Children and the strain on your marriage

Mr. C. and I fight. There it is, I said it. Ya we fight…and?? Tell me you don’t?? Ever? I would like someone to show me the couple that doesn’t argue

Some of our arguments are minor and are resolved almost the moment they occur. Others are momentous, last days and alter our relationship for good. Most times for the better.

What I underestimated was the impact having children was going to have on my relationship with my husband.

When we were in one child heaven life was a breeze. We enjoyed our time with our baby. Dinners were made, house was cleaned, laundry done during nap times. We had free time. We bathed in the warmth of our love for each other and our new family. After our rocky beginning we were just so thankful to have Mr. T. home with us and relatively healthy that the regular baby stresses didn’t phase us. Not sleeping through the night? Not a problem! Crying baby? Easy peasy! Nothing could knock us off our cloud nine.

Then along came Ms. J. and the experience was so much different. While our love for her was too much for words, we were on the go non stop, 24 hours a day. We didn’t have the same amount of free time anymore. When Ms. J was napping Mr. T. needed attention. I had to be sure that I had Mr. T. entertained so that he didn’t get into trouble. We were out a lot at playgroups and baby classes. There was double the laundry and no time to clean the house anymore. We were running on empty and were just trying to keep our heads above water.

Free time with Mr C? It was pretty much non existent. By the time we managed to get both kids in bed, we were both exhausted and could barely muster the energy to keep our eyes open for 15 minutes let alone talk to each other! We were wiped!

It got very overwhelming very quickly.

Now here we are almost two whole years later and we are dealing with a busy 3.5 year old and an independent toddler who wants to do everything herself and has a will that overpowers mine any day of the week. We are stressed. Do I even need to say that? Almost every single day that goes by I feel like a big failure. When I walk in the house and see toys scattered on the ground. When I look at my kids sitting on the couch watching T.V. while I’m desperately trying to put together dinner. When one of my kids knock over a pile of folded laundry because I haven’t had the chance to put them away yet…I feel like a bad wife and mother.

All of those overwhelming feelings of anxiety come out at some point and in some form, usually in anger and frustration. Which is usually directed towards Mr. C.  Is that really all that surprising? He’s the closest to me. So I argue with him.

I look around at all the chores that need to be done and I fight with Mr. C. to help me. I fight with him because he questioned my parenting when Mr. T. was disrespectful to me. I carry around resentment and it’s aimed at him because I’m tired, frustrated and defeated. It’s completely unfounded and not the right direction for my feelings but it’s the path they take nonetheless.

In discussing this with Mr. C. he opened up that he too feels overwhelmed. He feels inadequate when he sees that other dad’s in the neighborhood are always out working on their lawn, washing their cars, doing work on their houses. When he’s so tired after a long day at work that it’s tough for him to even manage walking the kids over to the park to play. He too feels overwhelmed when he feels like he’s going non stop and is still struggling to do all of the things that need to be done. He even feels bad when he sees me stressed because he can’t fix it.

One of the most important realizations for both Mr. C. and I is that what works for one family may not work for us and that’s ok. Yes, some dad’s are out there fixing their lawns every day but they don’t take their kids on bike rides every day the way Mr. C. does. Just like some mum’s may keep their house spotless at all times but maybe they don’t make fresh, homemade dinners every night. Point being, it doesn’t really matter what everyone else does, nor what everyone else thinks. We have to find our place and what works for us.

I’ve learned some even more important lessons from these fights with my husband. I’ve learned that life with two young children and two working parents is not as easy as it looks. It’s tough and mentally draining. The worst thing we can do is take that out on each other. It will get easier, as the kids get older and more independent. For now this is us and we need to work together as a team. One thing I always remember is that when Mr. T. was sick, Mr. C. and I banded together as a team and that was the only way we made it through. If we can face that we can face anything.

The most important thing that I learned is that sometimes fighting between couples is a necessary evil. It’s a requirement to work through some tough issues. The sign of a successful marriage is how you get through the tough times, how you resolve your issues. I am actually grateful for our arguments because we are at a point in our marriage where our arguments actually make us a stronger couple. Mr. C. may drive me crazy at times but I wouldn’t want to face this journey through life with any one else.


2 thoughts on “Children and the strain on your marriage

  1. I love this post. Two kids is freaking hard. When my first child was born I walked around for 6 months with a permanent look of shock on my face. I couldn’t believe how hard it was and all I could ask people was “When does it get easier?” Things settled down into a new, but hectic routine and by the time he was two, we welcomed our beautiful baby daughter into the world. If I thought one was hard, then two was crazy town! LOL The amount of time my husband and I get to ourselves is so minimal. We even have a little 9 month old sleeping between us in our bed every night! We bicker quite a bit and I’m sure this is directly related to us not having our own head space or time to ourselves. We have become better at our conflict resolution over time and about once a month we try our hardest to have a “date night” at home which usually involves a DVD, nice food, candles, wine etc. I agree with you that it’s bound to get easier over time. You sound like you’re doing a fabulous job in the circumstances! x

    • Thanks again for reading! I understand where you are coming from 100%. Mr. C. and I have actually taken it to the next step and have vowed that we are going to try our hardest to do a date night once a month out of the house! A date that doesn’t involve a movie because we can’t talk at a movie. Dinner, coffee, walk in the park…anything that gives us time alone where we can talk.
      It is difficult but I think that it will get easier with time and we keep getting better at resolving our conflict. I used to walk out of our arguments feeling bad but as we are getting better at communicating I walk away from our arguments truly feeling like a stronger couple.
      I decided to write about it because I realized that I felt like I was alone and that no one else experienced these frustrations…every one is trying so hard to be perfect that we are so afraid to show a little vulnerability. I just think we would all feel better if we talked about it, learned from each other and stopped trying to pretend that everything always has to be perfect to be happy. Some of life’s most memorable moments are the messy ones right??? I’m glad to see I’m not alone in this 🙂

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