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Family

How I Keep My Polyam Family On Time

After a year of lockdowns, and an abundance of time on our hands, 2021 has come in deciding to shake it all up. These past 4 months have given us more things to do and take care of than the time to do them in. So how do we manage it? Google. Prayers. Dry erase calendars. And bullet journals. But mostly Google.

New things

Late last year I started a new job. A quiet, fairly cozy office job that gave me two things: income and time away. I love my family, that should go without saying. However, I am a hard introvert. I require alone time to recharge from peopling. This new job gives me that. It gives me a break from the all day peopling of being a mom and girlfriend and metamour 24/7. It allows me to be me for several hours a day. Granted, there is still a lot of peopling involved in my job. And there are days I come home utterly exhausted, wanting nothing more than to sit in my bedroom in the dark and quiet for a good hour. But overall, this job and the time away it gives, is a huge blessing. I am a happier and a more present mom, girlfriend, and metamour.

The girls started new school schedules this year as well. Two days each week in person with their peers. Plus, Sass added after school clubs to her day. And both have decided they had had enough of social distancing and not seeing friends during the worst of the Pandemic. They have both been social butterflies (within a small group of equally covid-conscious friends.) Now all of this requires coordinating drop offs and pick ups for the both of them at various times. Thank God for Lovey taking all of this on. And thank God for Bats, who has been available and willing to sit with Munchkin when these pick ups happen during nap times. 

Unexpected changes

Bats, as ya’ll know, moved in with us this year as well. With that comes learning and adjusting to a new person’s schedule. Finding ways to adjust your own schedule to make sure everyone has time with each other in the various configurations, and by themselves. The move also came with a fairly large project that required it’s own scheduling. It was not something any of us were expecting, but that all of us are excited for when it is finally finished.

Boyfriend left his previous jobs at the end of 2020 and dove headlong into a new one. He has also been spending more time in his Dad role with his own kids, something he hadn’t had as much time for with his previous jobs. And getting to see how much happier he is this year has been so nice. It’s enough to make a girl fall in love all over again. But of course, with everything between the two households, finding time for just me and him has been tricky.

So how do we manage all these different schedules now? Google. And the All-Mighty Dry Erase Calendar.

For the love of planners

In my former life, I was an avid planner user. I loved shopping for the perfect new planner every year, and finding the perfect new pens to go with it. Going to the office supply store, or my local Target, and flipping through all the options to find the one that had the right mix of monthly and weekly pages, the right aesthetic, the right size… It was so much fun, and something I looked forward to every time. (I know, I’m a bit of a nerd.) 

In January 2020, I decided I was going to try my hand at Bullet Journaling. I was feeling extra creative after watching way too many Youtube videos of people designing their spreads. Not to mention the mountain of ideas I had from scrolling Pinterest boards dedicated to art of it all. 

Things were going great. I was drawing and coloring and tweaking and, most important, actually using this beautiful planner. And then… Coronavirus. My last spread was for April. I even got cheeky and themed the month with little Coronaviruses all over each page. Poor thing never had a chance. 

This year, I think I’ll pick it up again. We’ve gotten busy. I’m starting to feel that creative itch again. So we’ll see. Maybe May will see the revival of my beloved bullet Journal. To be used in conjunction with my current method: the All-Mighty Google Calendar.

Trusty calendars

Now, if you’re not familiar with Google Calendar, where have you been? (Just kidding!) It is easy, convenient (doesn’t everybody have a gmail address now?), sharable, and it let’s you color code every little thing. I love color coding! Each person in the house has their own color. Even sets of people have their own color. For example: the kids. This little group of 3 humans has 4 colors! Between Lovey, Bats, and myself, we have 5 colors! Its fabulous! Makes it so easy to read at a glance to see who has what going on when. 

Of course, this all carries over to my Dry Erase Calendar too. The poor thing was being used most of last year. It made it further into 2020 than my poor BuJo. But eventually it got tired and just fell off the wall. And none of us had the mental energy to put the big empty calendar back up to remind us that we still couldn’t do things. But this month! This month it made it’s return!

April 2021 looks a lot different than April 2020. Our lockdowns and restrictions are lifting. We have vaccines! School is mostly back in session. We are making plans again to do things with our close friends and family. Our household has grown, and our polycule too. Life is slowly returning to a new version of what it was before. So it’s time to dust off those calendars, remember those passwords, and make those plans!

Sound off!

How do you guys keep your family plans straight? Are you a digital calendar user? Prefer traditional notebook planners? Or some combination of everything? Share your tricks below!

If you haven’t subscribed to our newletter, you can do so below. I’ll send you some printable stickers to add to your planner for all the Queer Holidays coming up.

