Sometimes the regret you feel isn’t for reasons you’d expect.
I swear it’s just one.
I could probably go on and on about how I wish I fed my son different or I wish I would have spent more time reading to him. That list is never finished.
Nope, this one is different. My biggest regret as a new mom has to do with my relationship with my husband, John.
I wish I spent more time nurturing our relationship and less time fighting over the littlest things. I wish we spent more time communicating and less time on our phones avoiding the issues at hand.
No one tells you how hard marriage with a kid is. It must be some unspoken rule to not speak of it to new parents who have no idea what’s about to happen. The change is unavoidable and will make you feel as if your relationship wasn’t strong enough in the first place.
Marriage after having a baby needs energy, focus, and time. Who has that?
Breastfeeding changed our relationship a lot. I worked really hard to get my supply up. I was on the pump, attached to my newborn for most of the day, and not sleeping. My husband was wondering where he fit in to all of that and felt neglected. It made it so much more stressful because we didn’t communicate with each other. I needed to do what I had to do to feed our son and he felt left in the cold because he didn’t know how to help with that.
I went back to work after 12 (incredibly short) weeks, throwing another wrench in our life. How is a mom supposed to figure out every-little-freaking-thing when she can’t even remember the last time she showered?How is a mom supposed to figure it all out when she can’t even remember the last time she showered?Click To Tweet
We weren’t engaging in our regular activities that we enjoyed because we either couldn’t find the time, couldn’t find a sitter (we’re also without a “village” but that’s a story for another day), or were too tired to even think about doing something.
“Downtime” was fleeting because suddenly there was so much to do to keep up with work, school, home, and parenting that our relationship became last. We put ourselves last.
We were bickering non-stop. Every conversation ended poorly, making it less likely we’d even try to engage in a new conversation. It became a hassle.
We had become so terrible at communication we couldn’t see our way out.
I started reading on ways to make things better. Lots of things I eye rolled at because I knew us. I knew it wouldn’t work or we had tried and failed. One thing I didn’t eye roll at was a calendar. My entire work day was scheduled. I scheduled naps for our son. What if I scheduled John-and-Ashley time?
I sat down with my husband and told him I wanted to put together a calendar for us to spend time one-on-one.
He looked at me like I had five heads and said “no marriage survives on a calendar.”
I told him we needed to try something before we ended up losing everything.
He begrudgingly gave into the best thing we’ve done for our relationship since we had our son. Getting time away from parenting is too difficult, but I started staying up a little later so John and I could talk or watch our favorite TV show we hadn’t watched in a year.
I still go to bed early as my toddler still doesn’t sleep through the night, but that little bit of time every day has been really helpful.
We stopped trying to fit in everything we could on the weekends. We do something family related in the morning on Saturday after breakfast, and make sure our son gets a decent nap in. We typically go home for these naps that end up being 2+ hours. Unless we’re both exhausted, that’s our time to connect every single week.
Now, scheduling isn’t for everyone. We used to fly by the seat of our pants before I became pregnant. We’d schedule nothing and just go for it. We could no longer do that. I became dependent on scheduling everything so I felt like I had some control. Once John was on board, it finally felt like we were moving in the right direction again.
In the end, we still created a life together. We’ve done something pretty awesome and we have gotten through a tough part in parenthood. It’s not over. Our work here isn’t done. But being on the same page and learning how to talk about our issues will help us down the line with new parenting challenges.
How do you connect with your husband after having kids?