Becoming a Wife Again

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7 years ago on October 16th, I made one of the biggest commitments of my life.  I gave my best friend my hand in marriage and vowed to love him in sickness and health, for better or worse, till death do us part.  Now 7 years and 2 kids later, I love him more than I ever knew was possible.  I have started realizing though, that our love is different, our relationship is different, and the reality is our roles and life are different.  5 or 6 years ago we spent time spontaneously surprising one another with little trips, heading out to late-night dinners, sleeping in late and doing little things to show our love.  I have to admit that 3 ½ years ago when we welcomed our first child, that all changed.   I transitioned from Heather the wife to Heather the mom.  My time was spent focusing on her needs and wants.  The rest of my time was spent cleaning up, preparing for the next day, or honestly trying to catch up on the sleep that I was losing more and more of.  Date nights became few and far between as I didn’t want to leave our new baby and the thought of a babysitter was expensive.  Spontaneous trips were now to Target for diapers, instead of Chicago “just for fun”.  Adding another baby 2 years later, meant that my time was spread even thinner.  I was more tired, there was more laundry, more prepping, and honestly less time for “us”.

As we near our 7th wedding anniversary, I realized how important maintaining that relationship is.  I want our children to not only know that my husband and I love each other but to see that we do.  I want them to see us laugh, be playful, and enjoy time away, just mommy and daddy.  I had a shocking revelation not long ago as my husband and I sat down to dinner while on a date.  There was a moment when I realized we were only talking about the kids. We tried to change the subject and found we were struggling with conversation topics that didn’t revolve around our kids.  While we recognized that our kids are the center of our world, we also realized that we needed to stay connected as Heather and Josh, the couple who fell in love, are best friends, and have experienced life together.  We have talked about how we can stay connected as a couple, so we can be the best parents possible.  We have discussed the importance of scheduled date nights, and time away, spent reconnecting with each other.  We have started purposefully engaging in conversations after the kids go to bed about our days, dreams, future plans, instead of rushing to get the house cleaned.  We have found a show that we both love, that we DVR and watch together, alone, uninterrupted, just to enjoy each other’s company.

While these things may seem silly, we have realized for us personally, if we aren’t intentional in our efforts, there will come a day when our kids leave our house, and we will look at each other and realize how disconnected we have become.  I love that we are mom and dad, I wouldn’t give up that role for anything in the world.  I just want to make sure at the end of the day as much as I have loved Josh, the dad, I have spent connecting and loving Josh, my husband and best friend.

How have you committed to staying connected as husband and wife?


A version of this story was published on Sep. 28, 2011, by author Heather Stocking; it has since been updated.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Love it! My husband and I are kept busy with 2 little ones also and it’s easy to be consumed by your kids lives only. What a great reminder to always make an effort to keep the romance alive! One day (all too soon!) our 2 kids will be out of the house and I definitely want to make sure we have a great relationship lasting long after our kids grow up :o) Thanks!!

    • Yes, it’s scary to think how soon they will be gone, but I think about it and it seems I blinked and it’s already been 3 years since our first.

  2. Erin I feel like we are in the same “stages”. The hubby and I have been married for 6 years and we have two kids.. (3 & 4) My hubby and I ,about 6 months ago, were having the third baby talk and came to the same conclusion that you blogged about a not too long ago. And today is my favorite topic of spouse & mommydaddy.
    My parents were divorced when I was young and never had agreed on much. When my hubby and I got married they both gave me the same piece of advice and that was to keep my wife and mommy status seperate. (easier said than done). I knew if they both agreed on something I needed to remember it and use it! I have made my best efforts to do just that. My husband and I have (since our four year old was born) not called each other mommydaddy. We use it in the contexts of “Allison Mommy is busy right now hand your cup to Daddy”. And “Please tell your Daddy to ___________.” We do have regular “date nights” Not even at night all the time. Sometimes it will be on a Saturday afternoon (the grandparents will want to have the kids for the afternoon to go swimming/movie ect. So we have our time then.) We do talk about the kids and our hopes and dreams for them. Not, ” Dylan did the funniest thing today….” Best of all we talk about what we want our next home project to be, and what it will look like when it is done. We talk about retirement and where we would like to live one day. (Did you know there is a place in AZ that they do not have cars! The retirees drive Golf Carts that are transformed to resemble classic cars! We talk about all the places we want to visit and if we will take the kids and if the kids go then how old before we take them. Our next vacation and the things we want to do this time that we didn’t do last time. We have yet to run out things to say to each other. As far as where we go… It is a bit silly but sometimes we stay home. We make a meal take our time and eat. Afterwards and sit in the living room and just be. (read, talk, whatever) We can even be found at one of the home improvement stores just walking the isles dreaming. We have tons of fun at the driving range even!
    We are struggling a bit right now with vacations. For the first two years of children we did well with two trips a year a long one with the kids and a long weekend without. It has been a year and a half since our last couple trip. The last year and a half we have taken the kids on vacation each time. We have just had so much fun taking them with lately. They are pretty cool kids and we love to be with them. I will never forget taking them to Myrtle Beach this summer with another family and how big their eyes were when they saw the ocean for the first time. They won’t remember but we will and we paid for the trip ;P. This is my favorite age!…. for now…
    Both of our jobs became very demanding the last month or so and with our 4 year old in pre-school and both kids activies…. tension has been high and that silly money tree in the back yard has yet to sprout. Two nights ago we both agreed that we needed “our” vacation time. So this week we have tasked ourselves to find where we can trim up our budget a bit to take a long weekend.
    All in all I love my two identies! “Mommy” IS my favorite word and I am blessed to have that title. Would not trade it for the world. But..I love that it does not define me to my husband and glow to know that he still sees me as the girl he once dated.

