11.19.2012

Babies and Marriage: My Take

Kauai circa March of this year. See you again in three weeks baby.

If the age old question can you really have it all ever applied, I would say never more so than when it comes to marriage and babies. The inspiration behind this post comes from Jenni's blog, where she wrote about exactly this topic. And it got me thinking. Marriage and babies, babies and marriage. Yes, I have both, but the good Lord up in heaven knows I have no idea when it comes to managing both well.

So I'm not here to tell you how to "have it all." Because I fail at that every single day. I'm here to tell you my experience, my journey, and my struggles. I'm also pretty sure this post will go off on many different tangents, so stay with me if you can.

I've been married for eight point five years. I always said I would wait two years before having babies. Two years seemed perfect to me: enough time to have sexy alone time with the hubs, get to know each other more, live in newlywed bliss before adding the granted stress of tiny human beings to care for. Two years somehow turned into four years, and on March 1st, 2008 (only three hours short of being a leap year baby) Gunner James Smith came into our lives. Trust me, no matter what they say, adding a baby to the mix changes things. Drastically

Exactly two years and two weeks later, Colt Daniel Le Smith arrived. Two boys. Our family of four was complete. We can dance into oblivion. Unicorns! Rainbows! Except not exactly. Don't get me wrong, when it comes to my kids? I am in love. I am over the moon to be a full-time mom to them. I think it's one of the most important jobs in the world (post on this to come later this week) but when it comes to juggling a husband and kids? Successfully? I still have yet to figure that one out. 

But let me start with something I think is supremely important when it comes to this subject. And that is priority. Not only is it biblical, but every good therapist around will tell you that your spouse comes before your kids. Our counselor in particular said it was absolutely crucial for Rob and I to put each other first, and our kids second. And this? I have had a very hard time with. In my little mind, I tend to think that the kids come first, always. But with this thinking? Puts my husband on the back burner. When it was him to begin with that made our family happen. Because the truth is, by putting my husband first, I am setting an example for our kids, and showing them what a loving relationship looks like. Kids need to see their parents loving each other. Kids need to feel the security of their parents being there for them, and therefore, being a solid unit. I asked our marriage counselor one time if it damaged our children to see us fighting in front of them. Her answer surprised me, when she said "no. They need to see you guys have conflict and then see you resolve that conflict in a loving way, so they can learn how real relationships work." 

And here's this: Rob comes home from working all day and immediately turns his attention on me. He will walk in the door and walk straight past the kids, go to me and hug, kiss, touch, etc. I would (and sometimes still do) get so mad him, and be all, "really? You walk past your own kids and don't even say anything to them? Don't even acknowledge them? What is wrong with you?" when what he is doing is exactly what it takes to have a successful marriage with kids. He is putting me first. Rob has always said to me that I come first, his kids come second. And my jerk reaction is to get angry, and go right into asking him stupid idiotic questions like "if Gunner and I were both dangling over a cliff and you could only save one of us, who would it be? Huh? Huh? Would you save him or me? You better say him!" (For the record, he would save our son.)

But here's the thing. Rob may come in the house after work and bypass the kids to head straight to me, but after that? His immediate second move is to pick up his boys, hug and kiss them and tell them both how much he missed them. And then to play with them for the next few hours before bedtime. I have never, not once, witnessed a time where his kids needed and or wanted him and he wasn't there. Rob is a sucker for his boys. Rob lives and breathes for his boys. He would die in a heartbeat for his boys. 

But he would also die in a heartbeat for me. And this is where I can admit I can be a total bitch at times. With complete honesty, I can say I have neglected Rob. He puts me first yet I put the kids first. Rob constantly wants to be touching me (earmuffs mom and dad!), he constantly wants to be around me, messing with me, grabbing my butt and other parts (ahem!) and I get SO ANNOYED and tell him to just back off but gosh damn, I should be thankful that after almost eleven years and twenty pounds gained, my husband still wants me fierce! I've talked to enough people to realize that what I have in a husband is pretty rare. Because if he can love his kids half as much as he loves me? Well then. His kids are pretty damn lucky.

Don't get me wrong. My husband isn't perfect. He can piss me off with the best of them. Like when he criticizes the way I cut up onions, or when he says I'm being lazy for not getting up and working out (ok that one may be true) or when he uses my expensive hair conditioner as body soap (insert super angry face here!) but when you look at it as a whole, and consider the "war versus battle" thing, I'm pretty sure I'm coming out ahead. 

