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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Remind me…

I constantly find myself thinking about things to write about here.  All. The. Time.  I should really write my ideas down, but I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl.  So I don’t.  When I sit down to write, you get what’s on my mind.  I kind of like it that way.  It keeps things more journal-like.  I like that I can go back through my blog archives and see precisely what was on my mind a year ago.  I find it amazing how my perspective shifts without me even realizing it.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my marriage.  Well, more like I’ve been trying to remember how I even got here.  Not to say that I don’t want to be here…I very much want to be here, but this relationship kind of came out of nowhere 6 years ago.  I wasn’t even this same person.  In fact, I think back to things I said and did 6 or 7 years ago and I don’t get why I thought the way I did.  It’s weird.  I wasn’t very happy then.  I was looking for anything and everything outside of myself to make me happy.  Whether that was a person, a place, a job, a possession…anything.  And then I met Mark.  At work.  He didn’t make a very good first impression and he made plenty of negative impressions after that too.  I knew him for about 3 months before I started to like him at all.  A year after we met…almost to the day, we got married.  Mark was 37 and he had never been married.  I was 28 and newly divorced.  My line of thinking in the last few days has been something I think every married person should think about on a regular basis…what was it that brought us together?  Why did I fall in love with this person?  It’s so easy to lose whatever that “magic” was in the course of everyday life.

Mark was different than anyone I had ever dated.  He was older than me by 9 years.  He lived alone.  He knew how to take care of himself.  He knew how to pay his bills.  He knew how to cook.  He knew how to clean.  He was very much independent, but he seemed pretty lonely and unhappy.  He made me feel needed, but not because he needed my help with anything.  He just made me feel like he needed me there.  That was a pretty big deal to me.  He didn’t need me to be his maid or his mother.  Awesome.  I admired his dedication to his family’s land…the house and the farm as a whole.  I admired the way he could fix anything, or at least, is never afraid to try.  We didn’t/don’t have much in common on the surface, but we have complimented each other well.  He has (somehow) settled me down…and I think, really, I’ve done the same for him.  I feel more grounded and content than I ever have, and really, I can’t ask for much more than that, can I?

We don’t talk about these things much.  Mark is an intensely private person, and that’s ok.  It wasn’t at first, but it is now.  Every now and then he’ll open up a little, and the fact that he does that – for me – makes it even more special.  I’ve learned not to fight the way he is, just to respect it and let it go whenever possible.  He does the same for me…and that is what has made the difference.  That is what helped me to calm down and stop fighting so hard against what I am and what my life is, and quit trying to make my life whatever way I thought it was supposed to be.  He may not have taught me to live in the moment, but he has made it so much easier for me to do just that.  That is where I am most content.  That is where I find happiness…it’s really not in a person, place or thing at all, it’s in just living…going with the flow.  He has allowed me to be me on a level that I had never quite experienced, and in doing that he allowed me to see how frivolous, even ridiculous some of my ideas on life were.  Not that he ever ridiculed me for thinking those things, but the contrast in his views and mine was so stark that it made me think.  And after I’d think something through I could see his perspective and understand it…my perspective began to shift…and here I am 6 years later, a much happier person.

When I thought earlier today about writing this post I considered waiting until our anniversary which is about a month and a half away.  I decided against waiting.  I don’t need a special occasion to remember why I married my husband.  It’s not been a smooth, problem-free 6 years, but I can say, without a doubt, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I love you Mark. 🙂

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The following is yet another blog post inspired by a song.  A song I probably wouldn’t even like if it weren’t for the subject matter involved.  Actually, I used to always change the station when this song came on…it’s not really my thing, but one day I listened to it and it struck a chord.  Or hit a nerve.  Or both.  Now I listen to it a lot because I feel what he’s saying…I’ve lived the lyrics.

