Sunday, January 13, 2008


I am Mommy. One hundred percent of the time.

And that is okay. Amazing, in fact. I love being Mommy. When I was a little girl I dreamed of being the Mommy. During the years the Sergeant and I tried to get pregnant, I sobbed because I couldn't be the Mommy. When the Little Mister was born I cried tears of joy because I was Mommy at last.

But the past few weeks I've slowly started to realize something.

I'm forgetting how to be the Wife.

The Little Mister gets such focus from me, all the time. The only time the Sergeant and I have together is between the Little Mister's bedtime (around seven) and the Sergeant's bedtime (around nine on weeknights, he has pt very early in the morning). In that time we have dinner (which we don't even eat at the table, and I'm usually too tired to argue) and I collapse on the couch because I'm exhausted from a day of being Mommy. The tv is usually on, so conversation is limited, and when we do talk it is almost always about the baby. We can't go to bed at the same time, because the Little Mister usually gets a bottle around ten so I have to stay up to give it to him. And by the time I can finally crawl into bed the Sergeant is sound asleep, usually snoring.

I know I am neglecting my husband. To be fair, though, he's neglecting me too. I'm very focused on our baby, and he's overwhelmed by work, which has been quite crazy as of late. It isn't intentional, for either of us, it's just...hard. How do people do this?? I'm not at all trying to say my marriage is falling apart; that thought is ridiculous and the opposite of the truth. I just don't know (yet) how to balance being Mommy and being Wife. And with deployment looming (probably sometime in 2008) it feels very important to address this. Because if we can't find some sort of balance now, what will it be like when the Sergeant comes home to a two year old and his Mommy?

I'm not looking for sympathy. Just advice. Can anyone help? Because couples have babies all the time, and even though I hear all the time that it's hard it must be survivable. :)


  1. Well, I can only recommend making dates. Not the fancy kind with a babysitter, but once a week leaving TV off. Just talking. And we make what we call "cuddle dates". We did that for nap time when our son was younger and now it's mostly in the mornings after he has left for kindergarten. It might be worth it to go to bed with your husband at nine and get up again at ten.

  2. i think Susanne has great ideas. i know for us dates with babysitters are hard because we don't have a good sitter or a lot of extra cash. but make an effort to spend some time with no tv, or with a romantic movie and a bottle of wine. or just go up and cuddle when he hits the sack early.

    Running on empty

  3. I was going to say mummy and daddy need a hot date !

    Make the date at home if you can't get a babysitter ... I agree .

    Maybe spend the extra money not paying a sitter on a few luxuries to treat the two of you and have that cuddle date - oh it sounds like I need one too.

  4. It does get better. For the first year or two, it seems like the purpose of marriage is simply to spell each other off - each of us is there to take over when the other is at the breaking point. But real interaction? Not so much. Then it starts to change back again - Pie is 2.5, and I feel like my marriage is more recognizable now, a closer approximation of what it was before we became such a tag-team.

  5. I think you are right in noticing this gap now, and looking for ways to correct it.

    I also think, if you can swing it, a date night (with a babysitter) once a month is a great idea. Even if it's to McDonald's and a matinee. Sacrificing a little bit so you can have time together speaks volumes.

    Always put your marriage first. I know it sounds crazy when you have a little one with needs, but don't drop everything for the baby. He's a sweet, well adjusted little boy and he can wait five minutes for his (whatever it is he needs) while you finish the conversation you were having with your husband.

    I made the mistake of jumping into my much coveted role of being a mom and lost site of my original wife role and my marriage suffered. A lot. In fact, we almost didn't survive. I don't take 100% of the blame, but I could have made a big difference in how our marriage was just by making it more of a priority than my kids.

    And my reason for doing this is... If my husband and I are together and not just together but GREAT together ~ I believe my kids benefit much more from that than a couple who is just staying together for the kids. Or staying together but not happy together because they just going through the motions and the spark is gone. So in the long run, I think they will be happier because WE are happy together. And I want to give them a good model of what love is and what a real, healthy marriage looks like.

