parenthood and relationships

This entry is part of the Love Makes a Family Blog Carnival. The topic is “Relationships and the strain parenting puts on them.”

I think most of us (me included) tend to blog primarily about the fun, uplifting, joyous side of parenthood rather than the often difficult, demanding, draining side. I know sometimes I feel like after the long and arduous journey to get pregnant and finally have my little Monkey, I have no right to talk about the difficulties that accompany having a baby. We forget that others are having the same struggles and by acknowledging the issues, we might help each other feel less alone in our troubles.

Now onto the relationship strain. DW and I have been together for almost 16 years. We have fought more in the last 20 months (really more in the first year of Monkey’s life) than we ever did in all the years previous combined. Fortunately, most of these arguments were the result of sleep deprivation (small infractions that blew up out of proportion because we were so tired and grumpy). One fight that sticks out in my mind was over sleep training. We did not want to do it. Period. But after many (MANY) sleepless nights followed by days with cranky Mama, Mommy, and Monkey, Mommy just broke down crying and said she couldn’t do it anymore. This was a shocker for me (Mama) as DW is so not a crier. I knew it was serious. So we compromised and did the Sleep Lady. Tangent: It didn’t last and we ended up re-committing ourselves to no more sleep training and began co-sleeping full-time (with limited success).

We very rarely go out just the two of us (we’ve done this maybe 4 times since Monkey was born). There is very little physical intimacy due to weariness and co-sleeping. We have no family support (my parents live on the other side of the country and DW’s mom is no help due to constant health issues). We fight often about MiL issues. Sometimes we disagree on what Monkey is able to do at his age and with his temperament (traveling, flying, going to certain events, etc.).

But what we do have? A ridiculous amount of love for each other and Monkey. Even though DW is a SAHM and spends all day every day with Monkey, she often tells me she misses him when he’s sleeping or out with me somewhere. Honestly, I think that even if we did have major relationship issues that would lead to divorce, neither of us would do it because neither of us would want to be away from Monkey for any length of time. It helps that I still find DW to be the most interesting, challenging, funny, smart, and just all-around coolest person I’ve ever met. Still cute as hell, too 🙂 Add in the fact that she simply astounds me as a mom and I’m done for. She’s simply the best ❤

While this post is specifically about how having a child affects your relationship with your SO, I feel like I personally could have a more detailed post on the strain it put on me as an individual. I have been shocked at some of the things I’ve thought and felt since having a baby and struggling with some PPD. Another topic for another post, perhaps.

Check out the next post in the Love Makes a Family Blog Carnival here.


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8 responses to “parenthood and relationships

  1. Sacha

    I have to admit being a HUGE hater of CIO and sleep training, so I want to tell you that going down the path of letting your monkey work out sleep without being pushed is a hard one, and you will find there is little support for what feels like hell at times, but it’s such a good decision and you will make it through. It took 2.5 years for Finn to sleep, but he did it and we did it, and we completely avoided sleep training. Now Zivia is torturing us, even worse than the boy, and we’re in the thick of it, but still, no sleep training (although I’ve brought up night weaning way too often).

    Sleep deprivation is HUGE. I really do remember that our relationship was the. worst. when the sleep deprivation was the worst. When I got more sleep, I had more emotional space for Megan.

    As for the strain it puts on us as individuals, we will never be the same after bringing a child into this world. Parenting is a formative, life-changing experience. It’s been 4.5 years and I struggle on a daily basis with how much this has shook me, how it has changed me, how it has opened me up and left me raw and in pain in so many ways. The world, my world, is not the same because of it, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Yes, it’s painful but my heart and soul are so full from my children that I’ll take on whatever pain I have to. I once told a friend who was thinking about having kids to think of how much she loved her dog who had just died, then imagine a love a million times more than that, and why would anyone not want that in their lives.

    We walk through the fire. For each other, for our children, for ourselves. You are doing that right now.

  2. katy

    I really feel like I could have written most of this post myself. We seem to have a lot in common! 🙂

  3. I wasn’t familiar with your blog and am glad to find my way here!
    Sleep deprivation really does turn you into a different person. It’s a terrible, terrible thing. I love your focus on what you have. It sounds like you have quite a lot. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Relationships and the Strain Parenting Puts on Them « Love Makes a Family Blog Carnival

  5. reproducinggenius

    The sleep thing really does make us crazy, and it takes such a huge toll on our relationships. Cosleeping does its own number on us too, but I often found that the sleep we got as a result of cosleeping was a precious commodity and helped restore some sanity to our relationship. Oh, but the fights we had about sleep issues. Ugh.

    I too love your focus on what you do have. So often we forget, and we become mired in the ugly little things that pop up. Focusing on what made us become families in the first place is so helpful. Thanks for a great post!

  6. Great post! I could have written it myself. Only the sleep deprivation and the arguing were less in the beginning – I know but that’s thanks to co sleeping! We are arguing way more now than before and it sucks.
    But you are right about all the good stuff too. We have not been out together for more than two hours without Isobel since she was born.
    Thanks for your honesty:) hugsx

  7. Thanks for posting this. I am definitely one of those moms who tend to write about more of the good things than the bad. I try to address my issues, and I am definitely going through a lot more bad stuff than good, it seems lately, especially with Liam becoming a more independent toddler and pushing all the buttons he knows how to push (oh so well…). I try not to get too detailed in any of my personal issues (PPD) in my blog just because I know some of my coworkers and other people I know have the blog link and I’d rather not get into too personal details with them, ya know? Maybe I should think about wordpress… you can do protected posts, right?

    • I hear you on the personal details – that’s one reason no one in my real life has the link to my blog 🙂 Yes, WordPress has password-protected post. That’s why I came over here from Blogger.

      This toddler independence stuff is wild, isn’t it?

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