My version (and there’s actually a Part 1 and Part 2) started when Anna was about 3 months old.  As I have mentioned in previous posts it was around that time that I was not sure my marriage was going to make it.  I was having a tough time, and in all fairness, I’m sure Mark was too.  I just wouldn’t know because we didn’t talk about it at the time.  We did a lot of hurting each other…not on purpose, but out of frustration, out of sleep deprivation…and at least on my end, because I didn’t know what to do with myself.  My life (with a colicky baby) was unrecognizable.  I was depressed, I was tired and I was scared that things would never feel ok again.  Then when Anna was 4 months old, Mark quit his job.  I had never gone back to work after my maternity leave.  We were both suddenly unemployed.  I understood his reasons.  I didn’t disagree, but it put us in a very tight spot.  We were lucky to both find something within a few weeks…both at the same place, both doing what we had been doing before.  It was an ill-fated career move, but I would’ve taken just about anything at that point.  We worked those jobs for 6 months and managed to make it past the colic stage with Anna.  Money was still tight.  I ended up having to put Anna on TennCare (that’s Medicaid for those outside the State of Tennessee) because we had no insurance through our company.  I also broke down and applied for WIC…that stands for Women Infants Children…it’s public assistance of a sort.  A program that provides vouchers for certain food items to nursing mothers, infants & children.  I did it because we needed it.  There was a lot of putting my pride aside and doing what I had to do to get us through.  I didn’t want to…I seriously did not want to!  I found the whole Medicaid/WIC experience humiliating…which could be simply due to my own personal hang ups, but it hurt my pride.  It sucked.

We did that for 6 or 7 months, then we both lost our jobs…at the same time.  Once again, we were both unemployed…this time, thankfully with unemployment benefits, but that will only get you so far.  It was in this mercifully short period of time when we were both unemployed that things shifted.  It was a nightmare in so many ways, but it was an experience helped us find our footing again in our marriage.  We had each other and our daughter…and not much else.  This is when I remember sitting up talking…laughing because if I didn’t I’d cry.  I remember it like it was yesterday…that feeling of being constantly on the verge of tears.  I’d wake up in the morning and feel normal for about 10 seconds before reality set in, I remembered the state that our lives were in and the lump in my throat returned.  The only solace sometimes was sitting up at night after Anna was in bed…drinking cheap wine and talking to Mark and laughing.

Then I got a job.  Mark became a stay-at-home-dad for 4 months or so.  Things felt better for about a week…then I found out I was pregnant again.  Mark didn’t take it well.  I struggled with his reaction.  I knew a lot of why he felt the way he did, but it didn’t change the reality of it…and it didn’t change the way his reaction hurt me.  Our relationship had taken a big step forward in the previous month, but when I found out I was pregnant for the second time (surprise!) it took two very large steps back.  It wasn’t until the following Spring…a whole year later…that we recovered.  Much in the same way as before…It started with a short trip without the kids and it continued through the Spring.  We’d sit up and talk on the weekend after the kids went to bed.  We still do.  It’s nice to have that time to reconnect and talk about our week after the kids are in bed.  We still struggle…with money, with the kids, with everything, but our tough time in 2009 was a solidifying event for us.  We figured out what was most important to us…and we ended up on the same page.  For the first time I felt like I knew we were working towards the same goals.  One of which was/is making this work.  Our marriage and our little family.  I guess it was a true test of our marriage, and we somehow managed to come together and push through.

And here’s the song (written by:  John Daniel O’Donoghue, Mark Anthony Sheehan)

For the First Time by The Script

She’s all laid up in bed with a broken heart,
While I’m drinking Jack all alone in my local bar,
And we don’t know how,
How we got in to this mad situation,
Only doing things out frustration,
Trying to make it work but man these times are hard.

She needs me now but I can’t seem to find a time,
I’ve got a new job now on the unemployment line,
And we don’t know how,
How we got into this mess is it gods test,
Someone help us cause we’re doing our best,
Trying to make it work but man these times are hard

But we’re gonna start by
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine,
Shit talking up all night,
Saying things we haven’t for a while
A while yeah
We’re smiling but we’re close tears,
Even after all these years,
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting for the first time

She’s in line at the dole
With her head held high
While I just lost my job but
Didn’t lose my pride

But we both know how,
How we’re gonna make it work when it hurts,
When you pick yourself up,
You get kicked to the dirt,
Trying to make it work but,
Man these times are hard.