Because my husband puts me first. And in turn, my kids benefit tremendously. And it has taken me a while (and a few hundred dollars worth of counseling sessions) to figure this one out. 

Now if we want to talk about what babies do to a sex life?

That is a completely different post for another day.

78 comments:

  1. can i just say...THANK YOU!! thank you for writing this post! I also have been thinking of this very topic and wrote about it to the other day...just how much having our first baby changed our marriage OVERNIGHT! and yes...I think I'm on my way to writing a book on sex after babies! mind boggling stuff!!! glad to know I am not the only one who does not know how to do this whole thing!!

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  2. What a great post. Ill use it for future reference :) you and your hubby sound like a great pair :)

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  3. Oh, Raven! You big softie! Haha. This post is so wonderful. I love your perspective of this. Thanks for being so candid and open. Definitely a must read post.

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  4. This is such a great post!!! The hubs and I definitely are ass backwards with this. I know he puts me first before the boys, but it definitely pulls at my heart strings to put the boys before him. How in the world did you get to that point? I'm glad I'm not the only one juggling with this.

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    1. Not Raven, but I've been working on this in my own marriage so I can speak about it I believe :) It's hard, but as a mom, you know you want to do what's best for your kids, and believe it or not, they will thank you for your efforts in putting their daddy before them! :)

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  5. Fantastic post! It always saddens me to see marriages going by the wayside after kids because the mother becomes obsessed with her kids and putting them first. Great advice :)

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  6. What a great post Raven! I don't have kids or a husband, but dammit, one day I WILL! Such insight here and I really enjoyed reading it.

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  7. My parents were always pretty real with us about what a relationship is. I mean, they had their problems like everyone does, but we never for a second thought that they didn't love us or that we weren't OK. They showed us that a true relationship takes work and sometimes love isn't enough. I think it has a lot to do with how I am today. Great post!

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  8. I love your blog and read it everyday. I come here for the REAL shit of life, whether you make it funny or serious. You seem to think the same way I do about so many things!! Thank you for your posts! Keep em coming!! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  9. Oh I loveeee this Raven! Since I'm prego, I've been feeding off of y'alls posts. So glad you did this! Glad you pointed out that your marriage comes first, that's something I surely haven't thought of yet. And we need to know about sex and babies, or at least I do!!!

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  10. Omg! I always shower at the gym, and one day decided to shower at home and noticed that there was not any soap in the shower. I finally asked my husband what the hell he had been using, and he responded with "your conditioner." WHAT THE HELL! I save it and put it in portable containers to bring to the gym and little did I know he had been using it daily as soap. GROSS!

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    1. yeah no. I pay big money for my hair products! No using it as soap!! >:-(

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  11. Awesome post. It's so important for the parents to put each other first. My husband has said that he would die for me, and he knows that I wouldn't die for him anymore. Before we had children, yes I would catch a grenade for him. Now that I am a mother of 2, with a 3rd on the way... I'd rather survive for my children--He agrees. How amazing are our hubby's? My husband also likes to ass grab and grope... Although I don't want our son to think that it's acceptable, I still let him do it. We're still so hot for each other, it is kinda gross.

    Anyway, reading your post actually made me realize that I should probably run to the door when my husband comes home from work. Nekkid. Haha... Just kidding... Kind of... If the kids weren't home.

    Oh, and our sex life after kids became more adventurous. We weren't really afternoon delight kids before we had babies, but after babies... We do it anywhere and everywhere we can. Again, kinda gross.

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    1. haha! I agree with the adventurous sex after babies. You have to be more creative and...fast ;)

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  12. Love Love Love this post! We all tend to treat the person we should treat the best, the worst. We are nicer to strangers than our very own husband. Even though I do not have kids yet, I will always remember this post down the road after I do. Because it is true, it shows your kids what love is and a marriage, and that is a wonderful thing :) Thanks for a great message!! :)

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  13. Oh and you're going to Kauai in three weeks...

    DIE BISH! I HATE YOU

    Joking, but I am insanely jealous.

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  14. Im so impressed...literally, so many people do NOT do this. My parents have been married for 38 years and I 100% believe it's because they always put eachother first.

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  15. My kids are older now, 17 and 22, but what you described is how my husband and I are. He is still handsy and perverted (after 23 years, so yes, it sometimes never changes)and he still puts me first but would go to the ends of the earth for the boys.
    Keep up the good work.

