Marriage and parenting are two of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Each day, a new challenge arises and I’m left searching desperately for a solution on how to make everything hunky dory again.
With marriage, it’s the little things that pile up. Little miscommunications, not finding enough time to be alone with one another, not always agreeing on things. Trying to keep each other happy and yet keep fulfilling our individual wants and needs, be it a quiet moment alone to regroup after a stressful day or material objects we want (furniture, clothes and accessories for me, truck parts for M) but can’t agree on getting (because money is constantly at the front of our minds).
Marriage isn’t always hard, but it definitely has its challenging moments. The love and desire are effortless, it’s all the in between things that can be a struggle. As each others best friend, we often lash out at one another in moments of stress. I get bitchy, he gets defensive, I get defensive back or vice versa.
But, it’s always worth it. Always.
I love when M crawls into bed, he instantly wraps his arms around me and pulls me close. He’s a night owl, he likes to stay up late. I’m more of an early riser and I can’t stay up past midnight, so I like to go to bed early. Even though I go to bed early, M always comes with me to hold me until I fall asleep just because its the best way to fall asleep. Even if we’ve spent the day arguing, this is our routine.
Parenting is another story. Some days, marriage is harder. Other days, parenting is harder. With two boys who love to not get along lately, I am finding it a constant struggle to make sure they’re treating each other with respect and kindness. They’re both at very interesting, testy ages. N is very dramatic, and over acts basically everything. I could gently direct him to the time out corner and suddenly he’s running into the wall crying about how he hates time outs and how I pushed him. His over exaggeration of like everything makes him a fun and easy target for Aj, who gets a kick out of shoving N around because of how N reacts. Aj is strong, he’s able to one-armed throw N off of the couch and onto the ground. So, his strength coupled with N’s over exaggeration means for a lot of shrill screeching, crying, and fighting between the two of them.
But then there are the moments that melt my heart and melt away all my frustration over the difficult things. Like how Aj always wants to give N kisses, and his sweet little voice when he says “uh oh” if he drops something. The way he crawls up on the couch and nestles into my arms for cuddles. The way he says no, even. “Nuh uh” while he shakes his head back and forth. How sweet he is with Bane, always curling up beside him for snuggles.
And N’s newfound talent in the art of telling stories.
“Mommy,” he’ll say. “Do you want to hear a story?”
“Of course,” I’ll tell him, then he’ll go into a thoroughly detailed story beginning with ‘once upon a time’.
The other day, we were eating cheesy pasta with corn, carrots and broccoli. As we ate, N looked up at me with his eyes shining. “Wanna hear a story?” When I nodded, he started telling me the cutest story.
“Once upon a time, there was a corn and a carrot in Mommy’s bowl and they went on an adventure to Mommy’s tummy and they lived happily ever after, the end!”
The way his eyes lit up when he tells these stories always warms my heart, even if I’m feeling cranky or overwhelmed.
Marriage and parenting are both challenging, but they’re both full of such amazing rewards and moments that I hope to remember forever and ever. I love this life, and the only thing I wish I could change is how I’ve taken a lot of it for granted.
I’m working on that, though. I’m working on being more in the moment, more present, more thankful for those perfectly ordinary moments like cuddling with N before bed or comforting Aj the billion times he wakes up in the night. The simple joy of snuggling close to my hubby when we watch tv or a movie once the kids are finally in bed.
If I had any goals for 2013, they would simply be: laugh more, love even bigger, be more in the moment, be softer.
I made the mistake of putting my guard up to ‘protect’ myself when my parents spilt up, because I didn’t want to end up as destroyed as her. But that isn’t fair to M, or to me. So I’m working on taking that guard down for good. I’d rather love without holding back then have regrets like, like I didn’t try hard enough to be there, if that makes sense.