I think there’s one common thing that goes through a new moms head “Are we the only couple who are struggling?”
Since I became a mom I haven’t been shy about asking other moms questions about being a married couple after having children. Some, I feel, have been hesitant to share with me, (which is fine). Others have freely shared.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that every couple seems to have this down pat better than you. Just because you see new parents all smiley doesn’t mean things are perfect. I feel like everyone is trying to hide it and pretend like they’re doing amazingly with their new bundle of joy, simply because they are afraid to ask because they think they’re the only couple on the planet who doesn’t seem to have it all together.
New moms, YOU’RE NOT ALONE. I promise.
I doubt there are any men reading this blog. I’ll be shocked if so. Only because it’s only us women who seem to be concerned with questions that we mull over for hours and hours of the day, “what’s wrong with us? “why aren’t we better at this?” “how come [insert couple] seem to be doing so well?” “what are we doing wrong?” “why can’t my husband be as great a dad as [insert name]?”
And let’s face it, women have an awful habit of comparing themselves to other women. Men could care less about what others think, or how they look in comparison to someone else.
First of all, as new moms, we need to stop comparing ourselves. It’s just not healthy. I’m not excluding myself here, as I’m just as guilty. I look at other couples with new babies and become jealous when it seems they’re doing just peachy in their marriage! Then I become my nosey self and ask how they’re doing so well, and I usually get the truth during a private conversation. What’s the truth? Being a parent is haaaaarrrd on a marriage. In fact, it can downright suck at times.
Nope, moms, you’re not alone.
I’ll begin by saying Michael and I have a great marriage. Really. We’ve been married nearly 9 years, and we waited 8 of them to have children. We’ve grown up together. We’ve been through numerous deployments overseas, we’ve lived in 3 states, we’ve gone from living in a 1 bedroom apartment to owning 2 homes. We’ve been really poor, and we’ve been really ri….oh wait, we’re still waiting on that one.
We’ve never raised our voice at one another. We don’t fight. (We have calm “discussions”–it’s never a good idea to talk about anything when you’re on fire about something. Always wait! That’s our rule.) We like to do a lot of things together instead of a part. We compliment one another well.
With that being said, having a kid sort of threw a wrench in our relationship.
When Blake was born, Michael was instantly an AMAZING father. I was rushed into surgery right after he was born and because of some complications I was completely “out of it” for the next 2 days after delivery. Unfortunately, I remember very little. I just remember waking up for a few minutes here and there and seeing Michael snuggle with Blake. I’ve since learned that Michael took complete care of him while I recovered–learned to swaddle him, fed him, changed him, soothed him…everything, since I was unable. Being a dad is clearly a job he was made for.
Michael helped with every aspect of both of us being new parents. We learned everything together because we were both clueless. He took initiative in every way……..but kinda freaked out when Blake got fussy.
And so it began…
Moms, you’re not alone when it comes to wondering about your marriage in the wake of your new role as parents. YOUR MARRIAGE WILL CHANGE. You will wonder a lot. You will see your spouse in a new light. Together, you will have a difficult time adjusting.
You’re not alone in wondering why he can’t handle it when the baby is crying and why he’s in such a rush to give him back to you. If baby is not hungry, is not sleepy, and has a clean diaper then by all reasonable accounts there’s no reason for him to be crying. I’m convinced men are incapable of seeing anything beyond this “checklist” of sorts. You’re not alone when you’re mad at your husband because you just want HIM to be able to calm the baby instead of passing him back to you. After all, you usually know how to calm him, right?
You’re not alone when your husband comes home from a hard day at work and ALL you want to do is pass the baby along so you can get a mental break and there’s an instant “discussion” that occurs because he just wants to wind down after a stressful day before taking over baby duty for a bit. But, wait, you want a break too!
You’re not alone when you just want some alone time so “daddy” watches the baby while you go shopping for a bit, then he texts you an hour and a half later saying “I love you. Hope you’re having fun……when are you coming home?” And you feel guilty and go home because it’s clear things aren’t going well.
You’re not alone when you arrive home and get the play-by-play and learn the baby was crying and daddy couldn’t figure out why and he was frustrated…hence the text.
You’re not alone when you get up in the middle of the night (because it’s your turn) and you THROW the covers back and just want to scream, and slam the bedroom door behind you, because, despite it being your turn you still want to be really mad at your husband for not volunteering to take this one. Not because he doesn’t do his share when it’s his turn, but just because you’re really, really tired. And truthfully, you probably do more getting up in the middle of the night anyway. Let’s be honest.
You’re not alone when your husband says he’s looking forward to little man getting older so he can do things like take him camping, and throw a baseball, and all you can think about is how quickly he’s growing…and it makes you kind of sad. Then you get all emotional thinking your husband dislikes having a baby at all. And so you bring this up to him, and well…..argument?
