16 October 2006

trying to keep it together.

i've found that being parents is not easy on a marriage. hubby and i knew each other for 9 years before we got married. we had our son 4 years after our wedding. we've been together a long time. we've been thru a LOT. breaking up and getting back together, moving across the country twice, living near to poverty, figuring out how to be adults, 2+ years of trying to get pregnant.

we always felt we could survive anything. our friends would say that they envied our relationship and that they hoped to find one even somewhat like it someday.

and then we had a baby. and everything has been tested. our patience, our love, our communication skills. it's been hard. i won't lie. a lot harder than i thought.

my husband is the kind who believes that after a bazillion years together you should still be able to have butterflies in your tummy and romance like you did when first falling in love. is it really possible to maintain that? cause, dude, at as soon as that kid goes to sleep at night i'm done. i just don't have much more in me. frankly, a lot of the time, i just want to be left alone. finally some peace and quiet.

i'm a solitary person by nature, so having a child was a big adjustment. i went from having lots of alone time to none. it used to be a huge part of who i was and how i functioned. my husband would go out on the weekends with friends and i would opt to stay home many nights with a big bowl of popcorn, my cat and a movie.

so, i can't help but feel sometimes that when hubby wants attention that. . . man, i just can't have another person needing another thing from me. i'm nanny to a two year old for 3 hours everyday and of course, have my own two year old.

hubby feels like--why can't i see him wanting time with me as me getting something as opposed to giving more?

how do you do it? do you and your spouse/significant other have any secrets to share in keeping the marriage solid and healthy? do ever get time alone?

i'd love to hear.


Anonymous said...

peeping mom........heres a "guy" comment....went thru the same "baby" sitting spell where I wanted my wife but...........she was tired,bored(?),not interested...etc........a lot different than the days before "babies"...I now know she was "pooped"...maybe bored???and I wanted intimacy.......still no resolution....except to tell you that you are not alone

The Cat said...

I'm hearin' ya !

It is tough fitting everything in. It's really cool that he's able to tell you what he wants...even if there are days when you can't give it to him.

It would be much worse if he weren't able to tell you what it is that he wants.

Maybe it's as simple as letting him know that you want chill time. That you're more than happy for him to be a part of your chill time, but that it's quiet chill time.

Just keep on trying hard...because it's worth it

Anonymous said...

I agree that parenting is so hard on the marriage. Especially in the beginning when you're always touching touching that baby, you don't want to touch your husband.

Date night, I still find that works well.

Good Luck


katie said...

Phewsh, I totally feel this, in fact it is what we have been going through since Jack was born. We have been together for about seven years and this is by far the most trying time in our relationship. I am far from my family and I think the struggle I have is lack of time, help, money (extreme lack there of!) add so much stress that I am overloaded when it gets to the end of the day. I just want to be alone! Piers is still so sweet and so into me, but I push him away sometimes because I feel overwhelmed. We have done a lot better these past six months by just talking outright about our feelings and scheduling dates for ourselves and for me (alone!). I finally feeel like we are getting back to being the couple we were before. Thank you so much for this post. Very rarely do you see bloggers discussing spousal issues and I think it's important to get these issues out in the open.
Feel free to email me anytime, I can so relate.

sari said...

It is very overwhelming adjusting to the changes the children bring to your life. It's not something that "turns off", it's a 24-hour a day thing (in the middle of the night...did I just hear one of them? Is something wrong?)

It was hard for me as well, as I think I am pretty solitary and I didn't get married and start having children until I was 32. I was pretty USED to myself and now it's a big loud circus. Which I love, but sometimes, I can really appreciate a nice big hunk of quiet! :-)

There are still nights when I pass out on the bed before even the kids (sad, since they're 8 and almost 5!).

BUT, I will say that it's an adjustment that does happen over a litle bit of time. For me, when Four was 2-1/2, I went out and got a part time job (I quit work when he was born).

This helped me feel a little bit more "Sari" and not just "Momma" all the time, which helped me feel a little bit more of a wife, too.

You are nannying too - which puts a little more pressure on you. Not only to you have your child all the time, but someone else's too. And it's easy to feel a little guilty when you want some peace and quiet, and I think that's hard on us too. You don't want to feel like you want to be alone when you have a great family, but you really need a tiny little bit of mental sanity.

Luckily my husband was pretty understanding about it. Marriage isn't easy all the time, and you have to work at it if you want it to last. This is just a little bump, I think, that all of us have to navigate.

Sorry to ramble on for a year. Good luck!!

Jamie said...

Unfortunately I can't offer any advice, and your post probably could have been written by me.
But for what it is worth, you are obviously not alone, and most certainly not abnormal. And neither am I.
Thanks for writing this.

beth said...