Categories
Family Polyamory

Big Family, Little House. It’s Time for an Upgrade!

Have you ever seen that meme floating around? I’m talking about the one that points out the absurdity of buying a house (or renting one) with less than three incomes. It makes a good case for polyamory in just a few short words without meaning to. I imagine, for people without kids and those three incomes, it is probably easier to find a house. Certainly more affordable. And, depending on your dynamics, a small house of 2-3 bedrooms is easy enough to come across.

The trouble appears when you are a polycule of 3 adults, 3 kids, and multiple pets. All of whom like their space.

Our current home dynamics

Currently, there are 6 humans living under our roof. Bats, Lovey, and I, plus the kids. All cramped into a small 3 bedroom house. Granted, the plan was not for Bats to move in at all until we bought a home large enough for all of us. But sometimes things happen and our timelines get adjusted. And having Bats with us these last several months has been so amazing. Not to mention a nice little test run to see how we all get along 24/7. (Hint: fabulously! Read my metamour gush for a look at our special relationship.)

So now we are trying to bump up our house buying timeline. We have all realized that we need more space.

The reasons we need a new house

Reason One

We have 2 teenagers. And they are currently sharing a room. Their personalities are just opposite enough that this causes more discord than harmony. Especially on weekends and school breaks. Our Covid Quarantine has not helped.

Reason Two

Munchkin is sharing his room with Bats’ office. They work from home 5 days a week. And most of that time is speaking on the phone. Toddlers are not great at keeping quiet during work hours. Or any hours really. They are small beings whose only desire is to make as much noise as possible at all times.

Reason Three

This may be a little TMI, but it’s my current reality. And a huge consideration for us. Queen sized beds were not meant for 3 grown adults to share. And bedroom sets, with their two dressers and two nightstands, aren’t designed that way either. Sure, there is the occasional night when someone has insomnia and stays on the couch to let the others sleep. Or when someone has the opportunity to spend the night at another partner’s house. But those are exceptions, and do not happen on any regular schedule.

Reason Four

The pets! We now have four cats. Sure they seem small and easy. Cats sleep all day right? But anyone who lives with these little fluff balls knows the truth. They take up a lot more space than you’d think. Plus, Bats’ poor doggo isn’t with us. He was sent to live with Bats’ brother for the time being. No fenced in yard at our current home and the already cramped space made it a better choice for him. And don’t worry! He is quite happy and loved where he is. But we miss him. And wish he could with us too.

The steps to getting that house

Step one: Get our credit in gear. They should really teach these things in school. Credit scores can make or break your house buying. So of course, they are easy to tank and hard to build back up.

Step two: Get pre-approved for that mortgage. And make that wish list. Need a kitchen island? Hate open floor plans? Write it all down! Nothing is too much or too silly. It’s a Wish List. But make sure as you’re writing these things down that you know what is absolutely not negotiable. For us, that is the number of bedrooms.

Step three: Start looking. Now Bats and I already are, and have been for quite a bit. That’s what Zillow is for, right? To look at homes and dream. Or laugh. So far though, we haven’t found a whole lot of options. Part of it is budget. We know what we can afford and refuse to go over. Part of it is that wish list. We know what our musts are and what we can compromise on. And part of it is our local market. It’s a seller’s paradise here right now. Homes are being sold in days for over the asking price, time and time again. With most being listed over our budget or right at the high end of it, we are priced out from the start.

But we have hope. We have steps one and two to get through first. And we are not looking for a perfect house. Just a home that gives us all a little more space to stretch. It’s out there, waiting for us. I believe we’ll find it sooner, rather than later.

Categories
Family Polyamory

How A Surprise Pregnancy Brought Us All Closer

In June of 2017 I met Boyfriend. In August I found out I was pregnant. The next nine months would prove the most important in our polyamorous journey.

Boyfriend and I connected online, through a dating app of all places. And it was a click that happened almost instantaneously for both of us. We spent the next month texting back and forth, marveling at the ease with which it was to talk and joke and laugh and tease. And then we had our first date. And the physical sparks flew, adding to that instant connection. We marveled at it all. At how crazy it was that we hadn’t known each other for longer, because it certainly felt like it. At the fact that we were so connected, on so many levels, so quickly. And at how those lovey-dovey feelings were starting to develop even then, so very very soon after meeting.

And then a huge curveball. A regular doctor’s appointment at my local Planned Parenthood to re-up my birth control. And instead of the super fun exam I got a piece of paper that said very plainly: PREGNANT.

Son of a Bucket! That was certainly unexpected.

