Category Archives: Marriage

Married (and fighting) with Children

I have met some really neat people this year. Like Otis. And Santa Clause. And Emily Patridge, M.M.F.T., a pre-licensed and under supervision child therapist in Nashville, TN.

She is a part of the Tartar Sauce Club (even though she hasn’t made it to a meeting yet, dang prayer meetings!). Since she is a pre-licensed child therapist and this blog is quickly becoming All Baby All the Time, I thought it’d be fun to have her answer questions about kids, parenting and survival (for both us and them). Also, SHE HAS A PLAYROOM. So cool.
Anyways, Emily, I’m turning it over to you!

Me Random Parent:
No parent in their heart of hearts wants to confuse or hurt their baby (or young children). Even if the parents aren’t yellers, heated discussions and/or arguments can be very dramatic, confusing and hurtful for babies and children.
How can a couple fight now that they have a baby/children in the house? 
parents fighting
Emily: Well, I think that it is very wise to be cautious and concerned about the way spouses disagree and/or work out their problems in front of their children. Even though some may disagree with me, I encourage all parents to go ahead and disagree with each other especially in front of their child(ren). I think that taking the squabble into another part of the house or waiting until the child is asleep or at the Grandparent’s house would be a huge disservice to the little one if the baby (or even older child) never witnessed Mommy and Daddy not seeing eye to eye.

I think that it is important to try and stay calm when having a dispute, often bringing in humor into the conversation can lighten the tone or even change the mood of the argument. But, it’s quite all right to let your fighting have an emotional tone to it. You let your child see you when you are laughing, when you are quiet, when you are excited- why wouldn’t you let your child see you when you are upset or angry? By letting your child see you (and your husband) display all emotions, you are setting prescience for your child’s emotional life. Emotions are all great; it’s the behaviors that come from the emotions that parent’s need to be careful with.

So, I encourage you to let your feelings be known and to state your point of view to your spouse BUT I caution you and your spouse not to scream, holler, throw things, name call, slam doors, jump in the car and spin the tires or heaven forbid threaten or physically harm one another. Why not try to calmly communicate with one another? Letting the fight get ugly doesn’t make your argument a better case, actually it makes you seem like an uneducated fool who is out of control. Trying to compromise, ahem, actually learning to compromise with one another, taking turns and backing down (even though you know you are right) are more than likely the skills that you want your children to have and to use when interacting with his peers. I challenge you to model these behaviors for your children, as we all know children learn by our examples and the examples of behavior shown to them not just by what we tell them to do.

Emily Patridge

Emily Patridge Counseling is a safe place for children to engage in therapeutic play, for parents to receive guidance, support and counsel, and for teens and adults of all ages and stages to repair themselves with the help of an honest, nonthreatening guide. 
2209 Crestmoor Road, Suite 320 
Nashville, TN 37215

The time I lied

I went to go pick up Otis’ big boy car seat the other day. I thought I wouldn’t have to get this seat until his year old birthday. But when you’re 24 pounds at 7 months certain milestones come at you a  little faster.

So I went to Wal-mart’s Site to Store pick up. Which requires id. Which I have. In an assortment of names. Because I’m lazy and should have gone with my gut and just became an Oates. Double last names are not fun. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

I go to pick up the car seat and the girl checks my id against my email. She’s super sweet. So sweet that you’re really not sure how to interpret her…

Walmart Girl: So your id says McKinney-Oates and the order is for McKinney…

Me: (interrupting her) Yeah, let me explain…

Walmart Girl: And it says that Mark Oates can pick up, too. So I’m putting two and two together…

Me: Yeah, we were married. I mean, are married. We aren’t divorced.

Walmart Girl: Soooo when was the big day???

From her excited tone I know she thinks the “big day” happened recently. Because only newlyweds still have an assortment of names, right? I don’t want to keep the focus on my mismatched identity so I just go with it.

Me: A couple months ago. It’s great. But still getting all the name changes sorted out…

I think we’re going to drop it. But no.

Walmart Girl: Oh, I know it’s hard. My friend has been married a year and hasn’t gotten it all done. A year! Crazy.

Me: Ahem. Yeah, that’s crazy!

So she kept talking about her crazy friend who didn’t change all of her identification immediately and was still getting mail at her parent’s house. Gasp. And all I could think was that Otis was a McKinney on everything while we were at the hospital because I never changed my name on my insurance. And all of our insurance correspondence? Still goes to my parents’ house. 3 years. But I wasn’t going to share that.

A girl comes around the corner with my two huge car seats.

