E02 Political Discourse and Marriage

Episode 02!  Below I discuss the 5 steps that help prevent divorce when Trent and I are discussing current political and social issues.  We are not one in the same politically which results in some interesting discussions.  Most importantly we try to remain respectful and honor one another's individuality.  To do that we try to stick to these 5 rules:

1.  Don't Yell (super hard for me)

2.  Stay on Topic (Trent... this one is particularly for you and your incessant habit of arguing semantics instead of the topic at hand)

3.  No Name Calling - that goes for politicians and pundits as well.  The name calling can become inadvertently (or purposefully) personal far to easily.

4.  Love Timer - seems juvenile, but this works for us.  A timer that forces us to reflect on the conversations, our differences and what brought us together.  There is a world outside of our political views that is beautifully vast and full of culture.  Our politics are not what brought us together - our love and respect for one anther; our personhood did.

5.  Active Listening which is great in any situation.  I could talk for hours on this subject alone and how we have become such a self obsessed species, that we could stand to work on this with everyone in our lives.  Hearing and listening are completely separate and different acts.

How'd we get here?  The Women's March in DC.  

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was just a couple weeks ago and Marley was studying key words like protest, picket, character, etc... in his class.  So we were asked as parents to use those words in the house in conversation so the kids could become familiar with them.  Conveniently the Women's march was that following weekend (after we received the email).  Our friends were going to DC, and the kids are very good friends with their children (we carpool and they are the other half of the Woodburn Village - I can't wait to discuss that further) - so it gave me a great opportunity to use these terms.

My husband noticed it on my screen that Saturday morning.  He immediately asked about it and I told him I was explaining it to the kids - in their terms.  His reply 'they asked? or you offered?'.  I explained that we received an email from the teacher and I felt it was a great way to connect with them about the words being used in school.  Also - the kids have been exposed to the political climate as of late through their peers and what has been said in their company (a whole other blog worthy topic on appropriate political discourse with children).

But why shouldn't I be able to talk to them about it?  The smug reply he had was enough to set me off.  And we did.  We debated, we got personal, we threatened our marriage over words and hurt feelings.  Over semantics, miscommunication, hearing but not listening.  We almost destroyed our family through blind passion and anger.  My husband left for work that afternoon with our foundation crumbling - tears in my eyes and fear in my bones.

And then I received this text message.

Beat 5 - my husband is a police officer.  He's had guns pointed at him, been attacked by drug users, dealt with over doses - you get it.  It's dangerous.  I can't stand when things are left like this.  Everyday he goes to work vowing to protect and serve us - our community, you and I, he takes the risk that he may not return home.

I know that seems dark - but it's the truth.  And the fear resting in my bones was just that.  The tears - shame and guilt that I couldn't let my pride down for the brief moment it takes to recognize our differences.  

The beauty in our individually and how much I love that man.  After this exchange we had a very important discussion on how to handle conversations like this in the future.  And then I received this:

pussy hats are the pink knitted caps seen at the Woman's Marches - they are worn to bring feminine solidarity - and I love to knit and yes, my husband knows how to as well.

We decided not to pretend we DON'T have our differences.  We've chosen to embrace our mental autonomy.  To honor our personhood and never, NEVER let one another forget how much they are loved and cherished.  May this be a lesson for all of us.  That we are here, and our actions and words effect one another delivered passively or for purpose.  Take care in these days when the political climate is hot and liberties may be at stake - that our words truly reflect the greater good.

authored by Chelsea Crutcher

Vlog E01 & Staying Home

Drum roll please... 

Ta Da!  My first Vlog.  I will spare all explanations on my new medium for converstation to the below video.  I hope you enjoy - if you do, let me know - if you don't, well - let me know.  Comments below!

As promised above - my decision to stay home.

In September we welcomed our fourth Son into the family - Orion.  An absolute joy and treasure - and a phenomenal home birth.  More on that here.  But that brought our count to a whopping 4 boys (the boy part being less significant but kind of cool - come on?! We almost have a basketball team!).  One of which was a newborn and now an infant. 

Truthfully - Trent and I were headed down this road from the beginning.  We knew if we added another muchacho to the mix one of us would need to stay home both financially and to support the family emotionally.  And I, after an awesome 12 years at the station and with the Symphony was ready.  I'd completed some amazing projects, nurtured a new relationship between CPR and the Symphony, worked with some incredible and historical individuals and even knocked quite a few things off my bucket list.  And - I missed our boys.  

I wanted to be home... and Trent had just gotten into the Police Academy and finally had the opportunity to achieve his childhood dream of becoming an officer.  It was a good fit.  So I took the longest maternity leave possible while I came to terms with my decision (I still had one foot in the door, I wasn't completely ready to be a 'dependent') and then, I wrote it.  One of the quickest, most honest letters I may have ever written.

Thank you Cincinnati Public Radio for the experience and life at the station.  But it's my time.  My time to be with my family, support my husband and explore new opportunities for myself.  I am ready.

Heh - kind of.  It hasn't been an easy transition for me.  I miss my financial autonomy.  I've never been a dependent.  And I've always been working in Music.  There have been many tears, fights and questioning over what I have chosen.  What kind of proud feminist becomes financially dependent and subservient to her husband?!!  Well - here is the kicker.  I'm not.  

My husband and I are a team - and if it weren't for him being the much needed broken record reminding me of that in my days of doubt - I'd still be a train wreck.  Here's the thing I've realized.  It takes a strong woman.  Not to become a stay-at-home mom, but to realize what is truly important to them.  For me - being there for my husband and children means the world to me.  I am tired of navigating my work schedule to fit my needs at home.  And then the one thing, most important sacrifice I'd been making?  Me.

What I've learned is that being at home isn't just about being home for everyone else, but finally having the opportunity to carve time out for myself.  I love to knit, write, chat, talk, communicate - I've joined a knitting club, we have Woodburn Village dinners, and now I can write and vlog here.

So that was our decision.  My husband and I.  Is it always easy - uh, no! but what marriage with 4 busy, chaotic kiddos is?  But it's our's.  Our decision, our family.  And my life.  It was my career, it is my passion to be here - present in this nest filled with hectic schedules, homework, laughter, fights, conflicts and communication.  I'm fulfilled and proud to stay-at-home.

authored by Chelsea Crutcher