Motherhood, Marriage & Ways To Maintain Both

Motherhood, Marriage & Ways To Maintain Both |theprimarilyinspired.com|

First comes love, then comes marriage, then…down the road and a couple years later when you’re somewhat financially stable and settled from your move across the country you take a vacation and here comes baby.

Well, it at least worked out that way for us.

My husband and I were very open with each other about family and our desire to have children – eventually. We looked forward to when we would become parents and couldn’t wait for that next season of our lives together. Now, as we parent our eight month old and sit in reflection of it all, our marriage has changed a bit. It’s to be expected and a tad unavoidable; and not so much in a bad way, but just different as we find ourselves with a new circumstance within our union.

Speaking for myself, I have found I am quite picky about how to care for our son. Brand new things annoy me that never bothered me before, after spending all day at home with a constant teething son my patience has dropped significantly, and overall I just have my way of doing things at home and with Greyson.

However, I’ve learned that there’s a way to preserve the relationship you have as a wife and mother that leaves room for yourself too…

Keeping my husband my #2 in our marriage.

Not number one? Hear me out.

One of the biggest worries my husband had right before Greyson arrived home was that I would give my son more attention than him; that he would be bumped to the bottom of the totem pole in our family. However, that couldn’t be farther than the truth. My belief is simply that God comes first, my husband second, and my child(ren) third. Keeping that in mind has allowed my husband and I’s relationship to become stronger even having our little Greyson around. Having God first allows His word and teachings to guide my life and marriage, which affects who I am as a woman and wife to my husband, and thus a reflective living example onto our son.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:6

I’ve personally seen how strained a marriage can become when one partner, typically the mother, becomes more affectionate or wrapped up in their child over their spouse. I love my son so much and I would love nothing more than to dedicate all of my waking hours to him, but there are other people (and responsibilities) that demand my affections and time as well. Learning to balance baby and my husband have proven to keep our marriage as strong as ever and (hopefully) keeping my husband feeling loved and attended to.

Continued time for each other without baby.

Time was precious even when we didn’t have kids and now that we have Greyson it’s vital in our marriage that we make sure to spend quality time with each other. These days our time is divided up between my husband and his work, taking care of our Murphy (our pup), and caring for the baby. That leaves just a smidge of time for each other and it’s so important we make the effort to resume our relationship even with the addition of the baby.

We’ve gone wine tasting, to happy hour, dinner, and enjoy snuggling up to an episode of Game of Thrones – all with baby in tow (follow our adventures on Instagram). To us, that’s our new normal and I’m thankful I have a husband who stretches himself to make time for his needs as well as the needs of his family. Our alone time is equally important as it is us, the two adults, that form our marriage and time away from the baby helps remind us we’re more than just parents.

“In every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.”
Acts 24:3

Making time for intimacy in our marriage.

Oh, sex. Getting back on this proverbial horse was a difficult one for me. Not because I didn’t miss being intimate with my husband, but for what sex would be like after healing from a vaginal delivery. Things shifted bit down there, breastfeeding makes things interesting, and it was is definitely painful. Connecting with my husband again in that way just makes me feel so much more in love with him even amidst the diapers, spit-up, and tiresome nights. Never mind the scent of breast milk that lingers between my boobs #justsaying – nonetheless, it’s intimacy that keeps us grounded as husband and wife.

Talking about sex…

Besides, you know your husband deep down can’t wait for this day either and talking with him about your feelings on the subject definitely alleviates any kind of pressure or self-consciousness going in. Just because your doctor may give you the go-ahead after 6 weeks doesn’t mean you’re ready – I know I wasn’t. However, discussing how I was feeling and making sure to affirm my husband in other ways kept our bond strong within our marriage and made those more intimate nights special.

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.”
1 Corinthians 7:3 NLT

Which brings us to…

Communication.

Having a baby can definitely make or break a marriage due to the newfound stress, sleepless nights, and new roles in which each person plays. I have always prided our marriage on my husband and I’s ability to talk and discuss what’s on our mind. Even if the conversations are uncomfortable or deal with hurt feelings. Ensuring we’re both on the same page about the baby helps us discuss what’s on our minds. Even if it’s about my husband’s habit of throwing soiled diapers on the floor when changing the baby instead of using the Diaper Genie, which is this innovative little contraption that is designed just for soiled diapers. But, you know.

Don’t let new mommy stress take control…

Maintaining your communication is so important, but it’s also in how you communicate too. Being up with the baby at night or during the day can cause a new mom to be stressed out by the time dad gets home from work. Words can be said and tones can become snappy, but try to keep in mind the day your husband may have had and how excited he is to be home with his family – just to clock into another full time job: parenting.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Ephesians 4:29 NLT

Learning to let go of the control.

