I remember when Zack and I got engaged the first time (if you have no idea what I’m talking about read more on our story here) and after doing so friends and family asked me if I was nervous. If I thought marriage would make things would be different. I naively stated that I didn’t see how things would change – we we’re already living together, spoiler alert – we had already been having sex for years, and it seemed like we knew each other better than we knew ourselves. Well, like any other married couple can tell you, things are different after you tie the knot and like any parents can tell you, things change even more after welcoming your bundle of joy. At least they did for us.
Because we learned the hard way when it came to marriage, we were really open throughout my pregnancy and the time we spent trying to conceive about the inevitable changes that would come our way as we entered parenthood. There were a lot of talks about making time for ourselves, our relationship and of course our family. Any parent knows that all of this is incredibly difficult to balance and while we have absolutely experienced challenges with this, I believe it has made us stronger. Our relationship is different in the sense that it is not our first priority anymore. Owen and our family unit have taken that number one spot for us both. This isn’t meant to scare you if you’re expecting or to make you feel uncomfortable if that isn’t the case for you and your partner. Every family is different. What I’m trying to convey more than anything is that now that our family is the top priority all of our other decisions are reflected by this. Whether that’s work, personal time or our marriage – everything is done in a way to support our family. And somehow this has done wonders when it comes to pressure, stress and striving to be that perfect couple.
I remember comparing our relationship to others all the time. But they are really affectionate in public, but they spend all their time together or they have more in common than we do. Part of this is clearly maturity and understanding how different all couples are, but the other part is really hitting our stride as teammates. Being married has taught us how we each give and receive love. Becoming parents has taught us how to work together, to take care of each other and to be better for the right reasons. We are more in-tune with each other than we ever were before because we have to be. There are only so many hours in the day to do what we need and want to do and we’re in the constant routine of checking in with each other and seeing what we each need. Or, if the other person isn’t up to speed letting them know without getting too passive aggressive. Parenthood doesn’t seem to leave energy for petty fights, although we’ve seemed to make exceptions and find time despite the exhaustion.
The truth is that it’s really fucking hard. Like really really hard. Relationships without a kid are hard. When the going gets tough it’s the most simple sentiment that brings me back down to earth. We chose to live this life together (twice). We chose to start a family and we choose every day to do our best. We are by no means perfect, but we show up every day, love each other the best way we know how and make every effort to create the best life for Owen. Despite the hard days, I think we could both agree that being Owen’s parents is our greatest joy. Watching the world through his eyes makes my heart soar, and watching the world through Zack’s eyes as he watches through Owen’s sometimes makes me feel like my heart might actually explode.
Things are different. Things are so much better.
Be sure to check out the creative women in the #TogetherWeMother Series by visiting their blogs below: