My wife Kate and I have always known that we have one of those special marriages…the kind where your partner truly is your best friend and the mutual respect is the glue. When we got married we wrote our own vows, kept them secret from each other, and then read them aloud for the first time during the wedding ceremony. They were the same vows. Identical! I truly believe it was my destiny to be with Kate and that she is the missing half of my whole person. Having that foundation to build a marriage upon is crucial because parenting challenges EVERYTHING you thought you knew about yourself, your partner, and how you function as a family. You adjust yourself to be less selfish when you take on a partner…now you are 2. You adjust again when you have a kid…now you are 3. Except the kid isn’t a consenting adult like you are/were when you expanded your family. The kid takes over both lives and suddenly your ego is stomped on by tiny, footsie-pajama-clad, baby feet. This takes a toll on a person and a relationship.
I’ve seen so many people split up when they have kids. I never understood that. Why would people split up when something so happy is going on? I get it now…it is the happiest and most depressing time all at once. There is so much awesomeness going on! Max is smiling, rolling over, cooing, tracking with his eyes, and growing by the day. It is exciting. At the same time Kate and I are not sleeping well, feeling trapped at home, bickering over menial bullshit, and have jealousy issues with each other:
- I am jealous of her relationship with Max and how she is his source of food and calm. She gets to stay home and be with him all the time.
- Kate is jealous that I get to go to work each day and be a person in the world. My not being a source of food allows Max to see me as a person.
From what I can tell…that is the root of the bickering in our house. Today we are coping with some hateful words that were spoken by her Kateness and being the mature adult that I am, I’m storming around the house and giving her the silent treatment. Luckily Kate and I are very good at communicating and after taking some personal time in our respective corners we meet not in the boxing ring, but rather at the discussion table to calmly work things out. Todays arrows cut deep (as they were designed to do) and have left me feeling wounded and sad. I do not want to be around my wife…which sucks…because I have been looking forward to spending time with her all week-long at work.
Before hundreds of comments come pouring in about Kate and I let me say this…relax. We’ll live. We will live to fight another day. Fighting is a part of communicating and just because I wrote above how I understand why couples split up when they have kids doesn’t mean I want to split up with Kate. She is my best friend. She is my wife. She is the mother of my son. Most importantly I love her…even if I am pissed off at her right now. I’m just writing about this so other couples that are following along and have subscribed know that it is okay to feel angry. It is okay to be upset with your partner. It is perfectly natural to feel depressed, beat down, and confused. Parenting is hard no matter how good you think you are at it, no matter how patient you are, no matter how nice you are. It is hard and humbling. Just make sure you communicate (choice coming from the guy giving his wife the silent treatment). Communication is the key to success in any relationship and communicating gets easier and harder as life evolves.
To all my fellow parents and parents-to-be following along; breathe. Talk.
Good foundations = strong (long-lasting) structures.