I immediately realize that I’d told this girl I’d only been married for a couple of months and am now picking up two car seats. The Teenage Christian Guilt attacked and all of a sudden I desperately wanted to share that we were married long before we were pregnant. Because God forbid she think the baby was conceived out of wedlock. Except telling her we were married 3 years ago would mean admitting that I was, well, a liar. And I was at least 3 times as shameful as her friend still getting mail at her parents’ house.

It was clearly a lose-lose situation. So I just let her think whatever she wanted and went on my lying, Baby Momma way.

Because that’s how I roll.

Lean on Me

It was hot, we were hungry and Mark and I were quickly losing any loving feelings. It was a Grumpy Sunday and a perfect recipe for the following conversation…

Me: I’m tired of waiting on God.

Mark: What do you mean?

Me: I don’t really know. I just feel like I’ve been praying and asking and looking for Him for so long. And nothing is different. Nothing has changed. And I’m getting tired. I want to… I want to quit.

The conversation ended without any answers or resolution because we were home and about to be less hot and more fed so life was bearable again.

The rest of the day consisted of naps and ice cream and trying to get Otis to roll over. Grumpy Sunday was slowly turning into lazy Sunday.

Around 9pm Mark started playing his piano and I was on the floor trying to negotiate a roll out of little man. Usually, when Mark plays or practices he does so with earbuds so that we can’t hear him. That night he played so we could hear.

Me: That’s really pretty.

Mark: If you come over here I’ll sing it to you.

Me: C’mon, Otis. Let’s go listen to Daddy.

I picked Otis up and Mark started singing…

 What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

I was swaying back and forth with Otis in my arms and God opened my eyes to how much He has blessed me. Is blessing me.

I was holding my sweet baby and listening to my husband sing a beautiful song to our Lord. My car doesn’t have air conditioning, I don’t really know where we’ll live next year and we seem at a loss for how Mark can provide for our family through music… and at the same time? We are blessed. Right now. Today.

Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning on the everlasting arms. I looked down at Otis who had his head on my chest, quietly listening to his dad. He wasn’t anxious or freaking out. He was safe and he knew it.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

I realized I wasn’t waiting on God. God was waiting on me. Waiting for me to lean on Him. Waiting for me to recognize that He is who He says He is.

And that’s the story of how Sunday went from grumpy to grateful.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
   and lean not on your own understanding; 
 in all your ways submit to him, 
   and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Not a time to be cheap. Unless you want to die.

Mark: Do you think I should watch the childbirth class again? Because there was a lot of information.

Me:  I think you’re ok.

Mark: Are you sure? Because I’m thinking I should take notes.

Can I just say that the idea of Mark referring to his notes while I’m in labor makes my heart gush. He’s adorable.

Me: No, I really think you’re going to be ok.

Mark: Yeah, you’re probably right. The midwives will be there and they can tell us what we need to do.

Me: The midwives will be there, but just so you know don’t expect them to be with us the entire time. I mean, we could go into labor with every girl in Nashville and they could possibly be spread pretty thin. But you’re going to be ok. Promise.

Mark: They aren’t going to be with us the entire time? Then what are they getting paid for?

Oh dear. He just pulled out the budget. I was going to have to lay down the law. Gently, but firmly.

Me:  Let me just interrupt you real quick with a friendly Public Service Announcement from your favorite crazy pregnant lady. If I even think I hear you ask someone at the hospital how much something costs while a watermelon is coming out of a peanut just consider yourself dead. No. I’m not kidding. There are times to look for “deals” and to be aware of the “budget” and watching your DEARLY BELOVED WIFE deliver your first born is, just so you know, NOT one of those times. Thank you for your time and attention.

Hopefully, I made myself clear.

Baby Birthing 101

I love directions. LOVE directions. If you tell me that you’d like for me to go and slay a dragon in the mythical land of Hobgoblin and you give me a map and a copy of “How to Slay Dragons for Dummies” I’d actually consider trying because having directions makes me feel safe and warm on the inside.

I even love having directions for things I already know how to do. Like shampoo my hair or microwave Spaghettios.

Spaghettios are so good.

When we found out we were pregnant everyone suggested that I read all sorts of books about being pregnant. Surprisingly, I didn’t buy a single book about pregnancy despite my love for directions because I figured there wasn’t much that I could do. Marshmall-Otis was going to do his “grow into a human” thing and, barring picking up a severe addiction to heroine, there wasn’t much that I could do that would seriously hurt him.

I did become obsessed, however, with labor and delivery. As you all know, labor is what freaks me out the most.

