Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Getting Real

I read this, and it just hit home for me!! Like a ton of bricks. For those of you, that personally know my hubs and I, you know, it hasn't always been easy. It's been a struggle. At times, I didn't think, we would make it. It's the truth. A tough pill to swallow, but the truth. And this post, says everything that I was feeling, at a very difficult time in my marriage.

We are high school sweethearts. That didn't skip a beat. We married, moved in together, bought a home, had babies. We did all the things, that we had ever dreamt of. Things that people expected us to to. From the outside, we were the perfect couple. With a boy, and a girl. In a home. With a large yard. My hubs working a successful job. Living the perfect life!!

In Fall 2007, our world crumbled. And fast!! It was all those stresses, that no one tells you about, that just kept piling up. We wouldn't talk to anyone about them. We didn't talk to each other. Just walk around with a chip on our shoulder. Going to bed mad. Hubs and I, started to get resentful. Finances were tight. Really tight. My hubs worked long, long hours!!

Life of a SAHM, is tough. No one told me that. Everyone talked about all the good things. Not about the bad days. When kids were sick, tired, teething, had the runs, wrecked the house, cried all day. No one talked about the days, when you pinched for pennies, to buy diapers, and ate macaroni's for the 10th day in a row. Definitely, no one ever told my hubs or I, about the days when we'd have to pick between food for us, and our kids. Or between house payments, and water. Or gas for the car, and medicine.

Those days, were a dark time. A time when my husband and I, just lived under the same roof. I felt like he didn't understand my life. He didn't get why or how, I could stay home all day, and the house was always a wreck when he got home. I resented him for it. He resented me, for working 10 hour days, and coming home to a messy home. And no dinner on the table. He didn't understand why we only had $50 in the bank, when he worked so much.

Deep in our hearts, we loved each other. The same steamy, hot and heavy love, that we had since high school. But all this other stuff, was killing us! Smothering our lives. Killing us very slowly. Making us miserable. Resentful. And even hateful to one another.

Finally, I'd had enough of it. Enough of the pleasantries, in front of our 2 small kids. Enough of the late night fights between us. Enough of this "fake life" that we were living. I didn't want our kids, to think this was normal. Or acceptable. One day, my husband went to work. And my kids and I, got in the car. I didn't exactly have a plan. I just knew, we needed to get out.

I drove, and drove. Then I called my cousin. I had pulled over. Was sitting at a rest stop. While my 2 sweet kids napped. I had no plan. Nowhere to go. No idea of what was next. I was 45 minutes from my home. Yet, I knew I had to keep driving. My sweet cousin, told me that we were welcome at her home.

Before I knew it, I was unloading my 2 small kids. Over 200 miles from our home. With 2 small bags. Not knowing, what our future held. How long we'd be there. Or if we'd ever go home again. Little did I know, we'd spend the next 9 months living there. Making the 3 hour (one way) trip, twice a month. My hubs and I, didn't want our kids to miss either of us.

It took almost 6 weeks, before we told anyone, that I was living with my cousin. Not even our parents knew. I'm afraid, the only reason we told anyone, was because I was pregnant. For the 3rd time. The timing couldn't have been more crazy!! It seems as thought, during my last week at home, we made our sweet little girl.

My hubs and I spent the next 10 months, evaluating what was best for us. And our family. We had 3 kids to think of. We had a long relationship to evaluate. We tried to make this time, as easy as we could, on our kids. We had plans. That we carried out, to the letter. Every 2 weeks, our kids would stay with my husband. For the weekend. Once a month, we'd ask either my parents, or in laws, to watch our kids. For one evening. So my hubs and I, could talk. Try and make some positive decisions.

This was the hardest time of our lives. I felt so alone. Like no one understood. I know, had it not been for my cousin, we wouldn't have made it. There is absolutely, no way, we would have made it!! She was in college, working, battling her battles. But she kept us going. Was the ray of sunshine, that my kids needed. The support system that I needed. And the lifeline, that my hubs needed.

Our separation was never about dating other people. My hubs and I, made that very clear. We just needed time apart. But we stayed completely faithful to one another. We worked at things. Went to counseling. Tried our hardest.

We planned little activities for our kids. Little trips, that would make them feel safe. And happy. We reevaluated everything. Finances, family, life, religion, parenting. We worked through all those things, that no one ever talks about. All the tough stuff.

It was not easy. Elizabeth was born during this time. I was still living over 3 hours, from my husband. My hubs was able to be there. But after Lizzie was born, I stayed with my cousin. I wasn't sure, what the best move for my family was. I now had 3 kids. A newborn. And was living with my cousin. Jake was just months away from, having to be in kindergarten. We needed to make the tough decisions. Because our kids deserved better. Jake needed a stable environment, as he entered school.