But we’re gonna start by,
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine,
Shit talking up all night,
Doing things we haven’t for a while,
A while yeah,
We’re smiling but we’re close to tears,
Even after all these years,
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting for the first time.

Yeah…
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine,
Shit talking up all night,
Sayings thing we haven’t for a while,
We’re smiling but we’re close to tears,
Even after all these years,
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting, for the first time

Oh these times are hard,
Yeah they’re making us crazy
Don’t give up on me baby

Oh these times are hard,
Yeah they’re making us crazy
Don’t give up on me baby

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I’ve been known to over-think and over-analyze, so bear with me here…This line of thinking was brought about by a couple of different songs I’ve heard recently.

There is a 9 year age difference between Mark and I.  He was born in Chicago, I was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  He lived in Chicago for the first 12 years of his life and then moved to Martin (where his mother’s family was and where she grew up) about 2 years after his father passed away in 1978.  When Mark was going through the awful experience of losing his father at just 10 years old, I had just turned 2.  When he moved to Tennessee at 12 years old I had just moved to Tennessee myself a few months prior, and I had just turned 4.  Both of us moved in 1980.  So, for the duration of the 80’s we grew up in our respective towns…he was a teenager, I was in elementary school.  He left for college in Florida just as I was starting in 4th grade.  He moved back to Tennessee & continued going to college at the University of Tennessee – Martin I believe at some point in 1987.  I had never even heard of Martin at that point in my life.  In the 90’s I was in high school and Mark was in college at some points at just working at others.  I made a trip to Martin in 1994 for some sort of band competition I think.  I remember that trip vaguely.  I think it was on that trip that I got back together with my on again/off again high school boyfriend Joe.  I don’t remember much about the town from that trip.  I remember sitting in the stadium at the college and I remember being unimpressed by the University here.  Martin was not a place even remotely on my radar for college, much less as a place to live permanently.  Looking back now, I wonder where Mark was that day.  He was probably in town.  Was he working?  Did he pass our school buses driving down the street in town?   Little did I know my future husband was somewhere in that little town that I couldn’t have cared about less.  Little did I know that I would be living, working and raising my 2 children in that town.  This town.  Little did Mark know that his future wife, the mother of his children, was playing in some band competition in town that day.  Funny that we could have run into each other at the local McDonalds and not thought twice about it…we would never have known that 11 years later we would be husband and wife.  Funny how life works.

As I have undoubtedly said before, I hated this area when I moved here in 2004 (10 years after that forgettable band competition).  It’s so unlike where I grew up in so many ways.  The people are different.  The socio-economic climate is, um…different.  The topography is even different.  It didn’t feel like home until I met Mark and moved to the farm about a year later.  Even then, I struggled a bit to get used to the lack of…stuff.  We don’t have a lot of stores or restaurants here…we don’t have a mall.  We don’t have much really…and there’s more here now than there was just 6 years ago.  I have adjusted slowly and now I’m not sure I could ever go back to a place like the one I’m from.  When we visit, I enjoy it for a while, but then I get tired of all the people and all the traffic and, yes, even all the stuff. 

As for Mark, I’m not sure that he ever really saw himself getting married, much less having kids.  Both were quite an adjustment for him, especially since he had lived in this house alone for probably 10 years before I came along.  He’s still adjusting…and so am I.  Kids seem to cause endless “adjustments”.

So, I guess where I’m going with all this is…What if just one seemingly little thing had happened differently?  If either Mark or myself had made a different decision here or there along the way would we have ended up somewhere else entirely?  We started out over 400 miles and 9 years apart.  It seems kind of lucky that we managed to end up working in the same little office in the same little town almost 37 years after he was born.  I hated him when I met him and yet for some reason, there always seemed to be something familiar about him somehow.  Not like I had met him before, but like there was something special about him, something I liked about him on some subconscious level because goodness knows it was NOT on a conscious level!  I guess it was just meant to be…it seems so impossible that we should ever have met…out of all the people and places that both of us saw before we met, how did we ever end up together.  I guess some people call that fate.  I don’t know that I would go there but, it’s certainly a remarkable coincidence.

