So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Before having kids, I thought I had a glimpse of what the hardest parts of parenthood would be. I had babysat throughout my teen years. I already had a few nieces and nephews. I had changed diapers, dealt with tantrums, cleaned up spills, and had food chucked at me from an angry toddler. 

I’m going to be tired, I told myself. My body may never be the same. How will I manage my career and motherhood? That’s going to be hard, I said. Will we struggle financially? Will my child be healthy? Will I never not worry?

I thought I knew all the things I had to think about, worry about, plan for, anticipate.

But one piece I was drastically unprepared for was how becoming a mom would affect my marriage.

Before having kids, my husband confided in me that he was scared. He was scared about the change—it had been just him and me for so long (nearly 10 years). He was scared that I’d forget about him.

Of course, I told him he was crazy. We’d join forces and parent together! We’d be a team! United front! I’d never forget about him as I knew he’d be by my side every step of the way.

And then the baby came, and he was right. Except in some ways, he sort of forgot about me too. We both very quickly got lost in the swirl of babies and toddlers. Every year or two, another baby arrived, when the next oldest was still a baby himself.

It was a foggy few years in there where I can honesty admit that I did forget my husband. I fell deeper and deeper in the motherhood role as more babies came and toddlers started potty-training and year after year passed of me playing blocks and watching Thomas the Train and breastfeeding day and night. And he fell deeper and deeper into his career, probably for something to hold on to since I was pretty unreachable, but probably also because of the pressure to support our growing family. 

We’ve talked about those years, those years of disconnect. Those years of me not wanting to snuggle him after bedtime because OH MY GOSH was I touched-out. Those years of me fighting depression because motherhood was 8-million times harder and lonelier and more exhausting that I’d thought it would be.

We can talk about them now, frankly, with honesty, because we made it. We came out the other side of that fog. We’re both still here. We still love each other. We still have a lot of years together. And for that, we are grateful beyond measure. 

But to be honest, we really had to find each other again. And it took almost losing each other entirely to realize we had better stick out a hand and grab ahold to this thing called marriage. Thankfully, we did it just in time. Thankfully, as we’d almost given each other up for lost, we both looked back and saw the other one standing there—becoming more and more distant, but still there. And we called out to each other. We realized that we did miss each other’s presence. We did miss each other’s touch. We missed laughing together, dreaming together, planning more than just the week’s dinner schedule and handing babies back and forth. We missed talking about dream trips to Alaska and Italy and renovations we may never do like our kitchen and a cool bar in our basement. 

In that moment of seeing each other slip away, we saved ourselves and our marriage —just in the nick of time. 

Here’s how.

Once I emerged from the baby and toddler fog a bit and started sending my kids to preschool, sleeping through the night, and feeling like I could breathe again as they played independently more and were attached to me less, I had time and strength to give more to our relationship. 

With a little push, I found myself able to leave them more often with babysitters. It felt good to get dressed up and go out for dinner. We even stole away for a long weekend now and then. 

Our kids are old enough now to play on their own, so now we can sneak off for a few minutes of alone time. With several kids in the house, that may not mean a full-on romp, but it could mean a few long kisses. It could mean an uninterrupted hug and a real conversation. (And, it actually has meant a quickie on rare occasion.)

We sneak in lunch dates now. We sit next to each other for family movie night, instead of on separate couches. Yeah, it may not be the most romantic thing to snuggle up watching Paddington, but as parents, we take what we can get. Our kids see us prioritize ourselves, together, holding hands, and they fit themselves on the couch around us accordingly.

And we started therapy. We learned about our own needs (I didn’t even know what mine were!) and about the other person’s needs and how to prioritize them. We learned what we need to do to ensure we continue walking through life together, on the same path, so that never again will we find each other so far in the distance, almost lost forever. 

The thing that I realized, just as we were both about to slip away, is that I really do love my husband. He is my best friend and the person I want to go gray with. I want to bring our kids to college together and take a “60 and older cruise” someday and downsize to a condo together after the kids are grown so we can travel the world and visit our grand-babies wherever they end up. 

I can’t beat myself up for those lost years, as I was in survival mode. SAHM life kicked my rear harder than I could have foreseen. Do I wish I had sat with him on the couch after the kids were in bed more often? Of course. Do I wish I had dragged myself into the shower and gone out for dinner, even for just an hour, once in a while? Yes.

