I forgot how much marriage changes after a baby. I remember that life changes a lot, and I tried my best to prepare myself for that. But, I forget the impact that a little one can have on marriage. It is not a bad thing, but it is definitely something to be aware of as your family grows so it does not become a negative change!
I have been thinking about it a lot this weekend, and I feel like I have figured out some concepts that will help me in the coming weeks. I hope some of these will help you as well.
One of the biggest things is being intentional. Before baby it was easy to find time to interact with my hubby. Even though we have a toddler we had found a rhythm to life and didn’t have to be terribly intentional in order to connect. We had our weekly date night, we were playing board games together a lot, and had time in the evenings to talk. We had our ‘normal’ and it was working for us. Then baby girl came and shook up our normal. Time that we used to have to ourselves is now shared with a newborn. Family dinners often take place with hubby & Little Man at the table eating & me in the living room nursing baby girl. By the time our son goes to bed we are often too tired to do anything relaxing that we want to do. There’s often no “unwinding” from a busy day because we are too tired to take the time to do anything except fall in to bed to sleep! This makes daily life tiring for us. We both recognize that this is just a stage and that in a few months things will calm down and we will discover ourselves settling in to a new type of ‘normal’ for ourselves. Finding a new rhythm for our family’s daily life. This knowledge makes this stage more bearable, but no less difficult!
This week I got discouraged. I felt very overwhelmed. I am a stay at home mama to two kids under the age of two and my hubby works 11-12 hours a day, and then comes home to help with the kids before our son’s bedtime at 7pm. We both end our days exhausted.
But I realized something about myself this weekend. Yes, I have been stressed, yes I have been feeling overwhelmed (I was aware of both of those things), but what I hadn’t realized until today was that when I feel stressed and/or overwhelmed I then begin feeling unloved. I feel like no one is taking care of me because of these two emotions.
I think it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed with a newborn and a 22 month old. I was expecting those things. But, I was not prepared to feel like I wasn’t appreciated or loved. Though, when I really think about it, there is no truth to this last emotion. It is just a byproduct of the other emotions I’m feeling. My hubby loves me more than I deserve. He works 12 hours a day because he loves me. He comes home with a smile on his face and plays with the kids while I cook dinner because he loves us. These are just ordinary, every day things, but they speak wonders of the love that we share.
It’s just that, when I’m stressed I stop looking for the ordinary. I stop smiling when I see Hubby and Little Man laughing together on the floor or building an awesome train track. I stop enjoying and being thankful for those beautiful pieces of ordinary life because I’m looking for something special. I’m looking for something that makes me snap out of feeling overwhelmed and tired. And I miss the beauty in the little things. I miss the display of love in the ‘every day’ moments because I’m looking for something extraordinary. Not realizing that the love of family is extraordinary and special. It is the beauty that I’m looking for. I’m just looking so hard that I miss it.
Lately I’ve been feeling like I need a little something extra. An extra “thank you” an extra “I love you” anything to make me feel more loved & appreciated, anything to make me feel more connected to my hubby. Today I realized, if I need these things, if I’m feeling overwhelmed, hubby probably is too. I can’t forget in these moments of personal tiredness to do what I can to help my hubby feel loved and appreciated. I can’t forget to thank him for the ‘ordinary’ things that he does to show his love for his family. I’m realizing that in stages of stress and transition for our family it is so important that we both intentionally build each other up. And really, when I start to encourage him a bit more, it encourages me too! It opens my eyes to the beauty in the every day. The precious moments that I would have overlooked in my search for something special or exciting.
Every moment can be precious. Every moment can be something special. It is not all easy, I still feel tired and overwhelmed a lot, but I can see the beauty of this season. I can enjoy the blessings even through the tantrums, the neediness of 2 kids and the lack of sleep. I can see the beauty. and I can find joy in the ordinary.