There are times in a relationship, however, when things get hard. It is hard to not feel like you are the only ones that argue. In today's world, people don't talk about the hard times... they snap a family selfie and paint a picture of perfection. It is easy to do. But it is not the whole truth. My parents argued at times. They yelled at each other on occasion- and Joe and I do the same. We are both stubborn, opinionated, and have high expectations of each other and ourselves. Ironically, the fact that he is an involved parent, gives us even more to discuss and potentially argue about! I wouldn't trade his involvement for the world...I live for it! But it is not without challenges.
I want to share a story for the first time parents. The "I'm a month in and I don't know what's going on yet parents"... (not that we ever do)! LOL
Christmas Eve 2014. Caroline was two days short of being 1 month old. I had read about using feeding schedules prior to Caroline's arrival. I'd shown the information to my husband, but we never really discussed it much. We both liked the idea of it, but we really couldn't make any decisions until we had Caroline around and got a feel for things. About a week or two after Caroline was born, I found the term "Babywise". We had already been using schedules (since day 1), but I started reading up on things a bit more. The schedules didn't seem to be working, nursing was consuming my entire day, it was hard to get her to sleep, and nursing was not only hard- it was painful. We were up at night, and we were tired. I was an emotional mess (as we all are with our hormones raging post pregnancy). It was not an easy time.
We were discussing our parenting tactics- to continue with schedules or not, to use eat wake sleep cycles or not, to wake our baby to stay on schedule or not, etc. Babywise suggests waking your baby in an attempt to establish day vs night, and to get enough feedings in. It is against everything we've ever heard - "never wake a sleeping baby". I was extra defensive because I wasn't 100% sure in my decision to use schedules, or to be waking our child. After all, it didn't seem to be working yet.
My husband did what a lot of men do, and logically thought through things. I am a pretty logical person. In this moment I was not. I felt immediately attacked. Our discussion quickly turned to an argument. A big one- with lots of yelling. Looking back, it was all on me- all my fault. I was defensive because it was my decision we were discussing and analyzing. It was my lead we were following. My mistake if it was wrong. I was the one that was home and making the quick decisions. I didn't know what to do.
I think I started the discussion for some validation and reassurance. So, the logical analysis of both sides wasn't something I wanted to emotionally hear. It escalated because of me. I remember this night because it was Christmas Eve- and we were so upset. So upset, that I stormed out of the house at midnight and went for a walk. I cried. I looked at Christmas lights and realized that I wanted to enjoy looking at Christmas lights with my husband- not without him. So, I eventually found my way home.
I share this story, in the hopes that someone, somewhere takes comfort in the fact that they aren't the only ones. You are not the only couple that argues and yells. It happens to the best of us, especially in those first few months. Our relationship was strong, even in that moment.
That argument happened BECAUSE I have such an amazing husband that cares. He wanted to be involved, and I wanted him involved. I don't remember the exact discussion that happened, or when it happened- but when we were calmed down and both logical (as logical as you can get 1 month postpartum), we decided to stick with Babywise.
This is probably not the memory my husband wants to be reminded of right before Father's Day, in public on my blog (sorry, babe). It is such an important memory, however. And it is so important to share these types of real stories with other moms and other couples. This day made us stronger. This day was an important lesson.
Since then, we've continued to make parenting decisions together. It is so important to do so, and for both parents to be on the same page when it comes to the big topics. To do Babywise or not to do Babywise is a HUGE topic of discussion. We both had doubts to begin with, however, we both loved the concept, so we stuck with it. Now, 1.5 years into this parenting gig, we both SWEAR by it! Whether or not to do sleep training was also a HUGE decision and time in our lives. We only made it through on the other side because we had each other to lean on. We are now to the point that we troubleshoot together, instantly.
We stood strong together and we are a stronger couple as a result. We are a better team as a result. This makes us better parents (than we could have been) as a result. My husband is my rock. We think in such similar ways, that when one of us causes the other to get defensive- it is typically because that person agrees on some level and doesn't yet want to admit it! LOL
I am not sure what I would do without him. He keeps me strong, he keeps me laughing, and he keeps me real. We keep each other focused, and push each other to greatness. We question, we problem solve, and we brainstorm- together.
When daddy comes home, a happiness fills the house. Moose jumps for joy, Caroline starts yelling "DADA" as loud as she can when I tell her he's home, and my heart fills with love when he enters the room. I'm now last on the list for a kiss (simply because I don't run and jump at the door to demand it LOL)...but it is SO worth waiting for. I love watching him greet our daughter. They both have such pure excitement on their faces. Seeing that moment every day is worth every rough patch along the way. The simple joys- that's what it is all about, and it is so amazing to be a part of. Family is everything to me- to us. I am so glad that I have such an amazing, kind, thoughtful and generous husband to share it with me!
Emily- The Journey of Parenthood
Katrina- Mamas Organized Chaos
PARENTING ISN'T EASY ON A RELATIONSHIP - THE REAL TRUTH
Kimberly- Team Cartwright
Needing Dad:A Bedtime Story
Val- Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
How To Help Your Spouse Succeed as a Father (in a non-nagging way)