If there is one thing that can change the dynamic of a marriage, kids more than likely tops that list! And since some of my past wedding couples have started venturing down the road of parenthood, I felt like this was a really good topic to touch on. So while not everyone may benefit from this blog, it is so worth it to share if it even helps just a few! Having kids is just wonderful. But it is also really hard. It can be really hard on a marriage, which is really why I wanted to talk about sharing the load of caring for kids and a house.
I will say it a million times, I married someone who just rocks as a dad and husband. I would never say our marriage has been easy, because we have definitely had our hardships. Because sometimes life is just HARD, no matter how hard we try to avoid the hard times. But we are both pretty easy going and don’t nag each other over things. But regardless of how things are pre-kids, your post-kids marriage will be something different. Navigating that change can be so hard, on even the strongest of couples.
Communication is and will always be, the key. No matter what your feelings are towards parent roles, the important thing is to make them known to each other. No one is a mind reader and as much as we can HOPE our spouse would know to do something, the only way to ensure they do know, is to actually speak the words. If you are dying from sleep deprivation and just need a few extra hours, say so! If you are craving just an hour or two of alone time, bring it up! Otherwise things can fester and build up. Then before you know it, you are fighting over whose turn it is to do the dishes.
One thing we decided pretty early on that there was no primary parent in our house. That meant we both handled night wakings. We both do bath times and bedtime. We both handle kids activities. Doctor appointments. You name it. This helps to ward off any unnecessary resentment or feelings of carrying more of the load than the other person is. Of course we are never a perfect 50/50 split, especially since I stay at home during the daytime with the kids. But we do each try to take as equal of a share as we can on the parenting duties.
We do keep some of the more “traditional” roles as far as running the house goes. I don’t ever mow the lawn, use the grill or do any other really “man” type things. This is not because we are traditional in that way, it is purely because I am just NOT good at those things! We have already had to replace a mower and a grill because of me, so it is just best for all involved that I stay away from those things.
The same goes for cleaning. Not that I enjoy it, but Nathan really does not, so a lot of that just falls to me. Plus, being home during the day, allows me a bit more time to get to things and I can incorporate the kids into doing some of the cleaning with me. But again, if I am ever feeling a bit too much like a pre-ball Cinderella, all I need to say is, “Hey honey, can you do XYZ?” and Nathan is almost always ready to help out. And if he is ever wanting an upgrade on a tool, he knows to just pass it over to me and I am sure I can ruin it well enough he needs to buy a new one :).
The important thing is, neither of us ever feel like we are doing this all alone. We are 100% a team. But if we ever feel overwhelmed, we know we can come to the other with it and get some help. Now, this doesn’t always go so perfectly as it may sound. Sometimes, I wait too long to tell him I am feeling like a pre-ball Cinderella and do get a bit resentful. Or he just gets too tired from work and really needs some downtime, but waits until his fuse is a bit to short to tell me. It happens to everyone but own it and move past it (as nicely as possible of course lol).
Next week I am going to cover alone time, both pre and post kids!