We’re in that stage of life and our marriage where we’re juggling two kids – infant and toddler and it is pretty all-consuming. It takes everything out of us to wake up and be good parents every single day and we understand even more (and better) where those bags that took up residence under all our older parent friend’s eyes actually came from.
Except our kids really shouldn’t come first. They do right now and we know that, but they shouldn’t. In fact, we’re actively working to make time for ourselves both together and separate to break this mold because although we’re pretty happy right now, we know that eventually we’re going to wake up and this is going to degrade our marriage little by little.
I don’t ever want to wake up next to Ryan and wonder who I am sleeping beside every night because I haven’t spent any time having meaningful conversation with him about something that isn’t our children. One of my most cherished times of late has been when we take walks around the neighborhood. We generally leave our phones at home and we just talk. Just taking that time to unplug and talk to each other always left me feeling better about myself, Ryan and our family in general.
This is sometimes a highly unpopular opinion, but I think it’s because people think safety issues or they think day to day. My kids are always going to come first because my husband can take care of himself. Well, yes. I suppose if you’re looking at it from that aspect, your husband can make it own food and doesn’t require you to help him go to the bathroom, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have needs that need to be met. It also doesn’t mean that the needs you have shouldn’t be met.
You can’t continuously give and give and give from yourself without refilling your own cup. Why assume your husband can do the same? Marriage is about sacrifice, absolutely, but you don’t want to sacrifice your entire marriage. Mom and Dad are the foundation of the house. If the foundation is weak, the entire structure is weak.
We spend so much time obsessing over the happiness of our children. It comes from a good place, but it is not always a good thing. Obviously we don’t want them to struggle in a way that is unhealthy, but learning to do for yourself and overcoming some obstacles builds character and hardiness. Hello, yes – I am super guilty of this as well. I am aware of how guilty I am of this. What happens to your kid though when you prioritize this as the most important thing? You get a kid who thinks the world revolves around them. It doesn’t, last time I checked and I don’t want my children to grow up entitled and thinking life should come easier than it is. Life is hard. I need her to know how to stand on her own two feet, so honestly, I need to take a step back and not do everything in my power to ensure she’s happy all the time. I need them to feel feelings and I need them to be an independent and responsible and I also need to show them what a marriage looks like.
What I don’t want is for them to look at myself and their dad and wonder why we’re unhappy. I don’t want to them to assume that in a relationship you sacrifice every fiber of your being and well-being. I don’t want them to think their kids can’t be bored, that every minute needs to be programmed, that their child’s happiness at all seconds of all days is more important than anything else. It is not the example I want to set for them, but I think and worry sometimes that it is the example I might be setting for them.
We’re actively working to find babysitters here in AZ so we can go out on dates and stay connected to each other. We’re guilty. You might be guilty as well. The big thing is to avoid feeling guilty when you actually get a moment to go out. It is OKAY to go somewhere without your kids. It is OKAY to kick that co-sleeper out of your bedroom because you are tired of being kicked off the side of the bed and you just want to be able to cuddle up next to your spouse (no one is speaking from experience here ;)). It is OKAY. We should all try it.