I want to take this time for you stay at home mommies with littles at home… I read your FB posts and sometimes it really pulls at my heart strings because with my kids now 15 and 17 and just watching old home movies last night, I’m feeling a little sentimental, and reflecting back on all that I stressed about and what it’s like on the other side… So I just want to share with you, very candidly, what I went through and maybe you can take away something that might make you feel a little better…
I married when I was 29, first baby at 31… so glad I got to live out my 20s and be stupid… That said, nothing prepares you for parenting… NOTHING. Not being the BEST aunt in the world (when I was ALSO the best parent). When you have kids, it throws you into 100% personal identity loss and the birth of not one, but two human beings…you shed the single life forever, emerging and discovering who you are as a mother (and subsequently…a new wife who gives less to her husband..at least for a while).
I remember when I had my first daughter, my mother in law said, you now have TWO children (meaning your husband and your baby). Didn’t get it at the time…totally get it now. You cannot forget your husband because you have this new baby…although that would be so cool at times, wouldn’t it? 😉
I’m lucky to have married an “all in” guy. He took time off when babies were born and we all bonded together. SO grateful for that. HOWEVER…the learning curve is great. Losing yourself completely is really hard, but you have no choice. In this alone, arguments are bound to start. Both parents exhausted and wanting “Me” time, but no one wins this argument. When you have littles, there really never is a “Me” again, because every decision you make will now forever affect “us”…which is scary.
Over the years we fought a lot and many times I wanted to leave. I was exhausted, resentful that I gave up my very proficient and lucrative life, to stay home with this little creature who changed the course of my life and the arguments that arose became too much at times. My husband “Got” to go to work while I stayed home, but when he came home I wanted to throw the kid at him and leave for a bit… only he’d been working all day and just wanted to put his feet up… Do you see where I’m going with this?? RESENTMENT…ANGER…TOTAL FATIGUE…
As the kids got older, there were other demands…homework, bake sales, back to school nights etc… There was soccer and dance…and dance…and more dance…. THIS took over our lives. Sometimes 7 days a week. We had no vacations…we had competitions and overnights in hotels for early call times. Husband still worked and I carted the kids everywhere. No regrets in that…
But now that I look back I see that the stress of the younger ages is so hard. I hear moms complaining about their husbands, but I want to ask, “What would your husband say about you?” But instead I see moms jumping on the bandwagon that the husband is likely a louse and chipping away at a relationship they truly know nothing about.
So here’s my message…
-Understand that raising kids is the most selfless and never ending act you will do in your whole life.
-Know that your husband IS your first child and needs to be felt special. Especially if you stay home with the kids.
-Realize that staying home is a gift worth ditching your former life for… Your children are learning security and love just by the fact they get to see you every single day.
-YOU get to determine how they are formed in their early years, not a caregiver.
-You and your spouse WILL be stressed and WILL argue more because you are in unchartered territory. But at the end of the day, you are raising a family, and you should come together as a family and figure out the best way to get through it.
-COMMUNICATE (I can’t emphasize this enough!!!!) I was the one who would shut down first in an argument, but my husband ALWAYS made me finish the argument. We learned over the years that because I am SO emotional by nature, that my emotions block my words and I need time to think and come back and discuss. HE, on the other hand is SUPER quick witted and can talk anything through in a second. We had to learn our differences to understand how to come together.
-Do not, under ANY circumstances, stop laughing together. You will get WAY farther on a good sense of humor, I promise you!
-HONOR each other as parents. Your way isn’t any better than his way. Dads are DIFFERENT. I used to worry that my husband would scar my kids with his bad parenting skills…LOL…but what I see is my kids TOTALLY know how to work us both based on our personalities. I may not have agreed with everything he did, but our kids are alive and well (this does not include any physical discipline, just parenting style)
-RESPECT each other. If you are feeling any sort of disdain toward your husband, figure that shit out! Get past it. Divorce may sound like a dream, but before you go that route, talk to a single mom who’s in court every other month trying to collect child support. You thought you were tired as a married mom???
-DON’T FORGET TO DATE!!!! This is the hardest… I never wanted to leave my girls. But when I started doing that again, I started liking my husband more!
-PICK YOUR BATTLES!!! (*with dad AND kids). I was reading earlier (and many times before) about picky eaters…here’s my best advice…. WHO CARES??? Your kids will outgrow their picky eating phase. Worry about other things that are more important. As my mom always said, “This too shall pass!”
-Not all moms groups are for you! Boy did I learn this the hard way. My sister wanted me to join a breastfeeding group (because I was breastfeeding). She thought I needed mom friends and bugged me until I went. Well, I finally went to a meeting and what some of those ladies sounded like was a cult against anyone who presented cow’s milk to a baby! That may be fine for them, but I had a bottle of milk in my bag at the time and SLOWLLY and quietly backed away before I was discovered… I found another moms group where I totally fit in when I saw one mom’s kid eating a crayon and she wasn’t freaking about it, rather talking about the fabulous color of their diaper later!!!
YES…long post and so much more to share, but I will stop there for now. This has weighed heavy on my heart and I just wanted to put this out there and really hope it helps!
You are amazing just as you are!!! This too shall pass, but don’t wish it away too quickly as it will go faster than you thing!! (((HUGS)))