Oh goodness goodness I wish I had some tips. We're going through the same thing and it's so hard. I'm trying right now to have a little more "Beth" time in hopes of that making me a feel a bit more rejuvenated and sociable. That's why I joined the gym recently and I think it helps some. We've also been trying to implement a Beth break over the weekends, where Hubby takes Sam out for a bit and I get the apartment to myself. It's good because it gives them time one-on-one, which they don't have otherwise since Hubby started his job. It's hard to do sometimes since I feel like I see him so rarely that I want the 3 of us to spend all of our time together on the weekends, so it doesn't always happen. But when it does happen I am glad to have had some time to myself and it makes me appreciate that he made that possible, making me much more willing to then spend more time with him once Sam is in bed.

Tracey said...

Obviously, it's a common problem. And no marriage would be normal if it didn't have its highs and lows.

That said, I have to consciously remind myself that the children WILL grow up and leave and that I will be all alone for many many years for a long time.

I try to remember that my husband will be with me when they leave. And I don't want us to grow apart. So if one of us is needing the other, we need to be there so no one needs to turn to someone outside the marriage for support.

On the flip of that, if one of us is needing alone time, the other should be able to honor that so that we aren't lost in the hustle bustle of everyone else's lives and can't remember where we started!

I try to remember that the alone and quiet time is definitely a priority and should be scheduled in alongside couple date nights, family nights, etc.

Life's a constant uphill battle, ain't it?
There aren't any perfect answers, but you can make your life work better for you. Cuz it's the only life you've got!

Whew. I apologize for the rambling book. I just had 2 mini-Snickers bars from the Halloween stash and I'm thinking of another. Stupid candy.

April said...

Kate, look into getting a good book on tantra - it's not just using oils from kama sutra!

If you looked at "intimacy" from a different angle - as your husband said, not a form of giving, but of sharing and receiving - you might actually look forward to it.

Tantra gives you energy and feeling of well being - it is something you do alone and together. The alone part really reconnects you to your body and to your inner self. You have practices that are fun and adventurous. Hubby has his own. Then you bring that stored up energy into the bedroom and continue from there...

Can't tell you how DIFFERENT it is than regular sex. A level so far above, you just wouldn't believe it.

Kathryn said...

Hi Kate - glad I peeped in. I totally get where you are coming from. Butterflies after the 12 hour mom day are hard. And if you are the type of person who recharges when they are alone and hubby recharges with you - that is a problem. I was in the same boat and had to do something that was totally out of character for one who prefers spontanaeity versus routine but it did improve my marriage and help my sanity. I build in downtime and together time. It's hard to do and may cost a little money for a sitter or maybe signing up junior for a couple of hours of day care a couple of times per week. But it's worth it. I so recommend date night like some of your other readers. Trading babysitting off with other parents in similar situations is a good thing to do as well as appealing to the good hearts of able bodied family members to take the little nipper for a night. Build in time for you and ask for help. Asking for help can mean you call a friend and say can you take my kid for a couple of hours so I can go fetch my lost mind and shower please. It's hard to get it all organized at first, but once you make it a priority and get into, dare I say, your routine, everyone will adjust to it and you and Hubby will find each other again. And that is a nice moment.

Lastly, I just have to say that the the two lone parents raising young children is a new thing in this century and unprecedented in that in days gone by there were other generations who lived in the same house to help with all the madness. So don't feel that you are failing to ask for help from family and friends. The younger your kid is the harder it is. Teaching them to be human is a really tough job. It's a good thing they are so damn cute.

Anonymous said...

Hubby and I are both introverts, so we give each other lots of space. We're compatible in that sense, but it also amplifies the problems created by that shared need for alone-time - because for awhile it seemed that as soon as the children were in bed we simply FLED to our individual pursuits until bedtime. As I had hoped, the solution has turned out to be ... (wait for it): fall TV. Now we settle down on the couch together to watch TV for an hour, and spend the commercials analyzing the show, and then go our separate ways for an hour or so after that. Isn't that the most romantic thing you've ever heard?

As for the butterflies, I know a few couples who still have that even after marriage (no kids, though), and I have to say, it makes me want to give them a little shake and say "Snap out of it!"

Allie said...

Hi Kate.

This is my first visit to your site and I am happy that I stopped by (thanks to Beth's link).

I am one of those people who still have butterflies for their husband. But it is not the same kind of butterflies that I had when we first met. My husband and I have been together for 14 years now, have a 2 year old son and are awaiting #2's arrival come March. My husband is literally married to his job so I often refer to myself as a Golf Widow (he is a head golf professional). Meanwhile, I struggle with trying to balance being a full time working mom and a good mommy.

There is no down time for me and I don't have a problem with it. I had 12 great years with my husband that we played and had fun. This lack of time for one another is only temporary and worth the sacrifice. My husband on the other hand is the one that is struggling with it. He is the one that is mourning that we don't get out and do the things that we once had so much fun doing. While he would never regret having our children, he just struggles with the lack of "us" time.

He needs that social stimulation, while I don't. I need that emotional intimacy where he doesn't. While our marriage and committment is rock solid, we are still struggling to find a way to meet half way so both parties are content.

It is reassuring (sadly) to hear that this seems to be a common issue amongst all of us married parents. I for one highly encourage the communication and by putting forth this question, you have given us the opportunity to learn from one another. Thank you for that.