One of the challenging aspects about marriage is that just when I really think my husband and I start to hit our stride, things seem to change.
Sometimes that change is a new job, which alters our schedules and routines and the amount of time we get to spend together.
Sometimes that changes is a new pet, which brings along new responsibilities and potential arguments.
Sometimes that change is a new place to live, which can involve creating a new community, taking on new debt, doing a little remodeling, etc.
Sometimes that change is something negative, like conflict caused by external sources (family, friends, etc), which can potentially bring stress into the marriage even though it has nothing to do with the marriage.
And sometimes that change is a new addition to the family. (A less-furry addition than a dog or a cat.)
My husband and I recently (4 months ago) brought home our own little bundle o' joy, and let me tell you, our marriage is not the same!
I really thought we were getting the hang of things about a year into our marriage, and then we got pregnant.
Then I thought we were getting into the hang of things during my pregnancy and our second year of marriage, but of course, then the baby actually came out and everything changed again!
The Challenge of Adding a Child to Your Marriage
//We spend more but somehow less time together.
In actual hours, we probably spend more time together. My husband, Tim works from home some days and I stay home with our daughter, Clara, so we see each other a fair amount. However, we don't have as much time to have full conversations or to sit down to a relaxing dinner together or even to watch a show uninterrupted. I would say our time together has increased in quantity and decreased in quality.
//Our responsibilities have changed.
Before Clara was born, I worked full time. Now I'm a full-time mom, which sounds lame yet exhausting as I type it out. We're still navigating our new roles, Tim as the sole-provider and me as a SAHM.
//We're on a budget.
The days of us being a DINK (dual-income-no-kids) family are gone! Now we are living off one income so we've made small changes to our spending. Luckily, we have always lived frugally, but now it's a little more of a necessity. Basically, we eat out less and I shop a bit less and we may travel a bit less... We clearly don't have it all figured out, but we're definitely trying to be mindful of how we're living.
//We are tired.
I know this is shocking, but being a mom has made me unbelievably tired. I don't know if it's the lack of consecutive hours of sleep I get or what the deal is, but some days I just lack energy, which of course affects the time I spend with Tim and even Clara. I'm sure Tim could say the same thing about himself!
//We love each other differently.
I won't say that I love Tim more now that he's a dad, because I knew he'd be a great dad before we even got pregnant, but I will say I love him differently. Now I love him as a husband AND as the father to my child, which are pretty huge roles!
I could go on about fights we have now that we never had before, the difficulties of this whole adjusting thing, the great moments and the not-so-great moments of this transition to parenthood... but those each deserve their own (or several) post(s).
I guess what I'm trying to say in this post is that marriage is fluid. It constantly changes in big ways and in small ways, which is part of the fun and frustration of this life-long commitment we've made!
Having a child is just one more transition that my husband and I are working our way through, and I must say, it's been the most rewarding time in our marriage thus far.