By: Luscious Mother
Hello, all you Luscious peeps.
Sarah, here. Recently, I had an experience in the land of domesticity that may not seem so foreign to some of you. I had heard that this kind of thing happened in marriages from time to time, but I naively assumed it was something that happened to other people.
Not me. Not my husband.
However, I was wrong. It was not so long ago, on what would’ve been an average, ordinary weeknight of sweet loving making and transcendent romantic bonding (read: watching Colbert clips on YouTube and folding laundry) when Matt said those six little words that would change everything:
“I want to do community theater.”
Ladies, I have to tell you. I couldn’t have been more surprised if he had told me he was Bloomberg’s pick for a running mate. I’ve worked hard to distance myself from my previous life as an actor and model in NYC—a foot model, but still: a model!
When a gal moves her family to the south she thinks she’s safe from these shenanigans! “Hells to the no,” I said.
Being in a play is a huge commitment, and we are very busy people with full-time jobs, complex carpool scenarios, daily constitutionals for the Doodle dog, entrepreneurial seedlings sprouting up everywhere, and those Stephen Colbert clips aren’t going to watch themselves. (He says new things every night. It takes diligence to keep up!)
He asked that I hear him out…
It turns out some of his oldest friends, his old poker crew, four of whom happen to be working actors, were mounting a production of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” at Theater Charlotte. A recurring bit in the play is Oscar Madison’s regular poker night, and they had invited Matt to play one of the supporting poker buddy roles. Art mirroring life with the added benefit of no actual gambling losses. They cherry-picked the director, the crew and had this really awesome vision for a top-notch and super fun, theater/life experience.
Matt’s heartfelt pitch, softened me slightly for about a minute until I learned that rehearsals were four or five nights a week (!!!) and ALL DAY (!!!) on Sundays!
Cue the crazy:
Absolutely not. Shut ‘er down. That’s a big ol’ NO. You’re too busy. I’m too busy. Doesn’t work! The end. Thanks for playing.
Luckily that was just my internal monologue, and because I’ve been up to this transformational coaching work for the past seven years, I was able to keep the fear-based stuff where it belonged – on the inside, in Panic Town – and really lean into Matt’s ask; really listen to where he was coming from. This mattered to him. His friends were creating something magical and they wanted him to be a part of it. He really wanted to be a part of it. I hadn’t seen him that excited about something since he started Creative Mornings. Once I was able to really hear him, I realized what an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this was, and I became excited too! Which is how I was able to pivot from “hell no” to HELL, YES!
Seven years ago, B.C. (before coaching), it would have been a wildly different experience. I might’ve said yes to be a “good wife.” Because “good wives” don’t quash the joy of those they love, at least not right out of the gate. I would have said yes because I would’ve felt I had to. That it was the “right thing to do.” But beneath that righteousness, I would have been stressedout, resentful, and likely scheming for retribution. And there would’ve been a whole lotta “guess why I’m being an ice princess” low-rung community theater performances at our house. Oh, yes, there would have been a Shittiness Tax that damn well needed to be paid, and I would have reminded him, oh so humbly, that he should feel grateful for the miraculous luck that made me his wife.
Nowadays in the A.C. (after coaching) era I can say yes without begrudging, because we have learned to practice the art of co-creation to meet our needs. When there’s something we really truly want, we are confident we can create it. I’ve also learned to embrace my own humanity which means I’m able to ask for what I need out loud and without the unnecessary – and not terribly effective – ice-down treatments. And when I’m feeling unappreciated? I ask Matt for acknowledgement.
We knew how to do the work to make it work. We started to look at what it would take.
So, what did this couple do about “The Odd Couple?” We got busy creating. We trimmed the fat by saying no to the things that didn’t support our commitments and goals. We played with time. We asked ourselves what extra support we would need to make this dream a reality for Matt. Cue Matt’s parents, Don and Sall, who deserve a standing ovation for how they showed up for us.
Lo and behold, it all worked out. And it was awesome.
I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t moments, barely audible whispers of all-I-do-is-emptythis-dishwasher-and-make-chicken-nuggets when I felt the weight of the extra items on my “todo” list. But there was some unexpected joy to offset that: extra mother-daughter time with Mirabelle. By choosing yes, I created time for us to have leisurely dinners, dance parties, high-class murder mystery sleuthing (Clue), and movie nights with extra snuggles.
And Matt? Matt had a blast! He would go to rehearsal super-stressed from work, and he would come home light as a feather. It was pure joy for him. As he put it, “Sarah, it’s just something that’s all for fun. There’s nothing about work, there’s nothing about money, there’s nothing about trying to advance anything. It’s all about just having fun.”
I thought that was the coolest damn thing. If I had listened to fear, I would’ve put the kibosh on the whole scenario and all three Olins would’ve missed out on a really magical experience. We need to be having the fun! Or else…. What’s it all about?
Are you having enough of the fun, mamas?
With love and lusciousness,
Sarah + Anna
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