My husband and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. In almost as much time, we have been parents. We knew, before getting married, that we both wanted children. Five years into our marriage, we had three. Through the phases of parenthood, our relationship has evolved.
Currently, we are in an extremely busy season of parenthood. I always joke about needing an assistant to manage each child’s calendar. Almost every day of the week is spent chauffeuring and supervising, and because we have three, we have to divide and conquer.
Meals are strategically planned, uniforms and equipment have to be in the correct spot each day, and communication is critical. Right now, we do not often have time to go on dates. Our kids are old enough to be involved in a lot but too young to get themselves anywhere.
We have learned to appreciate the time we do get together. Whether having a drink after we say goodnight to the kids, watching a show together, or getting out to do something fun, we truly enjoy ourselves because of how rare it is.
What has helped us get to a place where we can weather each season together is how much we grew up through parenting. When our first two children were born, we were young newlyweds. Not only were we navigating the newness of parenthood with newborns and toddlers, but we were also figuring out who we were as individuals and as a couple.
We were both growing in our careers, taking classes, and each working second jobs. I remember being so tired but so appreciative. It is no secret that having young children is hard. Considering this season was a time of growth for all of us, my husband and I gained the skills and strength to manage all hard times.
Someone recently told me that the ups and downs and good and bad in life often come in waves. We moved to a new house when I was nine months pregnant with our third child. As a new working mom of three, I learned that I had a challenging experience navigating my new life. I was in a dark place mentally and emotionally; we all go through this. Without my husband’s empathy and support, and his stepping up in areas of parenting where I usually take the lead, I do not know that I would start therapy as soon as I did.
We still have so many challenges ahead as parents. Our kids are not even teenagers yet! What I do know is through each season of parenthood, my husband and I have been partners, and that becoming partners took work.
It is sometimes knowing one will have to step up because the other cannot. It is knowing that communication is important and that sometimes we will not see eye to eye. It is celebrating each other, being interested in each other’s hobbies, asking about our days, and listening.