So, how was this going to work? How much do I tell my new person? A person I had not called my boyfriend yet. Our relationship was 3 months in, barely. And yes, the connection was there and amazing and there were feelings starting to stir, but… a baby? That can change a lot, everything.

Not to mention the effect it would have on my relationship with Lovey. A new baby was not something we were planning on anytime soon. We had just started this polyamory journey after some very Dark Years. We were still honeymooning, it felt like. And boom. A new little life was starting, threatening to upend everything we were working toward rebuilding.

But let me tell you… Munchkin has been the biggest blessing on this journey with Lovey & Boyfriend.

Familiar & unfamiliar territory

Lovey and I had been down this road before. So we quickly fell into the roles we knew: pregnant mom & expectant dad, happily anticipating the new arrival and counting down the weeks and milestones. This time we even had Sass and Crumbs to get excited with us. And boy did they!

Boyfriend and I… Well, as I said, we hadn’t even labeled anything yet. But I needed to be honest and let him know. Those crazy pregnancy hormones would show up eventually. So I pulled up my big girl panties, and broke the news that I was pregnant. And he took it in stride. He was on board to fill whatever roll I needed or wanted him to fill. And those changed often throughout the next 8 months. I’m pretty sure I fell completely in love with him at that point.

In a matter of months, we went from a family of 4 to a family of 6. Because by the time Munchkin made his debut, Boyfriend was a part of my family. He was fully in. There was no backing out. And Lovey was on board with it all too.

There were certainly some hiccups. Being Boyfriend’s schedule made it hard enough for us to see each other on the regular. So finding extra time to spend with all of us was tricky. But it didn’t stop anything. We had the uncomfortable discussions over text when we couldn’t all be together in person. And we shared pictures and updates everyday. It was exhausting, but it was so worth it. He got to be a part of it all. And I got to share that amazing 9 month journey with 2 men I truly loved.

One lucky little duck

Munchkin is lucky. He came into this world with so many adults loving him. So many adults waiting for him. He wasn’t the last piece in our puzzle, but he was an important one.

Then several short months later, Bats found us. And there was this whole new person who fell in love with Munchkin. They quickly became another staple in his life.

He will grow up, surrounded by a large family full of love. Two big sisters ready to move heaven and earth for him, and take on anyone who dares be mean. Four adults who fill the roles of parents and caretakers, that will watch over him for the rest of our days. And all of the extended family from this core group. That is one lucky little duck.

Categories
Family Polyamory

Are Metamours the Best Kept Secret in Polyamory?

I have wanted a metamour relationship for longer than I knew the word existed. Before Lovey and I embarked on this polyamory journey, I had quietly wished for a family style that would give me a relationship that was deeper than sisterhood. A relationship that was part friendship, part sister, part partner. I have friends, best friends I’ve known for ages who know me better than I know myself sometimes. I have a sister.  But we aren’t as close as I wish we were. Distance, age, personalities, all played a part in keeping our relationship more distant than I’d like. And I have partners. Two men I love more than almost anything else in this world. And who love me the same.

Thankfully, the type of relationship, of connection, I’ve been wanting exists in polyamory. And I have been lucky enough to find it.

Something unique

I’m talking, of course, about metamours. Those people who have no connection to us except for the fact that they are dating our partner. In my life, that person is Bats. And did we luck out with them. Let me preface this by pointing out that not all metamour relationships are great. Not all metamours want to be friends or have any kind of relationship with their partner’s other partners. It all depends on the person. And that’s okay. But when they do, when the relationships form on their own, it can be pretty amazing.

To an outsider, it might seem very odd to form such a close bond with a person who is dating your partner. Odder still to want it. There are even some in the polyamorous community who prefer that separation between them and their partner’s partners. Sometimes this is referred as a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell relationship style.

But for many, the metamour relationship is something they look forward to building.

In the real world

I am very quiet and introverted, and don’t make friends easily. I learned, growing up as a military brat, that nothing is permanent. And friendships didn’t typically last long past the next move.  So, if someone made it into my inner circle, they were there for life.

So imagine my wariness when Lovey met Bats, and they kept coming around. I liked them instantly. They were fun and geeky in much the same ways I was. And, probably most importantly, they brought out a side of Lovey I hadn’t seen in a long time.

This, in my view, is one of the best parts of polyamory. You get to watch your person, your partner, come alive again with someone new. Without the threat or insecurity, without the worry that they will leave. You can just enjoy who they are with this new person.

Our metamour relationship

Our friendship was slow to start. But then in November, we discovered a common challenge to build on. It was NaNoWriMo, a month long writing challenge that I had been participating in on and off for years. And so had Bats. By the end of it, we were friends. And now, a year and change later, we are closer than I could have hoped for.