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Well…it’s March 23rd.  The anniversary of my first marriage…which was (somehow) 9 years ago.  I kind of like to acknowledge this day still, but this year I am just kind of looking back laughing at myself…and him.  We had no idea what we were doing.  🙂

I’ve rehashed the whole thing in posts in previous years (you can read those posts here and here), but I just don’t feel the need to do that this year.  This year it’s enough to just look back and smile at how sweet and idealistic our ideas of marriage were.  This year I’m just glad that I made the decision I made and we’re both happier people because of it.  Still…even thought my 1st marriage ended after just 3 years, I wouldn’t have missed those 3 years for anything.  So Happy Un-Anniversary Lee…wherever you are.  🙂  And happy real anniversary to him too!  I think he & his wife have been married for 6 years sometime this week…I can’t ever remember the date exactly.

***************

Moving on… 🙂

I just found this picture of Anna.  I took it on March 17, 2009.  She was 9 months old:

Oh my she was precious!  Still is.

Here’s William at 9 months (this past September):

I can’t believe how big they are both getting.  Seriously…Anna told Mark she had to go pee-pee tonight then actually went we he put her on the potty.  I hope that trend continues!

William walked all the way to the barn with Mark the other day & most of the way back.  He’s starting to say more words & he jabbers all the time.  He’s learning to use a fork & spoon.  He does really well with both.  He’s messy, for sure, but he definitely knows how to do it.

I’m going to sell our infant car seat soon & find myself getting kind of sad to think that we won’t have another little one.  I’ll never say never, but I do know it’s not likely to happen.  So as William hits all these milestones, I get kind of sad.  Proud of him, but still a little sad.  At the same time I’m excited for the coming years and all the things we’ll be able to do as a family as the kids get older.  But how I can look at pictures like this and NOT want another one!

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2003 was a year that changed me forever.  For so many reasons and in so many ways I cannot even begin to list them or explain them fully.  In 2003 I was the wife of an Army officer.  In January of that year he deployed to Kuwait.  We had been married for just 10 months.  I was also still coming out of one of the scariest and darkest times of my life.  A time when I had no direction and no desire for direction.  A time when I just did. not. care. about anything anymore.  I time when I was just a shell of a person.  It had been about a year at that point since I had begun climbing out of that dark, cold place, but I wasn’t completely done climbing yet.

Those 2 very big things converged at the beginning of 2003.  I was alone, but not.  I had family near.  I lived in an apartment with my younger sister.  My parents were across town, my in-laws were in the next town over.  I had support, but in ways I can’t explain I was alone.  2003 was make or break for me and I knew it.

It was at that time that I bought this CD and it became the soundtrack of my 2003.  I listened to it incessantly.  Through the magic/technology of Pandora I heard a song from that CD a week or 2 ago.  I had to find that CD again.  I didn’t own it anymore.  It was left behind, like so many other things, when Lee and I divorced.  I downloaded it from iTunes & burned it onto a CD (leaving one of my favorite songs out…thanks Daddy for remedying that!)  for my trip (alone!) to my parents’ house this weekend.  I left Friday night, it was rainy and windy.  It was an awful drive!  But I had that CD and about 45 minutes into my drive I put it in…Suddenly all those memories flooded back.  Just as fresh as if it had all happened yesterday.  All the uncertainty of having my new husband on the front lines of a war…with no communication at all from him for weeks at a time.  The fear of a knock at the door or a late night phone call.  The starkness of that reality.  The way I somehow held it all together even though I was convinced I would never be able to.  How I finally realized I was not as weak as I thought I was.  When I, for the first time in my life, was ok being alone.  It’s amazing to me sometimes how much I tie my emotions in with certain music.  The funny thing is, as I listened to the CD, like I said…I remembered how life  felt in 2003.  Exactly…every emotional detail.  I know how I felt the lyrics to certain songs then, what I related the lyrics to, but now I relate them to different things.  And they are every bit as powerful to me, they’re true to me still.  I love that I have this sort of emotional time capsule in musical form.  Honestly, I’m sure I have many of them, but this one stands out simply because of the time it’s tied to.

