The Reality of Marriage While Raising Kids
Discussing taboo subjects around here is kind of becoming the new norm. Maybe it’s because this platform has allowed us to find bravery and confidence in our own selves. Maybe it’s because we hope by being open, it inspires others to have the courage to have the same mentality. Or maybe it’s because we’re sick of staying quiet on all the hard things in life. And there’s this hope that if we can touch just even one person by being real and vulnerable, we’ve done our job. There are so many things in the world that aren’t talked about openly enough and we hope to shine big bright lights on ALL of those things on this platform and in our little community with you all. By talking about things, in writing about things, and by discussing things openly and honestly…we find it’s freeing.
One of the taboo subjects to talk about is marriage, particularly marriage after kids, and especially talking about marriage in an open and honest way and admitting that it’s anything but easy.
Admitting marriage is hard and being honest about the reasons why, is something that makes some people really uncomfortable. Is marriage a sacred union between two people that should be kept private? Maybe. Should people openly air their dirty laundry across social media for all to read, probably not a great idea.
But imagine if we were all just a little bit more honest about the reality of marriage while raising kids and all the challenges it can bring. Maybe if we all felt a little more comfortable talking about these realities, without fear of judgement, the hard days wouldn’t feel so isolating. We’re certain those hard days in motherhood and in marriage are mostly due to women falling down the rabbit hole of comparison. Social media tells them every family is perfect. Susie posts happy photos of her staring lovingly into John’s eyes as her two beautiful children play joyfully in the background. What Susie fails to post about is the epic fights she and John had while getting the kids ready for said photo shoot and the anxiety ridden car ride there with F bombs and threatening to turn the car around. Susie also didn’t post that it’s been 3 months since she was intimate with John and that sometimes she plain just doesn’t want him even breathing near her.
You see? Social media, although something we love, especially because it allows us to connect with all of YOU, can really skew the world in the wrong way for some. Many of us only post our highlight reel. And that can be super confusing for anyone struggling, specifically through hard parts of marriage.
We’ve heard a few times that in order to have a healthy marriage, a couple should put God first, their marriage second, and their kids third. And Mama’s, we mean absolutely no disrespect when saying this, but if you’re out there reading this and are successfully doing this every single day…we want to talk to you. Because holy hell. How in the world? How are we supposed to put our husband’s needs in front of these little people who literally need their mama to survive and get through the day? How can we put our marriage first when the busy week is so demanding of our every last drop of energy and by 8pm we’re wishing for nothing but our pillow and the inside of our eyelids.
If we’re being honest, our list doesn’t go in that order hardly ever. Even when we come home after a night away, we’re guilty of embracing the kids (and even sometimes the dog) before we even kiss our husbands hello. Terrible, we know. But it’s the truth. After a long day of being with kids or being at work, the literal last thing on our mind is putting our husbands needs first. You want some dinner, honey? Well, you gotta cook it…I’m sure there’s a frozen pizza in there or some left over Chick-fil-A nuggets we didn’t eat yesterday. You want to talk about your day? Maybe after we park ourselves on the coach with a little trash TV so we can turn our brains off for a bit.
And date nights? Intimacy? Those are few and far between over here as well and we cannot be the only ones. Before kids, we said we’d always make time for each other. We’d at least do date night once a week. Ummm, more like once a month IF that. Life is busy. We’re tired as hell. And at the end of the day, when we’ve given so much of ourselves to others, the last one we wanna give anything else to is our husbands, if you know what we mean. For women specifically, intimacy is so mental. Raise your hand if you’ve been in the middle of being intimate with your spouse and in your head you’re literally listing out all the things you have to do tomorrow, how much laundry is still on the dining room table needing to be folded, or if Target still has that cute pink dress you saw on sale last week? Yeah, we thought so!