You’re not alone when your husband seems to constantly be busy, and seems to have little time for you and baby.
You’re not alone when you’re wondering if he’s the only husband on the planet who doesn’t want to keep the baby for more than a few hours.
You’re not alone when you feel guilty about being away from the house for more than an hour while hubby is on baby-duty, just because you know he’s anxiously awaiting your return.
You’re not alone when you ask your husband if you want any more kids and he either blankly stares at you, tells you let’s not talk about it right now, or he just downright says no.
You’re not alone when you start to question whether you should’ve had kids at all, because this is really, really hard on the two of you.
You’re not alone when you wish for just a few moments that things could go back to the way they used to be.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
Stop comparing your marriage! Oh wait, I already said that. Maybe because it’s important. And maybe because I need to reiterate this to myself just as much as I do to you. Stop comparing it to happy pictures on Facebook, and families you see out in public. You wonder, “Why can’t my husband be as awesome a dad as that guy?”
Truth is, our husbands ARE as great a dad as anyone else. In fact, even BETTER! He’s better because he’s the father. He’s better because no one loves him like I do, despite how angry I get with him. He’s better because he tries really hard to understand ME (in all my emotional craziness), even though he doesn’t say it.
Men can be so complicated.
I’ve done a lot of praying over our issues. I’ve also done a lot of talking with Michael. We’ve had a lot of discussions, trying so hard to understand each other.
I just want him to BE there, emotionally for Blake and I.
He just wants me to understand that he is being there, but in a different way.
I struggled for a long time trying to understand what the heck he meant. Simply because HIS being there wasn’t the version of MY being there.
Then, God started to reveal to me…
God created men and women very differently. Women are, by God’s plan, the nurturers. Men are, by His same hand, the providers. Men operate on logic and reason. Women operate on emotions and, well….emotions!
Our husbands feel more of a need to provide for our family than ever before. There’s a new person in our lives that HE feels responsible for. Men think very far into the future. He’s already thinking about how you both are going to pay for his college, or his first car.
Just understand that we are created differently and we serve a different purpose.
Sometimes it’s difficult to understand the “why” of our husbands, and it’s better to just understand that God made them that way. And for good reason. If men were just as emotionally driven as we are then I imagine we’d be in constant competition over who was the better parent. And who is the better parent is not what it’s important. If were were driven in the same manner as our husbands then…well, I honestly don’t even know what that would be like.
What’s important is that you work together to raise your child with the best of intentions.
Yes, God knew what he was doing when he designed men and women. Because of His wisdom our children have the best of both worlds from mommy and daddy.
Michael said something to me one day as I was bringing up many of the things mentioned above, and how certain things were bothering me that he was or wasn’t doing. He thought for a moment and said, “Now that we’re parents we really need to play to our individual strengths to raise him in the best way possible. In the end we [obviously] want what’s best for Blake, we just have our own ideas about how to be the successful parents we want to be. Neither way is wrong. Your way is needed, just as much as my way is needed.”
I realized a lot then.
His way: providing financially, being the head of the house hold, taking on all the duties like mowing the lawn, home improvements, working extra hours to pay off bills.
My way: securing a job so that Blake can come to work with me, being the nurturer–an important role at the beginning of a child’s life.
Our roles are specific to the point we are at in our lives with Blake.
I have to remind myself of this often.
We recently had a lengthy discussion about making our marriage a top priority. We’ve constituted board game night with just the two of us, we’ve vowed to leave the TV off after Blake goes to bed.
It’s not about getting upset with him when all I want to do is just get away and spend some time alone, it’s about strengthening our marriage and spending the few moments of quality time we have TOGETHER, not apart.
I’d wish I could give myself a note 5 months ago (you know, in case Time Travel ever became possible!)
I’d tell myself to let Michael be the provider, because there are many aspects that he feels burdened by not only as a husband, but a father. His way of loving us is by providing with his hands–working. My way is giving my heart. See how the two work together? Heart and hands. You need both.
We shouldn’t get mad at our husbands for all the things we think they are doing poorly as a dad. Instead, we should pray for them. Actually, even more importantly, pray that we would understand them.
Ask God to give you the wisdom to truly understand your husband and God’s purpose for him. Let God open YOUR eyes to the ways of your husband. I can almost promise you that our husbands are doing an amazing job at being dads. They’re being just the kind of dads that God wants them to be, that God tells them to be.
I don’t have this perfect. Michael and I are learning as we go with this whole parenting thing. I wish I could’ve magically realized all of this BEFORE we had kids, so we could’ve avoided soooooo many arguments. This has been such a learning experience, and boy have we learned a lot about one another!
I probably don’t even want to know….because, you know, I might cry!