This one is important for me as the mother. I was watching a documentary on Netflix the other day called The Beginning of Life and there’s a portion of the film in which new dads comment about having a baby and their care-taking dynamic versus that of their wives. They talk about how they are less likely to help out with certain things because their wives do it a certain way and they’d just rather let them do it. Not because they don’t want to participate in caring for their child, but because they perceive they won’t “do it the right way.” The irony is we all know there is no real right way to care for a baby.

Allow husbands and fathers to figure out this parenting thing on their own with little intervention from us moms. It’s no secret that I definitely have a way of caring and doing things for Greyson that differs from my husband’s and I just need to learn to let him care for our son. No matter what form that may look like (see diaper story above). I am guilty of trying to have him conform to how I do things, but the fact of the matter is I don’t want my husband to feel inadequate or feel like he needs to get my approval on how to do things as a father. Because after all, I do need his help and am grateful for his role in Greyson’s life.

You’re already fantastic parents…

Parenthood, especially as new parents, is a journey and one in which can switch from exhausting to exciting as quickly as your little one’s temperament. Just remember that you and your spouse are on the same team and if you can survive infancy you’re all set for toddlerhood and beyond. Just keep these few things in mind as your cross the threshold together…I’ll let you know how it goes for us 😉

Motherhood, Marriage & Ways To Maintain Both | It IS possible to maintain both your identity as a mother and wife. Here are a few ways I’ve been able to stay sane within the first three months of being a mom. |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Until then, any words of wisdom for maintaining your sense of self as a mother and wife to share?

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When It’s Okay To Be Selfish

When It’s Okay To Be Selfish |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Selfish isn’t a character trait that I would typically use to describe myself and quite frankly I stay pretty clear of those who embody it. All over scripture are we reminded that we should live not of selfishness, but rather take interest in those of others or help others in need. However, today I’m sharing with you that sometimes when we find ourselves giving all we have as mothers, daughters, wives, and working women; it’s okay to stop amidst the chaos and take a time out. It’s not only something we all earn, but it’s important to relax, rejuvenate, and refresh our minds and bodies from time to time and consider our mental health in the process.

That’s why it’s okay to be selfish.

I am a wife, daughter, new mother, and previous teacher. I spend the majority of any given day dedicating my time, energy, and efforts into others whether that be my husband, the 20 students I had the joy of working with each day (and any teacher will tell you that not every student on every day is a joy to work with), my mother who I try to call as often as possible (considering the time difference and the fact that we live on opposite sides of the country), and even my pup Murphy requires love and attention no matter how little energy I may have left to spare. Since bringing Greyson home it’s been a nonstop adventure and now at almost eight months old, and he learns just how mobile he can become, my eye is constantly on him and running around after him. Although I find immense happiness and joy when providing for those I love, there comes a time when I need a personal reset button and time for just myself.

Here are small ways we all can be a little selfish without feeling bad about it…

Me Time is important, understood, and respected by my husband.
Anytime I tell my husband, “I need a minute” after a tough or particular exhausting day, he knows to leave me be…as hard as that may be for him at times. He makes sure I have uninterrupted time for myself by cooking dinner, taking the dog out for a walk or a trip to the dog park, or just simply watches TV or plays with Greyson until I crawl out from the depths of our bedroom. I am so grateful that he respects this time I need for myself and most importantly, respects the privacy I require at the time. It’s important for couples to communicate when they need that precious time for themselves and for the other person to not take it personally. The same goes for my husband, who started a new job a few weeks ago and is working longer hours and takes up a lot of his mental capacity – just to return home and be a husband and father. This #adulting thing is tough, but routine me time helps get you through it.

Recharging the battery.
My me time comes in all different forms such as a hot bath, taking a nap, watching my favorite trashy TV shows (Real Housewives, anyone?!), or even blogging with no interruptions. Whatever form your me time comes in, it should be something that helps you unwind from the day and spent doing something enjoyable without the normal distractions of the home. Recharging your battery is vital for a healthy mind and body, so keep your stress level in check.

A real mood changer.
Ever notice you find yourself to be extra irritable once you step through the door, already feeling like your gas tank is running on fumes, and you’re met with needing to prepare dinner, take the dog out, or be bombarded with kids or your husband? It doesn’t happen too often for me, thank goodness or should I be saying yet (again), but there are times when I just need to throw up the white flag and admit defeat after a long day/week/month. Universe: 1 Kelly: 0. And in those moments that’s when I need to give the me time bat signal and reset my body and mind so that I don’t unintentionally take out my frustrations on those around me.

Be content with saying no.
Saying no to others can sometimes be a real struggle for me. Lysa TerKeurst put it best in her book The Best Yes when she said that often times we have this “disease to please”, which leads to the bigger problem: guilt when saying no to someone as if we’ll somehow offend the other person. There have been so many times where I feel as though I’ve needed to constantly please the people around me, by no fault of theirs, but it leaving me with little to spare for myself or even my family. Learning to find contentment in saying no allows me to fill my time and energy with things that are important or may be the priority in that moment.

