My husband and I were pretty young when we got married. He was 22 and I had just turned 23. We had never lived away from home and when we moved into our very own apartment it seemed almost magical. Everything we did together seemed special somehow. From grocery shopping to sharing a bathroom and even cooking dinner; we were just happy to be together and married!
Almost nine years and two kids later, however, the magic has faded just a tad. Don’t get me wrong, we still love each other deeply, it’s just different. Kids have the tendency to change the marriage relationship. Here are some examples of how:
Grocery Shopping Then: When we were newlyweds, grocery shopping was pleasant. At times it was even exciting. We enjoyed strolling the aisles, checking out the specials, thinking up fun new recipes to try.
Grocery Shopping Now: Have you taken two young children to the grocery store before? It’s not exactly my idea of a good time. Plus, life is busy enough as it is that going to the grocery store can often be an inconvenience. Gone are the days of relaxing trips to the market. Nowadays it’s all about how quick and painless we can make the process.
Household Chores Then: I’m not saying I was always overjoyed to do household chores. There’s nothing very exciting about scrubbing toilets. But it seems that we had more time to get things done around the house. It wasn’t stressful. Plus it was just the two of us so it’s not like our house got very dirty. Keeping everything neat and tidy was no trouble at all.
Household Chores Now: How does the laundry pile up so quickly? Who knew small children could cause so much destruction around the house? What is that sticky substance on the floor in the living room? With kids, come messes. Big ones. Cleaning up around the house seems like an endless endeavor and we definitely have those, “No, it’s your turn to do the dishes” arguments at least once a week.
Date Nights Then: Oh, date night. What married couple doesn’t enjoy a good date night? My husband and I always enjoyed going out to hip new restaurants. We could stay for hours ordering appetizers, entrees, and dessert. We would have wonderful uninterrupted conversation. And this would happen at least once a week. It was fabulous.
Date Nights Now: Romantic date nights with just the two of us at fancy restaurants have been replaced with family date nights at kid-friendly restaurants. We just don’t have the time and money for weekly outings, which I guess is fine because it makes those rare adult-only date nights all the more special. Having kids makes you appreciate any time you get alone together.
The Weekend Then: When my husband and I were first married we moved to a new city. During the week we were busy with work and school, but the weekends were our time to enjoy exploring our new city. We would always sleep in and take our time getting ready in the morning. We would then venture out in search of farmer’s markets, quirky coffee shops, and any fun to be had. Brunch was our love language.
The Weekend Now: My kids have no idea what it’s like to sleep past 6:30 in the morning. I can’t remember the last time I was able to sleep in. My husband and I try to take turns allowing one of us to sleep in, but it just doesn’t happen, because my kids also don’t know what it’s like to speak at a low volume. So we all get up early and have breakfast at home before the sun rises. Thankfully we have kids who do enjoy going out and exploring farmer’s markets and whatnot, but we definitely have to move at their pace and keep their napping and eating schedules in mind. We also have to consider the kid-friendliness of any activity we choose to participate in. The weekends simply aren’t about us anymore, it’s about keeping the kids entertained and tiring them out enough so that they’ll go to sleep at a decent hour.
Cooking Dinner Then: As I mentioned before, my husband and I really enjoyed trying out new recipes for dinners when we were newlyweds. I would find recipes online, we would shop for all the ingredients, and then we would spend a couple of hours in the kitchen together as we cooked and talked.
Cooking Dinner Now: There’s nothing I loathe more than cooking dinner. That’s because I often have two kids running in and out of the kitchen asking when the food will be ready. They also tend to have grabby hands as they yell, “Can I help?!” Often times I just wait for my husband to get home from work so that he can cook while I wrangle the kids in a different room. So no, there’s no bonding over cooking dinner anymore, just a lot of yelling and food flying around.
As you can see, married life is just different now that we have kids. In some ways I miss the days of just the two of us. Sometimes I go days without truly stopping to look at my husband and appreciate him for the wonderful man he is. We may not have those butterfly warm fuzzy feelings every single day, but I have a much deeper love and respect for him now. The commitment he has shown to our family is sexier than anything he did when we were just newlyweds. We may not have those long leisurely hours together anymore, but what we do have is so much more.