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What if it were Just my Kids and me?

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Though my husband’s and my relationship started off as a swept-off-of-my-feet-type story, the first time I experienced true unconditional love at first sight was when I saw and held my daughter for the first time. The surge of pure, overwhelming, burst-out-of-my-chest love that I felt didn’t hold a candle to any emotion I had ever encountered before. Immediately, our coupledom changed. It changed so quickly. And because it changed as a result of the immeasurable love I felt for our first born in conjunction with healing from my c-section and wincing my way through the first days of nursing, I didn’t even notice. My heart was so full, I didn’t notice my life being devoid of anything except sleep (and comfortable nipples).

Six months later, I found myself holding a positive pregnancy test. We were expecting our second. Life went from learning the ropes of parenthood to being ridden with fatigue and nursing a baby with a huge pregnant belly. Though I was on cloud nine with the birth of our son, my life quickly moved into a whirlwind of sleeplessness, baby vomit, and trying to get ahead of  stay on top of the remnants of my toddler’s ‘curiosity’. Though our love and commitment remained steadfast, there were times where it seemed my babies and I were a nucleus and my husband existed on the periphery. I could see all that he did for me; he would go to the grocery store and pick up some of my favourite things even if they weren’t on the list; he would pull me close when I didn’t want to be touched showing he wanted to be close again. I could see his efforts. But because my life with the kids involved so much selflessness, my interactions with him were selfish. I wanted space. I wanted time to myself. I wanted my glass of wine. And I just wanted sleep. In a juxtaposed state of utter selflessness and wanting to be selfish, I could have mistakenly thought we could exist without him. As long as we had instrumental help at the end of a workday, we could continue to exist in the state of just my kids and me.

Two things happened that proved how wrong this mentality could have been. First came when my husband was home more after leaving his last job and waiting for his next to start. With the more concentrated ‘Papa time,’ I saw how much my kids would light up as he pulled out blocks, the train set, rolled around on the floor, or offered them junk food I normally wouldn’t let them have. I saw my daughter start expressing the differences between how Mama and Papa say things with pride (I speak English to the kids; he speaks French). The second thing that happened is what really drove everything home for me. Almost six weeks ago, my husband dropped the kids and me off at my parents’ and left to drive across the country for his new job. Due to staying with my parents and brother, I’ve had more help with the kids and household chores than I have before. One might think in having my kids almost perpetually crawling on me, climbing me, and fighting over my lap, I shouldn’t be lonely. I mean, I’m hard-pressed to find a moment I’m ever But, wow is there ever a huge void. Because my two babies made my heart feel so full, nothing else seemed to matter. But my husband is gone and I’m left sitting almost aching for my best friend, my partner, my husband. I realize in his absence, I have a lot of work to do to get our marriage, our family life, and our priorities balanced. But I want to put us first more often than we have. I am so grateful that this time apart is coming to an end very soon. Yet, I’m also very grateful to have had the lesson of what life would be like if it were just my kids and me.

  1. I get the feeling of selflessness with kids & then selfish with hubby. When we were living the season of life that you currently are in (two small children) I would find myself playing the “martyr” in my marriage (truthfully-I still end up there sometimes) making statements about how all I do is meet other people’s needs, put other people before myself and unfortunately once the littles are sleeping I want quiet, to numb myself with mindless TV or sleep. Now that I’m back to work, I find that I use my empathy, patience and emotional energy with my patients and children. At times this leaves very little for John. I often state that my life long goal in life is to find balance, I know now that the balance is ever changing and always evolving based on the season of life (this is even more clear to me now, as we’ve just made it through tax season). I know that with your ability to reflect & articulate, that you’ll find a balance that works and continue to seek balance as the stages & season change. Thank you for another great post!

  2. While I know I could technically do it by myself, I would have an incredibly difficult time without my husband. We are most certainly a team and in this parenting thing together. Whenever my husband has to work late or something, I experience that void you wrote about.

