Remembering who you were…
Before you had Kids.
Lately my husband and have adapted to the world of juggling two under two! I read countless blogs when I was pregnant with my second to try and get a grasp of what life was going to be like. I would overthink how I would possibly leave the house with a newborn and toddler in tow, whether I needed a double buggy or a sling and I’d carefully plan out places that would be toddler and baby friendly.
Now weeks later with a thirteen week old baby and two year old I kinda feel like I’ve nailed the getting out of the house part and toddler/baby groups are my saviour – (despite refusing to go to any groups with my first until she was at least one)
What I wasn’t prepared for and what no blogs mentioned was the suffocation you feel.
It hadn’t dawned on me until recently that sometimes it feels like your drowning when you have two little babes where there is little space to get up and breath. You are so responsible for two humans 24/7 and you give them every ounce of energy you have and everything else dwindles off into the distance.
Your relationship starts to crumble around you and you don’t even notice because it’s the least of your priorities and you are so focused on Mum and Dad duties that you start to forget about the spark and fun times that brought you together.
An identity so entwined in being a ‘mum’ you start to think that’s all you are. You no longer own a handbag as you don’t need to carry anything other than a huge bag full of nappies, spare clothes, milk and toddler snacks. Your nice clothes are left hanging up in the closet as let’s face it, casual wear and the grunge look is more than acceptable at playgroups and you would probably look overdressed if you added a smudge of lipstick. You favour the big knickers in your draw over your matching underwear sets as comfort wins every time and what’s the point as no ones going to seem them (yes not even your partner as he’s been in the spare room for months and you kinda like having the bed to yourself now)
You’re drowned in guilt, like buckets full of it and you can never shake it off. Guilty that your not always present with your kids, guilty that you don’t want to listen about your partners day at work (because your day has been stressful enough) guilty that your toddler hasn’t had a nutritious dinner, too guilty to ask for people to babysit so you can have a break. Guilty for having desires to run away for a bit so you can mentally shut down from everything.
Your capacity becomes so stretched when you become a parent and stretches that little bit more each time an extra child is added to the equation.
I make no secrets about the fact my relationship with my husband is under massive strain. We have always felt quite good at communicating and making time for one another but now it’s like a military procedure just organising two hours together as we need babysitters who are equipped to look after both our girls needs as it’s not fair to dump a toddler and baby on any old person.
I was ready for the cold cuppas, mountains of nappies and all the planning that goes into leaving the house yet I wasn’t ready to experience the disconnection with my husband and how a huge huge effort needs to be made to keep the relationship alive. Recently I had been so angry with my husband that close friends asked me to remember why we got married and I surprised myself that I couldn’t remember why because all I felt was pure hatred (just being honest!)
Our saving grace was attending our friends wedding last week. In the run up to the wedding I envisioned myself not turning up and if I did I was to spend the day with friends whilst avoiding playing happy families with my husband. It was the first time in months that we were child free and had a full day and evening to get our glad rags on and to spend some quality time together. Luckily the ambience of love, happiness and joy experienced by seeing the happy couple get married rubbed off on us and we were really enjoying one another’s company. The spark that had been well and truly buried through the monotony of parent life slowly started to resurface. Giddy like children we enjoyed a tipple or two and a romantic dance whilst we reminisced about all the life events we had experienced up until this point.
I don’t know where our marriage would be if it wasn’t for attending that wedding. Things aren’t picture perfect and there are still many areas that need to be worked on but now we both understand how imperative it is to make time for one another and to rekindle that spark! It doesn’t even have to be anything fancy – perhaps just scheduling time together to watch a movie in the living room whilst indulging in your favourite snacks whilst cuddled up on the sofa. (and as a side note – make that time to be intimate together, even if you don’t feel like it!)
What I do know is the longer you go distancing yourself the easier it is to become hardened towards one another.
I’m sharing my story purely because I know enough people don’t talk about this topic yet many feel it. Someone out there may be thinking their marriage is on the brink of divorce as they struggle to remember the fun times together or whether they are attracted to one another anymore. Someone may be telling themselves ‘this isn’t what life was meant to turn out like’ as they envisioned Instagram perfect family photos and fulfilling family time together. But it is all completely normal you just need to carve out the time together and make yourselves a priority. If I was to go through my second pregnancy again I would spend more time thinking about how we can keep our relationship alive than what double pram I was going to purchase or what child friendly things you can do with a baby and toddler. I’m not saying these things aren’t important by my relationship is more significant.