Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO

I'm finding it impossible to be both a mother and a wife. My relationship with my husband is really suffering and I just don't know what to do about.

It's not that I regret anything. Our entire life is different. And it's not that I was naive enough to not think it would be so. But I'm not so sure I am dealing with the change so well. And my husband doesn't know how to deal with me.

I'm not even sure how to write about it.

It's just all fucked.

22 comments:

MrsSpock said...

Are you guys getting any couple time? Are you too tired at night to spend time with each other?

Erin said...

Is Sacha allowing you any time for just the two of you? I know we didn't get any for a LONG time--I think P was at least 5 months old when we had our first date--and our relationship suffered a lot during that time. The combination of hormones, sleeplessness, stress, and a completely new situation all make figuring out how your relationship is changing really, really hard. After all, it's hard to articulate anything when you're exhausted.

Do you have someone who can watch Sacha, even for 30 minutes while the two of you take a walk? It doesn't have to be a long date to help. Maybe a teenage girl in your neighborhood?

This is probably not helping at all, but I know completely how helpless and frustrating it can be when you don't know what's happening with your marriage or how to fix it. I'm here if you need a shoulder or an e-mail box (or a phone, if you want my number).

Hugs.

Rachel said...

I have no advice at all, but just wanted to write to say I'm still here reading and thinking of you. I hope things start to improve soon.

serenity said...

*hug*

I hear you. J and I struggle too; lucky for me he's a patient guy.

It takes a while to assimilate being a mom into yourself, and early on it's damn near impossible NOT to let mom take over all facets of your life. The sleep deprivation and BFing hormones can't be helping either.

I like the suggestion about getting out, just the two of you. We did this recently and it really helped us just reconnect.

*hug* Thinking about you.

sky girl said...

I understand.

I don't know what to do either.

Heather said...

Thinking of you.

Kate said...

It's really hard and it's something that no one really talks about that much. On one level, there is this whole other demension to your relationship because of the baby and on the other hand, I feel like you loose something, too. I hope you are able to work through it.

Caro said...

I'm sorry to hear this. I hope you find a way through it.

Ann said...

This sounds like a cliche, but...have you guys considered seeing a counselor? Just like going through a loss, sometimes going through a major change in the family could use an outsider's perspective.

Just a thought...

sariel & shlomit said...

Ah shit. Sorry this is so stressful. I'm sure other parents have more useful advice...try not to be too hard on yourself my friend.
Sending loads of love.
peace
shlomit

sariel & shlomit said...

And I just want to say, I think I can relate a little. While there is no newborn in our lives, our relationship definitely takes a beating when Sariel's daughter stays with us. It's really tough. So imagine it might be a little bit like that. One thing that helps, though is often not possible, is when we go to bed at the same time and just talk or cuddle or what have you. It's not much but at least we feel connected at those times. Others have often talked about the importance of having dates...no matter how short -- even 30 minutes of just the two of you.
Hang in there, sweetie...
peace
shlomit

Karen said...

There are at least two schools of thought on this one...

The first school of thought says that right now your baby is helpless and needs you and your husband is a grownup and will be able to survive on his own until your baby is a little more able to do things for himself. In this school of thought, you and your husband agree to put your marriage on the backburner, so to speak, for a little while, until Sacha is sleeping through the night and going to bed early enough that you can get a babysitter in to stay there while you go out on a date once a week.

The second school of thought says that your husband is aware and will remember this time, while your baby will not remember this time, so if you leave him with a babysitter one night a week with a bottle, for the sake of your marriage, the baby will not suffer, nor will he remember, but your marriage will be stronger for it.

Personally, I subscribe to the first school of thought, but part of that is the triplet factor. I don't leave them with a babysitter, except under very specific circumstances (and even then, the baby sitter is my mother, and the babies must ALL be sleeping when I walk out the door with only J awake). I don't know if I would feel differently if I had just one baby, and no older children.

I think both approaches have their merits. I think the first approach worked for us because we still found ways to pay attention to each other INSIDE our house. Once the children are all asleep for the night (even if they are/were likely to wake up again for another feeding), Seth and I spend time together most nights. We multitask while we're doing it. Perhaps he'll be doing dishes while I'm preparing the next few days' worth of baby food meals. Or he'll be making J's lunch for the next day while I'm cleaning the kitchen and/or dining room. Or he'll fold laundry and I'll be pumping while we watch some TV. But somehow, the household tasks get done, but we're together, talking or just spending some time together, harmoniously.

