I was visiting with a friend this weekend, and while it was amazing to see her again after 2 years apart, the reason for her visit wasn’t a good one.
She is on her way back after finding out her husband of 18 years had an affair this fall. She is picking up the pieces of their life, managing their 3 kids, and attempting to take steps towards acceptance.
We spent the weekend talking, and not talking. Laughing, and sitting quietly in front of a bonfire. As she started the healing process a few things became increasingly apparent to me.. the main one being that she and her husband were just so close to the easy part.
She has 3 kids aged 3-10. The rough waters of parenting, when chaos is (literally) behind every door. As women we are so strung out and exhausted from these kids that we haven’t had a time to heal our bodies, or find our souls again. For men, I can only assume it is the same.
Life changed drastically with the arrival of the first little darling, and from there you get caught up in a monsoon of family. Everyone is fighting for their time, for attention and for just a moment of peace and quiet.
Instead of working together as partners to give each other what we need, we fight tooth and nail for our own survival. Counting the hours our partner has “away” at work, and comparing the unfairness of our positions.
But hear me moms and dads, just hold on a little longer.
There is no reprieve in these hard days of parenting, but weather the storm and clear waters are coming.
I remember the first day I realized that I had worked alongside my husband in our garden all day.
This may not seem like an impactful moment if you don’t yet have kids, but if you do, I am sure you locked on to my words ALL DAY.
All day we pulled weeds, hauled wood and prepped our garden. ALL DAY I was able to focus on a task, uninterrupted. ALL DAY I was the master of my moments, without required response or assistance needed by my children.
This moment happened a few years ago, when our kids were past the 5 year mark, and our eldest was old enough to help manage her little brother, and everyone was tall enough to reach the fridge.
From that single moment on though, the days where we have been “independent” of our children have become more frequent.
We wake ourselves up in the morning most days… letting the kids catch a few more minutes or hours. We have time to have our coffee, while its hot, or enjoy an evening glass of wine in quiet.
Looking back now, with my husband of 17 years by my side, I am eternally grateful we survived this stage of our life. I still feel the wounds and battle scars of a few wicked moments, but am thankful that we made it through with our relationship in tact (slightly battered, but stronger for it)
Although, I have become increasingly aware that there is yet another bank of storm clouds ahead in our relationship. As the kids become more their own people, Hubby and I have hours, days, weeks and months to fill, finding our friendship again after devoting so much of ourselves to our children.
I am hoping that the bumps of that next stage will not be as rough as the first, at least we won’t be interrupted during our arguments like we were when the kids were little.
So, parents.. if you don’t have a moment to spare, if you are starved of quiet, and if all you want to do is have a few selfish minutes to yourself, hold on just a little longer. Don’t hate your partner for this moment, just because you feel like you are drowning. Understand that they too are being overcome by waves, and that by kicking a little harder for each other you may just survive the storm.
And yes, I know, how can you give more when you have nothing left to give!
You can.. trust me. And if you relationship has the foundation to survive, you will get more by giving than by taking.
Hold on… just a little longer. The waves will quiet down and the boat will stop rocking and one day you will wake up and the quiet you long for will be there.