There are a few songs in particular that really say it all for me…a song called The Scientist in particular.  In fact, it’s actually so much more true to me now.   But now it’s a different relationship.  My marriage now and parenthood.  Parenthood, parenthood, parenthood…Nobody said it was easy.  No one ever said it would be this hard. As I listened to that song Friday night, driving through the rain, after my initial 2003 thoughts, I thought about the first 6 months of Anna’s life.  I didn’t think my marriage was going to make it.  I was thisclose to just giving up on it.  I remember going to visit my mom for a couple days with Anna when she was just a couple months old.  My dad traveled a lot at the time then and I wasn’t working, so I just went to keep my mom company in the evenings…or that’s why I told myself I was going.  I ended up staying for almost a week.  I didn’t intend to stay that long.  I just didn’t want to go home.  I didn’t want to deal with Mark…or rather with my relationship with Mark.  I was so done.  After 4 or 5 days…Mark finally asked when I was coming home, he said he missed me and he missed Anna.  There was just something different in his voice that made me go back home.  Maybe he knew it was a breaking point.  I don’t know that we’ve ever even talked about it, but it was one of those make or break times.  Obviously we worked it out somehow…but it’s that little something in Mark’s voice that night in the summer of 2008 that I hear when I hear this:

Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start

The fact that the title is The Scientist is just an added bonus.  I guess you’d need to know Mark well to get just how perfect that is. Or maybe it’s just perfect to me…

There are 2 other songs I love…one being the title track, the other called Amsterdam.  The darkness of these 2 songs appealed to me at the time…it’s appeal is a little more limited now.  But I know why I liked the songs so much then and I still like them now.  Sometimes I forget about everything I went through in my early 20’s (i.e. – the dark hole I was still climbing out of in 2003).  Of course, I never truly forget, but maybe I don’t always give it the weight it deserves.  Sometimes I need to remember just so I can feel the contrast between then and now.   A little excerpt from Amsterdam just for the purpose of illustration – I know I’m dead on the surface, but I am screaming underneath (seriously, there is no better illustration than that, but moving on a verse or 2)…You can say what you mean, but it won’t change a thing, I’m sick of the secrets.  Stood on the edge, tied to a noose and you came along and you cut me loose. I cannot tell you how much that describes that period of my life, not in a totally literal sense, but still, in a very real (sad but true) sense.

The title track, A Rush of Blood to the Head, was the one Pandora randomly threw out there a couple weeks ago.  I won’t go all in-depth with this one.  The song is about moving forward…leaving behind a troubling place or, in my case, a troubling time.  It’s all one big metaphor to me.  And I know the mistakes that I’ve made.  See it all disappear without a trace…And they call as they beckon you on, they say start as you need to go on.

I can’t believe I just wrote a whole blog post based on a Coldplay album, but…well I did.  That CD made my 3 hour drive interesting and it made me think about things I haven’t thought about in a long time.  That music defines that year for me, but it also defines the changes that took place in me.  In a lot of ways those lyrics were cathartic at the time, but some parts also acted as catalysts to keep me moving forward at a very critical time.  It still stands out as relevant to me now though…maybe because it’s ingrained in my history, maybe because it speaks to experiences I’ve had in the years since.  For whatever reason I love it and I’m glad to have these reminders of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come…in musical form.

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It’s been a pretty blah week.  Even the weather has been very…blah.  I think I’m having withdrawals from the nice weather we had last weekend.  I’m ready to have that weather back.  So. Very. Ready.  On to the subject of today’s post…