*side note: I keep making jokes about watermelons coming out of peanut holes and I thought I was exaggerating. But I’m not. According to Babble, on Week 39 Marshmall-Otis really will be the size of a small watermelon. You’ve got to be kidding me.

For me, knowing as much as I could about what to expect while in labor and what I could do to help make that labor as painless as possible was really important. If I want to be reminded what kind of container to put my Spaghettios in (microwave safe for the uninformed) then I sure as heck want to know how to tell what stage of labor I’m in. Continue reading

Pregnancy Hint, Hint

First Trimester:

Mark: Hey, you want to Hint, Hint?
Me: Um, sure…But only if you promise I don’t have to move. And that you won’t get offended if I fall asleep. Or barf.

Sex is like a roller coaster. And not in the good way.


Second Trimester:

Mark: So I read that pregnancy makes women more down for the Hint, Hint. You wanna?
Me: I still haven’t met “that woman”. I don’t know anyone that is all “give it to me, baby” when they are pregnant. Those books are obviously written by men. Men who want to make women feel bad for not being like these fantasy pregnant women who only gain 25 pounds their entire pregnancy and want to have sex like rabbits and probably give the husband foot rubs because, gosh, it sure is hard to be you.
Mark: Yeah… I think I have some Star Trek episodes to catch up on.

Third Trimester:

Mark: Hey, you want to Hint, Hint?
Me: I’m fat. And you did this to me. Die. But if it’s really important to you, then sure. Just do your thing. I’m going to lay here.

I feel like a whale.

When Google Becomes Your Midwife and Mark’s Biggest Fear

I had a midwife appointment yesterday and was told some things that, basically, freaked me the hellz out.

My blood pressure was on the high side.

My fundal height measurement (the length from the top of my pubic bone to the top of my uterus) was a little larger than expected.

Drink more water.

And I was reminded that I’ll probably want to lose all of the weight that I’ve put on during this pregnancy so, ya know, don’t go crazy. There are still 7 weeks left in this pregnancy, after all.

I’m sure that there was a day when you could tell a pregnant woman these things and she’d go on with her day, drink an extra glass of water before bed and put the bag of potato chips up until the next day.

That day no longer exists.

Because now? Now I have Google, my personal midwife assistant. And Google allowed me to get a little bit more informed. Or crazy. Whatever.

Blood pressure that’s on the high side? Sure, it’s probably because all I’d eaten up to that point in the day was cold pizza, but  I could probably have pre-eclampsia. Which can result in MATERNAL DEATH according to Wiki.

Marie’s Google-assisted assessment: Maternal death is imminent. Put something funny on my tombstone. Or I’ll haunt you.

Large fundal height measurements? Maybe he’s just in a funny position. Or he’s a freakishly large child that will wreak havoc on my nether regions.

Marie’s Google-assisted assessment: I’m never having sex again. Partly because of the damage Humongo Baby will unleash on the hoo ha, but also because I’LL BE DEAD.

Needless to say, I was panicking. Like, straight up cried into Mark’s arms this morning mourning the loss of so many things. My intact nether regions, french fries, my pre-baby body, and potentially my LIFE.

As I went through the list of all the things that were wrong and that could KILL ME, Mark reassured me that everything was going to be ok, but he had a question…

Mark: I thought we had 8 weeks?

Me: Yeah, I thought so, too. I guess I was wrong. She said I was on week 33.

Mark: So does that mean he’s coming out… sooner?

Yes, I’m CRYING because I only have SEVEN WEEKS TO LIVE, and Mark’s true biggest fear is revealed:

Marshmall-Otis killing me debuting sooner than expected.


* My blood pressure was 136/84 and the line is 140/90. I’m close, but (they say) I’m not dead yet. And my fundal height thing was 1 cm more than expected, healthcare professionals don’t “worry” until it’s 2 cm more.

**I told you I was dramatic.

***And don’t worry, my fears about death are totally normal according to Babble.

If Otis had been a girl…

Oh, the drama of Otis’ name continues to unfold. I’m pretty impressed with how our little Marshmallow continues to accumulate evidence in support of such a quirky name.

However, I’m going to hold on just a bit on telling you more about my Otis correspondence (yes! Big Otis WROTE BACK. He’s great). And share a different stage of the name game…

Before we knew Marshmallow was a boy.

Mark: What do you think about the name Paige if we have a girl?

Me: Oh, I like that. Definite contender. I’m curious, what makes you like it?

Mark: When I was younger I knew a girl named Paige. She was really cute.

Me: You want to name our baby after a girl you had a crush on?

Words that weren’t necessary to actually speak out loud because my face was saying it loud and clear: Hellz noez.

