It’s something I had dreamt for myself ever since I could remember. I was the little girl who loved to play ‘house’ and played with my Barbie dolls with Kelly being Barbie and Ken’s daughter instead of sister. When I was in elementary school my mom would watch a few of the neighborhood babies and children and I would help out the best I could. I’m a nurturer by nature and I knew I loved kids pretty early on in life. I recognized in high school how much children had an influence on me and eventually used that to earn my degree in elementary education. I was working within my first year as a kindergarten teacher when my husband and first I met.
I fell absolutely in love with this guy and flash forward a year and a half later we were married. And about three months into our marriage we found ourselves moving across the country from Virginia to California – starting a new life on the west coast. When we arrived I found myself in this new city having moved away from all of my friends and family – it was scary, but I was excited for something different. I was lonely at first, but soon after I began writing for this little blog here. Through this online space I’ve found community when I didn’t have one and I’ve enjoyed this journey ever since.
For our first year wedding anniversary we took a vacation to Kauai, Hawaii and soon after we found out we were pregnant. About three months earlier we had unexpectedly lost our first pregnancy, but in the meantime we were faithful that we would be blessed with a child in His timing. Pregnancy was a new, anxious-filled, but unbelievably powerful experience and I am so grateful that I had that opportunity to have that. It changed me from the inside out and having Greyson in our lives just gave ours so much more purpose and meaning.
But with the addition of a child it had changed the dynamic of my husband and I’s relationship. We went from lovers and partners to ‘mom’ and ‘dad.’ Parenthood changed our marriage and I’m still not sure if I’m okay with it all.
However, thanks to a huge #momtribe I’m able to discuss these intimate feelings and feel better knowing these few things…
Every marriage experiences this at some point.
This shouldn’t have come as a surprise for me, but I was so relived to hear that other mom friends have experienced, or are continuing to experience, this shift in their marriage due to kids. I didn’t feel so alone anymore and it also made me realize that…
It too will pass.
Much like the exhausting newborn stage where you think the rest of your life will be sleepless nights, tiresome days, and the feeding schedule will never end, somehow it passes. You begin to feel normal again and in our marriage I am only just beginning to feel that way. I remember crying constantly to my husband because I saw that our marriage was shifting and I didn’t like that. I was personally worried that I would fall into the group of new moms that loved their son more than their husbands.
But doing this was the first step…
Talking it out.
Chances are they recognize that your relationship is different too and having my husband to word vomit all over made coping with this change much easier. I was still sad, anxious, or even frustrated at times but knowing I had his support meant a lot. It also took some time for me to find the words to explain how I felt because when I feel so emotional about something it’s more challenging to express my thoughts clearly and in a way he’d understand.
Children grow and your relationship does too.
One of the reassuring things that a fellow mom told me was that there is no clear cut answer to this – that it simply takes time. Time for your child to grow and learn to be more independent. I’m learning that this is where your parenting, discipline, and routines really help your marriage in the process of teaching your children. The more independent and self-sufficient they become over time, the less stress you feel and more time that can be spent enjoying your spouse or other things. This has a ripple effect because the happier you are, especially with interactions with your spouse, the better example you’re setting for your child in terms of healthy relationships.
The second part of this is just getting comfy with how your relationship grows and changes over time. I’m in the midst of this now and am finding that the light at the end of the tunnel is nearing closer and closer. It truly does take time (and communication as always) and much of that has to do with the growth and development of Greyson. He is at a stage where he’s becoming more independent and is content with playing or reading by himself. He’s on a regular food/nap/play schedule and his daily routines don’t change all that often. As long as we meet him where he needs us and discipline where we need to, it frees up energy to spend on my husband and I.
I’m sure God is so tired of hearing me, but I pray all the time. I feel as though I’m in constant conversation with Him and I’m grateful for that relationship. Some prayers are longer than others, but remaining prayerful allows me to accept that although I’m responsible for living my life, ultimately it’s still Him that is in control. At the very least I talk with Him about my struggles and anxieties and it helps me recenter my mindset and approach my emotional feelings in a more calm and logical way. I know He has designed us for our marriage and even through the uncertain parts I can rely on Him to help guide me.
And lastly (and in my opinion the second most important part) is…
Be a fellow mom-friend and share those feelings.
I couldn’t have gotten over this change in our marriage after baby if it weren’t for my fellow mom-friends. They were encouraging, supportive, and offered amazing advice that helped me keep perspective. Discussing things with my husband worked well, but at the end of the day he isn’t familiar with the intricacies of motherhood and the emotions that go along with it. Talking things out with moms of all different stages whether it be new moms, veteran moms, or even grandparents was a huge help to me.
So, if I could walk away from this conversation with one piece of advice for any new mom or mom that struggles with these same feelings – you’re not alone and you have an amazing #momtribe to help guide and support you through it! I am always here to talk (just pop me an email or connect in the comments!) and I encourage all you other amazing mamas out there: be supportive of each other because you never know the lives you could impact in a positive way!