As excited as I had been to meet my baby boy, one of my biggest pregnancy fears was regarding the change that would come when our little family jumped from two to three. Nate and I were in a really good place… Like a really good place! And I knew that our marriage was barreling towards the most exciting – and draining – chapter yet.
We shut our eyes, held on tight, and braced for impact, not unlike someone insane enough to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Flash forward 19 months; and I feel as though we’re just now stretching out our legs a bit and maybe peeking over the top of the barrel in the hopes of catching a breath of fresh air.
Being a parent has been hard on our marriage, mainly because we just don’t have free time… ever. Brady goes to bed around 9pm now (thanks to the 18 month sleep regression), and he’s up at the crack of dawn. That leaves us with very little time (and absolutely no energy) for just us.
It’s a phase… it’s a phase… it’s a phase.
I remind myself of that often.
Last week, Nate and I went on our first date in months. The prep for it wasn’t exactly the way I’d used to get ready for dates… 😉 I’d run out of my deodorant, so I smelled of men’s Old Spice and baby wipes. I never had time to do my hair or a proper makeup job. And my house was trashed. But I was sporting a cute new t-shirt, I had a handsome guy by my side, and I actually had the opportunity to sit still during an entire movie.
Oh goodness, it… was… amazing! Nate and I went to see Now You See Me 2 and then we sat in a coffee shop and put together a date bucket-list for the summer. Since I have the summer off from teaching, my mom can watch the little guy here and there just so that Nate and I can have time together. It is SO very much needed!
Being a parent definitely puts a marriage through the ringer. And like every chapter in life, it brings about its own set of challenges… and awesomeness too, of course. Sometimes, you just have to pray and fight your way through the tough patches, because there are so many wonderful moments to be experienced too.
But it’s true that it’s easy to lose the romance. That it’s sometimes hard to remember to put your marriage first. That it’s ridiculously easy to go through an entire day without really talking (because toddler-talk doesn’t count but you’re doing it so much that you feel talked out). That life is overwhelming, and can be lonely, and you really do need to fight, fight, fight for each other.
Every single day, you have to make that conscious decision to put each other first. You have to decide to enthusiastically support each other, even though you’re tired. You have to kiss and mean it… hold each other close and tight… and FLIRT! (You’ve spent your entire day changing diapers and playing hide-and-seek. Flirt a little and remind yourself to have fun and to not take everything too seriously). 🙂
Bit by bit, as one of the tough toddler stages is coming to a close and life is settling back to a more comfortable pace, Nate and I are making time for us again and rediscovering our love for each other.
Parenthood sure isn’t easy. Marriage isn’t either. But they’re both worth it. And I’m really excited – and proud – that we’re learning to find balance while prioritizing what’s important to us!