Ultimately, my husband and I, choose each other. We choose to work on this thing. To put us first. To talk about things. Not put them under the rug. Not pretending like we were living a magical life, when in reality, we were both at the breaking point.

This for me, was the toughest time in my life. I truly questioned everything in my life. The only thing I didn't question, was my kids. They were the shining stars, that helped me, to move forward.

The summer before Jake started kindergarten, our family, for the first time, lived under the same roof. Things were different. My husband now understood, that some days are tough. He's going to come home, and the house is going to be upside down. The kids might be crying, or sick. Dinner might not be on the table. I might even still be in my pjs. It's just the reality of life with kids.

I also know, I need to talk to my husband. Tell him, when I'm overwhelmed. When life is just getting to be too much. We need to talk about money. About upcoming expenses. About unexpected things that come up. We need to come to each other, when life is too much. We can't keep these things from one another.

But I'm positive, the thing that really changed, was our relationship. Not just our marriage. But the way, that my husband and I see each other. We go to each other. And know, that the other is our rock. They are there, because they want to be. Not because they have to be. We both know this. We don't have to be here. We've tried that already. But we want to be together. Married. Raising our kids. We want to be a family. And walk hand in hand, through life. Be each other's, shoulder to cry on.

Since we separated, and choose to do this thing together, our lives have greatly changed. We take time to do things together. We ask for help. Yes, we ask our parents to watch our kids. Not all the time. But at least, once a month. Just for a few hours. So we can go on a date. Reconnect. Catch up on each other. Things that easily get lost, when you're trying to navigate through life and parenting.

We also use this time, to talk about things that are bothering us. Or big decisions that need to be made. We talk about budgets. Upcoming expenses. Field trips, bills, doctor appointments, cars, etc. are on the table. We don't hide these things from each other. We talk about them.

Since the Summer of 2008, many things have changed. I've also reached out. To my cousin. Who became our rock, during that hard time. We've added to our family. Welcoming Audrey to the mix, in August 2010. We've simplified life. And become more active as a family.

Now, there are baseball games, dance practice, PTO meetings, etc. Church has become a priority. We make weekends, all about family. My husband and I, are more understanding of each other. I realize, that during the week, when he's working long hours, I need to cut him some slack. I need to be supportive. Because he's the one, that is out there, earning the money for our family.

I'm telling you, people never talk about the tough stuff. Never. They never really tell you, how tough it is to parent kids. How you can go months and months, on 2 hours a night, of sleep. How one kid gets sick, and then it slowly makes it's way through the family. Somehow a small bug, lingers in your family for 2 months!

People never talk about how marriages can become strained. How 2 people that are deeply in love, can begin to resent one another. No one ever talks about this! But I wanted to post this. Hoping, that if someone else is in the same place, they know, they are not alone. Because I always felt alone. Felt like a disappointment, and a failure.

Most of all, one day, I will sit all my kids down, and be honest with them. I want them to know, that marriages are work. Good marriages, are a lot of work. Being good parents, is also a lot of work!! I would never change any of this. I've grown so much, as a person, a mother, and a wife.

Life is not easy. But my struggles, have made me closer to God. It's helped to enrich my family. It proved to me, what real fighting, for the people you love, means. I've learned that spending good, quality time, with each of my children is vital. Nothing is more important, than letting them know I love them. That they are special and unique. One on one time, is so important! Because that's the time, when you really get to know your kids. Make the real connections.

I've also learned, just what a good marriage takes to survive. Listening, communication, reaching out, dates, intimacy. All of those things, are so important. We've realized, that our bedroom, needs to be for my husband and I. No straggling children, in the middle of the night. Mommy and Daddy need their time. And their space. Because grumpy parents, make for a very grumpy and non functioning family.

You are not alone, if you are struggling in your marriage. You might love your spouse to pieces, but can't get it together. Sometimes, it just takes stepping back. Looking at the situation from all sides. Think about your partner. Think about your family. Doesn't it make you wonder, how Cinderella and Prince Charming did it? I do!

I know that this could be a shameful topic. But really, there is nothing to be shameful about. Nothing to hide. It's life. And everything in life, has it's ups and downs. Everything!! If you are willing to work at your marriage, anything is possible. Believe me. There were many dark days, when I thought, my marriage was over. But I had to fight. I had to fight, not just for me and my husband. But for our kids. They deserve a happy, and functioning family. I only hope, that they can learn from their parents mistakes. And realize, that after the "I dos," it's not all sunshine and roses. But it's worth all the hard work! ~Maggie


Clandestine Road said...

This is wonderfully written and so inspiring about how you guys worked it out together and individually.

(I came from LPM.)


Maggie said...

Thank you Angela!