I planned on writing this blog post a few months back when I was still pregnant and this was still all just theory. Now, here are my thoughts after two months of practice.
My grandmother always told me “Brittni, your children are borrowed. You get to raise them for 18 years, and then they are free to start their own life. Who are you left with when your children eventually leave? Your husband. This is why your marriage needs to be the first priority.” Putting it into practice is hard, unexpectedly difficult. Having a baby changes your life, but this is something that everyone knows. What everyone doesn’t know is HOW. How can becoming parents really change the dynamic between a husband and wife? What do the first few months of being parents really look like from a couple’s stand point? How much does it really change things? Why? Does my husband really come first?
Originally, this post would just list the following reasons as to why my relationship with my husband will always be my first priority:
- Children are borrowed. Just like my Mema always said, after 18 years your children should be able to be out on their own. If my husband and I only work on our children, our relationship will dwindle to nothing by the time we really need one another.
- We promised our lives to one another. Having children is an addition to our life together, it is not a replacement for our life together. We came first, and we should always come first.
- He is my best friend. This life long partnership means that I get to have a friend for life. When our friends are all busy with their kids, when our kids are all busy with their friends, we will always have each other to count on, to spend time with, to watch movies with, to adventure with, to do everything, anything, and nothing with.
- I want to be his first priority. Treat others the way you want to be treated… ’nuff said.
- We are an example. We are an example for our children. I want my son to understand how he should be treated by his future partner, and how he should treat his future partner. We are an example of love, relationships, and commitment to our children.
Now, I know that we are only 2 months in, and everyone has VERY different experiences, but here are my answers to questions as a very new mom and wife (during a global pandemic).
How can becoming parents really change the dynamic between a husband and wife?
A better question would be: how does it not? Marriage is work. Before having children, it’s like an easy occasional, let’s say a high school babysitting job, for example, that is only really “work” when you want it to be, with hours based on whenever you feel like playing with some kids, or watching a movie while the kids sleep. It comes easy since that’s all your need to worry about. When you have children, this job is no longer ‘work when you want’; it’s a full-time career squeezed into a less than part-time schedule. This is going to dinner not because you feel like going to dinner, but because that’s when you can go to dinner. This is the time that you have to think about each other, to not make it all about the baby. Even that is work, to not make the time that you have together about the kids – and to only be present with one another. Everything needs to be more of a conscious effort, but it is worth it. I will also say more experienced moms have assured me that it does get easier, the first months/year is the hardest.
What do the first few months of being parents really look like from a couple’s standpoint?
Exciting, mundane, scary, beautiful – all of the emotions! Looking at your perfect child and thinking, “Wow, we made that,” instead of looking at your perfect child and thinking, “Why do you only look like your father, I’m the one that carried you for 9 months!” This first couple of months have made it way more difficult than I thought it would be in some ways, and easier in other ways. Running on little sleep, having to think SO much about the baby who literally needs care at all times of the day and night, leaves almost no room for your significant other. All these emotions while running on no sleep make it hard to have the patience for anyone else, especially the person that you can be 100% yourself around. Adding on the fact that intimacy at the beginning is almost impossible, this is a difficult time for the couple to say the least. Having patience with one another, and yourself at a time that patience is hard to find, could be the best way to make it through this beautiful, memorable time as you are both figuring out your new roles as parents while trying not to replace your roles as husband and wife.
How much does it really change things?
So far, it has changed a lot and not at all.
Because we may treat one another differently. We don’t have the time to ourselves that we once had and are relearning how to work on us during the excitement of learning how to individually be mommy and daddy and together be parents. We’ve added something to be proud of as a couple, something that will remind us that our love is even more beautiful (because damn our baby is cute!) than we thought it could be.
However, we are still the same couple that we were before babies. We still love each other. Yes, we’re more tired and it comes by less often – but we are the same people, the same couple. We still need the same things and want the same things. The reasons that we chose one another are all still there – they might just be a little blurry right now through tired eyes.
Does the couple really come first?
Yes, but the baby needs me a little than my husband does right now. It is a conscious effort to put the couple first. Do I always remember? No. Sometimes my emotions get the best of me. Is that ok right now? Yes. Little by little the baby will need less from me, and the couple will need more. Will I continue to work on our relationship to make sure that my husband and I will make it out stronger than ever? You bet your ass! Sometimes he’ll need to work harder, sometimes I’ll need to work harder.
Moral of the story: WE come first because we came first. (Giggity)