How Having a Baby Affected My Marriage
My second child is now four-months-old. Before he was born, all I heard was “having two kids is no joke.” People would constantly tell me how difficult it was to handle two kids and what a change it was from having only one child. They certainly did not lie, but I’m thankful to report that there is one area that I needlessly worried would be affected by baby number two: my marriage.
I believe my marriage wasn’t affected because when my first child was born, my husband and I went through quite a transformation. There were many not-so-fun stages along the way, but we ended up in a good place.
These were the stages of our transformation:
- Googley Eyed [No Idea What We Were Getting Into] Stage. When our first child was born, we had that honeymoon period where we stared at the baby, and then at each other, with a gaze that said, “you’re the best” -- “no, you’re the best” [insert vomit-inducing nose rubs] for about two weeks. Then we entered stage two…
- What the Hell Are You Doing? I Might Hate You a Little Bit Right Now Stage. In this stage, I realized how unnatural parenting a baby can be to a man. I probably made him feel stupid, thus he helped less and less until we were officially in stage three.
- I’m Losing My Mind Because I Do Everything Stage. At this point, I was working full time yet doing everything for the baby and most of the stuff around the house too. I was literally going insane and would cry almost every day. I am not a silent sufferer though; I made it known that I was unhappy. Slowly but surely, I began to move tasks from my plate to his as we entered the stage where I was termed a "nagging wife."
- My Wife is a Nag, but I’m Awesome. Men Do Everything Stage. I think this was my favorite stage (read that in a heavy, heavy sarcastic tone). In this stage, my husband thought his shit didn’t stink. He helped with dishes -- BOOM, husband of the year right here! Touchdown. Victory dance. What what?? It burned me to the core. So, I got vocal with my feelings, and we entered the next stage.
- Battle Bots (Versus Each Other) Stage. I had specific values that I wanted to teach our children, but some of them weren’t a priority to my husband. Thus, we battled it out about many things, but there was something that we agreed on: We both valued having a family for our child to grow up in. So, despite our problems, we never talked about divorce... Until one day when I had a light bulb moment. I realized that I was miserable trying to live certain values in an environment that wasn’t supportive. I ended up telling my husband that I could be a better parent if I wasn’t with him because we weren’t supporting each other. Even though I would only see my child 50% of the time, I would be a better parent because I would be happier. I figured it would be better than being miserable, but there 100% of the time. It may have been more of a veiled threat, but it worked. As a result, we moved on to the next stage where we began to learn to work together.
- Weebles Wobble And Sometimes, They Do Fall Down Stage. Once my husband knew I was serious, we had to come together and decide on the values we wanted to work on together. We both recognized that it would be an ongoing process of learning in our marriage, but at this stage, we took some big steps in the right direction and began working toward a common goal.
- Present -- The Working Together for Our Family Stage. These days, my husband isn’t cooking for me, and I’m not running to the bank for him. We are both doing things for our family. We decide on things that are important to us that we won’t sacrifice, so at times, we may have to forgo other things. In the past, I felt like my husband’s priority was himself. He had 101 hobbies and always had somewhere to go like golfing, to the gym, flag football, etc. Now, sometimes, I feel like I have to tell him to take time for himself because we’re both too busy taking care of family priorities.
Don’t gag and think that we’re some couple that’s all rainbows and butterflies. We’re not. We’re still normal and have our problems (note: post coming soon about our latest issue -- my feelings about men at night with babies). It’s just that the solution is easier to see when we have a common goal in mind. This is why I believe that having the second child was much easier for the two of us to handle than I anticipated: We are finally walking in stride.
Leave me alone with the two kids though, and there will be a shit show to attend. I promise.
Photo Credit: ephotography29.