The State of the Union

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Categories Family, Mommy IssuesTags ,

Recently, while checking in on one of my favorite blogs, Amazing Trips, I came across this post: Better Than A Pep Rally.

In this post, the author (Jen) speaks candidly of the changes that have taken place in her marriage:

“We have issues. Most of them (if not all) surrounding the offspring that we wanted and prayed for since the start of our marriage. You know, those little things we call children.”

She continues:

With very rare exception, every couple that we know who have gone through a divorce have done so once they have had children. Of course the parents will tell the children as they grow older that it was not “their” fault that mommy and daddy split up.

But quite often, I believe it is.

Not the actual child’s fault perhaps, but the introduction of children in to a marriage and the subsequent inability of the parents to successfully manage the change. They are unable to keep the focus, the priority, on the marriage. Because there are only so many hours in a day and so much laundry to do and bills to pay and blogs to read and shows to watch – the marriage is put on the backburner, indefinitely.

For several weeks I pondered what Jen at the Amazing Trips said. Was she right? Is it the introduction of children into a marriage, along with the inability to manage that change, the root problem behind many divorces?

I have many dear friends who are also parenting small children. I hear the stress in their voice, see the eye rolling when they talk about their husbands inability to multi-task, or bemoan the work load of these small humans and overworked husbands. And believe me, I understand! I empathize with my girlfriends when their kids get sick twelve hours before their vacation. I complain back to them that yes, my husband also works long hours, and isn’t it so exhausting to do this parent thing, often alone?

But here’s the thing.

I realized that I often see myself viewing my husband as my employee. Or at best, my co-worker. I love my children with as much ferocity as any mother can, yet, they stress me out! When the whining, crying meltdowns begin, or when they sit on each other’s head during diaper changes, or shut each other between two doors, I can feel my blood pressure rising. And more than I would like to admit, my coping mechanism is to bark orders at my husband. I guess I think if I can control him, at least I am controlling something!

My husband and I will be celebrating our 5th Anniversary on November 1st. We are planning a long weekend away, which I am really looking forward to. I relish our time to reconnect with each other, to reminisce about falling in love, to look at our dating pictures and to remember what it was that caused us to start on this amazing journey together. I need to be reminded that my marriage and the long-term health of our relationship is vitally more important than expending every last ounce of energy on my children, house or other relationships.

Walking toward my Beloved

(Walking toward my Beloved.)

In writing this, I was thinking about how awful it would be if my husband saw me as an employee, or as mearly a co-worker…wouldn’t that be awful if everything about me that made me the most important woman in his world was erased by this new title of “Mommy?” If my main purpose in this relationship was simply to keep the house running and the kids cared for?

I want my husband to value me, just for being me! I fell in love with him because he thinks my little quirks and flaws are cute rather than annoying. He like to watch me eat, and to hear my latest hair-brained ideas. He likes that I laugh at his jokes, and that I remember some of his ’80’s movie trivia.

The challenges of raising small children are not going anywhere. The difficulty level, the stress, the crying, whining and hitting will be here with us for quite some time. That, I cannot change. But I think I am going to try harder to see my husband as the amazing man he is, rather than just the other parent of these children!

And I promise, to at least try harder, to keep the order barking to a minimum!

Share with the HDYDI readers your thoughts! How have your relationships changed and been challenged by becoming a parent?

See Also: The Man in Your Bed

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13 thoughts on “The State of the Union”

  1. So, so true. Excellent post. Especially doing the SAHM-thing, I definitely feel like the one “in charge” of all things house, home, and kids, and I do think I end up treating M like a co-worker (or worse). It can be really hard to reconnect. I’m so glad we took our little weekend to NYC last month (my god, it feels like forever ago), and that on our trip with friends this week, we’re each going to give the other couple a date night and stay home with the kids.

    It really is stressful, and it consumes ALL of your mental energy. I know at the end of the day I mostly want to sit by myself, and I don’t have the energy or inclination to deal with anyone else. But it’s so important to that connection, and if you aren’t careful, the stress and change of being parents can make you forget why you got married in the first place. And even if that doesn’t end in divorce, what are you left with when the kids grow up? Got to keep at least some energy on the relationship.

