And by marriage, I mean common-law relationship. Minor technicalities aside, we have what many paper marriages have. A partnership built on love, trust, respect, kindness, commitment, and family.
Don’t be all shocked and surprised by my little revelation either! A staggering amount of parents with newborns, babies and toddlers, especially when they duplicate one right after other, go through hard times during the first years. Those complex, tender, wild, sleepless, greedy, draining, magnificent 1st years of parenting and being a couple as parents.
Modern parenthood and the roles of mothers and fathers both at home and in the workplace have changed drastically in the last half-century. While roles may be increasingly “reversed,” a report from the Pew Research Center recently revealed that, 56% of working moms and 50% of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance the responsibilities of juggling work, family and all of the responsibilities that fall in between. Parents are stressed out, which I suppose isn’t a big newsflash or all that unique to this generation of parents.
Statistics aside, each relationship has its own individual story of challenge to tell, and ours? Well, it nearly didn’t make it. Why am I sharing this in a public sphere? Because A: my partner is comfortable with me sharing some of our story and B: I felt like a failure when we were in the thick of it. With so much gyrating happiness on the web, in media and advertising bursting with the images and messages of blissful marriages and happy, picture-perfect little families, I felt bereft. Also? I wasn’t buying it. There were a few writers that I admire who were telling it like it was for them and their relationships. Reality-based nuggets of wisdom, for all of its grime and luster. Those candid accounts, those raw and at times darkly humorous passages of just how bad things can get when you’re in love, with little babies and toddlers and struggling everyday to not loose the plot; all of that sort of “over-sharing” gave me great comfort. It was relieving, in fact. I identified with them and felt less shame. Less like I had to hide what was really going on behind closed doors, because I’ve never been one to put on airs. Yet there I was doing it.
To know that there are in fact other parents, other lovers, and other marriages out there that flail and struggle should always should be a part of what we’re selling to each other about marriage during the early years of parenting. Call it community, call it inspiration. I consider personal storytelling, even the uncomfortable bits, to be cathartic and regenerative. I’ve found solace in realizing there were more like us. Relationships that nearly kicked it before our tots reached childhood age. I know there are others out there like me; after all, statistics don’t lie. (Do they? Ah… such forms of critical thinking are for another post, another day.)
Some may disagree with me and say that the first years of parenting made their relationship even more fulfilled than it was before. So, to be clear, my experiences and thoughts are for those who aren’t in a haze of marital bliss. This is for those of you who can acknowledge that parenting has taken a toll on your relationship. For those of you who have this person in your lives that you love more than you thought you’d ever know to be true, yet you can’t deny the distance. The growing wedge. The increased raising of voices. Kindness creeping out and resentment crawling in. The power struggle. The everyday, overwhelming exhaustion and stress. S’alright. You’ve got this. You’re cool. Near “normal” in fact. Just remember to keep your eye on the prize and know that it’s really not the kids, it’s you. It’s your relationship.
Click through to discover some of the techniques, methods and everyday changes we made to Save Our “Marriage.” Still together, slightly scathed, still working on it… but totally in love, committed to each other and our children now more than ever.
More Babbles From Selena…
- The Red Door Series: An Instagram Collection of My Adorable Toddlers
- Flo The Comic: Conversations With a 3 Year Old
- The Essential Tip To Resovling Toddler Sibling Conflicts
- 24 of My Favourite Memories With The Kids This Summer
- Playing With Food: 7 Cute & Creative After-School Snack Ideas For Toddlers
- The Fun Dinnertime Activity That Gets My Toddlers To Eat
- The Most Incredibly Condescending, Sexist and Problematic Article Ever
- 10 Tips For Raising Healthy Eaters
Elsewhere on the internets…
Via her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve
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