I decided to start this topic with this #tbt of E and I prior to Parker's grand entrance into our lives. In fact, I think I am a few weeks pregnant with her in this photo. Ahh, just look at how refreshed and well rested we look. Just the idyllic picture of young married bliss - am I right?! I look at this picture and it's a time in our lives I will cherish, but I'm also so thankful for what being parents has brought to our relationship. If a friend tries to tell you that your marriage doesn’t change after you add kids into the mix, you should really question the truthfulness of anything that person has ever told you. You’ve only known your relationship to be the two of you and now there’s a foreign person occupying all your space and time and energy and resources and well, that changes the dynamic a bit. You may classify it as changing 'for the worse' or 'for the better'…. depending on what stage of parenthood you’re in, but one thing is for certain, the times they are a changin’.
Just remember, while this changes the daily dynamic of your household and relationship with your spouse, it’s also the beginning of a larger family narrative that you have begun. Which helps put things into perspective when you’re pretty sure your child is just a wedge in the middle of your care-free marriage! Let's reflect back on a few of the highlights I noticed in our relationship post Parker.
Surprise! You Might Hate Your Spouse (for a bit): With a lethal combination of post-delivery hormones, sleep deprivation and good old fashioned mood swings, Eric didn’t stand a chance. Let’s also not forget all the breastfeeding struggles in those early weeks that I resented him for not having boobs, for not washing the bottles the way I saw fit, for overcooking eggs in the morning, for getting to go to his studio and have adult conversations and basically for breathing in general. That sweet man was trying so hard to help in any way he could. Thankfully that only lasted a few weeks and we’re married and we’re lifers, so he has no out’s. Sucker.
Talk Of The Future: Up until now, we only had our own futures to focus on. What jobs did we want to be doing? Where did we want to travel? Could I pull off a lob? It’s alarming how fast your mind switches into parent mode. But this was good….. we had never really dove deep into where we saw our lives in 10, 15, 20 years. Once we had Parker, it really opened up this wave of childhood memories that reminded both of us of all the things we loved about each of our upbringings and which parts of that we want to help create and foster for our children. We now talk more freely and openly about our future and really have a more focused outlook on it all.
Stress And Sleep Deprived Battles: You will pick fights and make snarky comments and snap at each other like whoa. Prior to being parents, I’m pretty sure Eric and I had maybe one difficult disagreement in our entire relationship. I’m not saying we’re a perfect couple by any means, but we are both pretty mild mannered, quick to compromise or agree with the other person and don’t really care for arguing for the sake of arguing. But man, once the baby came along, the little jabs here and there started happening from stress and weariness. One of my favorite analogies on marriage is summed up in two sentences, “You’ve got two sinners living under one roof. Some weeks it’s rainbows and butterflies and other weeks it’s like Halloween and it ain’t October.” You will need to channel your supernatural patience for each other and for yourself.
Spontaneous Becomes Strategic Planning: Part of what we really enjoyed during our dating and early marriage years were those last-minute surprise trips, creative rendezvous in the city after work… just because, and weekend getaways upstate. We loved spending Saturdays just hoping around from neighborhood to neighborhood leisurely enjoying the city and its endless activities and events. Basically doing what we wanted to do - when we wanted to do it. Sounds great, right?! For the first year, spontaneous is really really hard (nursing, naps, exhaustion), but it does get easier as they get older. Over the past year, we’ve been able to incorporate spontaneous back into our relationship and I’m addicted to it all over again. It’s such a great love language for our marriage. We have to work at it a bit more than we did pre-baby and there’s still some level of planning that has to happen. But just know… it’s not lost forever!
Mom's Are Not Dad's And Dad's Are Not Mom's: Everyone has different parenting skills and communication styles. Now more than ever, communicate everything. As much as we like to think our husbands are mind readers, they are not. Why God didn’t create them to be, I don’t know. We’d all be a lot better off if they were. I realized how differently we tackled issues and how we each thought we knew the perfect way to handle a hysterically crying baby. Mom instincts and dad instincts are unique and both have their strengths. Co-parenting is a skill learned over time and through experiences - failed and successful (as I’ve noticed!)
Laugh At Everything: Humor is going to be a very important part of your relationship as parents. With each other and with your kids. Don’t take yourselves too seriously and see this as a new and exciting chapter in your relationship instead of the dreaded end of all the fun times.
Take Time To Focus On Each Other: The balance of being a good mother and a good wife seems a bit daunting in the beginning. But you’ll hear it from nearly every parent - date nights are important. And, write this one down, it’s even more important to not talk about your child during the date night! *Gasp* It’s off limits. Spending time together to just talk and be in a relaxing environment allows for you to reset, connect and take time for each other. Days get busy and filled with hecticness that by sundown, I’m ready for bed right after Parker goes down…. which leaves little time to just hang with my man. While date nights don't need to be grand events, we try to be sure they give us time and space to have meaningful conversations.
Would love to hear what you experienced in your marriage/relationship post baby! Our goal with this series is to really start an honest and open conversation on these topics to hear what advice and wisdom other mothers have or have been given!
*Also, might be time for some updated family photos!! These are from a trip we took upstate when Parker was much younger, but still pretty darn cute!*
Be sure to check out and follow along with the other amazing mamas who are sharing their stories as part of this series. Also be sure to check out our previous topics: Travel, Feeding, Sleep and Work Balance. Links below! ##realmomseries