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How Having Children Changes Your Life and Marriage
This article is a testimony of how children change your life (big times!) and how my husband and I survived.
I guess in short, the ingredients for survival are:
- Sticking together and helping each other.
- Putting up with a messy house.
- Finding ays to communicate.
- Keep the intimacy up.
- Creating opportunities to talk.
- And of course being loving and understanding, especially under stress.
A Baby: What a Life Changing Experience!
Marriage after children can be hard, but fortunately most couples survive.
No more us before anything else, no more free schedule. Without having to word it out, you know that the priority was now to protect that new tiny person and do your best to make him/her grow to be best possible individual.
You decline seeing friends because of napping schedules. You practically only go to family-friendly events, and slowly your child-less friends disappear from the radar.
The Beginning: Falling Deeply in Love
You met, fell in love, your lives entangled, joined, and fused. Your spirits leaped and magically hyped in unison. You learned the joy of sharing all the important moments, both the serious and silly ones. You spent hours on the phone talking about who-knows-what...
Tying the Knot, for as Long as You Shall Live
Then you got married, you really enjoyed the beginning of the rest of your lives, so promising! The joy of finally falling asleep embraced each night, talking about anything that crossed your minds, in full sentences, without interruptions. Whole weekends dedicated only to togetherness, often in the confinement of your bedroom.
Of course marriage brings challenges too, one being transitioning from being your own separate entity to belonging to a team, thinking for two; understanding that each decision effects and involves both of you. I sure had to learn how to think as two.
Becoming a better team player cut down in misunderstandings and discussions a lot. Everything was going great.
Until one day, you’ve got the sweet news of a positive pregnancy test.
The Happy Day: Holding Your Bundle of Joy
Delight, panic, happiness, and the stress of the upcoming responsibility fills your minds with conflicting feelings - especially mom’s, so hormone altered and with a spiked emotional sensitivity.
The bundle of joy is now in your arms, looking at you with trusting and expectant eyes, like you were supposed to know what to do.
The immensity of parenthood love hit your happy and loving hearts and changed them forever.
Look at Life as a Pie: There Is Only so Much to Go Around.
When you try to throw anything else into a busy schedule – like girls night out or picking up a new sport or hobby –you risk to throw the pie off, making the things you like most suffer for it.
There is only so much pie to go around
The Smartest Idea: Let's Have Another Child!
Things are going pretty well, you start feeling comfortable with your new life-style, you even like the role of parents, and you get the smartest idea: let’s have another kid!
And when the second little blessing of life arrives, what a joy!
... Then life as you knew it is really over.
Bye-Bye Full Sentence Conversations
Don’t you love family time? The kids are funny and lively, a joy to have around. But trying to have a decent conversation with your spouse is now a luxury, even finishing a sentence is a challenge.
No matter how many times you explain it, kids don’t seem to get the interrupting thing, or do they just smartly ignore it?
Oh, the Joys of Parenthood! - My Experience
When my oldest was 3 ½ years old, our daughter was born. We really wanted a second child, and we’ve been blessed with a boy and a girl, as healthy and as beautiful as they could be.
After few week of maternity leave, I went back to my job. A full time job. And my husband continued his busy schedule of working 10-12 hours a day. Oh, Lord!
With both of us working full time and two small children, taking care of housework and errands became unbearable. Things started falling behind.
No more taking turns watching the baby while the other spouse got things done, now in many situations we had to split, each parent taking care of one child. Divide and conquer, we called it, but in reality we were stretching it too thin.
No Time for Yourself, and Plenty of Guilt Feelings
The image I remember og that period is being in a black tunnel, where I had no time or opportunities to do anything for myself.
I used to fill the gaps between work, home, cooking, and errands with plenty of guilt feelings, for fear of not being a good mom and wife.
My husband and I would both collapse each night during the children's bed routines.
The house was a mess, we both gained weight, our intimacy took a dive.
Not to mention two pairs of little feet trying to sneak into our bedroom at all times of night. Thank Goodness we both agreed to be very firm on not allowing the kids to sleep with us, and we proudly nipped it in the bud.
How Did I Get Out of the Ditch?
Most days I felt like screaming; so many things I wanted to do and I had no time for any, so many things I had to do, and I was falling behind on those too.
On top of it, I kept feeling guilty that my children were in daycare for 10 hours a day, and I was spending very little quality time with them.
I decided to approach my boss and see if she would let me work only part-time for 6 months. Thank Goodness she approved the temporary part-time, because I was ready to leave my beloved job (which I left anyway few years later due to relocation, but that’s another story).
Even working part-time, days went in a blur, but much smoother. I realized how much of my edginess and lack of patience was due to stress. Reducing the job related stress helped me being more cheerful, having more time to get things done, made me feel in control, and the whole family benefitted from my new positive outlook.
Of course the children grew older too, and became more independent, which surely helps.
Still today, to be able to have a conversation with my husband and some us time, we treat ourselves to lunch together, either eating out or packing our lunches.
Also, I really enjoy when he calls me on Skype from work, just to update on how things are going. We talk only for a few minutes, but seeing each other in the middle of the day has a special feel to it.
I Would Do It All Over Again
I love my children so much, and they give me the deepest joy and the loudest laughs.
No matter what I had to go through with them (and still do): sleepless nights, poopy clothes, vomit-filled sheets, tantrums, terrible twos, and worse threes, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Children are such a joy, and they are mirrors of the household situation, so if you strive to keep your home serene and worry-free, they will benefit of the calm environment and be even more lovely beings.
Source: ©RobieBenve, all rights reserved.