Many of you know there was a time when I didn't want to have kids. (You'd probably never know it by the sheer volume of Henry pictures clogging up my social media, but it's true.) Aside from never being a "kid person", my main concern was that B and I would lose ourselves, our relationship, and just be parents. We'd no longer be us and I didn't want that. I'm head over heels for my husband, find him hysterical and too smart for his own good and he is very honestly my best friend. I didn't want to lose that. I liked our lives, I liked being selfish and only having to answer to each other.
But then that husband of mine went and changed his mind on me and decided he wanted kids and I thought "well, if I'm going to be a parent with him, then I suppose I'm in". But still, I communicated with him over and over that I was so afraid to lose our relationship. I didn't want him to just think of me as the Mother of his child(ren), and vice versa. We talked about ways to make sure that didn't happen.
And then, you know, life. Henry came along. We realized just how much work it takes to keep up with a child all day- even one who isn't yet mobile- along with work, and normal every day stresses. And now we've come to the point where I'm starting to feel like a part-time wife. Taking care of Henry every waking hour that I'm not at work is exhausting. I try my best to not be exhausted for Henry. I try my best to not be exhausted for work. And the effort of both of those things leaves little room for anything else. By the time my work duties and mothering duties are over for the day? Well, we're lucky if I even manage to wash my face and take out my contacts.
We used to go to bed and lay there talking and laughing until we fell asleep. Or we'd turn on a "sleep" movie and recite our favorite lines. We used to have dinner at the same time. We used to go out and talk about the future and what we were looking forward to. Now when we're at a restaurant we're keeping Henry occupied, keeping him from grabbing anything and everything off the table, and barely talking about anything farther than a week away.
I don't want it to be this way. I don't want to be a Part Time Wife. I miss my husband. I miss having an adult conversation that doesn't revolve around this tiny person that we created. Granted, he is usually our favorite topic, but I miss laughing and joking. We haven't yet found a babysitter near us and with our family so far away, we don't have the option to just go out for a date night whenever we need it. And we do need it. Since we had Henry, I believe we've had two nights away from him, and that just isn't enough.
I've made the promise to myself that I was going to try and unplug more. To just be with my husband and my child in the evenings. That email? Yeah, it can wait. The tweet someone sent? I'll see it in the morning. And do I really need to check Facebook again? Doubtful.
So parents, how do you do it? How do you make sure that you stay present in each others' lives? I know "date nights" are usually the answer- but if you don't have that option, then what? I'd love to hear your advice!