Unexpected Fights

Betsy and I are four plus years into this parenting gig and there are just some fights I never imagined I would have. Granted many of these can be settled with a game of rock, paper, scissors. But sans kids, I never knew these discussion existed. You don’t know what you don’t know. (Name that musical!)

  1. Who has to brush the kids’ teeth. Seriously, this shit sucks. And when you have three that need assistance it sucks even more.
  2. Food. What they eat? When they eat? How much they eat? Where they eat? This is a big one. And not solved with a hand game. I never realized how much society pushes food norms on us until we had kids. (I’m convinced this is why so many people have eating anxiety.) Betsy likes the three meals a day, breakfast as soon as they wake up regime. I let the kids eat five spoonfuls of peanut butter for dinner if that’s what they want. Seriously, this should be addressed in pre-kid convos.
  3. Sleep. This one is two-fold. Creating healthy sleep habits being part one. Kids one and two required some sleep intervention to make it thought the night. Kid three figured it out on his own. Betsy always wanted to come up with a sleep plan at 3AM when she was waking up with the baby and couldn’t do it anymore. FYI, nothing good comes from 3AM fights. Part two is getting toddlers to stay in their f-ing room! This battle hit me like a freight train. I never knew they could be so manipulative to avoid bed. I’ll be honest, we haven’t found an overly successful method. But I promise, taking it out on your spouse isn’t the solution.
  4. Birthday parties. It’s my mini version of hell. Small talk with other parents about who’s kid is better. This is a topic with a post of it’s own. Needless to say, I typically feign sick to get out of taking them.
  5. Cleaning up. Another big one. At some point you will threaten to get rid of every toy. Which seems reasonable until you realize you’ll then have to entertain your child which is fun for about 5 min. I go with the “clean up or go to your room” method. Needless to say, we still have too many toys and a living room that often looks like an episode of Hoarders.
  6. And finally, how to handle crying/shitty behavior during carefully planned “fun time.” Because your child will inevitably act like a shit when you are trying to have fun. We attempted to partake in the kids workshop at the home improvement store. The kids were awful. I wanted to leave. But this was supposed to be family time. Figuring out when to raise the white flag is much harder to figure out then you realize.

What other unexpected fights do you and your spouse have related to parenting?

Riding the Wave

I haven’t written much recently. I’ve wanted to write. I’ve thought about writing but I just couldn’t get myself to do it. I mentioned in a previous post that I was in a post baby slump. Or I thought I was. It came post baby and felt a lot like the other dips I had after Noa and Atticus. However, this one was lasting much longer.

When I’m in this state I go to a place of existing. I’m not numb to life, I wouldn’t call it depression. Simply, just trying to keep my head above water. Which is a lot. Working and parenting. Running a hobby turned side business. And trying to keep the house in some sort of order. Wife-ing. Ish. When someone else can sustain life on their own sometimes they fall to the bottom of the list.

I knew I wasn’t in a great place. But we often don’t feel the depth of the pit until we are climbing out. And I often feel like I’m in a ditch rather than a valley, or that’s what I tell people. Self-preservation, I’m not sure. I up-ed my meds and this seemed to help. But I needed to get at the root of my problem. Luckily, I’ve spent some solid time in therapy (and am working on going back) and am pretty good at self analyzing.

Here’s what I realized….

For the past five years I’ve worked at creating family. We always wanted three kids.  I’ve talked about the process of getting pregnant as a same sex couple. (In case you missed it, we’re missing what doctors like to call the “male factor.” Apparently, this is important in procreation.) I’ve been “trying to get pregnant,” “pregnant” or “postpartum” for five years. My world revolved around these three things. And then it didn’t. And apparently that fucked with me mentally.

Now what? We have our three kids. I had to find something else to invest my time and energy in. You’re probably thinking, “Wait, aren’t you starting a little side business? Isn’t that your new focus?” Good question. My mind didn’t see it that way. I was stuck in this place of “what’s next?” And let me tell you, with all the mindfulness books I’ve read, this is not the place to be.

I just want to clarify, “what’s next” and goals are two very different things. Having goals implies taking steps to achieve them. Having a family was a goal. I knew how to get there. And I was able to actively work towards achieving it. Pregnancy, times three, was one long-ass step in achieving my family goal.

Family.

Check.

“What’s next?” Bad place. Missing the now and waiting for better.

So, what’s changed? I can’t say I’m out of the pit. Sure, I’m not at the bottom of it. But I’m still working my way to the top. Meds have helped. Knowing what the issue is has helped. Although hasn’t magically solved it. Five years is a long time spent towards achieving something. Recognizing that it is going to take time to create a new goal is what I find most helpful. It will come. I just need to give it time.