Monday 10 June 2013


The last few weeks have been heavy weather around here. It's the stuff with our little girl, of course, but it's not just that. Those of you who are married, do you find yourself surprised by how hard it is to be married, sometimes? I do, and then I feel like I shouldn't admit it's hard, even though the idea of putting two different people in a house together with a big chunk of responsibility for each others' happiness is so MIND-BLOWINGLY CRAZY that surely everybody knows it's going to be hard, right? IT'S GOING TO BE HARD. But then it actually gets hard, and I'm shocked.

Over the last few weeks, my husband has: Failed to help me put a bookshelf together; not said thank you when I baked him his favourite cookies, generally been silent and moody, not said thank you when I made his favourite meal, not wanted to celebrate with me when I finally got my book off to the typesetter, and refused to open a bottle of wine on the basis that it was 'only Tuesday'. Seriously.

None of these are the end of the world, and I'm sure there's a list twice as long of things I do that annoy him. (She never gets up in the morning! Why does she always yell at the children? Is she seriously buying more stuff online?) But he always thinks everything between us is fine, whereas when I'm having trouble communicating with him, I start to panic and I'm all WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ME ANY MORE? (Because I'm trying to eat my dinner and you keep asking me questions, Claudia, is the honest answer to that one, I think).

It's hard. I find it hard. I love him so much, and I know he loves me, but sometimes we're not in sync and it's hard.

Here's what I think: if you have a generally happy marriage, most of the hard stuff you face in life is faced together. For richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. Etcetera. You're working hard but you're working together. But then when you have a hard time in your marriage, when you feel like you're 'working on it', it feels like you're doing that work alone. If you were working together on your marriage, it probably wouldn't feel like there was a problem, right? So you're working on your own on trying to improve a relationship, and thinking about your relationship when you feel lonely inside it just exacerbates those feelings of loneliness.

It's hard. It's normal. It's hard.

I don't know about you, but when this kind of thing happens I get involved in displacement activities. I develop short-term obsessions with things that really don't matter. I'm setting up a work space at home (FINALLY, and yes AFTER the book is basically finished, but obviously I'm very happy to have it - I'm calling it my Lady Room and I'll tell you more about it another day) and I need a few office supplies. I discovered poppin and was all set to order a matching set of desk accessories (in aqua, which would look bee-yoo-ti-full with my new dark veneered wood desk and white MDF drawers). And then I realised What the hey? These people don't make a hole punch! I can't buy a matching set of stuff and then have a non-matching hole punch! This set off a crazy need to find either a beautiful hole punch that would coordinate with the aqua set, or an entirely different set that included a hole punch and would fit within my approved palette.

This hole punch is beautiful, but it is also £130 and plated with gold. This hole punch did not solve my problems. 
And that's how I found myself creating a Pinterest board devoted entirely to office supplies, and how I spent hours googling combinations of exquisite + desk set + hole punch + stapler + happiness and how I found out that the world has waaaay more beautiful staplers than beautiful hole punches. I think I'll probably go with a boring (but acceptable) transparent acrylic hole punch, but now I'm stuck, totally unable to decide which of the beautiful stapling objects I've found will make me not just happy, but happiest. I want them all.
The clear acrylic casing? The gold underneath? COME TO MAMA.  

This stapler is in MOMA. Not buying this stapler would be like saying I'm too good for MOMA. That would be terribly arrogant, don't you think? 

What's not fun about this? 
It's a stapler, but it's made of wood. Do I really need to explain any further? 

This is the aqua stapler that started this whole debacle. I still love you, aqua stapler.  

And I found myself thinking: hey, why don't I just decide that now, I collect staplers? After all, if I just bought, say, three staplers, that would be buying too many staplers. But five or six staplers would be a hobby. Right? 

Want to know the stupidest thing? I barely even staple. If you asked me where my current stapler was, I would not be able to tell you. 

Something tells me it's not really about the stapler.

It's hard work, sometimes, this life. It's hard work, staying stapled together with another human being who is sometimes thinking about other things than what will make ME happy.

It's hard work. It's worth it. It's hard.


  1. Claudia, I have been a lurker on your blog for a long time, but this post resonates so much I am coming out of the shadows.

    Good golly am I an this same boat right now. The lonely feeling of being the only one who cares about relationship building, and the "I'm fine, you must be fine, we are fine, but if we talk about anything all of a sudden we are not fine" attitude I label my spouse with. :)

    Thanks for reminding me that its normal and that the hard work is good and worth it. I know it is. But sometimes it takes another person voicing the same set of thoughts and frustrations to take me away from my current obsession over finding fun wall art and crafty things to hang on the freshly painted walls.

    Soldier on. And thanks.

  2. And that is why I'm not married (seriously, or at least one of the many reasons).

  3. Fab aqua stapler (& glad I'm not the only one who gets caught in the google spiral of displacement activity!) Your post reminded me of Ben Affleck's Oscar speech about sharing 10 Christmases and marriage being work which makes me blub everytime I watch it (I couldn't believe it when people criticised him... I thought it was beautiful, and real. Hope home life gets better soon. And for instant cheering up - am loving the google cartoon today :-)

  4. So so true and insightful! Marriage is hard work. I have said (recently) to two people, "I'm glad (in retrospect) that we had 14 years without the kids" (!!!) because it was MUCH easier then.

    But we're getting back on the same page - did you watch This is 40? EXCELLENT and a bit scary to see what happens if we don't tend our marriages.

    On a lighter note, that stapler is FAB!!!! The aqua one. Also, I'm in a shopping spree - avoiding work stuff......

  5. You see, this is why we're friends. You missed the amount of effort that recently went into buying the absolutely perfect bikini for my trip, not to mention the obsessive amount of research that went into my fountain pen purchase. Although given how we first met, a mutual propensity to displacement obsessions probably isn't that surprising....

    He loves ya. The babies love you. The cat loves you.

  6. Hard indeed. And beautiful and messy and angst-filled, etc. etc. I've enjoyed watching the stapler journey unfold on Pinterest. I will anxiously await the big unveiling. Until then, hang in there.

  7. It is hard. I spend a lot of mental energy on why my husband has a certain look on his face or when he seems distant. Humans = meaning making machines. That is the hard work, I think. I love the staplers and, yes, that stuff is important.

  8. Not being in sync for me often feels like "we should just move into different houses." I really freak out with those feelings, too. Not just little dips in my feelings like triggering desperation of the worst kind. I've never used pinterest to ignore my feelings though. Good one.

  9. yes, the in-sync-ness is terrible.

    I tend to put the out of control feeling onto something else too which is why i'm obsessed with you now knowing your staplers are your thing this time.

    All are beautiful, all are amazing. But you are amazing-er. Love to you

  10. I'm sorry things are a wee bit out of sync for you right now. In my experience (19 years of marriage this August, EEEK!!!) marriages just ebb and flow like so many things. It's best not to overthink it and just sort of ride if out. I have no doubt you'll be in sync again really soon. And I am in love with the wooden stapler myself, as I love all things mod.

  11. Being out of sync is hard. Especially now with little beings who suck up so much energy. The marriage slice of my energy pie seems to be a thin sliver these days. And yet - an hour or two out of the house, alone with my Hubs puts things right back on track.

  12. The thing is that, for this reason we have been buddies. You overlooked how much energy in which recently entered purchasing the definitely excellent sting bikini in my vacation, let alone the fanatical volume of investigation in which entered my personal fountain pen acquire. Though granted how we initial satisfied, a good propensity in order to displacement obsessions almost certainly is not that unexpected....

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Over to you!