When it came to having children, we knew we always wanted kids, we were just not prepared for how quickly it happened. Joel was in his second year of medical school when I shared the news with him that I had a positive pregnancy test. We both took a long time to wrap our heads around it. Having a baby before our 2nd wedding anniversary was about 2 years earlier than we anticipated. When I became pregnant we had just began adjusting to life as newlyweds, just started our careers, and were only in our new city (5 hours away from home) for a year. Our first year of marriage we spent a lot of time together. A LOT. We had one car, so we drove everywhere together including to and from work every.single.day. We were (and still kind of are) that couple who doesn’t mind spending a lot of time together. Being high school sweethearts, making it through college together, and surviving the first year of medical school was a feat already! So, while our news came to a surprise for us, we knew we could handle it and soon became very excited. Joel channeled his nervous energy of becoming a father by working even harder in medical school and doing the best he could for his family. It truly turned him into a better person and harder worker. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, so after the initial shock wore off I was all about becoming a mommy to a little girl.
If you’ve been following along since the beginning (the magnolia pair and brittany louise days) you know that I endured a tragic family loss when I was 6 months pregnant. I lost my only sibling, my brother, and his two young sons in a hiking accident. I felt so many emotions in those 3 months before we welcomed our daughter, that it was honestly a blur. Grief does not heal in time. That saying is far from the truth. Grief only gets harder as the days, months, and years go by. It’s like each passing day that you move on without them is just more unbearable. That being said, even after welcoming our daughter 3 months later, I was having a hard time. My baby distracted me, made me smile, and gave me life. My husband, he saved me. It was a learning experience for both of us. I know most of you have not gone through a loss like mine, but many have gone through grief and even loss of a child, and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that it takes time, patience, and trust when getting through it with your spouse. The timing of my loss was difficult because I was trying to grieve and be happy on the birth of my first child. That was especially difficult for our family to go through. So many mixed emotions for me and my husband. Because we went through parenthood while I was grieving, I feel like so many initial parenting milestones were skewed. While I was incredibly sad, I thankfully had such a positive outlook on becoming a mom and my days were joyful for the most part because I was so happy to have her after going through those really hard months. It was the only positive thing in my life and I was very thankful for her. People told us often how calm and relaxed we seemed with Scarlett. I am thankful for that. I don’t know how that was even possible, but it’s how we coped. The transition from 0-1 was hard in general, but¸as far as our relationship, we only grew stronger with the birth of our first daughter. Sure, time was being shared with a new tiny baby, but we enjoyed nap/bed time and spent a lot of time just being okay with having at home date nights. Remember… we were that weird couple to begin with who enjoyed being together. Flying under the radar brought us peace and really allowed us to talk through our feelings that we were going through. Given what I went through, I think it was hard for us to understand the beginnings of parenthood, but don’t worry, all the rainbows and butterflies life turned upside down when mister Sullivan arrived 😉
Flash forward 4 years to present day and almost 6 years of marriage, our lives are crazy– we definitely aren’t getting a break with life, rarely have time for each other, are so busy with my husbands work schedule, my two part time jobs, house work, and all the moments in between. For us, the transition from 1-2 was actually harder. I’ve never been so tired like I was in the early days with a toddler AND a newborn. Joel and I definitely felt disconnected during that transition. It was survival mode… sleep/don’t sleep, eat, clean house, sleep, and repeat. Until we got into a groove, those early months were just hard. I took a very long break from blogging and my photography to just give my family the time and attention they needed. That’s honesty, my best advice if you recently added another child, is to just step back and give yourself some grace. Let the laundry and dishes pile. They will get done. Maybe not when you want them to, but enjoying the life in front of you and remembering what it’s all about was how I got through those times and how I still do today. Taking care of two little ones is an even bigger stresser on your marriage. Now the time is divided by another human being who is even more needy than your first. After I got to a point where Sully would take a bottle, we made a plan to go on a date at least 1-2 times per month. We would wait til the baby nursed/took his bottle and then leave the sitter at 7:30 and say, “good luck, there’s a bottle in the fridge! call if you need us!”
I live for date nights y’all! I love love love my babies, but living far from family and not having any help with my kids each day is hard. I found out sooner rather than later that I need mommy breaks and I need mommy/daddy breaks. We put it in our budget to have our sitter come 1-2 times per month and it has been a lifesaver. Getting dressed up, having someone serve me food, and clean up my mess is liberating! GO ON A DATE! I promise you won’t regret it! Don’t have a sitter? Ask your friends for theirs, that’s how we got started! Luckily, our friends sitter had a friend looking to pick up some families, so we didn’t steal anybody ;p Joel and I do household chores 50/50. That is something I never wanted to feel like was on one of us more than the other. Even though Joel works longer hours at the hospital, he knows that I’ve been working the exact same hours running behind kids all day. We never compare whose job is harder, because we know we both work hard. It sometimes gets tricky because… kids. When he walks in the door they want him and he gets bogged down with kids bath, bed time, stories, AND household chores. So, that has been a balancing act. Usually we just tag team it all on those kind days. Finding what works and what doesn’t is something we have just had to learn easily and sometimes the hard way. My husband is in residency, so every single month his schedule rotation as he switches rotations. We get used to a cush life or we get used to a busy month and bam, it changes on us again. I’ve learned to stop asking when he will be home, stop preparing home cooked meals on busy months, and to be okay with the fact that he may not be home for the dinner I made even if it was a normal day. I couldn’t do this life without him, and he tells me the same thing day in and day out, so hearing words of affirmation and acts of kindness at the end of the day mean more than anything. You will go through ups and downs your entire marriage, but making sure you learn from each situation and figuring out how to get through those phases of life has been key for us. Kids grow so quickly and I know one day we will miss the chaos they bring. Because surely we will be old, hard of hearing, and only able to bicker with one another in our rockers!
I’d love to hear your love story and how you keep your relationship first when you are so busy with your kids! Let me know in the comments and thank y’all so much for reading! I cannot believe I wrote this much! It has been a long time since I’ve done that.
So excited to be joining Molly and Heather today so make sure you check out both of their takes on relationships during motherhood and join us all tomorrow for our Facebook live about this topic at noon CST. Also, do not forget to enter on Heather and Molly’s blogs into the rafflecopter to win a cheese spread, marble board, and more! It’s a good one you guys!