Hey everyone! I miss you guys! I went on a slight break as the kids and I headed to Boston to visit family and my husband was doing the “Army thing” again for a month or so. The twins are officially a week from being 5 months old and thriving!! Getting bigger and hitting milestones no one expected them to be based on the hospital’s basic premie baby development charts *inserts hard eye roll here*. Any who, four months in and I am seriously thinking of how my life has changed so much since having children. Bringing home my eldest son was the most amazingly, joyous, life-changing event. There was nothing that could mess with the happiness my husband and I felt coming home that day. However, the overwhelming joy, stress and heightened anxiety of bringing home twins this time around while my husband was away and trying to chase after a two-year old brought so many emotions to surface that well, yeah, things have definitely changed. Here are some of the ways my marriage has changed after 3 children and how I deal.
- Things change and it is simply UNAVOIDABLE – Seriously in hindsight, all I can remember thinking is how well Gabriel fit into my old life and how twins couldn’t change anything that much more than my sleep pattern. Yeah no, things changed – A LOT. Even my relationship changed as we measured who got up more in the middle of the night and who deserved to be more tired than the other. Although change is not always a bad thing; at least not always.
- How I have learned to navigate:There are not very many choices in the matter of giving all of my time and undivided attention to two small children who by way have a very simple existence consisting of eating, sleeping and pooping and a toddler who demands snacks and keeps the television on Little Einsteins. So instead of resisting, I have learned to accept it and roll with the punches. Through all of the teaching I provide the kids, they teach me so much more about myself. So if anyone tells you nothing has changed, they lied. Sorry.
- The partner struggle is real! In fact you seriously might want to strangle them – For me, the first time around everything felt like a miracle but this time around. Physically, mentally and emotionally I was taking a beating and although when the twins arrived my body had some sense of relief, my lack of sleep while watching my husband sleep drove me bat shit crazy. I was going crazy about him leaving dishes in the sink, going to work everyday while I sat at home and even changing diapers a certain way. The resentment was settling in.
- How I learned to navigate: All of the emotions and hormones flying through this little body of mine had me on a roll. I guess settling down every once in while and really distinguishing between what I feel and whats real allowed me to see things in a healthier perspective instead of through a “baby blues” filter which I talk about here: ( Combating Postpartum Depression: When the Glow is Gone). I choose to write and even firmly express my needs (you know like taking a shower every now and then without hearing phantom baby cries) instead of thinking of all the ways I could divorce my husband for not listening or doing laundry the right way.
- Downtime? Says who? – Downtime no longer exists – I remember there was a time after we put Gabe to bed where we could sit up and watch movies, have beer or two and catch up. This time is critical and has to be used the right way or we are totally screwed the next day! Now its meal prepping, cleaning, doing laundry, and showering; racing against time before the next feeding.
- How I learned to navigate: We haven’t quite mastered it yet, but we are trying to find time to bond while doing all of these things. I cook and my husband washes dishes and the little glances, a kiss here and there and even a potty grab kind of makes the free time a bit more fulfilling – I mean at least we know were doing it together.
- Money – We all wish we had more right? Somehow when I found out I was pregnant the second time I felt financially prepared to have one baby but not two and I just started to freak out! I knew I would stay home a for a bit and because a baby cannot understand any of it, I began taking my frustration out on my husband who was silently freaking out as well but holding it together a lot better than I was.
- How I learned to navigate: Talking to my husband about what we really want for ourselves and for our future has helped. Because we like to have a certain level of security financially, my husband brings lunch to work everyday, we try to find a bunch of fun, yet inexpensive things to do on the weekends and we make choices instead of sacrifices. Do I take this weekend vacation to Miami or buy a new stroller? Do we move because the rent is more inexpensive or stay because the school district is a lot better for our children? Whatever we decide, we do it together so that no matter which one of us is out of work, we don’t feel out of touch.
- In-laws – While I am all for family and our children knowing how big their family stretches beyond the walls of our home, dealing with certain family members, especially my in-laws has been no easy feat. Yet, like any grandparents, they want time with their grandchildren; lots of it and their demands can often times seem so overwhelming and a bit unrealistic. The phone calls. The texts. Stopping by unannounced from states away – feeling like I had no control because somehow in their heads as a daughter-in-law I had no choice in the matter and my husband just wanted to remain the peace maker. Yeahhhh… no.
- How I learned to navigate: BOUNDARIES. BOUNDARIES. BOUNDARIES. Set them and make exceptions for no one. That way, no one feels more important than one another. If they do not like it, then they just have to suck it up. For a long time, I had my husband reach out to his parents thinking that they may be more understanding hearing things from him but they blame me anyway so I just began to set the boundaries on my own. Not everyone was happy but attest I got to keep my sanity!
It is not always easy finding a solution, especially when you have multiples but I am finding that a silver lining always helps!