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  16. This is such great advice even for us not-yet-married with no-kids readers! Love that you and your hubby are able to keep your marriage playful even if it also takes work sometimes. Your kids are lucky to have a mom who puts both her husband and kids front and center.

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  17. Great post! You took the thoughts right out of my mind. I need to work on putting my hubs first. After 13 years together he still grabs me and touches me like he did when we were 20. Most of the time I swat him away. I feel bad but yet I keep doing it. We just had a little spat over the weekend about how I'm not very affectionate anymore. I'm glad you wrote about this when you did. I need to make it a point to be like I used to be before the boys came along. Thanks!!

    xoxo

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  18. I have the same problem, it's SO hard for me to not put the kids first because I feel like B can take care of himself whereas they're so dependent on us.

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  19. What a great way to look at things. Putting hubby first is something I struggle daily, hell, hourly with. Good reminder to work a little harder. Also, totally feel ya on the conditioner for soap thing. My guy uses my expensive sh*t to deep clean and condition his beard. Really?!

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  20. Every time I hear my girlfriends bitch about their husbands- my face may say "oh, I'm really sorry your husband's such an a**hole" but on the inside my heart is thanking God I am so lucky to be married to such a great man! Being married to a man who is a great husband and father is awesome, isn't it?

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  21. This is excellent! I can definitely see how the struggle to put our kids first is a really hard one. I think it is especially hard when children are so small for the very reason that babies are physically dependent (in a life and health sort of way) on their parents. It is hard to separate putting my kids first and having to CARE for them first simply because they are babies and my husband is capable of feeding himself and wiping his own butt. The fierce love a mother has for her children is unlike anything I have ever experienced. But my husband was there first, and he will be there after the children are gone. I made a promise to God and to him to love him most. And this has been a huge source of conviction in our marriage recently.
    We have only been married for 4.5 years. We were pregnant with our first only after 14 months of marriage. It has been hard to make US a priority. But now we are really starting to focus on each other. We just got back from a marriage retreat where we were totally focused on each other, and encouraged to not even call our children (or go on Facebook to look at their pictures or whatever). It was HARD on my momma heart, but SO SO good for my husband and I. I would not trade that time for anything.

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  22. I love this subject!! I agree and a lot of mommy friends look at me like im crazy. Its so easy to give in to the demands of being a mommy and putting the wifey role on the back burner. Its hard work, but oh so worth it. Weve been failing lately, its always great to work it back up ;)

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  23. So, I know I should put my hubby first but I just don't. I struggle with it. I somehow can't wrap my mind around not having my kids be first priority. I think there has to be a good balance to it all but I have to figure it out. :)

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  24. This is awesome and I completely agree. I started to do that to C once we got a dog, so I can imagine how bad I will be once we have kids. He has always put me first and even though the grabbing is constant, I know I should be grateful that after 4 years he still wants me like he does. I know how special our relationship is and it sounds like yours is the same...I definitely appreciate it!

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  25. love this post!! thank you so much for making me realize i am doing the same thing as you did. time to put my husband first :)

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  26. I loved this post...and of course all your other ones too. Husby and I have been married for just over 2 years now and we are expecting our first in March, we often find ourselves wondering what is [really] going to happen when baby gets here. This was a perfect reminder that we will always have each other and that I need to start putting him first. Thank you!!

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  27. i'd like to read that baby sex life post, not gonna lie ;-)

    AHH RAVEN this post makes my lil heart flutta! Reading about how Rob comes home and goes to you first then the boys and then plays with them! Not like I expected anything else, but it was so cute to rad it in the way you described it! I love it!

    by reading about your daily life and hearing how amaze you are from sabby fresh, i didnt expect anything less of you guys being such an amazing balanced family!! :-)

    NOW WHEN CAN I MEET YOU AND SNUGGLE THOSE BOYS!?!?

    xoxoxo

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  28. this might be my favorite post from you to date. It is refreshing to hear. And I love that he puts you first, because he absolutely should. i appreciate this so much.

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  29. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, because Ken and I are talking about having a little one or two ... I'm just afraid of how much our lives will change. I know they will change, I'm not oblivious ... but I just want to make sure we are still "us" ... you know what I mean?

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  30. Great topic! My hubby needs to read this and understand this! haha

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  31. So perfect!! Love this and I aspire to have this one day when munchkins are running around! Your kids are so lucky!

