I spend so much time here on Abbott and June focusing on what it means to be a mom, what it looks like to live with two small, constantly-evolving humans and what it is to be a parent in today’s day and age. Every now and then I’ll sprinkle in tidbits about my relationship with Seth or touch on our dynamic as a married couple but it’s usually only as far as it relates to our lives together as parents, it’s hardly a full picture of what our life together looks like. If anything, this overall lack of balance is a great parallel to what our life as a couple is actually like: the kids always come first, friends and family usually come second and, depending on the day, Seth and I usually fall somewhere between position number three and seven on each other’s priority lists. Sometimes, we even fall out of each other’s top ten. Does it pain me to admit it? A lot. Is it bad? Of course it’s not ideal. But is that just the way it goes sometimes? For us, yes.
And I think if more people were honest, they’d say yes, too.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a trillion times, living with multiple kids can be hard – some days it can even feel impossible – but you know what else is hard, possibly even harder? Being in a fucking relationship. And you know what’s even harder than that? Maintaining a relationship when there are kids in the mix.
Kids require so much time and attention, they take up more space in your heart and your mind than you ever thought you had. They have the power to change the things you enjoy and the way you enjoy them, the people you spend your time with, the way you see the world and they can test your patience like NOTHING ever has before. With kids EVERYTHING is brand new, including your relationship – some days, they make it better and some days, they make it worse. Some days, they make it easier and some days they make it harder. Luckily for us, our every day is evaluated on how well we parented, not how well we loved each other. We judge our success by how smart, kind and funny our kids are, not by how in love we are or how many times a week or a month we have sex. And THANK GOD, if someone randomly stopped me on the street and asked if I was in love with my husband, 98% of the time I’d have to ask them to define “in love”. And then I’d probably really have to think about it. I love him, because of course I do – I married him, he’s the father of my children and he’s hilarious (when he’s not a royal pain in the ass) and kind (when he’s not a raging lunatic) – but am I in love with him? I don’t even fucking know – honestly, most days it feels so unimportant that I don’t really care whether I am or not.
Do I sound callous? Probably. Do I care? Facts are facts. Am I 100% positive Seth would say the exact same thing? Yes. 100% trillion percent positive. That counts for something, right?
In the four years Seth and I have been together, we’ve had two kids and endured everything that’s come along with that, we’ve dealt with career changes, I’ve suffered a career halt and unemployment and we’ve both crawled through our fair share of growing pains. In the last year, the first year of our marriage, we’ve fought more than we ever have. We’ve screamed, we’ve yelled, we’ve cried. We’ve made up and promised to never do it again. And then we’ve done it all over again. Once, we were so convinced there wasn’t a light at the end of our tunnel that we put together a parenting plan because – of course – the kids always will always come first. We’ve argued about counseling. I’ve made excuses and placed blame. He’s made excuses and placed blame. He’s said things he didn’t mean. I’ve said things I didn’t mean. We’ve been people to each other we would never, ever dare to be to anyone else, we’ve regretted it almost immediately and vowed to be better. After only one year of marriage, I can say I finally realize why people stay together for their kids or stay together unhappily because of their kids. I’m guessing they measure their successes the same way we do – our kids.
But on the other side, in the four years Seth and I have been together, we’ve been blessed with two perfect-for-us little boys. One mini-me and one mini-him. We’ve turned lemons into lemonade. We’ve found things we love to do and we’ve supported and encouraged each other to do so. We’ve dreamed together. We’ve travelled together. We’ve shared with one another, we’ve been honest and we’ve loved a lot. We’ve learned pretty much everything the hard way and we’ve worked really fucking hard to keep learning. As we go into our second year of marriage, we’re aiming to learn how to successfully communicate, to what level we need to compromise, to make “us” a bigger priority and most importantly to remember this journey is ours and nobody else’s.
When I became a mom, no one shared the real advice I needed. Now that I’m married with kids, it’s nearly impossible for me to get the real, raw marriage advice I could actually use. We are so scared of seeming imperfect or letting go of their fairytale facade. And I get it, I really do, but does anyone actually believe it? Every couple gauges success on their own meter, every couple tolerates to different extents, every couple meets in their own middle but no couple’s relationship is perfect rainbows and sunshine all of the time. Kids put a spin on everything, including our relationships, and it’s absurd that we spend so much time pretending our marriages are perfect when we could spend that time sharing our honest stories and learning from one another while creating a different dialogue.
Perfect is boring, you guys, I thought Bey covered this.