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Marriage vs. Parenthood

March 31, 2011

One of my besties (known henceforth as Doc) recently turned me on to a great blog, And Nobody Told Me.  This is a team effort, run by two very different but equally cool moms along with a handful of regular contributors.  Topics range from hilarious to heartbreaking and everything in between.  All of the posts on this blog are about things that nobody told us/them/you about being a mother.  The goal is that maybe we can all stop feeling so alone on this wild ride called parenting.  After reading a few dozen of these posts I started to think about what my biggest surprise was when I had kids.  I hope the awesomely, cool women at And Nobody Told Me don’t sue me for stealing borrowing their idea.

Nobody told me that I would have to work so much harder at marriage than I did at parenthood.

I have never been accused of being conventional, as I rarely do things the way people think that I should. Indeed, I do get there eventually.  Starting a family was no different for me.  Instead of the “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage” routine, I got it a little out of order. A little.

As I’ve mentioned before, The Hubs and I had a whirlwind romance.  It started fast and the momentum just continued to build. Our first date was February 6, 2005, and we moved in together on May 1, 2005. It was love AND logistics. Those of you who live in the NYC area will understand why when I tell you that he lived in New Jersey and I lived in Brooklyn. Though our respective homes were only about 20 miles apart, 20 miles in NYC/Jersey can easily be a 3 hour trip.  The Hubs would work from 7 to 4 in Jersey, take a bus into Manhattan to meet me after work, take the subway with me out to my house in Hell and Gone Brooklyn, stay there until about 4AM and then take the reverse trip back to Jersey to be at work again by 7AM. I remember him saying his life was like a crazy mix of “Groundhog Day” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” for those first few months.  Since we were still in the throes of the “we have to be together all the time” phase, we decided the best thing was to get an apartment together.  Due to the logistical nightmare that is apartment hunting in NYC (I know people that have had to live with their exes long after the relationship ended because the renting process is slightly shorter than that of getting a doctorate), I went to him.  That, friends, is how I ended up living in New Jersey .

Those first few months in Jersey were a dizzying combination of wonderfully new, scary experiences. The one experience I would like to touch on today is cohabitation.  It is true, I had lived with male roommates prior to this move,  but I had never lived with anyone I was in a relationship with.  As someone who had been on my own since I was 18, the essence of cohabitation came as quite a shock to the system. “What do you mean popcorn and Diet Coke isn’t dinner“?   We talked about kids (both yes) and marriage (him for, me against) but we decided  there was time to figure that all out and we would take things as they came along.  What came along was Thing 1, I became pregnant with her almost a year to the day after our first date.

We were totally over the moon. Though I had been on the fence for most of my adult life about having children, I was now 100% ready to become a mom.  We were both in our early 30’s and The Hubs had already been married once. Our parents were less than thrilled with our unmarried status now that we were breeding, but none of them put up too much of a fuss.  I think my mom was too excited to finally be a grandmother to take anything but what she could get at this point.

I really feel like motherhood came very naturally to me-not to say I was instantly transformed into a perfect parent.  I made a lot of mistakes and still do on a daily basis but I’d like to think my Mom instincts are pretty solid.  The wife instincts, not so much. When Thing 1 was about 6 months old, The Hubs (he was still the Baby Daddy at this point) and I decided we wanted to have another child sooner rather than later so maybe we should make it official.  There was no romantic proposal or 3 carat diamond, it was more like “we probably should do it, huh?”.  Don’t take our nonchalance about the wedding to mean we weren’t in love and committed to each other, as we loved each other very much and still do. We’re just kinda laid-back about such formalities.

My mom and I planned our very non traditional Vegas wedding in an afternoon.  When Thing 1 was 10 months old, the BabyDaddy officially became The Hubs.  Two months after that, I became pregnant with Thing 2. We had very little time between becoming a couple and starting a family. I wonder if our problem is that we never got a chance to just be husband and wife?

As far as husbands go, I could do a lot worse-he loves me almost unconditionally, thinks I’m sexy as hell (this  blows my mind) and tells me how great I am on an almost daily basis.  Despite that, the same things that I accept as a natural part of being a parent drive me crazy as a wife.  I can wrap my head around these cute little people being totally dependent on me. They can’t read yet, which understandably makes fending for themselves difficult.  Why then is it so difficult for me to do some of these same things for my husband?  Picking up after the kids all day, while not exactly fun, is just a part of what I have to do as a Mom – picking up after The Hubs makes me want to kick him square in the baby maker at times.  Where is my patience for this person I love and chose to spend the rest of my life with?  Why do I have to work so hard at being understanding with him, when I seemingly have infinite patience and understanding for my kids?  Why is being right so important to me?   Why does he always get to be the “fun” parent, playing and being silly with the kids, while I have to be the one who makes them eat their vegetables and clean their room?  Why does he see a bag of candy as a fun treat and I see it as a potential dentist bill?   How do I stop expecting him to think like I do and start letting him be the person he is?  The things that attracted me so much to him in the beginning are the things that at times make me want to scream.  He’s the dreamer and I’m the practical one (who would have thought?).  It sucks having to always be the “bad cop” to my husband with the kids, but I know it is something I have to do. Thank you for letting me rant. Whew.

People tell you how hard it is to raise kids, but I never expected marriage to be so much work.  Am I the only one?

One Comment leave one →
  1. YFA permalink
    May 5, 2012 9:25 am

    Love reading your entries. When can I expect another one?

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