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  32. Very well put. Kids and marriage are an extremely difficult balancing act and it's a daily struggle to try to get it right. One of those constant fights that always ends up worth it in the end.

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    1. yes exactly, worth it in the end. Absolutely :)

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  33. You are so honest and I love it! And thank you, for the reflection. My husband does the same thing when he comes home from work, and I know they aren't kids, but he has pets jumping up and down his legs and he completely ignores them to say hi to me first. And I get irritated! I say to him constantly, are you going to do that to our kids? Can you just acknowledge them for two seconds. But you're post made me realize there is NOTHING wrong with that, and I should absolutely look at it as a positive thing. Thank you! :)

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  34. I am filing this away for future reference! Love this post! I'll be honest- I kind of tuned out from your blog during election time. I get that we all have different opinions, and frankly, I am not even 'Merican, so the posts didn't really speak to me. But this? I love. I would love to hear more about how things change AFTER babies. I want a family so badly now- however, I have grown accustomed to my freedom and gotten set in my ways now that I am 33 and probably too old for babies. LOL Thank you! :-)

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    1. told old for babies at 33?? not even close!! You still have a good 6-7 years to bare children. Do it ha! :)

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  35. I love this! No kiddos of my own yet, but I see soooo many mothers doing the mother bear thing and pushing their husband/partner to the way back. Kids should ALWAYS be a top priority, BUT, the marriage/relationship is the rock of the family, and husbands and wives should put each other first.

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  36. love this! i had that dad/husband who didn't put his kids first, second, or third and that ruined our marriage. shit i wasn't even first, second or third. but this is EXACTLY right.
    and counseling. counseling is amazing. nothing better than paying someone to listen to you cry and bitch. lol.

    congrats on having a great relationship!

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  37. I really love this post! I never thought of it this way, but I think you are exactly right. If you care about your children, it is so important to give them a healthy relationship to model their future family off of. And putting your husband or wife first does just that.

    Thanks for the wonderful advice, can't wait to put it to use one day :)

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  38. Your writing has changed for the better recently Raven. There is some deep substance to the things you are sharing here and it's so helpful! Now, before you think I am saying something negative about your previous posts, that's not the case, those were great too!! The latest posts are "different" though and whether you realize it or not, they are WONDERFUL!

    Thank you for this post specifically. It helped me in numerous ways. My husband too is all about having his hands on me and giving me oodles of attention all the time too and like you, I get annoyed with him too! Your perspective has changed my thinking and you better believe I will be smiling instead of pushing him away next time ;)

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  39. Great post! I have never even thought of it this way. But yes. I also have a one of a kind hubby that loves me thick or thin. I get so mad at the constant groping {infact I may of gotten a tid bit bishy in the car just last night}. My husband thinks that Dr. Laura walks on water and loves to quote her... But I am constanly told that I am hurting his ego. I love him dearly and think he is the sexiest man alive. But balancing the wife, mom, work & house show is tricky! Love your topic!!!! xoxo, bree

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    1. I LOVE Dr. Laura. Your hubs is a smart guy.

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  40. You nailed it, Ravie!! Now print this out, laminate it, and put it on your bathroom mirror (and the top of your laptop) ;) This was a great post and I am glad you wrote about it. I know things like this are much easier said than done but it is SOO important!!! Way to go, sis, love you!

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  41. Great post and thank you so much for sharing this. My husband and I are hoping to start a family soon and this is something I really need to consider when we do bring a child/children into the world.

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  42. This was a great post! I'm engaged and getting married next Fall. I have been thinking about this balance thing a lot (maybe because of the recent blog posts!). I was struggling trying to figure out how to balance it. Putting your spouse first, I wouldn't have even thought of that haha. After you explain it the whole thing makes perfect sense. You want to set an example for your kids. Great post.

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  43. Even though i'm not anywhere near being married or having kids, this was still a great post to read for the future! Great advice :)

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  44. thanks for posting this. We don't have kids yet, but I've witnessed this exact convo with some friends of ours, and I love you perspective on it. Great post!

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  45. This is why I'm glad my husband and I are childfree!! We never have to worry about not putting each other first!

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  46. Good advice for a girl like me who is married and wants to have kids one day. Thank you!! It makes sense... Along the same lines of taking care of yourself do you can be a good wife.

