Aug 28, 2009

Bitter-Sweet


I expected that having a baby would add new challenges to being married. So, I am not surprised that there are moments when I'd like to kill my husband and, I'm positive, vice versa. I decided to write this post after a disagreement on the weekend about the difference in our lives right now, and by lives I mean having a life vs. not having one.

What am I bitter about? Well for starters, how about the fact that pregnancy turned my body into a never-ending project? I have to lose weight, my boobs leak, I have pimples all over my face, my hair is shedding like a dogs, I have a new vajajay courtesy of le doc du jour, I am in a constant state of sleep-deprivation, I sweat like a singing Whitney Houston, etc. Obviously my husband has none of these issues. Secondly, and most dramatic of all our differences is the "life" situation. When I refer to "life" - I mean outside the house activities - sports, time with friends, etc. I think it's important that our husbands maintain parts of their life - we want them out of the house sometimes! :) My issue is this... I would like a little empathy, not sympathy, for the fact that it is nearly impossible for me to have a life right now and, aside from that, my life is so completely changed that having a life isn't even desirable as I know as soon as I leave the house to have this "life", I'll just worry about the consequences of me being gone - Will Jane get hungry? Will she cry the entire time? What if something happens and I'm not there? Husbands have it pretty easy. They don't have to worry about these things when they go out, they just go! I wish it was understood that not only is our new job as a Mom physically exhausting but it's also mentally exhausting... my mind will never be at ease again. I wish our husbands could just be us for 24 hours... that's the only way they can get it. I don't want to go off and do stuff on my own. The "life" I want now is doing things with my family. When I'm not given the time to have this life because my husband's life interferes, it's not a pretty sight.

What am I sweet about? Mostly that my husband is very willing and capable when it comes to taking care of Jane. I've been comfortable leaving her alone with him for a few hours since day one. He's a great Dad and so in love with his "little bug" as he calls her. He's also very understanding about most of the things listed at the beginning of the "bitter" side of this post, which makes it easier on me. He's always trying to make me feel beautiful, even when my hair is a mess (pretty much every day), I stink from sweating buckets all day, and I feel like a cow. His compliments usually get brushed off, but he persists, and he knows I appreciate every one. He's also made an effort to help out more around the house - cleaning, cooking sometimes, and being my third arm when I need it (can you get me a glass of water? can you pass that wipe? can you open the window?).

I had to write this post after my Mom, sister, and girlfriend all claimed to have experienced the "life" arguments and frustrations with their husbands. I would have thought, pre-baby, that the difficulties that would arise in my marriage would be more baby-related... who's on diaper duty, who reads the books, etc. It's hard to understand how much your life will change after your sweetie arrives, until it's hitting you in the face or, should I say, hitting you somewhere else! :p My advice on dealing with this challenge - find a way to CALMLY explain it to your husband (this is my problem - I am rarely calm) and talk to your Mommy-girlfriends! They will "get it" and they will give you the empathy that you need.

Jen :)

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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just going to start off saying I love your blog and read it everyday, however I have to comment on your post...acknowledging of course that I am an outsider!

I am not sure I agree with you when I say that husbands leave the house and don't worry about those things; that isn't right. They should be worrying as much as you would when you leave! The only difference between you and your husband should be that you can (and do) breastfeed, but other than that all the worries and duties should be the same. And, since you pump, the feeding shouldn't be an issue when you go out. You've admitted in past posts that you have an issue letting go and letting him do things. You should be able to have just as much of a life as he does.

I have had people in the past say you to me, "you are so lucky, your husband does so much, does his share around the house and gets up with you in the middle of the night when you feed the baby". I tell those people I am not lucky, I have it the way it should be. Why should I be on the crappy end of the stick, we are in this together and decided to have this baby together.

Yes, you should have empathy that your life has changed like crazy. But, if you feel you have no life I think that is your decision, not the situation or your husband.

Jen said...

Let me be clear that I, by no means, had a bumping "life" before the baby either. I've always been a home-body. I really don't mind that I don't have an outside life right now and you're right, this is mostly my own fault for not wanting to leave Jane. I guess my idea of what I want as my "life" has changed... I want family time now. :) I'm sure, in the future though, I will want some Jen-time and will want to leave for longer than a few hours!

You are 100% right re: husband sharing the duties and my hubby does do a lot more than he did pre-baby. With that said, however, and your quote about what people have said to you in the past backs up my point a little, that your situation, although ideal, may be more of a rarity than a "standard"... at least in my circle of friends/family, but what does everyone else think?

Thanks for your comments! I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with me nor do I want them to! How would I ever learn anything new?!?! :)

Jen

Peter, Jill, & Parker said...

Awesome post Jen! I can very much relate to it all. Life has definitely altered, but for the better.

Momma Such said...

I added your button to my blog as well!!! However, I'm having a problem seeing them all scrolling. Half the people that visit can see them all and the other half can only see the first few. Still trying to sort this out. :)

Jessica said...

So true. Makes me want to write about this as well.

Thanks for your thoughts and constantly reminding me that I'm not the only one.

Anonymous said...

I agree it is not the standard, but it should be. You shouldn't put up with less and people putting up with less is what makes it acceptable. It takes two to make a family.

Dan Ellenberger said...

I think there's two important things to note here. First, we live in Canada and as such Jen is lucky enough to have a year long maternity leave (One of the many reasons we love living in Canada). Since Jen is home all day with our sweet Jane there is naturally going to be a skew in all the "responsibilities" that come along with being a parent. And (as far as I know) we are both comfortable with that. Just so long as I'm doing my share.

Second, we limit Jane to a single bottle feed every other day. This means Jen must strategically time her trips out of the house.

I think all couples must find a balance with being parents and still enjoying their lives outside of the home. It just so happens that there's nothing more Jen enjoys than being home with Janey and I really can't blame her :-)

Anonymous said...

Then I am not sure I really understand what the post was about?

MommyBrain said...

Your post is right on, Jen!

The part that spoke to me (the loudest) was how much your body has changed, how your new hormone levels are ravaging your body and your emotions, how overwhelming and truly wonderful it is to be responsible for this new life, how you want (it's almost a physical need) to be with baby but feel a little torn about having a "life" ... baby aside, those things have a huge effect on you (individually) and in your relationship ... if they didn't, then I would be worried :)

But ... you and your husband are doing everything right. Your "sweet" paragraph and his comment make it clear that you are communicating and doing your best to make these first few months work for all three of you :)

It is so hard. Those first six months are just so darn hard. There is no book out there that is going to tell you the truth and extent of the post-partum phase ... mostly because you can't "get it" until it's happening to you ... you know?

From a mom who is now two years out from all of that (and hurling toward it again - aaaaaah!), I will tell you that it gets better. It just keeps getting better - I remember a friend telling me these simple words, and I didn't appreciate them at the time, but I certainly do now ... soon you will, too :)

Hugs from the NW,
Dana

Jen said...

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone - I've gotten several emails all saying the same thing "I hear ya!" ha ha ha.

In response to "why did I write the post?" if everyone's content... well fact is, most days, I am content. This post was written on a day when I wasn't content and it all just hit me! Like a lot of us, sometimes everything just gets overwhelming all of a sudden and it all comes out in one big, grouchy rage! ha ha ha. I am content with my "share" of the baby duties... but sometimes I wish I could just give Dan one of my boobs and call it a day! :p

Jen :)