Marriage Plus Kidsby Becki Pallan
Days of lazy mornings, late nights, walking by the river, stopping for a cider. Everything revolving around the two of you, work-life, home life, being carefree, snuggled up watching movies. A free-flowing relationship… then you have kids!
Thrown into a world you couldn’t even imagine, hourly feeds while your partner snores next to you... you contemplate poking their eyes out... awkward!
In fairness I was damn right lucky, my hubby was, and is, so hands-on, anything he could do, he did… that just didn’t help though, when you are the only one who can feed... and you’ve only dropped off and the little one wakes again...
The world where it was just the two of you, pondering life, making plans. Everything and anything now comes second to that little person you’ve created. Without realising it, you become two ships passing each other, you know every detail about your little babes’ day, yet, have no clue about your other half’s day. Your only conversations are about what needs doing around the house and who’s had more sleep.
I have a tad bit of resentment being at home, day in day out... it is feeling like they have a ‘break’ going to work, not realising the pressure they have ‘feeling like they have to hold it all together’. All these jibs and jabs didn’t really seem like it was causing harm to our relationship, until falling pregnant with our second child - so much came to light. Amongst putting our gorgeous boy first and being great parents, we had lost ourselves! We forgot why we were together!
The fog returned when the newborn phase consumed us once again... just this time there was a little boy who wanted our attention more than ever, he was getting used to being a big bro for his sister! The late nights, early mornings were again filled with parents resembling zombies, both doing what our children required from us... the irritations surfaced, resenting each other from pure lack of mind space and sleep! Of course, this is what parenthood is all about and it’s the best thing I have ever done... and through the fog, we loved each other, just forgot how to show it!
They are off at work, having a brew, peeing ALONE! Watching Game of Thrones on the way into work on the train!!! Compared to mummy…. Can I have this, can I have that… I need to pee, I’m hungry, I’m bored! Mummy where are you (while you hide, I mean try to go to the toilet alone). The minute your partner walks through the door, you pass said children like an urgent DHL item, while you cower away to just have 2 minutes….
The cleanest our house is is when we’ve had an argument and you sulk off and start doing all the things you put to the side day in day out. This sounds like we hated each other and fought all the time, this isn’t it, cheesy but my hubby is my best friend, but we just never made time for each other, everything and anything was surrounded by the children, when we did have a quiet night, we sat watching tv. The struggles we had, were down to just not communicating. I mean you think you are, but you really are not! You become quite selfish to your own feelings and what you are doing... feeling that you are one ‘doing everything’.
It all came to a head on the lead up to our daughters 1st birthday... we seemed to be mad at each other more than we were nice. We were amazing as parents and as a four but as a two… that was just hard. There was only one thing, one thing we had to do, to make this work… counselling.
It is the best thing we have EVER done! As lame as it sounds, it was an hour each week for us to talk. Properly talk! To listen to the other person and re-establish why it is your together, to squash the things you ‘think’ the other person ‘thinks’ without even asking them. We started to make more effort to talk… really talk when at home. To talk about parenting and how the other person feels. We had dates here and there (I mean not every week, but more than just a birthday or anniversary).
The counselling stopped after 6 months but we both go separately, kind of like our own outlet, a place to just speak... things you may not want to say to family or friends! We have said about going again, kind of like a service, I highly recommend it even if you don’t ‘feel’ you have ‘issues’ - It's just a place to be free and especially with your partner, a place to be open.
It’s the best thing, we did! Maybe, just maybe, had we carried on that path, we would either just be together for the kids and that is not a relationship, or we would have just stopped ‘us’. I for one am so pleased, I’m pleased we gave our relationship the self-love it needed, we now, without knowing, just make time, we make time to talk, we work as a team! Don’t get me wrong, we still fight and get pissed off without each other, we are human! I feel we are more considerate of each other, the things both of us do for our family and the contributions we make! We still just sit and watch TV, but it's together and its because we want to be there!
If I could, the tips I would have for anyone who’s finding it hard... as kids do really spice shit up...
- Make time... doesn’t have to be every month, even if it’s a plan to get kids in bed, and you have dinner together or watch a film.
- Have things for you… you will hear this a lot from me, but mine is YOGA! It is amazing, I’m not the hippy dippy type but there’s something about it, that is all for ME! It’s an hour each week, no kids, no husband, an hour to relax and be good to myself.
- Seek outside help, if you require it, it doesn’t mean you are crazy, or things are awful in your relationship. It's about self-care. Let’s be honest it bloody helps your kids too… Happy parents and happy kids, and all that
- Make sure your partner is getting something for them too! For my hubby, it’s the gym. He gets time to get healthy and burn off the hard days sat at a desk.
- Be respectful and supportive of each other, of course, they are going to piss you off, but no one's perfect… just remember it's you two in this and only you two, who can make it work.
- Be in it together, parenting is sooooo hard, it’s the hardest ‘job’ you will ever do, be on the same page, nothing breaks s**t up, then you both disagreeing how much ‘iPad’ they are allowed.
Having children is no easy feat, but neither is marriage, you cant decide to not parent anymore, but you can decide if you want to be in a relationship and in my opinion it’s a far harder feat, working it through with someone. But if you laugh together, don’t box set cheat and share the love of snacks, it will last forever!