Stop Your Divorce and Save Your Marriage Part 10: Before & After Kids
Remember what life was like before kids? (It’s all kind of a big blur to me.)
One question: What did you do with all of your free time!
Having children changes things.
Time once spent on yourself is now spent on nursing fevers, potty training, chauffeuring, chaperoning, trips to the park, music lessons, swimming classes, and spending money on tuition, clothes, and a LOT more on groceries and toys.
Our whole lives revolve around our kids – and we love it!
But make no mistake, though, kids will test your patience, stress you out, wear you down and make you feel like you’re losing your mind sometimes; they can also wreak havoc on marital happiness.
Life Before Kids
Before kids, I felt like I had my act together – I was going places! I was cool-headed, poised, a picture of grace under pressure, and I thought I knew a thing or two about life (can you relate?).
But after kids, I realized how much that I didn’t really know – especially about life.
Life After Kids
After you have kids, chances are you will feel frazzled more often than you care to admit; probably fantasize about having time for yourself and sleeping-in; and you might even have spaghetti hanging from your ears depending on what the menu is for that day.
Before kids, you could write proposals and give reports along with the best of them; there wasn’t much you couldn’t do or handle.
But after kids? It’s a different story. You’re mystified at how difficult it is as a grown adult to successfully reason with your child about why it’s a good thing for them to use the potty and keep their pants dry. Negotiating with terrorists might be easier! (Disagree? Then the teen years are going to be a real BIG surprise).
The Biggest Change Of All
But the biggest change of all after you have kids is that you and your spouse have very little alone time.
Your time and attention shifts away from each other to the kids. You have less time (and much less energy) to connect with each other mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
There’s something else, too. You now have hardly any time to connect with yourself. It can feel like your hopes and dreams are put on hold. And this can be frustrating because you feel like you’re taking care of everyone else but yourself. Doesn’t your life matter, too?
If you’re not careful, you and your spouse can very easily drift apart during this time.
And if one of you feels that he or she is doing more/most of the work, then there will be trouble in paradise (if you can call spit-up, diapers and temper tantrums paradise).
Don’t Give Up
All I ask is this: No matter how tough things get or exhausted you might feel, don’t give up on each other.
This is one of life’s most glorious and rewarding experiences. I encourage you to tweak your perspective as often as needed so you’re focusing on the blessings and not the burdens.
Embrace this defining moment.
Defining moments are an opportunity to make your relationship stronger, to make your marriage better, to have a beautiful family, and to grow as a person.
Here are a few tips to make the most of this defining moment:
- Take time for reflection – to see the beauty and not the bad of the situation
- Ask, “How can I use this opportunity to grow and become a better person?”
- Express gratitude for the sacred privilege of being a mom or dad.
- Identify ways you can grow your kids into great adults who make life better for others
- Take time for your spouse to nurture and enjoy your relationship
- Take time for yourself to care for your soul, hopes and dreams
- See things as they are – not better or worse than they are
Defining moments are turning points in in life where we get to choose which direction we really want to go. We can either make excuses or rise to the challenge and create an even better life than the one we had before. So don’t give-up. Keep going…and cherish each moment along the way.