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  47. I'm not married or a mom yet so I feel like I can't comment but I did want to say there is no harder job in the world than being a mom! Xo

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  48. Chris regularly forgets to shut the lid to my shampoo and then proceeds to set it on the shelf upside down. Drives me bat shit CRAZY. Shampoo is expensive shit.

    Someday when I have kids I'll make Shampoo comes first. Then Chris. Then kids.

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  49. This is so perfect. I'll admit a lot of the time I come over here for a good laugh, but Raven you really hit the nail on the head with this one. The entire time I was reading I was shaking my head "yes." I'm guilty of this, all of this - even down to picking a fight. I see a lot of the comments are from either newly married, dating, single ladies and childless - A post like this may just scare someone but its honest and truthful and a lot better advice than in all those parenting books.

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  50. loved this!! thank you!!

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  51. Really enjoyed your take, Raven! Thanks for linking back to my post... received so much traffic from you today! :)

    It seems like the general consensus among happily married parents is that you simply have to put each other first. I had honestly never thought much about that before, and I am so happy to have been given this golden piece of advice. I think I'm going to force Matthew to read every single comment on my post before we get pregnant... ha!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, beautiful!

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  52. This post is awesome girl.

    I've read/heard that a marriage should always come first too, I think it's important that your boys see what a great relationship their parents have. Y'all are definitely setting a good example!

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  53. Not trying to offend anyone but, I'm sick of seeing mom bloggers who make marriage and having kids seem so easy. It annoys me. I don't have kids and I'm not yet married but, one day I will be a wife and a mom and I KNOW it's not going to be always be happy moments. I'm so grateful that there are bloggers like you who are able to show off the happy life you have but you also share the realistic struggles of being a wife and a mom. I honestly think you're an amazing person. Your boys are lucky to have you and Rob as parents. My parents have an amazing relationship. I learned so much from how they treated each other.

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  54. Ravie! i think you are a completely amazing mother! Everything I have seen and having my long deep conversations with Rob you truly are an amazing mom, I am so grateful to have you in my life and my 2 little boys who are 90% of the time on their best behavior, which directly reflects on you. Fabulous job so far on the start of raising these boys :) Love you all!

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  55. This is such a great post! It is not easy to balance kids and marriage. Your husband sounds like one heck of a great guy :)

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  56. I've always felt like your spouse should rank high in the family hierarchy for one basic reason:: When the kids leave, they're the person who's still there. If spend your days and years making the kids a priority, then what happens when they've become adults and moved out on their own?

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  57. I love hearing about your sweet family :-). I would be curious to see if you have any tips for getting along with in-laws, holidays, etc...

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  58. Great post! Good advice. Never really thought about how you should put your spouse above all. I get so annoyed at my husband for wanting to be all touchy feely rated R, but then I should feel proud that he still thinks I've got it after 8 years! We're currently having fun trying to make our own little bambino, hopefully I can experience the love you moms have for your little guys soon!

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  59. I completely agree although as you said, it's sometimes hard to keep in mind because I love my son so much but my son will grow up and have his own life someday and I'll have my husband so we best damn put eachother first :)

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  60. Such a great post!!!!! I soo neglect my hubs for my kids..shame on me!!! BADBAD!!!

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  61. You might be interested in this article from a bunch of years back, but it's about the difference between loving your children and being 'in love' with your husband. really interesting: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/27/fashion/27love.html

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  62. First off, I love your writing. I feel like you're right here next to me.

    This was a VERY inspirational post. I got married in March to my high school sweetheart, and I'm thankful he's very touchy feely even after being with him for 9 years. We don't have children, but when we do, I agree it's important to have time for yourselves. To have vacations alone or heck even just a date sans kidlets.

    Thank you for this reminder.

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  63. I love this post! Great advice :) I'm not a mom or a wife yet, hope to be someday, but I cannot wait to use this advice for that day. Thank you!

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  64. Can i just say THANK YOU for this post! I'm not married yet... and I still needed this kind of advice, a reminder/slap of reality to really focus on him. Since I'm his number one priority, but I have a difficult time remembering that he is my own.

    Thank you again!

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  65. I was told a long time ago that you should only have one husband (if you find the real thing), but you can have many children. I thought my pastor was a flippin' idiot for telling me to choose my future husband over my children, but when I began a relationship with Will, I understood that for the FIRST time. I still might struggle with it IF we have kids, but at least I am learning this early ;)

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  66. I`m not married nor do I have kids, but wow, I love this! So interesting, thanks for sharing!

    Some Snapshots Blog
    Jess

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