this time it didn't work. We were drowning along with our house. Suddenly everything got more expensive, more overwhelming, more exhausting. In the midst of all this, we had done the usual: put the kids to bed, cleaned up after dinner, prepped for the next day. We collapsed on the couch. My husband's exact words were, "I'm paralyzed."

I didn't know what to say. I wanted to tell him to keep it together, to just. Keep. Going. I tried to assuage him, but only platitudes came out: "It could be much worse. We can come up with the money. We will make things work." But that only seemed to make things worse. He resented me for downplaying his feelings. I resented him for giving up.

Especially since I felt the same way. It was just too much. I didn't know what to do, so I kept keeping on by default. It was like I was a robot, though. I was on survival mode. There was no meaning in my actions.

I dressed the kids while thinking about the water in our basement. I cooked dinner while thinking about the flood in our basement. I drove to work while thinking about the deluge in our basement. I started picturing what he was imagining—the seeping hole in the floor of our basement, swallowing up our belongings, our money, our sanity.

I sensed the same lack of meaning in his actions, and tension grew between us. Neither of us could move, and both of us wanted the other person to do something. We were both drowning in different oceans. We were, at the moment, not partners.

But I was talking about Friends and likening it to my marriage for a reason. I've gotten into the bad habit of watching something in bed before I fall asleep. Recently, I've been bingeing on Friends, because it's mindless and something I can fall asleep to since I've seen it so many times before.

Around this stressful time, I was watching Season 9 and had just finished the episode where Rachel decides to move out of Ross' apartment because he's jealous of her dating (The One Where Monica Sings, for anyone keeping track). In that episode, Rachel says her situation with Ross hadn't been weird because "it works for us." But now, she says since his feelings have intensified, "it's no longer working."

Suddenly, my head was above water again. Rachel's words lit a fire and I could see light again. While I knew internally that our situation changed, hearing Rachel say "it's no longer working" and then figuring a way out of the situation by herself was an epiphany. Her words helped me craft my own, and allowed me to own up to my own realization that what we were doing for so long isn't working anymore, and it's okay to change it.

While this realization may seem like a minor development, it allowed me to be okay with exposing my flaws. It allowed me to be comfortable with admitting that I couldn't handle it all. The very next day I sat down with my husband and used Rachel's words: "This is no longer working for us."

He agreed, and we talked about what we needed to change. He would no longer be solely responsible for the budget; I would no longer be solely responsible for legal issues. I was going to learn how to organize our budget spreadsheet, and he was going to learn how to parse legalese. These abilities were not in our skill sets, but we were going to help each other. We were our own back ups. After all, we had signed up for a partnership so we were going to work that way.

We also weren't going to rush through having the basement redone. Even though we'd spent years saving up for it and had sacrificed other things to save toward it. Now that we'd have to use the money to pay for flood mitigation instead, we decided we would have to be okay with delaying a fancy new finished basement for several months.

We both needed to change our perspectives and admit that we needed some help. We would still need to figure out what that meant exactly, but we were at least moving. That's much better than being paralyzed.

This is how Friends—and specifically, Rachel Green (who perhaps had the largest transformation herself among all the Friends)—saved my marriage. It allowed me to find the feelings—and thus the correct words—to define why we were so miserable.

It helped me become comfortable with change and, more importantly, to engage in actions that would lead to the correct change. After all, I'm not the same person I was 15 years ago, when I was a teenager, student, and daughter, who enjoyed Seinfeld and a booth at Monk's. I've changed into a grown woman, wife, and mother, who now prefers Friends and an orange couch.

Originally posted on BluntMoms.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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