We have weathered a pandemic, and made it through a harrowing election season together. We have celebrated birthdays and holidays together. And most recently, we have shared in the grief of losing a beloved pet.

Bats supports my relationship with Lovey in a way I haven’t experienced before. They celebrate anniversaries with us, and have even “babysat” so Lovey and I could have a date night. Outside my relationship, they support me in new adventures, and cheer me on whenever I reach a goal or accomplishment. the best

A definite perk

Metamour relationships are amazing. A great one can positively impact your relationship with your partner, and even bring you closer together.

They are not magical. It takes work, like any other relationship. But that work is easier somehow because they are in your corner, cheering you on.

Tell me about your metamours! How have they impacted your life? Or your relationship with your shared partner?

Categories
Family Polyamory

Meal Planning & Polyamory. The Perk No One Talks About

There are a million posts and articles out there about the benefits of polyamory, including some by yours truly. They talk about things like freedom, and autonomy, and support. But there are some perks that don’t get as much airtime. And one of those is meal planning help.

If you, like me, have a fairly large family living under one roof, you know that any help around meal time can be a godsend. I don’t know about you, but my days are pretty busy. Munchkin takes up the majority of my time during the days. And in the evenings I’m off to the office for work. I also have this blog and other writing projects I juggle in between. So cooking dinner for my family is not high on the list of things I enjoy doing every single night. Shocking, I know.

As for the others in the house, well Lovey’s work keeps him out of the house all day at least 5 days a week. Sometimes more, depending on the season. Sass & Crumbs are still learning their way around the kitchen, and have the palates of a toddler most days. Not to mention the school work and friend time they fit into their days.  So dinner & meal planning inevitably falls to mom.

Some months, I can get my ducks in a row long enough to work out a meal plan. But then those ducks decide to run amuck, and Poof! There’s goes the meal plan. And the kids end up eating more ramen than they probably should. And it doesn’t seem to matter which meal planning technique I try. I’ve done the calendar, the list, the weekly, the bi-weekly, etc. You name it, I’ve tried it.  It always falls apart sometime before the plan ends.

But! The last couple of months, Bats has been staying with us. They teamed up with me to help make dinners and do some meal planning. And let me tell you, it has been a game changer!

How we do it

At the end of the month, we make a list of about 21 meals for the next month. Some new recipes we’ve been itching to try out. Some classics that everybody loves, like spaghetti and tacos. And some easy ones for those crazy days where everyone seems to have a million things going at once. We found that 21 gives us just enough to not feel overwhelmed with the prospect of having to cook every day, while also giving us flexibility to order out once in a while. And it leaves days open to get through the leftovers that fill the fridge, because there are always leftovers!

Once the list is done, Bats & I pull the recipes together from their various sources and make out a big grocery list of everything we will need. Things that won’t keep for the whole month, like salad and rolls, are left off to be picked up on an as needed basis. Everything else gets picked up in one big shopping trip. Bulk stores like Costco are great for this! After the shopping list is made, the recipes & meals list go on the fridge together for easy reference.

Sticking to just a simple list instead of a calendar spread gives us more flexibility too. We can pick and choose what we feel like that day. It also lets us adjust how much time we have available to do the chopping and prepping and cooking, without having to rearrange a whole slew of other meals. And, since we do our shopping for the meals all at once, we don’t have to worry about not having the right ingredients at the right time. Except maybe for those salads or rolls we want.

Big Events & Meal Planning Ruts

Big meal events will probably be easier too. Not that there have been many so far. The beginning of the year thankfully doesn’t have a whole lot of those. But we got to practice with the Super Bowl this month, planning out snacks and drinks to enjoy during the game. Everything could be divvied up depending on who was home when.

Another great part of this is the variety! I don’t know about you, but our family gets into food ruts. We recycle the same old recipes over and over, despite the good intentions of wanting to try new things. But now, there is a whole other human in the mix! And they have different tastes. It also helps that Bats enjoys some of the things Lovey enjoys that I do not. Poor Lovey hasn’t had regular seafood meals in ages because the smell is just… a big no for me. But Bats loves all of that. So when I’m out, they cook up the seafood dishes just for the two of them.

Breakfast and lunches are still all over the place. But at least dinners have been made easier. We have regular, yummy meals that mostly everyone enjoys. And when a particular recipe is a big hit, it gets marked to have it again. Eventually we’ll get through all the recipes we’ve added to our cookbooks. Maybe. If we stay off of Pinterest.

Let me know how you guys handle the dinner dilemma every night. Are you a big meal planner? Or a wing it every night kind of family? And don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest for some of our favorite meals!