As I was lying in bed last night, trying to settle my mind so I could sleep, I was thinking about my marriage and how it’s changed over the almost 5 1/2 years we’ve been married.  Just before this train of thought began we had said goodnight and whispered “I love you” to each other.  That’s what my mind ran with…those 3 words.  I loved him we got married.  I loved him when I found out we were expecting our first child.  I loved him after she was born and after our second child was born.  But my love for him is different now.  It’s stronger and deeper for sure…but it’s not just the time that has passed or the fact that we have 2 children.  Last night I was thinking about how much we’ve settled down…and I mean that in the very best way.  We still have fun, we are still us.  We’ve just settled in to life with 2 small children.  We support each other, we help each other, we rely on each other.  We do things…little things…everyday that mean a lot more than you would think they would.  We talk almost every day at lunch.  I call him as I leave the office.  Sometimes we talk for less than 3o seconds, sometimes for a few minutes, but there are very few days that we don’t at least make contact at lunchtime.  It’s usually a “nothing” conversation…how’s your day going?  I ask him where he is (as in what town…he travels around the area).  Do we need anything from the store?  What are we doing for dinner?  That kind of thing.  When we hang up we almost always say “I love you”…or at least we do now, and we have for quite a while.  We don’t do it for any special reason.  We didn’t read some book of marriage advice and decide to make it a “rule”.  We just do it because we do.  And I like it.

Sometimes I think we’re still too busy for each other.  Sometimes that can’t be helped considering we have 2 small kids.  Sometimes we could do better but we don’t.  Still, I’m proud of the way our marriage has evolved.  I’m proud of the way we’ve changed as individuals during the last 5 years.  I’m always amazed when I think back to what our lives were like before kids.  That life is unrecognizable to me now.  I miss how carefree we were, even though we didn’t know we were carefree at the time.  I miss sleeping in on the weekends too, but that’s more or less it.  I wouldn’t trade this life for that one for anything.  Sure, having kids hasn’t been easy on our marriage, but I don’t think it’s easy on any marriage.  It’s caused us to change though, and in the end, I think those changes are having a positive effect on our marriage.  There is a comfort and trust that wasn’t there before.  Most days I like where we’re at.  Even if “where we’re at” is sitting next to each other on the couch both staring at our respective laptops and not really speaking at all.  🙂  It’s still good.

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I wonder how many times in a lifetime the average person goes through some sort of identity crisis.  I think I’m on my 4th.  Seriously.

The first was at some point in college or just after, the second was when I finally came out of my “dark” phase, the third was around the time of my divorce or maybe when I married Mark.  The fourth is now…

It’s really not that bad.  It’s motherhood and adulthood.  It’s being in my (gasp!) mid-thirties.  This time around it’s not that I don’t know who I am really, it’s just that I’m trying to fit who I am into roles that are still somewhat new to me.  The biggest and most important role being that of Mama.  I love being a mom.  It’s everything I wanted, but nothing like what I expected.  It’s the biggest challenge ever.  One of the things I didn’t expect or didn’t think about ahead of time is how others would relate to my parenting.  It’s a sticky situation to me.  I will parent how I will parent.  Other mothers will parent how they parent.  I will make a big deal about things that maybe other mothers wouldn’t.  I will be that mom.  You know the one.  The one that makes other people roll their eyes.  Honestly it makes me cringe.  I don’t want to be that mom!  I guess sometimes it’s unavoidable.  My primary objective is always taking the best care of my kids.  I am, by nature, so non-confrontational.  I don’t want to cause a stir.  Sometimes, for my kids’ sake I have to and it’s so outside my comfort zone!  I guess I just hope that people understand that if I’m making a fuss about something it’s because it’s really important to me.  I try to let the little things (even with the kids) slide.  I don’t know how I can be confident about my parenting decisions on one hand and second guess myself (where other people are concerned) on the other hand.  It makes no sense and I don’t really owe anyone an explanation I guess.  I’m sure I’ll find my footing with this, just like I have with anything else, it’s just going to take some time.

I have a hard time relating to other parents sometimes.  I don’t know if it’s just other parents here or if it’s other parents in general.  Admittedly we don’t get out much, so it’s not like I get a lot of opportunity to interact local parents.  Maybe I assume too much.  It just seems, that from my limited experience with parents locally, I’m not like them.  Maybe this has to do with my age and the ages of my children.  I know Mark and I started much later than the norm.  There are plenty of grandparents in town that are Mark’s age!  Maybe it has to do with the time it took for us to even have a child or the fact that we really had to face the possibility of remaining childless.  Maybe it’s all in my head.  I struggle with it regardless.  I worry about how it will affect the kids as they get older and make friends.  Are we going to be the weird (old) couple with the weird kids?  Ugh.  I can deal with being the weird couple (hey, I’ve dealt with it this long!), but I don’t want that to extend to the kids and affect people’s perception of them.  I don’t want it to make things more difficult for them than they would be otherwise.

