So, right now, I’m swaying back and forth in a rocking chair, listening to a YouTube video of water running (Finley’s favorite noise, it calms him down and puts him to sleep) while there’s a baby sleeping cheek to cheek on my face (his new favorite place to knock out for nap time). And I’ll fill you in on a little secret… that’s what a majority of my day consists of. If it isn’t comforting my baby, it’s playing with my baby, reading books to my baby, feeding my baby, giving my baby a bath… it’s all about baby, baby, baby.
And believe me, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But that isn’t to say it isn’t hard sometimes. Especially when it comes to your relationship with your SO and the new changes that come with being a parent.
As you know, I’m a young mother. I’m only 21. I have lots and lots of growing to do as a person and I know that I’m going to change a lot in the upcoming years. The same goes for Sam. We still have yet to completely figure out who we are. And granted, having a baby tests any relationship to the max, no matter how old you may be and how long you’ve been together. But, for us, I feel as if there’s this added pressure. This pressure to stay together just to prove everyone wrong, that even though we are young, we can handle it just like any other couple.
And let me tell you, the struggle has been real. We’ve fought about diaper changes, we’ve bickered about feedings, we’ve each felt neglected due to attention being on Finn, we’ve struggled with balancing our social lives and still feeling young, we’ve gone head to head about responsibilities around the home. The list is endless.
There have been times where I’ve thought to myself, “This is SO much harder than I had thought. Why does it have to be so difficult?”
And then I look at Finley and all those bad, nasty, negative thoughts go away, but our real life issues? They don’t just go “POOF!” and vanish. You have to put in effort.
You may find yourself in my shoes someday, or you may already be walking in them. So here are a couple tips to apply to your relationship if you find you and your hubby going through some hard times.
1. As hard as it may be, put your pride aside and admit when you’re wrong.
- Sam and I butt heads like no other. I’m not kidding, there are rarely times where we agree. We are completely different people. He’s a hard ass (and he doesn’t mind me saying that about him) and I like to take a more gentle approach. But sometimes, when you know that silly fight you’re having about the dishes is pointless or you’re in the wrong for starting an argument about the trash, say you’re sorry. Once one person puts down their wall of pride and waves the white flag, the other will too. I struggle with admitting when I’m wrong, I’ll admit it! But the times when I do apologize, Sam is usually right behind me too, trying to empathize with my situation and see where I was coming from.
2. Speaking of empathy…
- That’s something my lovable, hard ass has had to work on. If you’re anything like Sam, you’re black and white. And you’re usually always right. But sometimes you have to take a walk in the other person’s shoes. Look at it from their perspective, did they have a long day at work? Are they stressed about something and what they’re upset about really isn’t what they’re fighting about? You don’t have to always be right, it may be bittersweet being the bigger person but if it’s beneficial to your relationship, it’s worth it.
3. Everyone’s different, everyone shows love differently and likes to be love differently. Some people like to give and receive gifts, other’s are more physical and like hugs and kisses, then there are those who need words of affirmation or acts of service.
- Me? I’m definitely someone who loves to hear “I love you” and get a huge hug and kiss everyday. (physical and words of affirmation) Sam? He likes to fill up my car with gas and provide for our family. (acts of service) This is another example of how we’re so different and actually, the most recent topic of an argument we’ve had. The conclusion to our fight? Learn to understand the other person’s way of love. I know that Sam loves acts of service done for him, it’s what makes him feel most loved. So what do I do? I make him lunches for work everyday, I make sure his water bottle is always full, I’ll make him a cup of coffee on the mornings I see him, I try and take more responsibilities around the house since I know he’s exhausted after work, I do things for him that I know he’ll respond to and like. What does he do for me? He tells me he loves me everyday, sometimes even more, lucky me! He gives me kisses and hugs, and never fails to make me smile if I’m having a bad day. But, I just want to make something clear, there are going to be times when your SO isn’t going to be showing their love in the ways you like. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t appreciate those efforts too. Saying thank you for the tank filled with gas. Encouraging them for putting in so much effort into work so they’re able to provide for you. You get the point. Always make sure the other person feels appreciated, a kiss a day can go a long way.
4. D-A-T-E N-I-G-H-T
- Sam and I are very fortunate to have such a helpful village of people who are willing to watch and spend time with our little Finley. Since he’s been born we’ve had the chance to go out to Adult Night at the MN Zoo (highly recommend, cheaper tickets PLUS it’s kid-free and there’s beer!), out to dinner a few times (try Giordano’s Pizza in Mpls. or Edina, it’s to DIE for) and made a trip to the movie theater. It’s very important to have that one on one time together. I feel as if it’s more special than it was before the baby too, it’s a rarity and you’re able to appreciate it more.
5. My last tid bit of advice that doesn’t need an explanation is: never go to sleep mad at one another. Whether it’s putting your pride aside and apologizing or talking through a fight until your eyes can no longer stay open, do it.
Remember: no matter how long you’ve been together, whether you’re the perfect match for one another, if you’re young or old, having a baby with someone is HARD work. It’s hard on every couple. Be easy on yourself and each other, appreciate the little things, and most importantly, laugh. Find humor in the difficult times and do your best to keep one another smiling.