  2. I think the transition to parenting is hard for every couple. It has certainly been very difficult for me and Jon. We both work outside the home all day, then we come home and want to spend as much time with the kids as possible. Then we need to do everything to mantain a house, friendships, family relationships, and each other. And of yeah, maybe work out in there. Then there was a year of not being sure if the kids were going to wake in the middle of the night bc they were so sick that first year in day care.

    I can see it easily happening where a marriage that wasn’t already going well gets pushed over the edge. We never came close to that edge but having kids highlighted how EASY things were without the kids. We could be insanely selfish and love it. Now we needed to change and some people don’t change in the same direction.

    I look at kids as one more thing to grow through, just as we grow through middle age and old age and everything else.

  3. This is a great post, and a good reminder to stay focused on the most important relationship I will ever have…

    Even though I’m not a parent yet, this pregnancy I’m going through has definitely put our marriage on the back burner as we’ve struggled to stay pregnant. And now that I’m in the last month of my pregnancy, I’m so uncomfortable that I’m preoccupied with how I feel and how it effects me, and haven’t put much thought into my marriage at all.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. This is such a great post, Krissy. I relate completely. I heard on The View years ago by that loud woman, forget her name, this quote: What made us fall in love with our spouses is precisely what drives us crazy later on.” And, it’s so true.

    Marriage is definitely harder one the kids become toddlers and, I imagine, harder still as they grow up and become more aware of their surroundings.

    This is a great reminder to just try and remember those early days of marriage and bliss and hope.

    I”m a barker. A really big barker. I need to do better, too.

  5. Having children has certainly changed our marriage. I am hoping that we can get it back on track. It’s so difficult to manage all the stuff going on in life and take time out for the two of us. Thanks for the reminder to do something! :)

  6. This is an amazing post and one I might need to borrow and elaborate on my own blog! I read parts to my husband and he said “sound familiar”? Even before our kids arrive I can be like this when I am overwhelmed and stressed at work (I can work very long hours) – I get snippy about housework, etc. because I think he should be doing more when I am busy. I think this is a good reminder as we get set to welcome the little ones on Monday. I need to remember it isn’t all about me (although I still think it’s “not fair” that he goes back to work after 2 weeks while I am coping with a C-Section and 2 infants).

  7. great post with some really great points. i do know things have changed in our relationship, in many ways (and not to sound cheesy, sorry) we are so much stronger than we were before children.

    we were together quite a long time before kids and debated on whether having children was something we were going to do. when we made the decision, we were ready, i think, willing the change. there have been good and bad days, but i have found we both fundamentally agree on the way we treat our boys and each other in this part of our partnership.

    don’t get me wrong, there are days when i wonder why he is taking such a looooong time changing after work. when i wish he would just do it all. when i wish we turned of the computers and talked and maybe had a little relations. but for the most part, it just feel better and better as we gain confidence in this parenting thing.

    saturday marks our 5th year of marriage, it is a great to look back and see just how much we have changed.

  8. Great post, and interesting debate. I think that any major life event, such as illness, moving, losing a job, or changing careers, not just having children, tax a marriage and show what its made of. Of course, children are unique because they don’t cause only one change, but a million small and large changes every single day.

  9. This is a great post. I definitely see that I fall in to the bad habit of treating my husband as an “employee” because since I’m the one that is primarily with the kids >> I know what to do. The control issue is a big thing. It’s darn near impossible to control headstrong toddlers … but if you can just get someone to take direction and follow orders, it will make life a whole lot easier.

    My relationship with my husband is the most important one I have and is definitely worth all the time that it takes to keep it strong. We just celebrated our 14-year wedding anniversary and it makes me so happy that we are still going strong.

  10. I think the stress of paretning magnifies issues that already exist. Sometimes the result is you/spouse behaving badly, and sometimes it’s having less patience with things that you previously thought of as minor irritations.

    I agree that your relationship with your spouse should take priority. Your children will eventually leave home, and then it’s just you and your spouse.

  11. Wow, this post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been starting to become more resentful since our twins were born 2 mo ago and was thinking of sitting DH down for a talk…about how I need him to do more, take more action, etc. I have completely been viewing him as my employee and giving orders about what I think needs to be done around the house. Reading this post brought to mind all of the things he does for me, the kids, and our family…and how he never gives orders to me. We are about to celebrate anniversary #8 and I am now looking to remember all of the great things about him as my partner and friend…not just tag-team-parenting partner. THANK YOU!

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