Our men need their me time too.
One thing to keep in mind about when it’s okay to be selfish is that it works both ways. Just as the men in our lives need to respect this important me time for us, we need to offer the same courtesy to them. A lot weighs on their shoulders as men, husbands and fathers and a lot of this weight we may be unaware of. So, when your guy comes home and wants to grab a beer with his friends or otherwise wants to do something not including you, consider that his own bat signal that he needs a little time to unwind. For me, this looks more like my husband playing his PlayStation4 for a couple hours at the end of a long day. I don’t take it personally that he doesn’t want to listen to me ramble on about my day. I give him his time and before I know it he’s reset and ready for me now.

One of the biggest keys to any relationship is communication. It’s important that couples know how to talk to one another and respect the privacy or distance that both people need from time to time. I value the communication that my husband and I both have with each other and it’s gotten to the point where we just know when the other person needs a little time for themselves. Be sure to communicate this with your own spouse or partner so that you both are free to be a little selfish from time to time!

What does your “me time” look like at home? Do you and your spouse have a known routine when you need a little break?

This post is a part of a series called NaBloPoMo 2016 hosted by BlogHer. NaBloPoMo is short for National Blog Posting Month and it challenges writers and creatives to post on their blogs once a day (at least) for the month of November. This weeks prompts are (weekends are free writes):

Nov. 1: When you’re having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?
Nov. 2: When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?
Nov. 3: If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?
Nov. 4: Which fall shows should totally be canceled already?

Feel free to join in and share your post either here or on my Facebook comment thread for each day’s post! I’d love to see my fellow blogger friends join in!

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A Memorable Birthday

Now that I’m officially 28 I can say that I’ve had my fair share of birthdays. Thinking back to when I was younger I didn’t really do birthday parties and as an adult, again, I wasn’t one for throwing any kind of get together in celebration of me. Of course my 21st birthday was memorable in the sense that at midnight while at a T.G.I. Fridays I ordered some God-awful drink as my first official sip into my ability to order an alcoholic beverage and be allowed into 21+ events. Although memorable in that sense, it wasn’t my most memorable birthday. It would take me meeting this guy who swept me off my feet and planned a surprise birthday getaway that was beyond anything I had ever expected.

My husband, who at the time was my then boyfriend, didn’t hide the fact that he was planning something for my upcoming 25th birthday. He didn’t tell me much except for that I should pack an overnight bag. I didn’t know where we were going or what we would be doing and as any girl would feel it made me anxious (we all need clothing options!). Nonetheless I packed my bag and we jumped in the car for the first stop of my birthday weekend. We were living in downtown D.C. at the time and so we stopped off at one of my favorite sushi restaurants, Sushi Taro off of 17th St. NW, for lunch. Sushi is my all-time favorite food and having been here before I couldn’t help but admit that I was in heaven and this was just the beginning.

After a delicious meal we jumped back into the Jeep and started driving…and driving…and driving – to the point where the mountains were getting larger and larger and our cell service was diminishing by the mile. We had pulled into this sleepy small town called Washington, Virginia where there were only a few small businesses and maybe a gas station. Our cell phones no longer received a signal, the air was crisp, and the leaves were beginning to change even though it was March.

Upon our arrival to The Inn At Little Washington I still had no idea where we were. We were immediately greeted by their staff and a drink while our bags were quickly taken up to our room – a suite that would become one of the nicest and coziest rooms I think I’ve ever stayed in. The Inn itself is a quaint cottage nestled in the countryside of Virginia and as a guest you have an option to experience award winning chef Patrick O’Connell’s acclaimed restaurant or stay in one of their luxurious rooms, suits, or stand alone cottages on the property. A major plus to staying the night is one: you save yourself the drive and two: you get an automatic dinner reservation at their restaurant, which is the reason you’re this far out away from the big city anyways.

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Not sure if you caught it, but he had the restaurant put my name and a Happy Birthday note on our menus. So cute and you betcha I kept it as a little keepsake. He had champagne waiting for us in our room when we arrived and from start to finish he made me feel beyond special. What word describes that feeling? For only having been dating for almost a year, my guy put forth a lot of effort into our weekend to celebrate me and my birthday for which I will always remember. (Apologies for my filter-heavy photos from the beginning days of Instagram, ha!).

