Just a heads up: Several of my upcoming entries will be about marriage (or relationships in general). Even though this is a mommy blog, my happiness is one of the key ingredients to me being a good mommy and well overall.
My love life comes up pretty often in conversations I have with other people. Many wonder how do we keep our marriage positive and happy. Often I get asked how do we keep the flame alive after having so many babies and well life happening? Like every couple, we have had our fair share of spats and bad times; but at the same time we have learned a lot from our mistakes and are dedicated to being the best for each other and keeping our marriage lit.
With that being said. First and foremost, I do not put my kids first. You read that correctly. My kids do not come before my marriage.
Make no mistake my kids are my universe but so is my husband. Being a parent is demanding as hell; but at the same time, I will not sacrifice my needs and desires (or my husband’s) for theirs. When I say their needs, I am not referring to their basic needs for survival that they solely depend on me for. I am talking about being a helicopter parent, doing everything for them, answering to all their demands, and never having time for us because of it. Many mama’s think that their husbands will understand that they must be there for the kids and he will feel like he is left out of the parenting picture and ultimately, he will stop trying to compete for his wife’s attention, and eventually will give up on trying to maintain the relationship. I am not saying he will go out and cheat, I am saying that you two will simply grow apart and the connection won’t be the same as it was before babies. Part of teaching your kids survival skills and good decision making skills is to let them explore freely but still with a watchful eye. It may be hard to let go because as a parent you are naturally programmed to nurture, protect, and provide. If you are trying to do everything that is outlined in these modern parenting books and blogs, then my friend you need to chill tf out, regroup, and start focusing on yourself and your relationship.
Before becoming a mama, me and my hubby used to do a lot together when we weren’t working. We had a lot of fun together. Fast forward time to our lives now, with me being at home, him working, and 5 kids later things weren’t how I envisioned they would be. I thought I was going to be like Leave It To Beavers mom and embrace motherhood, domestication and being a doting wife. Instead, I found myself exhausted, no babysitter, not giving a damn about housework, chasing after my kiddos, always pregnant( Then comes baby in the baby carriage…Lots of babies ), and ready to bite someone’s head off if I don’t get a cup of coffee or a trip to Starbucks. By the end of the day what time do I have left to do anything and usually I was in a bad mood and just wanted to sleep. Being in a bad mood is not ideal for sexy time. After a short stint of being unhappy, I had a talk with my husband. It was about all of the unrealistic expectations I had set for myself as a mama. It was draining. I planned on making everything from scratch, breastfeeding (haha), not co-sleeping etc just to name a few things. We both had totally immersed ourselves into our family that we became “friends with benefits” so to speak. After our real talk we both expressed the mutual feeling of drifting apart and we both wanted to change that and go back to normal as possible. We had stopped dating a little.
My husband has always bought me flowers since we first started dating. Most people think that he has done something wrong or we have stock in flowers because of how often I get them. My husband buys me flowers because he knows it’s a small gesture that makes me happy, and the fact that my love language is receiving gifts. When we had this real talk years ago, it was a big turning point. We decided to do something together. The first thing I thought about was how we used to read books together. The last book we read together was The Kite Runner. So I looked up a few different titles to find something that would interest both of us. Long and behold, I came across The 5 Languages of Love by Gary Chapman. When I say this book changed our marriage is an understatement, it ROCKED our marriage and made it lit! Being that I am on my way to becoming a psychologist, I always suggest this book to EVERYONE. Single, married, committed or confused. This was the best $14 I have ever spent. We read this book together and discovered so much about each other and how to LOVE each other the right way; that I wish I would’ve read this book a long time ago even when I was casually dating people. This book helped me identify what I need in a relationship and taught me how to love others properly. We have had a pretty solid relationship for the most part, but there is nothing wrong with wanting to make things even better. Don’t give up on each other. It is natural after some time to drift apart from your mate, but the key is to identify the issues before you have a bigger problem on your hands. This is not a one sided thing either. This has to be mutual.
After we read this book we both had an even better idea of how to love each other and set realistic expectations. I struggled a bit in the beginning of parenthood with finding a good balance between mommy life and my own personal life like most mamas. Once I started to put myself first more often, I found that I was so much happier, more productive and more in touch with this mommy shxt. Lots of moms are burnt out, walking around looking lost and exhausted, barely doing the nasty (because kids are cxck blockers) and overall falling apart. Don’t let yourself get to this point and if you have, it’s okay. You will bounce back with some effort.
Motherhood and parenthood in general changes you. It changes you physically and emotionally. The main problem is catering to societies expectations. You’re supposed to do all of these things to be an amazing mom by textbook standards. However, mommies and daddies need to be amazing parents by their standards and their children’s standards, all while being a great mate. What works for one family might not work for yours. There is a big difference between your bond with your child and the bond that you have with your spouse.
When the kids are all grown up and out of the house, your spouse will still be there. However, you can not ignore them for 18 years and then one day decide okay, let’s get back to dating each other. NEVER STOP DATING!! You want to keep your marriage lit because A) It decreases your chances of getting a divorce (of course this doesn’t apply to all cases so be realistic about what I am saying here), B) your children will have both parents in the home, and have a real life example of a healthy relationship. One of the issues I have found with some of the adults I talk to, is that they did not have a good example of what a healthy relationship should be. Because of this they are not well versed on how to love and be loved by someone else. If you grew up in a not so healthy environment, you are the one to ensure that your babies don’t do the same. Break the cycle.
Parenting is hard and I know by reading this you are thinking how in the hell am I supposed to make time for my spouse when I barely have time for myself?! Well the whole purpose of this little series of entries I am working on, will offer some tips and a little insight into how I keep my marriage lit even with 5 kids. We are a team and teams work together. I do have some people who have an negative outlook on this and may take it the wrong way; but honestly, I don’t care. I am not here to please everyone on the internet. You are obviously reading this for a reason. I am not here to tell you to selfishly ignore your children’s needs but rather to prioritize BOTH of your needs. Stay tuned and get ready to learn some shxt.