Mark:  Umm…

Me: We are not naming our baby, the one we had SEX to conceive, after a “girl you thought was cute”. Are you out of your mind? Have you even met me? What part of my crazy hormones and irrational jealousy made you think that might be a good idea?

Mark: Got it. Paige is off the table. Please put the knife down.

So I’m curious, did anyone even think about naming their baby after a former crush/flame?  And what I am really asking is, am I the crazy one for getting jealous (probably) or is Mark insane for not just lying to me (definitely)?

Can you feel The Burn? And I might be talking about hell…

I don’t have many deep thoughts. I know that surprises you, given the philosophical nature of this blog, but seriously, I’m not the one you go to when you’ve got deep theological questions burning a hole in your head.  Now if you want the ‘entrée’ of all the combo meals at McDonald’s? I’m totally your girl.

This weekend, however, I got to swimming in the deep end of the pool and have these two questions:

1) In the first chapter of Exodus the Pharaoh orders the midwives to kill the Hebrew boys, but the midwives fear God and won’t do it. When Pharaoh asks why they (in my understanding) lie and say that the Hebrew women are too good at giving birth and they don’t get there in time. And God is good to the midwives. Is this not lying? And why is God cool with it? Please feel free to comment if you have some insight into this.

2) My wardrobe consists of only blue jeans right now. Sometimes I feel bad about this because I wear blue jeans all the time to church now. You could tell me the Pope was going to be there on Sunday and I still probably wouldn’t dress up. Unless the Pope wanted to buy me a pair of dressy maternity pants, of course. Then I’d think about it.

Regardless, dressing up for church has been explained to me as being important because it brings honor to God and is presenting your best to our Lord. Got it. But here in the Bible belt you are supposed to go to church on Sunday and Wednesday night. And on Wednesday night it’s typically the exact same format as Sunday morning worship (3 songs and a sermon), but it’s like Casual Friday at work and you could go there in your workout clothes, if you felt so inclined, and no one would bat a lash. And I guess what I’m wondering is, why don’t you have to dress up for Wednesday night church? Should God just be happy you showed up for an extra hour and not expect your best outfit? I’m really just curious.


I share my two “deep thoughts” for the year with my husband on the way to church yesterday…

Me:  Why can’t I go to church in my workout clothes on Sunday? Like, if I was going to The YMCA after Wednesday service I could go in my workout clothes, but if I wanted to workout after Sunday’s service I’d have to bring clothes to change? What is up with that?

Mark: Hmm… you’ve hit on something really interesting…

Let me pause and explain something real quick. My husband is deep thoughts incarnate. He likes to think of the philosophical, theological, and intellectual aspect of everything. Everything. This is awesome in my world because I get to talk about whether farts in the shower truly are stinkier than dry air farts and don’t lose any IQ points because I’m married to that guy over there reading Kierkegaard.

So when he said that I had hit on “something really interesting” I thought I really had said something interesting.

Like, theologically interesting.

Like, “Paul makes the same PROFOUND point in Romans” interesting.

So then I went fishing…

Me:  Really? Interesting, you say. What’s interesting about what I said? (begins arranging my theological peacock feathers)

Mark:   Well, you know how at the gym they have those Cardio Theaters where you can get on treadmills and watch movies at the same time? Why not do the same thing, but with sermons? I bet lots of people would love to get their spiritual exercise at the same time as their physical exercise. It’s a neat idea for a church…

The only profundity that my deep thinker husband could find in me was a Jesus Gym?

Womp, womp, indeed.

I appreciate his honesty. I think. #reverb10

What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
(Author: Victoria Klein)

I will forever and always appreciate the fact that my husband is, for the most part, very honest with me.

Last night me, Mark and our roommate, Kevin, were sitting in the living room watching Monday Night Football when the conversation turned to Facebook…

Kevin: Yeah, one of the guys in the band makes sure to change his Facebook status every night. I barely check my stuff once a week.

Me: Wow. Um. That’s crazy. I guess?

Kevin: What’s funny is that one time his FB status got one of the guys in the band in trouble. He put something up about what we’d done that day and another band member’s wife saw it and she got mad. Apparently, he’d told her we were doing one thing and she found out he lied.

Mark: Man, I would have just told her that the other dude was smoking dope and didn’t know what day it was and I didn’t lie to her.

Me: (Laughing) Wait. Really? That would’ve been your advice?

Mark: I mean, um… heh?

I also appreciate having a male roommate so that I get to find out what my husband really thinks.

Oh, and I said “Thank you” by making him a bed. On the couch.