“Good people are like candles they burn themselves up to give others light.”
Last fall I hit a breaking point with my husband. Our marriage is no different than any other relationship, we certainly have had our ups and downs over the past 18 years of dating and the course of our 13 years of marriage.
“We forged on with our mutual missions as intellects often do. Nothing in our routine had changed, not even our sex lives. Our chemistry had remained the same. The transformation so subtle yet devastating, minimal yet critical. My rock had shifted, my base was shaky, the safety net holes were spreading wide.”
I wrote this in my journal last October, my blood boiling with anger as I looked for a solo travel destination: I settled on South Beach, Miami. I booked a last minute travel deal through Expedia. James and I fell in love in college, and married five years later. I had always been so wrapped up in him. James consumed me, he fulfilled me, and after 3 homes, 2 kids and 2 dogs, he still continues to challenge me. Unfortunately, those traits that ignited my fire back in my 20s, were extinguishing our flame as a middle age couple with careers, children and mounting responsibilities.
Transitions create stress PERIOD!!
Under the stress of all our transitions, I no longer felt supported. It had been almost two years since I sold my day spa business. I believe my husband wanted me to be content. Sit down, breathe, manage our home, organize our lives and raise our daughters. Besides, that was the point of selling my established business at its peak. Hadn’t I wanted a more balanced life, more family time and relief from managing 13 employees?
My contribution was noteworthy; we had made a good return on our investment in my first company. His career was soaring. There is no doubt about it, my husband is a brilliant business man. Humble, he loves what he does and he performs his job well. When it came to our finances, our future, we agreed that his real estate investment career would take precedence over my entrepreneurship.
After I sold Indulge Spa, I was thrilled to be able to pour myself into my family. To not be forced to take calls and deal with business issues as they arose in the evenings, or on the weekends or while we were on vacation. I was happy to relieve my husband of some of his tasks around the house and for us to spend our free time enjoying each other and relaxing.
Her Ambition: I just can’t sit still
It didn’t take long for my entrepreneur spirit to be reinvigorated. One year of working part-time for a friend’s company and I was ready to get back to doing my own thing. Writing for my blog, taking workshops and I had even submitted and gotten a piece of my written work published.
Additionally I launched SWURLY, a hair accessory line of products I developed inspired by our biracial daughter’s curly hair. I was working from home, feeding my passions. My desire to write went back some years and here I was doing what I dreamed of in the comfort of my home. Though, I was also lonely. I went from being at my spa full-time with 13 staff members to being in an empty house all day, followed by running my kids to their activities, helping with their homework and preparing dinner. Only then would James arrive home for an hour or two of time with kids before they were off to bed. I pushed for a puppy and we added yet another transition to our lives.
His Ambition: Climbing the corporate ladder
Owning a brick and mortar business and having an online company are two very different things. I was entering an industry I knew very little about. Exciting, stimulating work that brought about a new form of stress. My husband had his own agenda of ambitious goals that he was pursuing in 2018. It required him to study for a professional certification that would add to his qualifications. Nevertheless, this took hours of his time from us for him to study for this designation.
Slowly but surely I found myself feeling drained. It felt like everything around the house was falling on me. The more I took on the less he did. I was handling most activities for our girls and I was with them for considerably more hours than my husband. Even if he were home and they needed something they relied on me. There seem to be growing expectations of me from all my family since I was at the house. The kids were leaving messes, forgetting their school supplies. I was running behind everyone picking up the pieces. I felt unappreciated.
Journal Entry: Miami, Florida 10/14/18
“We don’t bother to say goodbye,
Man, does time pass us by.
I can’t seem to find the balance,
You refuse to rise to the challenge.
Our love is silent and it is fierce,
Loyalty, Chemistry and tears that pierce.
Our pulse at time is synchronized,
Yet with your words, you make me cry.
Exasperated from the pain,
Disappointment turns into shame
Tension fuels the flame,
This is not a fucking game
Will it ever be the same?