Then there is work.  I’m not just a worker anymore.  I’m a working mother.  There’s a big difference I’m finding.  I found that out the hard way with my last job.  It’s not that I don’t want to work.  It’s not that I try to get out of work whenever possible (which seems to be what some people have thought!).  It’s that I have other responsibilities.  I have kids to consider.  They get sick.  The weather gets bad and I don’t have childcare (and later on they won’t have school).  These are all reasonable things, they are not avoidable, but they make a huge impact at work.  I worry about it.  I worry about the perception people have.  No matter how unavoidable it is, I’m still not at work.  I have no choice…I can’t exactly leave a 1 year old and a 2 year old to fend for themselves!  Mark and I do trade days to lessen the impact for both of us.  We don’t have back-up.  My mother-in-law cannot handle both children at once, especially for a whole day!  I realize that it isn’t my employer’s problem that we don’t have a Plan B.  I just hope it isn’t held against me.

And then there’s marriage.  And parenthood.  I think we’re still trying to sort it all.  We’re slowly coming out of the fog of having 2 kids 18 months apart.  It’s taken 14 months to get to this point.  I’ve said before that Mark and I really do work well together.  Most of the time we are able to balance the responsibilities of parenthood pretty evenly, but now that we have that down we’re left with trying to figure out our own relationship.  It can’t be the same as it was before kids.  It’s just not possible.  We’re not even those same people!  We’ve been in infant-parent mode for so long now it seems that we just don’t have the time or take the time for us as a couple.  We do sort of have a “date” every Friday night.  After the kids go to bed, we do take the time to have a couple drinks and talk.  I don’t know where we’d be if we didn’t do that, it’s become so vital to me, not just for our relationship.  I just find that I look forward to that time…to adult conversation without kid-interruption.  Still.  There just is no such thing as worry-free anymore.  On Friday nights, we still are listening for the kids.  We still have to periodically go make a bottle for William or soothe Anna back to sleep.  If we do manage to go out, we still have to worry about what time it is, what time we need to be home, even though I know our sitter could handle whatever…it’s still not worry-free.  That just doesn’t exist in the world of parenthood.

I see that Mark and I could use a break.  Maybe a kid-free weekend.  I know, even without asking, that my parents would take the kids for a weekend.  It’s finding the time and the money and the motivation to schedule something.  It will happen though.  We took a little trip last May with 2 other couples.  The kids stayed with my parents.  I called to check on the kids plenty of times, they were still very much on my mind & I was still nursing/pumping at the time so I wasn’t without a constant reminder!  🙂  Still, it was a fabulous break!  I was so sad to leave the kids, but by the time we got out of my parents’ town Mark and I were practically giddy with the feeling of freedom!  🙂  We need to do it again this year.  Maybe just by ourselves this time.

Then there’s me.  I need to find my way to a gym in a bad way!  The back-to-back babies, which meant back-to-back c-sections and back-to-back nursing have taken their toll.  It wasn’t until just a few months ago that I finally had my body to myself again…after 3 years of pregnancy and nursing.  I’m proud of my body for what it has done.  It carried 2 healthy babies to a healthy gestation, it fed those babies for months and months.  Now that it’s done with that, though, it’s looking less than great and I’m feeling less than great about it.  I’m feeling less than great in general and I think getting back in shape would really help.  I have no excuse except for a lack of time and motivation.  Well, the time could really be worked around if the motivation was there.  I pay next to nothing for a gym membership (perk of working where I work), so it’s not a money issue anymore, I just need to get off my butt and do it!

And now that I’ve typed all that, I’m wondering exactly how neurotic I sound.  I know exactly how neurotic I am, so I don’t know why that’s even a question!

Well, my snow day is halfway over, the kids are both napping.  I’m hoping to get a few things done & maybe pictures of the kids this afternoon.  Wish me luck!  If all goes well I’ll have pictures to post this evening.

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