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I immediately fell in love with the classic colonial-French design to the entire estate. Each room is named after chefs and friends of Patrick O’Connell and ours was the Alice Waters suite, which was a two level room with a balcony and widows walk which is accessed through the bedroom upstairs. The bathroom was one of my favorite rooms in the suite with its heated floors, double head waterfall shower, and the bathtub! I remember after dinner we grabbed evening drinks and took a hot bath, soaking up and reveling from the entire evening. We slept with the door open that night and awoke to the distant chirping and sounds of the nearby farms. Just perfection.

We had returned once more, although booked in a different room just to be upgraded for free back to the Alice Waters suite! It was like this was our room and we were meant to enjoy it like we originally had. We often think back to our time at The Inn At Little Washington and cannot wait for the opportunity to return whenever that may be.

Although I’ve had a couple birthdays since, including celebrating turning 28 only mere weeks after delivering Greyson, this memory holds a special place in my heart. My husband continues to be a lovable, grand gesture kind of guy and I can only look forward to creating many more memorable birthdays with him!

What was your most memorable birthday? What made it so special?

Linking up with…
Bailey Jean | Blog-tember Challenge


 

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Celebrating Our Love Story

Today is our second wedding anniversary and I can’t believe that two whole years have already flown by. I remember the very moment we met and cherish the time my husband and I have been able to share with each other whilst looking forward to the many years we still have in this life. Here’s our love story.

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I met my husband back in April of 2012. During that season of my life I was barely hanging on by a thread, but no one other than my best friend knew it at the time. I was struggling at work, my longtime relationship had brutally ended, I found myself distant from God, and was making choices that weren’t healthy. I had tried, and failed, at online dating in attempts to block all of the emotions from being dumped and continued on a path of self-destruction. I couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror anymore. Due to the person I had become within just a few short months, I didn’t believe that I was worthy of love the way my husband has always loved me.

One night in April my girlfriend wanted me to get out of my funk and invited me to tag along to a going-away party that was in honor of one of our mutual friends who was soon deploying. We set off and arrived at Murphy’s Irish Pub in Old Town, Alexandria and made our way upstairs to meet our friends. I don’t know about you, but whenever I entered a room I always did a quick scan just to see who all was there. That’s when I noticed this cute dark-haired fella who was already seated at one of the tables engaged in conversation with another party-goer. I slowly made my way around the crowd, saying hello to everyone and grabbing a beer from the bar. I stuck close with my girlfriend and her boyfriend since I was a bit shy to talk to anyone else.

That’s when he first approached me.

I remember feeling the initial butterflies as he came up to us and introduced himself – asking who all we knew. He told me his name was Philip, turned out to be new to D.C., and only knew one other person there at the party – a woman whom he served with (also named Kelli) when he was deployed in Greenland. I was already intrigued with this man and was mentally kicking myself when he offered to buy me a drink and I already had one. I wanted a reason to keep talking with him, but didn’t want to appear too interested; not to mention my shyness beginning to get the better of me. So, he made his way around the group, striking up conversation with others as I kept to my little circle and mingled with others here and there. Philip then popped up again asking if he could refresh my drink and again I had to decline, hating that I had only managed to drink about a quarter of it during the time it took for him to come back around.

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After a little more time had passed, and having caught my interest in him, he came around a third time and instead of offering to buy me a drink, seeing that I was doing a poor job at drinking mine, he simply asked if I could walk with him to the bar since he had offered to get the next round for a few of the guys he had met that night. That I could do without looking desperate – even though at that point I wouldn’t have cared. I walked with him to the bar and he told me then that he just wanted to get me away from my friends so we could talk more. I smiled, feeling my cheeks get rosy. Was this guy flirting with me? I almost wanted to glance around just to make sure I was the one he was, in fact, talking to- I wasn’t the girl who got hit on at bars. Thankfully it wasn’t just my imagination and somewhere between needing ‘tits to get a drink’, many Snake Bites, and hours of conversation later, we shared our first kiss and he had asked me to take me out the next night.

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The very next (hungover) morning I drove him back to his place and that night he picked me up for our first official date. He let me choose the place so I picked Maggiano’s, a cute Italian restaurant that seemed fancy. Although he lived a good 40 minutes away, he was determined to do things right and insisted on picking me up at my place and actually take me out – he scoffed when I offered to meet him at the restaurant. I wasn’t used to feelings like these so soon let alone meeting a man for the first time who was an actual grown up. All night we talked as if we’d known each other in a past life, laughed, and truly enjoyed how easily we connected. He was such the gentleman and made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the room and continues to do so even four years later.

We were married on June 28, 2014 at The Wynn in Las Vegas in front of our dearest friends and family. It was five days of debauchery, laughter, and memories made with friends who have become family.

Flashing forward to our lives today we’ve accomplished a lot in this life together and I am so thankful that although he met me at a point in my life where I didn’t know which direction to move, he became my compass. I was just some girl in a bar and he was just some guy who managed to sweep me off my feet when I least expected it.

Cheers to many more years, my love.

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