Over the weekend we sent the boys to spend a couple days with my parents. Friday night we had plans to help Seth’s mom celebrate her birthday. On Saturday, we had plans to pretend each other didn’t exist. Now, I know that might sound like I’m getting ready to tell some story about how we got into a big fight and can’t stand to look at each other, but I promise I’m not. Our relationship is fairly typical (I think?), we have our ups and downs – mostly ups and a lot of laughs – but we definitely have our moments where we drive each other bonkers, bicker about everything and sometimes (can’t lie – usually once a quarter) we have a complete throw-down, knock-out argument over things like quick-tempers and attitudes and tone and parenting and life and blah blah blah. We obviously aren’t of the belief that healthy relationships come without hardships.
But regardless of how things have changed (at times pretty drastically, pretty quickly) and how annoyingly frustrating life can be, I’ve always found comfort in our ongoing ability to enjoy each other’s company, to have fun together and to cut loose without much effort. To me, it is the most important thing for us to maintain. I shouldn’t speak for everybody (although, I feel like I can in this instance), so I’ll just speak for myself – I do not want spend a lifetime with someone I can’t have fun with or someone who refuses to try. I can’t. I won’t. I would die. I mean, fun and love are pretty much all I’m here for at this point. But with that being said, Seth and I had been in a weird funk and, until recently, could not figure out why.
After spending the majority of the last three and a half years attached at the hip, covered in baby shit and spit up, in a zombie-like state, clinging to each other for sanity while the days flew right by us, things have finally slowed down. Without even taking notice, we’ve officially climbed out of that infant/new-baby/two-under-two blackhole of insanity and began transitioning into actual life as parents. Like the kind where I’m not pregnant, we’re sleeping(ish) and our personal goals are frequent topics of conversation. It’s finally dawning on both of us that spending three plus years straight doing 99.7% of everything together which includes compromising on ev-er-y-thing (while a huge blessing) is kind of A LOT – especially when you’re as opposite as we are. And as strange as it might sound, we’re realizing we need to figure out how to be our new selves without relying completely on each other. AM I A THERAPIST?! I might be.
Coming back into the light as what can, at times, feel like a completely different person is tricky. I want to be the same independant, driven, fun-loving woman I was before having babies but the fact is I’m just not (yet??). And sometimes that’s a hard pill to swallow. For example, I used to go running every morning, sometimes multiple times a day (you know when all I had was time and no obligations to anyone) – it was therapeutic and I enjoyed it. Today though, it’s easier for me to work out when Seth works out with me and while I hate to admit that – it’s the very unfortunate freaking truth. I’ve come to depend on Seth a little too much to make me feel better/worthy/good/happy and while it’s great to have someone who can do that, that’s not his job – married or not – that’s my job. And sometimes that job can feel really difficult. I realize this makes me seem like a giant pansy with maybe lots of excuses but as I’ve gotten older and my friends have gotten older and the fairytales we clung to as little girls start to fade, I find myself wondering why more people don’t talk about how much work this whole love thing can be and how case-by-case it is. Relationships are not one-size-fits-all.
Married with kids is a state of a relationship that people always joke about and until now, I have never realized that what I always perceived as jokes were probably more accurately passive aggressive digs at their good ‘ole “ball and chain” and subtle hints at unhappiness. To each their own – we all get by somehow – but that’s not something that’s going to do my relationship any good. So rather than flounder around mildly confused, confidence deflated until we reside in a constant state of agitation and unsatisfaction (my prediction of our future if we stop putting in the work), we’ve decided to take fate into our own hands, set aside the fairy tales and make our own rules. Hence, the Saturday in which we pretended neither of us existed, while spending most of our time in the same house doing similar versions of the same thing and the evening doing completely opposite things that fit our personalities and filled up each of our needs.
Seth spent his Saturday sitting on the couch in his underwear marathon watching Shameless and when he ran out of episodes, he watched movies to fill his cinema-loving soul until he fell asleep on the couch. At one point I walked into the living room and when he didn’t say hi to me, which is out of the norm, I asked why. “Babe. I’m not here – remember?”
I nursed a mild hangover in bed all afternoon while catching up on episodes of Ellen and then rallied at 5:00 pm to meet up with a friend for a ladies night out. I filled my ladies-night-loving, girl-talk-loving, independence-needing soul and it. was. glorious.
To a lot of people February is the month of love. I mean, to me, it’s my birthday month – but to a lot of people it’s pink and red and hearts and glitter and Cupid and his arrows and chocolates and teddy bears and so I thought if we’re going to celebrate love, let’s celebrate it in all of it’s seemingly unattainable fairytale glory and rough-edged loveliness. Here’s to working for it, working on it, working with it and spreading massive amounts of it for the rest of forever.