Balancing Marriage & Parenthood

I think the title of this post alone says a lot.  Marriage and parenthood are far from easy, especially when you are doing both at the same time.  This is a fact of life for many so really it’s likely not an uncommon topic.  What is the perfect balance?  Who comes first, your partner or your children?  For the last 4 years, after becoming a parent, I truly thought the answer was obvious… your children come first, always.  After a few events in the last few weeks I realized this isn’t necessarily true.  Let me share why.

A couple weekends ago I was in attendance at a wedding in which I was lucky enough to be apart of the bridal party and stand next to an extremely dear friend of mine.  While we spent the morning and early afternoon getting ready and doing all the things you do to prepare for someones special day the bride sat down to put the final touches on her vows to her groom we all began talking.  I wasn’t fully tuned into the conversation until I heard someone say “You have to put your spouse first, even before your children, as hard as that is.”  My head might have done a 180 degree turn before my body could catch up to it.  This sentence had my attention and made me think quicker than I had possibly ever thought before.  Do I do this?  No.  Does Justin deserve that?  Absolutely.  Can I do this?  I can and sure am going to try.  Being a mom has understatedly consumed me, both in good ways and sometimes in bad.  There are times when I have neglected myself and also Justin, my husband, in turn neglecting our marriage.  I was under the influence that once you had kids nothing else mattered, which to me is still partially true but for reasons I can’t explain.

So, why your spouse before your children if you are like me and assumed it should be the opposite.  Continuing the discussion myself and the other members of the bridal party had consisted of the fact that without yourself and your spouse there wouldn’t be that family.  No matter what you are still a family with your children but without your spouse you are a different kind of family and one team member short.  That was all I needed to hear to change my perspective on marriage and parenthood.

Justin and I recently, as in the last few days, celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary.  This was the first year in our married life that we were able to really get back to the foundation and why of our marriage.  Before that babies were due or born very closely to our wedding anniversary, someone was sick {last year I literally got vomited on by our then 1 year old.  Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!}, or something else was going on and we were just too distracted to celebrate what brought our family together.  This year though, 5 years, we both knew we had to do something for ourselves.  So, we booked a trip up the North Shore of Minnesota, one of our favorite places and somewhere we called home for a time.  We just got home yesterday and it was a completely rejuvenating trip for us both as parents and as a married couple.  Our time away almost felt surreal.  I have not been so relaxed and care free for quite awhile.  Don’t get me wrong I missed the absolute heck out of my girls BUT getting to put our parenting duties aside for 3 full days and 4 nights gave us the opportunity to focus on each other and we needed that.  As I said before, there have been far too many times I have put Justin and our marriage on the back burner because I just felt that I had nothing else to give after making our girls my 3I8A9083number one priority.  It’s a really difficult thing to explain because there is no 1st or 2nd place here for who is more important.  I could never rate them that way so don’t ask me to.  It’s truly a matter of working your tail of to balance out what everyone needs and wearing all the hats to do all the things.  It’s hard and I imagine I will still fail at it every now and then.  There is really no easy way to manage it all and feel like you are doing it “right” because there is no right or wrong way if you are doing your best.  I think in this day and age being present in every day life is one thing so many people, myself included, struggle with.  My goals from here on out are to be more present in my marriage so that I myself, and together with Justin, can be the best parents together.

 

***On a more personal note I want to add that this is not me dismissing or down talking those who are single parents.  I whole heartedly idolize you and the sacrifices you make for your kids regardless of the reasons that made you a single parent.  You are simply amazing!

 

Author: Jessica Omdalen

Stay at home mom and wife with a passion for writing, loving my family, and just doing life!

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