Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Alright folks. I need you to know that as a mother, I question myself on the regular. Is this the right way to do this? Is my son getting what he needs? Is this enough? Here's a sneak peak into my day and brain:

Mid-morning, standing at the sink washing dishes while my toddler runs circles through the kitchen and living room, hoisting a remote control over his head and sing-screaming. This is my life.
  • Did he eat enough today? He really doesn't like to sit still long enough to eat these days. Does three bites of pancake, one blueberry, and half a cheese stick constitute enough breakfast? Maybe I can distract him long enough to eat some peas with his lunch. Puppet show, that's how I'll do it. It will be like dinner theater. Dining and culture. (pats self on back)
Son is now shaking his booty to the music from the Target commercial on TV (yes, the TV is on).
  • He really does seem to love music. He hears a solid beat and stops what he's doing to baby-dance! Maybe I should take him to one of those mommy & me music classes and really nurture this. I probably should get some kid friendly instruments for him to play with at home. I wonder if he'll play guitar like his dad? Does he get enough music? Should I play more classical? Does Bruno Mars count as intellectual stimulation?
Dishes are done and we are now reading "How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies" for the 5th time.
  • I can't read this one anymore. We have to go to the library and pick out some new material. Do I read to him enough? We read at bedtime and whenever he shoves a book into my hands during the day, but should we read more? I saw another mom on Instagram who reads Tolstoy to her 2 year old and uses flashcards to teach him French. I gotta get some flashcards...
Headed to the park to burn some energy. Son is happily digging in the gravel at the playground and trying to eat handfuls of rocks at the same time. 
  • Again with the rock eating? I can't say "no". My pediatrician told me that I must use other words so I save "no" for the life threatening stuff. Do I say "no" too often? Probably. I should really try to find an affirming, nurturing way to say, "Stop. That's gross and probably going to hurt your pooper on the way out." 
Back home for nap time. I'm wearing him to help him wind down and rest. 
  • Sweet lord, babywearing is my lifesaver. Seriously, I don't know how I'd settle him when he's so tired and super wired at the same time. I'm probably forcing some self-soothing, put-yourself-to-sleep gene into submission by doing this. 
Son sighs, wraps his chubby arms around my neck and hugs me before dozing off.
  • This. Is. Everything. I'm enough. I'm what he needs. I'm his momma. I'm enough.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

When parenthood makes marriage hard

When you are pregnant you get loads of advice from friends who have children. They tell you about sleepless nights, colic, and the lack of showering. Want to know what people don't tell you about having a baby? It can make marriage hard. 

In the 8.5 years I've been married, my husband and I have pretty much always been on the same page. For all the big life stuff we've seen eye to eye. We don't argue often and I think have had 3 "fights" in the course of our marriage.  

One of the lessons we took away from our pre-marital counseling was the importance of communication. It took some time, but we got really good at this. Don't hold onto anger, don't keep accounts of how you've been wronged. Bring it up, get it out, talk it through, love one another and move forward. Roger that. Somehow in the haze of having a newborn, our strategy got muddled. Suddenly it's not just the two of you. Suddenly there is this little person who needs every ounce of your attention and care. 

When our son arrived, we both threw ourselves into active, hands-on, compassionate parenting. Our focus shifted dramatically onto his care and nurturing. Care for baby, eat, sleep, repeat. There just didn't seem to be enough hours in the day for anything more. When there was time there seemed to be so much that needed to be done...

  • Sleeping (sweet Jesus, yes!)
  • Household chores
  • Work 
  • Paying Bills
  • Showering
  • Feeding yourself
  • and oh yeah, maybe some sexy time?
When your baby doesn't nap longer than an hour at any given time, that's a lot to try to accomplish. We certainly weren't using that valuable time to communicate and over time, it started to show.

A few weeks ago, I realized things just didn't feel right with us. There was a tension. We were still going through all the motions, but something was off. I could sense unhappiness in my husband and I knew that I wasn't happy either. So after putting our son down for a nap, my husband looked at me and asked, "Everything okay?" and I teared up and honestly replied that it wasn't.

I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty, but what unfolded in the next 60 minutes was just what we needed. We sat at the table, holding hands with the baby monitor buzzing quietly between us. I laid out where I needed support, how I was feeling unhappy and unfulfilled and he told me how he felt pressure and stress and what he needed from me. I did some ugly crying, because it's what I do and we talked about changes we wanted to make. Instantly I felt that tension subside. 

In the days since we have made it a priority to really talk. Not the surface stuff, "did you take out the recycling?" "don't forget to drop off that check" but really talking to each other and checking in on how things are going. Even if it's just 5 minutes in the evening after Arlo goes to bed. We put down our phones and check-in. It's crazy how much that seemingly simple task has helped.

Marriage is hard, y'all. It takes work and effort and honestly I don't always feel like I have anything left to give my marriage at the end of the day. 12.5 months in and we're still figuring out how to be us + a baby. We probably will be for a while and that's okay. After all, nothing worth having comes easy, right? 

I'd love to hear from you. How do you nurture your relationship?