    It took me a long time (and a little therapy) to get to this point. I hope you don't have to go through it!!

    Sorry for the novel. Aparently I should have written about this on my own blog. ;)

    Anyway, thank you for sharing this, Mama. Let us know how it's going...

  6. You know this already, but it is good to hear is TOTALLY normal. This is what all couples go through with little ones.

    One solution is to get out of the house, just the two of you. If you can't do it at night, try to do it during the day.

    Have you talked with your husband about it? It might be nice to try for that fancy dinner at home every now and then. You do have a two hour window there. It doesn't have to be *every* night, but once or twice a week you could try to make time for a nice, sitdown dinner, when you can really focus on each other.

    Hang in there. :)


  7. Well, I will say that the first thing to do is decide whether you are really unhappy with the situation. Because, as B&P said, it is normal and will not last forever. So, if you and your husband do not mind, give yourself permission not to stress out about it.

  8. Well, in my experience, when we go through these phases, neither one of us is particularly in the mood to put any additional effort into things. We are overworked, overtired, and feeling like we are on some fast-paced train going...nowhere. So, we make dates. And at first, it doesn't feel like it "should." But eventually, we get back into a relationship groove and are enjoying each other again. When this used to happen---the moving away--I'd worry. Now I don't. It's just a phase. But I do act. We act. It's important....and also? Life gets much easier after age 3.

  9. You know, I think this goes in cycles--there will be cycles where you and your husband are like ships passing in the night, then there will be cycles where you draw close together. This might be one of those periods where you are both tending to Little M. If the cycle doesn't seem to end, though, you might need to nudge it along by a date night!

  10. I have to echo what the others have said about setting aside one night every week for "date night" - even if you don't leave the house at all. It doesn't matter what you do on this night, as long as you are together and engaged in each other's company.

    You have to take it very seriously - think of it as a calendar appointment that you would keep with any other person.

    I hope you are able to find the balance you are looking for!

  11. You've gotten such awesome advice already, I can barely think of a thing to add.

    Touch is powerful, and I'm not just talking about sex. Just giving hugs, touching each other on the arm, a random kiss. Touch helps people to feel connected and loving. So even when you're tired, make sure you at least hug him.

  12. It is only natural you are still trying to figure it out. It is all still relatively new with the Little Mister around. And to be honest it is always something.
    I guess the best step is acknowledging it to each other and then seeing what you both want. Even if it is just 10 minutes before bed of talking about your day, a good hug and a kiss, or a snuggle on the couch. Every bit helps. And it is often the little things.
    Date nights are great too, but hubby and I have been kind of crappy about those lately. It is hard to find babysitters for three young children that we can trust and we hate to ask our folks too much who already have full plates.
    Don't feel alone in this. I think everyone goes through it. It is smart that you are bringing it to light. The trouble starts when you ignore it.
    Talk about it with hubby and I bet you'll both feel better.
    Good luck!

  13. We have been through two deployments, the second one my daughter was almost two when he left. You are right, it is hard and you do need to address it now. Try a date night once a week, even if you don't leave the house. You could have dessert together after the baby goes to bed on a sat when there is no pt in the morning. Really, just find moments and make them work. Plus, he (the baby) won't always be so demading of your time. I know it doesn't help when you have a date looming for deployment. Just try to carve out a few special moments with him instead of worrying about long time frames. Also, don't worry about the deployment too much, it will just make it come that much sooner. I hope this help and that I didn't just repeat what everyone else has said- there are quite a few comments. By the way- is this your first deployment? (I'm sorry to ask that, I hate it when people ask me that)

  14. I'm a mom three times over and have been at it for 7.5 years now. And no, I don't have a magical answer, or even any very good advice, for you. Darn! ;) I will echo Aliki though -- it all does seem to go in cycles. I think what's been important in my marriage is that we are both on the same page and that we both stay focused on both the big picture and making the little things count, at the same time. I can't imagine facing a deployment -- hang in there and thank you!