    1. I couldn’t relate more… This parenting gig sure isn’t easy! Thanks for your kind, thoughtful comment <3

  3. I am a “quality time” person as far as love languages go. I can feel the difference when my husband and I haven’t spent as much time with one another. It’s so hard. I also on the flip side often feel touched out at the end of the day. With so many people needing me for anything and everything all day long I often feel spent. I have to consciously remember to keep giving because he needs that reassurance just as I do! Love this, Alana!

  4. Your story is so similar to mine, and while yes…at times I feel like I can do it alone, there is that void. Relationships are work and figuring out how to put “us” first is the challenge many of us face!

  5. Husbands and dads are such an integral part part of our families, but so often we can take them for granted. Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. Beautifully written! I can relate in so many ways. My son is 2 and we’re expecting our second boy in August. I’ve been mentally prepping myself for the after baby phase — hoping I cope better with my selflessness/selfishness than I did last time!

  7. I end up feeling like this the days hubby works since he has such long hours. I end up by myself for a few days/nights at a time. It always reminds me how I don’t think I COULD do it on my own so I appreciate him more.

  8. I’ve done the exact same thing as far as self-less with the kids and selfish with my husband. After my son was born, I rarely even wanted a hug. I just did not want to be touched! It didn’t last long though. I started forcing myself to hug him and very quickly, I realized I needed the contact from him as much as he needed it from me. I’m so glad you guys get to be reunited with your husband soon! Have more date nights if you can! Even if they’re at home after the kids go to bed! My husband and I often just like to watch ‘Friends’ or ‘Big Bang’ with a couple of cocktails! Best date night ever! LOL!!

    1. This IS the best date night ever! Lol. Especially after a particularly tough day, there’s nothing better than Friends or Big Bang. I totally understand rarely wanting a hug. I appreciate your comment so much about making a point of hugging your husband and how much you needed it too. I’m going to keep this in mind once I FINALLY see him again.

  9. Beautiful! I love how you found your love and appreciation again!!!!! I’m also glad that you’ll be back together again soon!

    I’m going to re-read this, as I think I need to see my hubby in this light, too.

  10. This is beautiful. I think the world would love to tell us that we don’t need men, and they would be wrong. Our family completely circles around my husband. He is the balance that gives us the freedom to have so much fun. You are a smart woman to cherish your man.

    1. Liesl, I totally agree. There is this undertone that we can do it all and therefore their role doesn’t matter as much. My husband too is my balance. I realize it more than ever. Thank you so much for your thoughtful commentary <3

  11. Baby bunching is tricky! My sister was in your boat too. I’m glad you had something that really showed you how much you do need and want him. Time is flying by and soon you will have more time/sleep/energy 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Suzie. It’s exhausting and the affirmation that more sleep/ time/ energy is around the corner is needed! I’m sooooo tired 😛

  12. This is a beautiful post. My brother had his children back to back, too. The early years are challenging with two so close in age.

  13. I could do it alone, but my hubby is such a major part of our family and he really helps make everything run smoothly. I work later than he does and he makes dinner everynight and he is also better at cleaning! 🙂

    1. I agree about being able to make it alone, but having complementary strengths and being a good team. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  14. Beautifully written. Marriage definitely takes more work once there are kids involved. It’s so hard to balance sometimes. I think mini getaways and date nights are important, we do them once in a while and it really helps us get back to that place when we were started.

    1. Thank you so much, Sue! I agree. And your suggestion of mini getaways is something we’re JUST starting to think about. It’s a great suggestion. I agree, it’s a great way to reconnect. Thanks for commenting <3

  15. My husband travelled the first year of our son’s life and we had just moved from Ohio to Texas so I had no one to help. It made me realize how hard a single mother’s life is. Lucky for me, I was staying home with Connor, income wasn’t my responsibility. Had it been, I would have been such a mess balancing it all.

    1. I can relate, though I don’t know what a year feels like. It definitely is an eye opener. I have so much respect for single moms! Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Stephanie!

  16. Beautiful Alana. That time apart can be an eye opener and helps you realize what needs work. I’m glad it’ll be over soon and you can reignite the passion that began your family in the first place. ?

    1. Thank you so much! The whole transition process hasn’t been easy. But I’m a slow-to-warm-up person in every new situation. Thankfully, the time apart is over <3 thanks for your kind comment xoxo

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