Gripping for something to hold,
Craters denting my fragile soul.
Fill this void, clear the confusion
I refuse to live a life that is just an illusion.”
Not on the same page!
Whenever I expressed myself or complained to him, he felt like I was nagging. James went immediately into defense mode. Why was I picking fights over things that don’t matter? He wasn’t hearing a word I said. We were impatient with each other; we had lost empathy for each other. Our words were harsh and short. Our communication stifled, my resentment was mounting.
It is so easy to lose yourself in being a mother and a wife. While our role is essential to our families and our role carries a ton of responsibility, it can also carry a ton of unnecessary guilt. For my marriage, I’ve maintained my stance on wanting an equal partner in parenting, it is a value that I made clear back when we were in college. Yet for many families there remains a gap in earnings for men and women. Thus, a gap in expectations for division of labor at home.
I’m going to Miami, Welcome to Miami!
Rather than build contention and continue to fester I realized talking was not going to work. I needed to act, as I took off for my solo trip to Miami, I felt overwhelmed with sadness and guilt. The guilt of leaving my family behind to give myself a well-deserved break from serving everyone’s needs but my own. I needed to fill up and reset.
Just then the flight attendant began the safety announcements: “Prepare your own mask before attempting to assist others.” I needed to hear that, I know that if I did not iron out this time for myself we all would suffer.
Do the Hustle!
We were going 100 mph with our schedule, not pausing to check in on one another. Too busy chasing our own selfish ambitions. An overwhelming feeling that I was stretched, exhausted and I needed some space. I had never been on vacation alone or even to dinner alone for that matter. My desire to get back to a good place, to show love for my husband and to stop feeling angry drove me to go. We were modeling what marriage is to our girls. Teaching them the meaning of love. We couldn’t continue to lash out on each other in front of them.
I had made a choice to pursue this new career, to reinvest in myself but I hadn’t considered what James had envisioned for our family’s next chapter. He isn’t the best at expressing how he feels. When I talked about my new venture he was on board but deep down he knew what it takes to build a new company. He knew his home relief would be determined by my professional pursuits.
South Beach, Miami
Miami, FL is a familiar destination for me as I have traveled there for five previous occasions including my big bachelorette party with 12 of my girlfriends. I knew this would be an easy destination for me to navigate alone. If you are close to Ocean drive you have so many restaurants to choose from, tons of shopping and the beach in an easily strolling distance.
This post isn’t all doom and gloom. I had a great time once I arrived in South Beach, Miami. The liberty of going at my own pace on vacation was great, the hotel location was ideal. Apparently, I am an approachable person. People sparked up conversations with me everywhere I went and I never felt alone. I had time to write, I reflected on what was bothering me and made a game plan to fix it. I got a quick table at Joe’s Stone Crab a legendary establishment, despite their long waitlist and had the best dinner. Here are my recommendations for your next trip to Miami, FL.
Good Restaurants, Hotel and Beach in South Beach, Miami
- Joe’s Stone Crab
- Fairwind Hotel
- Bacon Bitch
- South Beach– umbrella, beach chair and chill
- Pane & Vino
Can you see what I see?
Marriage is hard, you constantly must compromise and put each other’s needs in front of your own. My husband is loving, he is faithful, he is our rock; the dad I always wished for myself. He loves us but he is a man. In his family , he was not raised to talk about his feelings or express them. Thus he was not in tuned to mine.
I removed myself from the situation and put my husband in my shoes. He had to get the girls off to school, go to work and handle all the girl’s activities after school. Then get them dinner and to bed all while taking care of that big puppy.
Go it alone!
With miles between us we could communicate better than we had in weeks. His empathy and appreciation for what I do daily kicked in when he was the one doing it. We were all happy to reunite when I returned home from my short solo trip. I felt rested and ready to get back to equally caring for my family. Plus, I felt empowered that I could go it alone.