Elizabeth Lyons shares how you can cope with the changing expectations of motherhood and marriage and not getting what you want.
I have a rule in my book and it’s called, give yourself the little blue box. And it took me several years to figure this out.
When we shift so suddenly and violently into this rule of being moms we are thinking about the things that we need, and we are focusing on the things that we don’t have.
So when the husband does not come home from work with the flowers or the cupcakes or the dinner or something doesn’t get done, we get all up in arms and feel as though our spouse doesn’t care about us.
That’s immediately what we decide. He doesn’t care. No one cares. No one cares about me.
And what I finally realized is that while my own husband is fantastic, he doesn’t have ESP. And he really does most of the time try pretty hard, but I got into a habit of just saying, “David, for Christmas, I want that book. David, for my birthday I’d like that iPod.”
You know, whatever it was, because then he could, I mean was it much of a surprise? No. But when I let go of the need for everything to be a major, crazy, romantic surprise, the difference was I had what I needed. I had the iPod or the book or the nothing, you know, sometimes it was just nothing.
Last Mother’s Day I said to David, “I want the kids to just all make me something – just go at it, have at it.” And so he sat down with the kids one day and they all made me cards and it was my favorite Mother’s Day of all time and it cost absolutely nothing.
So give yourself the little blue box. And yes, I am referring to the blue box from Tiffany’s because when I was younger I thought that that blue box was love made manifest.
I mean I thought if I don’t get that little blue box it means he doesn’t love me. That’s the end of the story. And I never did get the little blue box.
And one day I waltzed myself right into Tiffany’s, and this sweet woman, Margaret, I’ll never forget her, was behind the counter, and I said, “Margaret, I have been waiting to get the little blue box for years and years and years.”
And she kind of looked at me like she knew my story and I was not the first one to have delivered it to her. She said, “You need to walk out of here with the blue box today, don’t you?”
I said, “I really, really do.” And she gave me, she reached behind the counter and she gave me the smallest blue box that they carry. And I took it home and I put my engagement ring in it, which was not from Tiffany’s but that was fine.
And I put it on my pillow and I put all my stuffed, not my stuffed animals because I don’t have stuffed animals, but all my kid’s stuffed animals around. And I went in and I opened it and I gave the reaction of the century, I mean I was just thrilled.
And I was actually surprised by how satisfying that whole experience was. So either tell people what you need or go do it for yourself, because you will just waste so much less time. You’ll get exactly what you need in a short timeframe and everyone will be happy.
About Elizabeth Lyons:
Elizabeth Lyons is many things: mom, wife, friend, lunch maker, chauffeur, hostage negotiator, author, on-call plumber, tile layer, guitar student, window washer, product designer, and on and on. One thing she is not is Superwoman.
Elizabeth lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids, two dogs, two fish, four barely surviving organic gardens, and whatever (or whomever) else has taken up residence with them in the last five minutes. She is the author of “You Cannot Be Serious - and 32 Other Rules that Sustain a (Mostly) Balanced Mom.”