    • Thank you for such a real and honest look into your life 🙂 Also, I love some of the things you talked about. My husband and I are actually taking our first HUGE vacation without kids. We leave November 2nd for Mexico…just the 2 of us!!

  3. My husband and I decided we were going to make it a top priority to have weekly date nights after our baby was born. It took awhile to find a sitter (sittercity.com is awesome!). We don’t have any family around so we found a great sitter we completely trust and our baby just loves her! We stay out from anywhere to 3-4 hours each week. Often times we run out of stuff to do. We go out to eat each week (sometimes nice places, sometimes cheap places, often times with a coupon) and usually just drive around the QC and window shop. It’s fun just walking around together, holding hands, and talking. I love my precious daughter, but we decided this is the best thing we can do for her- keep our love alive so she’ll have a mommy and daddy who love each other and stay married.

  4. believe it or not, our “date nights” happen at my work! i teach spanish part-time at muscatine community college, but i also teach a private course in davenport. this summer, my husband matt decided to join the class, and we have had so much fun together! he really wants to learn, considering i speak to our kids sometimes in spanish and he has no idea what we are saying! but more than that, it is truly some of the only “alone time” we have (granted, there are 7 other people in the class, but you moms know what i mean! we can have a conversation without someone puking on us or asking us for a glass of water for the thousandth time that day…) anyways, our boys get to spend 2 quality hours with their grandparents, and we get to drive in the car together, go to class, and drive back to get the boys. i really look forward to my night class a lot more now! the one-on-one time is really hard for us to find, because even though i only work part-time, my husband goes to work at 3 am, and therefore he goes to bed before the kids. missing out on those precious minutes together after the kids are asleep is a challenge for me. i’m doing better these days (now i spend them doing last minute things for my class the next morning!), but i would still rather spend them with matt. so, when my parents offer to keep the boys on most saturday nights, we are forever grateful for those few hours. my advice: do whatever it takes, work it into your schedule, and enjoy yourselves while you are together! let’s hope you are still friends in 18 years, because when the last kid walks out the door (don’t even start me thinking about that…), you have to have something to look forward to! i know i do! 🙂

  5. My husband has worked 3rd shift for 4 years now-and that has really put a strain on our relationship. Along with 4 kids who are involved in sports and church it seems we are both running in different directions or he is sleeping. Last year he started a weekend 3rd shift-which I thought would be worse, in turn has actually turned out nicely. He is home T, W, TH and we spend those days mostly together, errands, doing stuff around the house and the very much occasional movie-which is cheaper during the day too! It’s crazy how quickly distance can creep in with a job, new babies, school schedules etc. By the time you are in it, you realize you haven’t sat down and just enjoyed some uninterrupted face time, you are stressed and worn out. Marriage takes work, its so not easy, though its completely worth it. Most days I have to repeatedly remind myself that God is at the top, and my husband comes next. Otherwise lots of other junk can creep in and take over. I’ve been with my husband since we were in jr. high, and I thought we’d get married and have the best life. Most people warn you not to go into marriage wanting to change your spouse-the reality of that is no matter how long you’ve known your spouse-they and you will change on their own. Change is inevitable and the more time we spend with one another, making time for each other, you change and grow together, instead of apart.

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