In October 2008, I walked down the aisle and exchanged vows with my best friend. For the next 4 years, my husband and I were stuck together like peanut butter and jelly. He enjoys drag racing on the weekends, and I went to almost every race with him when we weren’t working; you couldn’t separate us from each other. We had that happy, frisky, newlywed, childless life. Then I got the itch…The one only having a little one would scratch. I was ready to expand our clan to three, and my husband was ready, so the decision made. We would start trying for a baby! After a few months of trying, a baby girl was on her way, and in December of 2012, our sweet daughter was born.
Life as a married couple changed as you would expect it would. It was no longer just us two, and naturally, all of my focus was on our new baby girl. That alone time with my husband was gone, and I slowly started to drift away, and through my exhaustion, intimacy was turning into a chore. But, as our little one grew up, we began to get into our groove as a family of three. We had lots of family time as the three of us going on beach vacations, checking out state parks, and even drag racing. Both sets of grandparents were awesome about babysitting and keeping our little one overnight so that daddy and I could have date nights and time alone together.
But that itch returned. My daughter was turning 4, and I thought, “She needs a sibling!” My husband loved our group of three, but agreed he didn’t want an only child… So, in September of 2017 we welcomed a baby boy!
As an “experienced” mom welcoming her second baby, I thought I had some idea of what to expect with having a new baby. So I was ready to settle into our family routine.
Nope. This little guy had a routine of his own. And it involved horrible reflux and colic, and screaming every night from eight in the evening until midnight for the first eight weeks.
I went straight into survival mode. Between taking care of this new baby’s needs and trying to love on my five year old (so she didn’t feel left out), I had to live on little to no sleep. Sometimes I would even forget to shower. (I’m kidding…kind of.) This puts my husband’s needs at the bottom of the barrel, which was hard for him to adjust to. But, I had nothing left to give.
For the first seven months of our son’s life, while I was in survival mode, all “mommy and daddy time” came to almost to a complete stop. And my husband understood to a point. He realized I was stretched thin and was exhausted, but that didn’t change his need to have his wife. My husband tried to hide his frustration, but since he is horrible at hiding his feelings, I knew he just wanted his wife back.
Finally, one night the dreaded conversation came up. He was fed up! I don’t have enough time for him, our sex life sucks, and I smell like throw up all the time (baby with reflux). I felt so bad. I said, “Look, I’m sorry I’m exhausted! This kid screams all the time, barfs constantly, and doesn’t sleep. I’m the only one who can soothe him. The few hours a night he does sleep or doesn’t need me, I don’t want anyone to touch me. Sorry honey, but I’m touched out.” I left the conversation thinking: As a wife, I want to be there 100% for my husband, but I just can’t do it.
My tank was on empty. I had this baby who needed me all of the time, and he wouldn’t tolerate anyone else… I also can’t forget my daughter, who was struggling with a new sibling and having to share her time with me. At the end of the day, after trying to make sure I’m keeping my littles content, the thought of my husband wanting some alone time in the bedroom made me cringe… I hated myself for feeling that way.
It’s been two years since that conversation, and things at home are starting to even out. Our youngest is a better sleeper, and he doesn’t scream or barf non-stop anymore. He will let daddy comfort him, so he’s not attached to mommy all the time.
That means I’m getting my stride back as a wife. Is my time split 50/50? No… because the kids still demand me most.
But I AM doing better about paying attention to my husband because he needs me too.
I know as my children get older, my husband and I will slowly get more time together. We are patiently waiting on the days where we are stuck together like peanut butter and jelly again.
Such a great article that so many couples can relate to!
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