Design by Sawyer Pennington

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters". Stay tuned as we'll be introducing new topics on a regular basis!

Red's Head Red

I know this isn't the first time you've heard this, but today just seems more overwhelming than usual. I "get it" that as a single mom my job description puts me in charge of making sure everything at home runs smoothly and that everyone has what they need. But there are days, like today, when I just feel like I'm doing everything! Whether it's grocery shopping, preparing the meals, cleaning the house, or running a seemingly endless list of errands. And that's on top of working full-time on Red & Black. Ok, I need to come up for air. But how?

Black's Head Black

Obviously, you have forgotten what I told you in the past. But, if it makes you feel any better, I have seen many people in the corporate world with this same tendency – refusing to delegate. Believing that the only way to get things done "right" is to do it yourself versus either asking others to do it or, at least, ask them to help and make it a team effort. (Not to mention, a learning experience for everyone on the team.) Over the years, you have chosen to do everything yourself, but it is just that, your choice. Until you start thinking of your family as your team, and learn to ask for help and explain what you need, nothing will change. The bottom line is that the "answer" to your "problem" can be summed up in two words … Teamwork and Communication.


  • Why do you think Red feels like she has to do everything for everybody?
  • What are the advantage and disadvantages of teamwork?
  • What's one "task" that you'd love for someone else to do or to help with? How can you make that happen?
  • If someone asked you for help, what would be your reaction? Would you make it easy – or hard – for them to ask for help?

Red's Head

Well, this question immediately brings to mind the rekindling of "Bennifer" (nickname given to the celebrity romance of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez) since it's been in the news so much. And it's not only the TV talk shows but also some of the "news" shows. While many people are asking "Why now?" and "Why are so many people happy about it?" I think it's pretty simple. Many people, especially women, are just romantics at heart, and whether dramas or romantic comedies, most of us love a good love story. Full stop. And they often follow the same plotline – the couple meet, fall in love, break up, but in the last scene, realize they've never stopped loving one another, reconcile, and live happily ever after.

So, especially given what we've all been through with the pandemic, what could be better than a real-life love story with a happy ending? And if celebrities can do it, why can't we? Of course, it doesn't help that many people tend to reminisce about the good times, making it easy to over-romanticize a past relationship, especially if thinking about rekindling it.

Black's Head Black

Without getting into all the studies on Socioemotional Selectivity Theory, the bottom line is that as people get older, they focus on the time remaining and direct their attention to positive thoughts and memories. Combine that with the emotional drain of the pandemic and limited social interaction, and it is easy to understand why people go back to their Rolodex (pre-technology contact lists) rather than try to meet new people.

Yes, there may be good reasons to go this route. For me, it would make me question the logic of trying again when something did not work in the past. The operative word in that sentence is "question" as I am a firm believer in asking questions, lots of questions. With my favorite one being, "Why?" So, while I cannot tell you why people are trying to rekindle old romances, I can encourage anyone doing so to ask themselves why they are doing it, including why it did not work the first time, and why they believe this time would be different.
Photo by JohnAlexandr on iStock

As I write this, the New York Islanders are tied (1-1) against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the semi-final round of the Stanley Cup (the Super Bowl of ice hockey, although it has been around almost 75 years longer). Growing up on Long Island, I have been an Islanders fan since birth – the team's birth in 1972, having been introduced to ice hockey by my father, who had always been a huge New York Rangers fan.

Understandably, having another hockey team in the New York metropolitan area meant there would be a serious rivalry between the two fan bases. Including at our house. And, often at the kitchen table, although it did not include my mother. She was not a sports fan of any sort, let alone ice hockey, and was not even remotely interested in learning … although she should have created a "penalty box" somewhere in the house for when I misbehaved (which was often) but probably realized I would enjoy being sent there, which would only encourage my misbehavior.

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Chapter 7: My Husband Gets In Hot Water – I Want To Make Soup!

One of the hardest lessons Red had to learn during her crisis (partially because she was adamantly resisting it) was one that Black couldn't believe she didn't already know – that marriage (and relationships) isn't all flowers and romantic dinners, but is about teamwork, with an emphasis on work. As well as realizing that life isn't fair, which means teamwork can be 50-50 one day and 90-10 the next.

P.S. – Over the years, Red learned that the concept of teamwork applies to families, not just marriages. Although she sometimes gets so focused on the challenges of being a single mom that she forgets Black's analogy about teamwork. So, falls back into the habit of acting (remember, she was a theater major) the martyr rather than being part of a team that works together.

Black's Head Black

… Stop complaining that your life is no longer perfect. Shut up, suck it up and work at it.

Red's Head

Thanks for the sugar coating! And for the record, I don't mind the work. What I mind is that I feel like I'm the only one working.

Black's Head Black

That is because you are doing more than you are used to doing and you do not think Nick is doing anything extra.

Red's Head

True. And I don't think it's fair!

Black's Head Black

Yes, it is. It all averages out. The first few years I was racing the Ferrari, my crew did not have to do much to the car on race weekends. Basically "nut and bolt" her, fill her with fuel, and clean the windshield. The car was new, I kept my nose clean and stayed out of accidents and away from the walls. Then late one afternoon I had a minor "sharing of paint" with someone, and they needed to stay late and work on the car. I apologized to the crew. My crew chief, Scott, explained that was their job. The fact that it had been easy up until then was fine, but they were always prepared to do whatever it took to keep my car racing. A marriage is no different.

Red's Head

I don't think you can compare racing a Ferrari to a marriage. One is an expensive hobby, and one is your life!
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