Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's marriage. And it's hard.

One night last week after all the kids were in bed my friend Janette was sitting on the couch next to me and she said she’d be happy to move if I wanted to cuddle up to Mark. Both Mark and I chuckled awkwardly and Mark said that he could hardly believe that there were times before we had kids that he secretly wished I’d give him a tiny bit more personal space and stop fawning over him every second. Of course nowadays he’s lucky to get a quick hug and a peck.

Confession: I am not good at balancing my roles as wife and mother. I’m a much better mother than I am a wife. There is a lot of talk about how doing things for ones self and ones marriage is of incredibly importance for the adults and the children and I understand that. Unfortunately that isn’t who I am. Motherhood consumes me. It is ALL of me. And I don’t know how to do it any other way. It is how I mother – naturally.

Reverend Beverly married Mark and I. She was recommended by a close friend of mine because she was incredibly open minded and yet not just a phone it in celebrant to lead the ceremony. I’m not conventionally religious and I wanted to make sure that our ceremony had a message but that it wasn’t specific to one God. Rev Bev said she would be happy to talk about LOVE rather than A God and that pleased me. But before she could do the ceremony we had to have 2 premarital sessions with her to talk about our families, our relationship and our marriage. I am a true believer in counseling and so we were happy to go. After hearing our family histories and the intricate details of who we were apart and who we were together she told us something that I think about regularly. She said that we were a pretty codependent couple. That Mark very much wanted mothering and I very much needed to mother and it worked perfectly for us, for the time being. But that there would come a time in the future when we had a family and Mark would be frustrated that he wasn’t getting the attention and mothering he once had and I would resent his neediness when I had others for whom I needed to care. Needless to say Rev Bev hit the nail on the head. This is exactly where we’ve been since the kids have been born.

Our message to Reverend Beverly during those counseling sessions were that we had both come from broken homes and had seen more than our fair share of failed marriages. We understood that marriage was WORK. And we were willing to work. For us. For the family that we wanted to have. For forever.

Luckily at the heart of our marriage we like each other. We have similar interests, similar politics, similar passions, and the same vision for our future. We share our goals and work towards them.

I love my crazy all consuming motherhood. I fear my children growing up and not needing me. The thought of it just makes m want to have more and more, a steady stream of cuddly wee ones. However I do look forward to a time when Mark and I get to really reconnect. When I can focus more on Mark – on doing things for him and getting to know him even better. And until then I just hope he hangs in there and waits for me. That though he may be feeling a bit jilted at the attention he no longer gets that he respects how I am mothering and why I am like this.

This weekend Mark is going to his 20th high school reunion alone. I still can’t be away from Ray overnight. Crazy? Maybe. But it’s me. I struggled with just leaving him with the in-laws and knowing he’d survive but I know myself and I know I’d be too consumed by it that I’d be a horrible date. And I want Mark to have a good time – so he’s going stag. I hope he’ll have fun. But I trust that it won’t be TOO much fun. And maybe he’ll miss me? A bit.


Kathryn said...

I can relate to this so much. It's all so hard and so worth it.

p.s. If Mark has TOO much fun I might have to kick his ass :)

Wendy Hitch said...

I find motherhood all-consuming too. So hard to feel motivated to be as good a partner as you can be when you have the energy sucked out of you every minute of the day. I am right there with you...

lonna said...

We've been dealing with similar issues at our house. The funny thing is that I'm the one trying to get Ethan to do something with me alone. He's more worried about Dermot's reaction than I am. Dermot has still never had a baby sitter other than day care. Now, since it has never happened, Dermot is horrified at the thought of not being with us for even two seconds when he's not in school. I always tell my students that it sounds like Dr. Phil, but one of the best things you can give your kids is a great example of a wonderful marriage. What they see growing up will be what they determine is "normal". My parents were not very good parents, but they were, and are, very good spouses. My mom stayed home too, and my brother and I were very much her life, but she really enjoyed my dad and doing things with him. I just know this gets easier as the kids need you less. It just takes a long time to get there, especially when you have multiple children. Good luck.