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Relationships are complicated, difficult, wonderful and (insert your own adjective depending on the day). I have found over the decades that being honest with myself is a great place to begin building a strong relationship.

Our first child is a honeymoon baby. Now that is wonderful except – I get horribly sick during pregnancy – pretty much “losing my cookies” 24/7 right until after the delivery, and then suddenly all of the nausea and subsequent “cookie losing” stops, almost immediately, no matter boy or girl. And yes – I have tried all – Vitamin B-shots, IV’s to keep my liquids up, any and all sundry of food anD natural remedies, and the only thing that worked was to have the baby.

So, with that first pregnancy, we lived with my husband’s family and it was pretty awful – I spent most days in the bedroom or the bathroom. I learned to carry small Ziploc bags with me everywhere – there are two things I regret not investing in – Ziploc bags and post-it notes – I strongly believe I might have single handedly kept both products on the shelves for a good decade or two.

In any event, because I barely knew my husband’s family (more about that in another blog), I believe they pretty much started to believe I was a Princess in waiting and a frail soul – not a good start, and not great for my personal self-concept. Then, in my seventh month of pregnancy, we moved across the country to Washington, DC where my husband began working on a presidential campaign. As I was not feeling great (see aforementioned time with his family), my husband would do the wash and vacuum. Luckily, after I had our son, I was back to myself. However, for anyone who has a baby – there is a lot that goes into the raising of that baby, and with my husband traveling a lot, I tried to manage life (actually our lives – mine and my son’s) by myself. Then, my husband would return home after a trip and again do the laundry and vacuuming.

Now here is the rub. For whatever reason I got it in my head that his doing the laundry meant I was not doing my job – and I felt like he was secretly, thinking less of me. This continued for literally decades and I would find ways to lash out and be angry with him - usually in response to clothes coming out different colors, or a favorite sweater being shrunk – but, he was doing the laundry!

One day, while I was visiting with a dear friend this somehow, shameful secret came up. Her reply, “I wish my husband would do the laundry”. WHAT ? It was a huge paradigm shift and I thought and thought about it until my husband returned home from a trip. When he did, I asked him why he did the laundry and if he felt like I was not holding up my part of “the bargain.” He simply answered, “I like doing the laundry – when I have so much on my mind it is a way for me to simply do something as I sort through my thoughts.” WHAT! Now to fully fess up, I do not even enjoy doing the laundry. It makes me seriously sad to think of all those years I felt small and inferior because I did not have the courage to ask and simply have a conversation about the laundry, that was really about the laundry, and nothing else.


This week please take an opportunity to find where you might be making yourself feel small in a relationship and write it down. Then, have an intentional conversation and, prepare to be surprised – maybe it is just about the laundry.

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