The Post I’ve Been Trying to Write All Week

So it seems that everyone on the planet is out there planning or preparing for baby #2, and I’m still sitting over here trying not to let baby #1-and-only destroy everything from the house to my marriage. So that’s fun.

I won’t lie. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster for a while, now. I don’t know if I’m going to do a very good job of conveying the mess that’s inside my head, but I’m going to try.

I am head over heels in love with my little girl. I love being a mom. The highs are everything I ever hoped they’d be. The lows are another story. I mean, I imagined the lows. I did. I just don’t think you can truly understand them until you’re in the trenches.

And that’s where I am today. In the trenches.

I don’t really struggle to mom. I mean, I have my moments. God, do I have my moments. But overall, I’ve got this. Diapers, tantrums, sleepless nights—you can’t break me, kid. (Um… mostly.)

I do, however, struggle to wife. I also struggle to be wifed. (I know I am making up verbs here, but you get it, right?)

Momming pretty much takes every ounce of energy we have these days. We try to spread what’s left between our full-time jobs and our house. It doesn’t really leave anything for us. By the time the kid is in bed, we are freaking tired. I don’t expect that is unique to us.

Mostly, we’re pretty accepting that this is just how it’s going to be for a while. There are moments, though, when it’s all just too much or not enough and we feel pretty lonely despite being inches away from each other.

Our pre-child life was not very child-friendly, and we spent ten years enjoying that life together. There was disposable income (eventually—not at first) and weekends away and wine and cooking up a storm for well-fed late nights with friends. We tried, but failed to insert our baby into that life. Instead, we found ourselves building a new life–and I think we’ll both readily admit that we’re not very good carpenters.

Someday, we will have our disposable income back. Someday, there will be weekends away and wine will flow from bottles that cost more than $8.99 and won’t languish barely touched in the refrigerator until they turn to vinegar. Someday, our daughter will be thrilled at the prospect of a weekend with her grandparents. Someday, my boobs will be fun again.

In the meantime, we keep trying. We keep trying as hard as we are capable of trying. Because us is worth it. Because 11 years of shared history is special.  Because we’re still in there. Somewhere.


36 thoughts on “The Post I’ve Been Trying to Write All Week

  1. I completely respect this and can commiserate! I feel like a lousy wife most days. And im always early to bed just incase irs a bad night and im up more then id like to be. I feel like i live for baby mpb and sleep (and we don’t even have half the sleep struggles you have). And that all just sucks for our relationship and marriage.
    Like you, we truly think this will be temporary. But that doesn’t help much on the bad days sending my love!

  2. We literally just had this argument two nights ago. Well my wife did because i am a nonphysical person without a kid and my wife isn’t. So now as a touched out mom i suck even more at wifing. Add to that working to make enough money to survive and it isn’t good. So we are taking tax refund money and the three if us are getting s mountain cabin starting sunday for two nights to reconnect without a roommate or motherinlaw.

    All i can add is to hang in there. Keep talking. Find little ways to connect. It has to get better

    • Taking time away together is such a good idea. Good use of tax refund $! We have to use ours for a new roof. Boooo! And you’re right–it HAS to get better. (And really, I think it does–bit by bit. I know it’s better now than it was a year ago.)

  3. You ARE in there. It’s hard. I found that a lot (though not all) of the people pining and planning for #2 when Clem was Charlotte’s age has been together for a much shorter time than we had (like you, a good decade before the baby showed up) and as with their first kid, it was very much a “jump in and do it” marriage, kids, vasectomy (or just wham bam thank you ma’am, in the case of Teh Gays) thing. Whereas we took our time with *everything*. And lacked the certainty our other friends had about how many kids they wanted. But you knew that last part. Still, I was surprised that we *weren’t* the last of our friends with kids Clementine’s age to have a second. Which is mostly to say, yeah, there’s a huge flurry for that coveted two year gap (or “three because we think it will take a while”) but it’s not actually everyone. You do you, and your family will be all the better for it.

      • I envy your certainty. I mean, we know we’re done now, but it was pretty touch and go there for a while!

        I hope you didn’t interpret my comment as a “just you wait/two kids is inevitable” message! I read back through it and it kind of reads that way. Not my intent at all!

        It also occurred to me that how you feel about Life Before Kids is kind of how I feel about Life With One Kid. So maybe *you* are a source of jealousy for all those TTC2 friends of yours! How’s THAT for perspective?!

  4. I feel like I’ve made you feel worse with all my problems lately and then that stupid baby food ad. You guys had a long time of just the two of you-I can’t imagine you not having serious growing pains. Conveniently for ts we’ve always been relatively broke, so that’s nothing unusual. You’re doing great though-truly. I look at you and just don’t know how you do it. In awe.

  5. I feel this… My wife and I have only been in this relationship limbo for 6 months so far, but it has been way more taxing on our relationship than we ever could have imagined. We still haven’t had sex since baby was born, and since she bed shares and we can’t just put her in a crib and walk away, there’s no us time to even THINK about intimacy. We just try really hard to do small things (a little note to say I still love you, a special dinner even if we can’t eat at the same time…). Anyway, I’m digressing. I have been thinking a lot about whether or not its worth putting our relationship through having another child, if another child turns out to be something we would want. It would be really, really hard on us. Now it’s a wauting game. Waiting for the baby to become a kid who wants alone time and her own room. And we try not to give up on each other while we wait.
    Sorry this is so long…. I just have so many feelings on this topic! Thanks for posting.

