Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Five Ways Kids Will Change Your Marriage
I was thinking, as I sat across from Chris enjoying a rare dinner alone, how much having a child changes your relationship with your spouse. I feel as though I'm beginning to sound like a broken record and that every post here at the Misadventures is just "blah blah, children change everything, blah blah" but it's really true. You pop out a kid and in then poof! life as you know it is totally flipped on it's head and you're left standing there, holding an infant and bleeding from your lady parts, wondering what the fuck just happened?!
In the case of my marriage, I didn't expect the changes that parenthood has wrought.
Disagreements. I don't care how rarely you fought when you were a childless couple in the bloom of romance, once you introduce a kid into the mix, you'll be shocked at how often you spar verbally. Prior to having kids we never fought, and while I wouldn't say that we have actual fights per se, we do snap at each other and disagree about things much more often. Whatever foibles your spouse has that you find annoying will seem infinitely more aggravating when you are exhausted and have a child screaming "I want juice!!!" in the background.
Parenting styles. This is not something that even crosses your mind when you're considering having kids, but once that baby arrives and you actually have to raise it, you might find yourself taken aback at how different your and your spouse's parenting styles really are. It's not such an issue during the newborn months (unless one of you is firmly in the attachment parenting camp and the other is not), but once the terrible twos rear their ugly head and you have to discipline your kids, you'll often find yourself at odds with the one person who is supposed to be on your side against the little dictators. In our case, I'm an authoritative parent, and Chris is a permissive one, and while I think in the long run this is probably a nice combination for our children, we do drive each other crazy sometimes.
Connection. Trying to have a conversation when you have children is basically a total waste of time. Unless you are capable of holding a train of thought while being interrupted every ten seconds, it's almost impossible to finish a discussion with another adult. There's also very little alone time when you have kids. Sure, you'll eventually climb into bed next to your spouse, but you're both so exhausted at the end of the day the last thing you want to do is actually converse. It's difficult to find the time to connect the way you did before having kids, which means you often feel as though you don't really know what's happening with one another. On the flip side, when you do get a chance to go out alone and talk without someone yelling "'SCUSE ME!!!" it's a little bit like having the opportunity to get to know your beloved all over again.
Sex. Let's get real about sex after kids. I don't mean the actual physical act of it - I've written before about that - but how it's just so...different. First of all it's so much less often (unless, of course, you're a better woman than I), but when it does happen it's kind of better. I mean, when you have children who are going to get up at 6am no matter what, you don't have time to waste. You have a mission - to have an orgasm - and you are going to complete that mission. I also think that once you've given birth and had total strangers look at your lady parts, you're far less inhibited than you used to be. Heck, if your spouse can still get the hots for you after seeing you push a human out of your vag, everything else is pretty much gravy. Pro tip: I suggest you shave the three months of leg hair growth before reacquainting yourselves in the biblical sense.
Love. The biggest surprise for me, by far, was how much my love for Chris grew once we had a child. Seeing him meet the Muffin Man and the Little Lady for the first time made me cry. I'm not the mushy, emotional type, so I'm sure that was just the crazy pregnancy hormones, but nevertheless I did shed a few tears. As the years have passed and I've watched him care for our children, my love for him has actually increased. It's different, of course, than the way it was when we first fell in love and it was new and exciting, but it's better. Seeing my manly husband gently comb Rose's hair, or clean one of Noah's boo boos, kills me. He's so gentle and kind and I'm reminded of why I chose him in the first place.
Even if the way he bribes our kids lollipops annoys the Hell out of me sometimes.