It's very difficult in the beginning, especially when you're sleep deprived. And sometimes, yes, one of the things you have to do is just agree that your priority right now does not lie in making your marriage 100% just yet. You agree, together, that your son is your #1 priority until (Insert Milestone Here).

But there ARE ways to catch a few minutes alone with each other, just for a little sanity check. Put Sacha in his stroller and take a family walk together. More than likely, Sacha will catch a snooze and therefore be pretty quiet and you and your husband can have a quiet, 20-minute chat to wind down. Have dinner together. Seriously. It sounds impossible, but even if it's carry-out or a salad you threw together quickly, sit down together at least once a week and eat at the same table at the same time, with or without the baby. Have a teenager come over and hang out with the baby between the Sacha's mealtimes so that you can go out to dinner one night a month/week/etc.

These snatches of time will go a long way toward helping you build some normalcy in your relationship and build some communication.

If what's going on is that you're snapping at each other or failing to communicate, probably part of what's happening is that you're (unconsciously) expecting your husband to read your mind and do things your way with the baby. Remember that you must communicate your needs to him, teach him how YOU fold the clothes, or change the diaper, or hold the baby, or whatever it is that he's not doing the way you want him to. Either that, or just learn to "let it go"... learn that he'll have his way of doing things, too. Even if it IS "wrong." :)

Email me anytime. I'm right here for you. I'll happily give you my phone number, too. You CAN get through this. Parenting is hard. Sometimes it can be hard on a marriage. People don't always tell you that ahead of time, and when they do, you always think, "oh, but it won't be hard on MY marriage!"

But it's okay. You'll get through this. You've gotten through so much more before. Remember?

Kari said...

I totally go for the stroller time. I was not willing to give up my time with the baby to make time for the hubby. He found it hard to relate because I am with her all day.
When he got home from work, he needed his "me time" but I needed some "him time"
I mean after all I'm home all day with the baby, and don't have a clue what I'm doing, or if I'm doing it right and I just need another adult, my husband, my best friend, to talk to. To be me with again.

It's funny, when you have a baby you change from being "you" to being "Mama" and getting you back is something you have to actually work at.
But back to the begining of what I was saying....those nights when Hubby came home and we had dinner and then headed out for a walk. Or a walk before dinner, just down the road and back...those were moment when I felt like I could connect with him again, like it was the "us" we used to be.

It's hard in the begining, and I really don't think men can understand it, but stay strong, it will get better. You guys will get in back in the swing of things and while it may not be the way it was, it will get better and you will be a couple again.

I'm sure you're a great wife, and a fantastic Mom! Trust me I know how hard it is to feel that way on a daily basis and how you are always questioning yourself. Just hang in there, you guys will pull through.

My Reality said...

I have no advice, just lots of thoughts being sent your way.

orodemniades said...

I'm going to agree with Kari, here, and suggest stroller time - no car if possible, though. Stroller time lets the two of you hang yet still watch over Sacha, as well as show him off to complete strangers.

It's hard. It's damned hard. Sometimes I think it would be easier with just the baby...

sarah said...

Moxie suggests "getting the love you want" by harville Hendrix. I alos suggest couples therapy. Best damn money we ever spent.

Ms. Planner said...

I have no advice to offer because I think I am having the same issues as you. Last night as I rocked the baby to sleep I realized how much I miss my husband even though he was sleeping in the next room.

Thalia said...

I don't know what to say, it's a tough tough thing to get through. I will say that you need to give each other time, not declare this an emergency. It's tough but it's a weird period over the whole pattern of your marriage. I will also say that when one thing is stressful and difficult, everything else is even more so.

try to find some time for each other, ask for help, but mostly just be kind to each other while you get through this.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

I'm so sorry!! I am going through the same stuff and I have no advice, but I can be an ear and a shoulder. It is so hard to take on this new roleas someones mom, maintain your previous life as a wife then add in different parenting ideas (which is part of our problem) and you've got a mess. E-mail me if you need to vent!

Aurelia said...

Dude, this is the rough part, and you will make it through.

Take your time, and if you can't afford to go out, have a date at home. Put the baby to bed, and eat dinner together, or just have some drinks and talk.

Cibele said...

I am going through the same thing, it is very difficult

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