    • The first year was absolutely the HARDEST. We did not have sex until just before Charlotte’s first birthday, if that makes you feel any less alone. Part of that is majorly hormonal. I have learned from the mom groups I’ve participated in that many moms get their libido back as soon as they stop breastfeeding. Mine improved when I stopped pumping, but since I’m still nursing half the night, the improvement wasn’t that dramatic. Things have slowly improved as Charlotte has gained more independence. Walking was particularly noticeable turning point. Sometimes I don’t really notice that things have gotten easier until I really think about it, but they definitely have.

    • I’m so glad you wrote that you haven’t had sex yet since baby. I thought I was the only prude leaving my wife out in the cold! To be fair, we did once, but the rest of the time I’m just too tired and there is a small human in the room!!!

      • Oh lawdy we are the same! Our boy is 19mths and I probably could calculate the number of times we’ve had sex. Actually, I’m too tired to try and count lol. We make an effort for anniversaries and birthdays & sneak in the odd quickie if he’s napping. We also live on the same property as my parents (who live about 200 meters away) and are prone to pop in without knocking or calling out! We’ve always been more of a day time sex couple and even more so now as we are soooo tires in the evening I have zero libido then. So with the boy and the chance of my parents arriving unannounced… So glad to hear it’s not just us!

  6. I hear you. Loud and clear. So loud I’m now deaf to anything but a whimper in the night or the exhausting wail of “maaaamA!” Sometimes the LP used to say “I miss the old days” and I’d feel mortally wounded – I nearly killed myself to have these children, how dare you? Nowadays I miss the old days at times too.

    • Yes! Months ago, I would have smacked my wife for saying something like that. Now–yeah. I miss the old days. Not that I would want to give up the mom days, but every once in a while it would be nice to just check out and be 27 again.

  7. There is so much beauty in this post and I can also relate to so much of it. The lows are hard.. very hard. I didn’t anticipate how much energy my little one would take either and man, I’m tired.

  8. I totally understand this post. Before having kids I was like, meh, it will be fine, I’ve already done all the things and won’t feel like I’m missing out on anything like young moms sometimes do. The problem is that I don’t feel like I’m missing out, I know I’m missing out! I miss friends and adventures that don’t revolve around toddlers/preschoolers and eating at restaurant that don’t serve chicken tenders.

  9. Despite being on the #2 bandwagon, I really identify with a lot of this. I find it so hard to be the parent I want to be and yet also be a person outside of that. I don’t think I’m doing particularly well at wifing or being wifed, and I miss my pre-baby relationship very much. Thinking about a second child feels very different than thinking about a first child. With the first, I could imagine all of the good stuff and had only a vague idea of how hard it’d be. Now, trying for a second child, I feel excited but also so much more scared because I have a better idea of what it means. It’s definitely more of a leap of faith than an indication of the development of any real momming/wifing competency. I figure we’ll probably love the kid enough that we’ll feel like it’s worth it in the end, but damn, it sometimes feels like setting out on a voyage on a boat that’s held together with gum and shoelaces!

    • Ah that last line is perfect! I’m partly terrified about trying for number two, partly desperate as I’m 40 soon and have thyroid issues & a history of MC’s so have to hurry, and I so so so want our boy to have a little sibling, (and adoption is nigh on impossible here), but argh – it’s scary!

  10. Oh my god do I feel this right now.

    There is so much guilt I don’t know what to do with it. I feel awful I don’t “wife” enough but at the same time Im so damn tired that I don’t want to wife or be “wifed”.

    This is the shit they need to tell people.

    • Seriously! Although even if they told us that this is how it will be, we probably wouldn’t have believed them. I find that I pretty much underestimated every negative thing anyone ever told me about parenting an infant/baby/toddler!

  11. This post really resonated with me! I’ve been feeling this way for a while. Momming, we are doing it well. Wifing, not so much.

    I remember to alone time, just cuddling and being in sync with each other. Now we joke about it but our words hardly make complete sentences and when we go to bed at night our heads hit the pillow and we are just too tired to spend time reconnecting.

    I’m hopeful it will get back there, but I also realize that right now, in this moment, it’s hard.

  12. Right there with you! I don’t know what happened to me that I can no longer finish just ONE BEER on the couch! I’ve lost all my motivation and inspiration. And I HATE that my wife and I both turn to our phones to browse/read instead of doing a better job connecting in those moments between diapers and walks and baths and puking (hello, reflux) and laundry. But we both need the brain break. And the silence. I tell myself daily that this is just a phase and we’ll be stronger for it when it has passed.

  13. I returned to this post (I first read it last Friday) and am so glad I did. To read all of these comments and realize how not alone we/I am is comforting. Momming is hard, Wifing is hard. Doing both of them well = impossible! We are pretty much faking it until we make it in the wife category currently. Just hanging on until the kids are a little older and maybe a bit more independent. I just pray that we don’t lose the “us” before then. Thank you so much for the honesty and realness of this post!

      • The best thing about this, and in my opinion how you and your wife will get through this, is that you both picked the same choice. You both understand that being a good mom comes first, even if your intimacy comes 2nd. Being on the same page with this helps our relationships survive the joys of early parenting 🙂 Times get hard, it seems like we all agree that this is common, but reading this and seeing that every commenter and yourself dealt with this too gives me hope. Now I’m just grateful my wife and I both picked being good moms, I wouldn’t be head over heals in love with her if she chose anything else.

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