Marriage after two kids. Really, someone should talk more about this.
“Oh, you have one kid?” Why don’t you have another kid! Your kid will have a playmate.”
“You have two boys? Now, why not try for a girl?”
Why the heck do people make such comments? Have they not known better in life? Do they want everyone to be miserable just like them?
After our second boy, our life has changed completely as we knew it. We have to feed two picky eaters. Have to deal with two different nap times. They even run in different directions when we are outside, shopping, trying to get things done, or just trying to make sure they are having a good time (read: getting tired so that they fall asleep).
Why doesn’t anyone tell you how it really is? Like the dirty details of how long it really really takes your kids to fall asleep. It takes my older one anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours. Well 3 hours really! But you can imagine laying down next to a toddler for 3 hours when all the work is pending downstairs and you have not even really had a chance to greet the husband?
How they both decide to wake each other up in the morning when you really want to snooze for just 5 more minutes. We both want to hide when it comes to our kids’ bedtime. It is an everyday battle in our house.
It has definitely been double the hugs, double the kisses, double the thank-yous. But it is also a multiplication of germs and sicknesses and snotty noses and coughing syrups.
And double the money you will pay for a sitter for a “date night.” You know the night when you and the husband have dinner quietly without kids, and you are unable to talk about anything other than the kids.
In an allotted 10 to 15 days of vacation time at work, there is usually none left because it all gets used up to take care of sick kids. And there is the added stress of constant negotiation with the spouse as to whose meeting is more important and who has to end up staying at home.
Frankly, living and dealing with younger kids is hard. It is the hardest job I have ever seen in my life.
Have you ever experienced this? You decide to spend the whole day with kids and take them to the museum only to find out that they really wanted to go to the park today. Or they start throwing tantrums and want to play outside after just returning home from the park.
How does that make you feel when you make them the priority of your life and you don’t receive even a token of appreciation back?
It takes a huge toll on the pillars of the family, the Mom and the Dad. More importantly, the Husband and the Wife. Parents have to take so much of their mom and dad role seriously throughout the day that somewhere shoved in the corner are the husband and the wife who feel that the “marriage” aspect of their life has been neglected.
The thoughts of “do you really think I am sexy anymore” or “do you even love me” or “I just want to run away from this marriage because I am going nuts” start to arise.
The communication starts to diminish. The topics tend to circle around children and their activities. The individuality starts to suffer. The marriage starts to suffer.
We message each other throughout the day, mostly about all errands and tasks for the day. And after we come home, the kids usually take over all conversations. Husband and Wife interactions are left for the tiny window of time between when they fall asleep and when we fall asleep, if we get that. One of us usually falls asleep along with the kids and it becomes really hard to wake up from that after a tiring day.
The extra time at home (if you are lucky to get some) is spent catching a “relaxing” moment of just mindlessly watching reruns of Seinfeld and not having to make any decisions.
The next day starts and the busy schedule takes over again. How are we nurturing this marriage? How have we become two lost souls only caring for the kids but not caring about the reason we had these kids in the first place?
The truth is that extra efforts need to be made to keep this relationship going from both sides. Efforts in understanding each others’ viewpoints; efforts in understanding how tiredwe both are; efforts in making sure we make the other feel loved, making sure we feel the other is heard and appreciated; efforts in understanding that we need space and time ourselves before we can make time for each other;efforts in understanding that maybe the other person needs extra help in their routine; efforts in understanding that all the other person needs today is a hug; efforts in understanding that in these rough patches we are meant to tough it out together and not leave the other person in distress.
Parenting is hard. Maintaining a relationship and keeping it alive and smooth is harder. Trying to do both at once feels nearly impossible.
What are you working on in your relationship at this moment? What extra efforts are you taking to help you make your marriage more intimate so that you feel less like a lonely planet. I would love to hear from you 🙂