Life Lesson #1:
As a parent, the first thing I had to learn was to curb my incredible need to have an immaculate household, maxed out IRA and a perfect relationship from not only from the outside looking in but from the inside looking out.
Take. A. Deep. Breath.
A baby was a huge change to my relationship with my husband. He worried about all the “Man” things; house, money, cars, etc. Thus, leaving the yard, baby, house work, bill paying, car upkeep, pets, groceries, etc up to me. Needless to say, I felt the world had turned on me and as a couple we began to fall apart and had a very difficult time understanding eachother’s needs and the level to which we valued each worry in our lives.
We both cared deeply about the other, the baby and about our family. But we had failed to concentrate on the building blocks of our marriage. The reason we were together and the reason we chose to have a family. From this, I have made a priority list:
- My Husband
- My Son
By putting my husband first, I ensure that I give him priority and thus fulfilling his needs. What does this mean? Simply that our foundation as a partnership is stronger than ever since we adopted this view.
Being there for my son is not inhibited by making my husband my first priority. Because we have a strong and healthy relationship I have more energy and the ability to focus on motherhood comes more naturally. Prior to connecting with my husband, I can remember telling him that it took all my energy to be present with Freddie for 15 minutes. The stress of trying to please everyone and not knowing how to was immense. And so damaging that it would take years for us to recover.
And for those who are worried that I put myself as the third, and last on the list, fear not. It is because my husband has me as his first priority that I am fulfilled and have my needs met. I am not wasting energy on how to get my workouts in, time to myself, with girlfriends, hobbies, even dinner made because of my husband’s selflessness. And likewise with my husband’s needs. There are occasions where we are out of sync, we are human after all. And more importantly, it does no good to lie to anyone about how hard marriage really is. I have often thought about suing Hallmark for emotional damage and libel as all those cards can’t be true and produce irrational expectations of married life. And to that, I might also add in the countless DisneyLand ads.
Years ago, the stress of being out of sync would produce a major blow up on both our accounts. Now we are able to have a very candid, level headed and almost bullet point discussion about what needs we feel aren’t being met and how we need them met.
That last part is another deep breath moment. Treat the other as if they are an idiot when it comes to your needs. It took a long time and countless marriage counseling appointments for me to take a deep breath and give into this idea. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he didn’t know what I needed after all these years of dating and marriage. But truth be told, the person I was when we were dating is different than the person I was when we first married and is now different than the person I have become as a mother. With all changes, they are terrifying. However, they provide a new outlook, challenge and lesson that should be learned as an individual and as a couple.
Take a deep breath, step back and look at how you have changed. Acknowledge the good, the bad and the ugly. Yes, this is as cliché as it sounds. Because nothing will get better until you are truthful with yourself.
So, when I started treating my husband like he has never once known a need of mine OR how to assist in ensuring the need is meet, life starting looking a lot less gray. There were no more assumptions on what/how/when/who. Details were/are given and there is far less disappointment and much more happiness.
I recognize that this post is starting to sound like a self help book. But this is true, honest and free. Relationships are the end to your selfishness. There is just no room for it anymore.
Taking a deep breath and counting to ten has also saved my son’s life. I never understood how one tiny being could push all my buttons at once and cause near mental breakdowns. And just when you think you are going to never lovingly hold him again, he looks at you and gives you a sweet kiss on the cheek or snuggles into you, melting your heart. Emotional roller coaster doesn’t even begin to describe it.