Parenting differences also lead to natural divides and inevitably something else to disagree on. No matter what kind of dad you thought your hubby would be, he’s going to sometimes let you down. This one is hard to admit because we think we picked phenomenal partners to raise kids with, but having kids together pointed out just how different we truly can be. We don’t often parent the exact same as our spouse. Not to say as moms we’re perfect. But your spouse will inevitably let you down in one way or another with his parenting choices, how he disciplines, or how he sees big decisions for the kids like schools and activities. Let’s face it, kids can sometimes be another thing to argue about, even in the smallest of ways. “You lost your cool too quickly,” “you really could have handled that better,” “can you please help me out here, I can’t always be the bad guy,” “we really need to get on the same page about this or it’s just going to get worse,” “the kids don’t like the green cups YOU KNOW they like the blue ones don’t pack those!”
Anyone else’s house sound like this sometimes? Constant nagging, specifically in times of stress like getting out the door for school on time. Ever see those families on Insatgram starting their mornings in bed with cups of coffee on beautiful clean white sheets and their kids sitting perfectly on the bed and smiling? What in the world, y’all? What message are we spreading? Y’all come over to our houses in the morning or when we’re getting the kids ready for an activity. Record that and put it on the gram! That’s some reality for ya.
Or how many of us mamas hear from our spouse that they need a break? Are you kidding me? Or how many of you play the tug of war of who gets enough me time, us time, kids time or hear “I was at work all day, I need a minute alone.” And in your head you’re fuming because you were with the kids all day and all YOU need is a millisecond alone to just go pee by yourself. The competition of who does more and when is never a good path to go down, but we bet all of us do it.
It’s hard to be mad when all your spouse wants is more of you. It’s a great feeling to be needed and wanted. But shoot, even if you want to have an adult conversation and connect at the end of a long day, not only is it hard to find energy in yourself to give, but you’ve got kids running around and screaming, how can you connect with all the chaos? As beautiful as the chaos may be, it creates a pretty big barrier between you and your partner. And family dinner? Nope, total shit show over here. Not enjoyable for anyone. So we wait until the kids go down. But even after you’ve done homework, dinner, bath time, and story, the little bit you had left to give is likely non existent at 8pm. So you melt away into some trash television or answering some emails and eventually fall asleep at 9pm with drool running down your face. Sexy, right?
What we’re trying to say is, IT’S ALL FREAKING HARD. It’s hard enough bringing a man and a woman, who are inherently different, together and saying OK be happy and spend the rest of your life together, then throw jobs, kids, and hardships of life in there, but still…BE HAPPY. These expectations and what people are putting out there is the stuff that makes people wonder if it’s just them. Is it only hard on us?
The craziest part is, we don’t think it’s necessarily going to get easier as the our kids get older. There will be new challenges, more activities to get them to and from, and the busy, hustle bustle of life won’t ever stop as parents. Makes us wonder if we should just continue to choose love every day and hope when we’re fifty and they’ve gone to college that we still actually like each other!
Creating these tiny humans with your partner, who you love, is the most beautiful thing. And kids make life beautiful, and fulfilling and amazing. But they also add an element of crazy and it’s hard to remember where it started in the first place, which was with us, a man and a woman who loved each other and wanted to start a life together.
In the end love is a choice you make every single day. You get up each day and you choose love and you choose to be committed life partners. But gosh, wouldn’t it be refreshing if more of us talked about the hard stuff, the imperfect stuff, the “taboo stuff.” A lot of sadness, shame, and guilt come from not talking about things that are trying and then assuming no one else could possibly be feeling how you do.
Mamas, there’s always someone who feels how you do. You’re not alone.
We’d like to explore more on this topic with you guys this week when we go live Wednesday at 8pm CST. We’d like to create an open, non-judgmental dialog about the reality of marriage when raising kids. We hope we can all walk away feeling a little more normal and maybe even share some tips and tricks from each other on how to make it all work. Or maybe we all just accept that no one really has the answers. But maybe talking about it helps.