Kids & Marriage :: The Stuff That No One Tells You

Happy Valentine’s Day from Houston Moms Blog!  We hope your day is filled with love notes, flowers, chocolate, {insert anything on your wish list here}, and extra snuggles with your little ones.  In honor of love day, we are talking kids and marriage – but this isn’t the everything is roses post…it’s real life!

Parents To Be

I could only imagine how much having a baby would change the dynamic of a marriage; however, I felt ready and prepared for it.  My husband Jason and I talked about having kids since we met, dated for a few years before marriage, were married several years before thinking about kids, settled into a home, established our careers…basically, we felt as prepared as a couple could be before having a baby.

Ha!

Kids & Marriage

Those first few weeks of entering into parenthood were not as I expected.  We were rocked to the core.  Nine months later, we are learning that other couples we know experienced the same thing!  Why the heck didn’t anyone warn us about this aspect of having a baby?!?!?

In Chelsea’s Words

You know how you hear people say, “I am in love with my husband even more now that I’ve seen him as a father.”  I didn’t feel that.  Let me clarify :: I do now, today.  Just last night I sat and watched Jason read Jack a book, and my heart exploded with love for that man.  I’m in awe of what an amazing father he is and love the way our son looks at his dad, but I’m here to tell you that those first few weeks I wasn’t feeling that.  What I was feeling was stress, exhaustion, uncertainty, worry, and pressure.  Plus I felt like something was wrong with our marriage since we were fighting with each other instead of gazing into each other’s eyes lovingly while watching our baby sleep or whatever I thought other new parents did.  Call it baby blues, PPD, or just pure exhaustion, but that’s what I felt.  I didn’t realize how much time would be devoted to nursing a newborn.  I resented Jason for not doing more for me and the baby, but in reality – there wasn’t really that much he could do aside from what he was already doing. {Yes, he changed plenty of diapers!}

My advice to new parents would be to designate specific roles and tasks.  Talk about what you think these roles will look like ahead of time {as best as you can}, but then adjust along the way.  Me being a total feminist {Jason eye roll}, my major concern was that everything should be equal – 50/50 split on roles.  We both work full-time, we should both take care of the house and baby.  Ladies, I’m here to tell you that it will never be equal…at least not in the beginning {especially if you choose to breastfeed}.  I was getting very frustrated with Jason because I thought he wasn’t doing enough.  He was getting very frustrated with me because he didn’t know what he could do to help.  He couldn’t exactly help nurse the baby!  After our unplanned c-section, we should have readjusted our roles :: Chelsea take care of baby, and Jason take care of Chelsea.

My other piece of advice is to cut each other some slack.  You are both trying your best in your new role and will handle the stress differently.  I handled mine by crying and being snippy.  Jason handled his by being defensive and by doing chores outside {I saw this as not helping me}.  Support and encourage each other during the sleep deprivation, healing, and all of the mishaps you will certainly go through.  Visitors from the outside world helped us too.  One day when we were at each other’s throats, we had to pull it together and fake the smiles for some visitors who were dropping by to meet Jack.  God was watching over us that day because our friends happened to mention that they struggled during the newborn days with each other.  By the time they left, we felt encouraged and recharged.  Laughter is certainly good too!

In Jason’s Words

In the weeks preceding Jack’s debut, I began to wonder if we won the parenting advice lottery with hourly payouts.  The most common prize was – “Get as much sleep as you can now because the first couple of weeks are going to be hard!”  I envisioned Chelsea and I staggering around with bloodshot eyes, three day old hair styles, and a general countenance akin to the stars of Dawn of the Dead.  Chels and I prepared ourselves for dirty diapers, sleep deprivation, and urine fountains all eclipsed by the joy and love that we would experience as new parents.

After bringing Jack home, we quickly realized that everyone was right…it WAS hard!  But the one thing we were unprepared for was how hard we would be on ourselves and each other.  We both wanted to be perfect parents which was as realistic as me walking on as a starting defensive end for the Houston Texans.  As a result, we put too much pressure on ourselves and each other.  Chels and I are good teammates, so we realized what we were doing several days in…but not before we had been on a three day snapping streak. Yet, we did adjust, and it only brought us closer together.  As for the overwhelming joy that Jack brought us, that deserves an entire post unto itself!

Having been there recently, my best advice would be to relax, set reasonable expectations for yourselves, be patient and kind to one another, and don’t go outdoors unless you want to be mistaken for the walking dead.

Share Your Stories!

Talk about the realities of kids and marriage with others, especially parents to-be.  Your story might not be exactly like someone else’s, but it will likely provide some encouragement during the tougher times.  No marriage is perfect.  No parent is perfect.

Did your marriage go through some bumps during your entrance into parenthood or was it all roses and butterflies like we thought it would be?  We would love to hear in the comments below!

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5 Responses to Kids & Marriage :: The Stuff That No One Tells You

  1. Avatar
    Lauren February 14, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    When I was pregnant a couple of friends told me not to make any marital decisions the first year of parenthood because “you will hate your husband”, just keep chugging along and it will get better. 🙂 It’s nice to hear the truth sometimes. Thanks for sharing Chelsea!

    • Avatar
      Chelsea P February 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

      Lauren, that is the best advice your friend gave you! I wish someone would have told me that when I was pregnant. It probably would have saved me lots of self doubt and worry about my marriage. Thanks for reading!

  2. Avatar
    Emily February 14, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    I didn’t worry about my marriage after we became parents. I think it strengthened our bond. We had to work together to figure out how we were going to do this! Almost five years later and we’re still trying to figure it out!

  3. Avatar
    Dominique Goh February 14, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    It has been ups and downs for us and the worst was when we reached our 7th year. I guess we were all tired out having to work + handle 2 active boys. It took a lot of trashing out and time out from each other to sort things out and now it’s much easier as we know how to handle the kids ( we have 3 now).

  4. Avatar
    Danielle February 13, 2018 at 9:24 am #

    My advice to new parents in the newborn stage is ‘anything you say when it’s dark outside doesn’t count’. My husband and I were our nastiest to each other when it was 1 am and we had a newborn who wouldn’t sleep. We said some pretty mean things which is the complete opposite of our personalities. We came up with this rule. A firm understanding of forgiveness that went both ways. This way we didn’t have to rehash these things in the morning. We just woke up and kept chugging along.

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