  15. I hear you.

    I have three kids and one husband.

    We come first! When Mommy is happy... everyone is happy.

    We have many many date nights. It tooks us years to realize to turn off the baby monitors. Enjoy some wine. A movie. And sleep in. the kiddos eagerly crawl into bed, in the morning, with us and enjoy the basket of books and bowl of dry cereal we lay out for them.

    Everyone is happy.

  16. Do you guys have a date night? It's very important to spend quality time with each other...even if it is just take-out eaten at home (at the table!) and with no tv!

    I think your situation is even harder than most because of the deployment issue. Is there someone in the military that can offer support or advice?

    Hang in there and remember to communicate with your husband!

  17. Ug...while all the suggestions are great, I can only say that it's never easy. Especially with a hubby that isn't completely sociable or talkative. You can nag. You can cry. You can yell. But I think the answer is just that you should do your best, and keep on trying and fighting for a great marriage, and know that it will get better.

  18. Find a babysitter if you can and get out together at least once a month...

    It will get better, though... it just takes time.

  19. I don't think I can add much to this conversation that hasn't already been mentioned. I commend you for noticing though, and trying to make adjustment. While it's true that marriages do ebb and flow in their connections, I don't think complacency is a good thing. So good for you.

    We have four children and I stay home. And sometimes it feels like we live on two different planets and all we are is a sounding board for each other's problems. That's when I know we need to get away from the kids and remember what it's like to enjoy each other's company. And once we do, I usually remember why I married him in the first place.

  20. Lots of things already said as I am getting here a little late...
    Let me just say how very much I can relate to your dilemma: it is so, so hard to find babysitters when you're military and always having to get to know new ones, let alone being a new parent and doing this for the first time. My two bits is that I always felt the whole process of organizing a date night OUT was so exhausting I didn't reap the benefit. You might think about treating a night in like a date out: schedule it on the calendar; no TV; candles; a little makeup; dress differently; nice music...Also, "flirt" with him throughout the day: drop emails just telling him you're thinking of him; write a little note and put it in his uniform pocket where he'll find it later. It doesn't have to take a lot of time and energy -- which you do need for baby. Just a little thoughtfulness.
    Oh -- and it's important to do what YOU feel is necessary, not what you feel is being reciprocated! Believe me, it will come full circle.
    I know I've gone on and on ... but this is a subject that is dear to me. You have hit on something that is common to every marriage, yes -- but military marriages have much higher divorce rates, and the statistics of divorces during and after deployments are astronomical (I've seen some as high as 90%). I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone is finding that balance, and to encourage you that you ARE on the right track!

  21. I love Joyln’s advice. It is hard to find babysitters and it is expensive, so do get out occasionally, but also do some more daily things. The flirting is important - also make time to pamper yourself. Make time to dress well, to fix your hair, when you feel good about how you look it improves how you relate to others and how they relate to you. Read and watch the news - find topics that the two of you can talk about that don't involve the baby. It feels good sometimes to get back in the mode of discussing topics that you are passionate about that go beyond the four walls of your home.

    You are so not alone, this is something every new mother and father has to work through to find a new balance as individuals, friends, partners, and as parents.

  22. hugs to all of you. glad you have a date scheduled. and sometimes just recognizing it is all you need to do, because then you take the small steps to help it, without any big overall plan.

  23. You've already gotten lots of very good advice, so I'll just say that merely the fact that you recognize that establishing the kind of balance you're seeking is a challenge, makes me feel sure that you'll be able to meet that challenge.

  24. I don't have much to add to all the great advice you've received already...but wanted to let you know that you're not alone. I've been there too. And now that mine are 7 and 4 it's different, but not always better. Make time for you. Make time for hubby. Sacrifice for you. Sacrifice for hubby. The fact that you're writing about it and talking about it speaks volumes about you as a person, a wife and a mother. My thoughts are with you...particularly as your family faces deployment. Please tell your husband thank you from *my* family. ((Hugs))