But I can’t change the past. Neither can he. 

All we can do is take one step forward each day, from here on out. Last night we played a board game with our kids, then worked on a house project together after they were all asleep. Other nights we sit next to each other and read or watch old re-runs of The Office. We go on dates and take trips and laugh and dream again. 

Do we still need our space and separate couches now and then? Sure do.

More often, however, we end up together, physically, and connected emotionally. Because the thing is, we actually still like each other. A lot. And that’s a wonderful thing to realize after nearly 20 years of marriage.

You may also like:

The Simple Words That Saved My Marriage

The Sex Talk That Saved Our Marriage

Her View From Home

Millions of mothers connected by love, friendship, family and faith. Join our growing community. 1,000+ writers strong. We pay too!   Find more information on how you can become a writer on Her View From Home at https://herviewfromhome.com/contact-us/write-for-her//

In This Magical Place Called Kindergarten

In: Kids
Kids at elementary school circle time

It’s hard to put into words what happens in a classroom in the course of a year. Especially a kindergarten classroom. For many children, this is their first experience away from home, from their place of comfort and security—the place where they can always be themselves. But teachers are a special breed—especially teachers of littles. And they step into this substitute role with the biggest hearts and the most love to give. They take this unknown, intimidating place and then transform it into a magical, wondrous adventure. A classroom, a community, a family. A place where these little people can...

Keep Reading

Summer Goes by Too Fast

In: Kids
Boy lying on bench at park, color photo

To my oldest, As our summer vacation nears an end and we begin school supply shopping, I think about all the things we didn’t get to do together this summer. I instantly feel mom guilt. All the plans I had made? Only half of them done—if that. RELATED: Remember When Summer Lasted Forever? All the books I was going to read to you at bedtime? Only a couple short ones. All the creative art we would do? Maybe just one time. The fact is, I let time slip away from me. I was too focused and anxiety-ridden about work, my...

Keep Reading

Going on Family Vacation with Young Kids is Work That’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with two young kids on airplane

Our routine will be a mess. Our toddler won’t sleep in a new environment. Our baby needs all of the gear. The flight could be a disaster. I went through a mental checklist of reasons why this kind of family vacation would be hard. It was a pretty convincing list if I’m being honest. I considered throwing a pity party dedicated to the concerns I shoulder as a mother. A few days later I felt a wave of conviction wash over me. I was dreading a trip that was meant to be a blessing to our family. Any kind of...

Keep Reading

I Want To Raise Good Sisters

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four girls sitting on a rock in the forest, color photo

My current dilemma: how to teach four little girls how to be good sisters when I have no idea what I’m doing? I was an only child growing up, and a tomboy at that. It was a lonely, quiet childhood. I remember wishing for a sister, but knowing that with my single mom, it wasn’t going to happen. So, the sister thing is a big mystery to me. I’ve noticed (admittedly with some envy) adult sisters together and their inside jokes, shared history, and language known only to each other. I’ve read about sisters in books. The relationships between the four...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Just Love You, I Like You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy standing at bridge, color photo

My growing child, my heart often aches when I look at how big you have gotten. You aren’t a baby anymore, you’re a whole kid. You are your own person, with your own thoughts and feelings. You have your own friendships, and interests.  Parts of me realize you don’t need me the same, but deep down I know you need me all the same. And I’m realizing, that in all of these changes, my love for you is also a like.  RELATED: Being Your Mom is the Greatest Honor of My Life Because now we can connect in a whole...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergartner, I’ll Always Remember You This Way

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child touch foreheads

The first magical flickers of your strong heartbeat on a black and white screen— the reassuring evidence I needed to know you were gaining strength for this world. My belly grew, and I proudly went shopping for maternity clothes to cover it. I felt the first dances of your little feet, and it reminded me of butterflies taking flight— the movement of a true miracle. I’ll always remember you this way. The sounds of your first cries—music ringing in my ears. You were real, Earth-side, and wanting only to be loved. The softness of your skin, the way you smelled,...

Keep Reading

Having the Tools To Parent a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder Changes Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child playing with water in tube

My heart leaped into my mouth as Soccer Mom, with her matching foldable chairs and ice-cold Gatorade, glared at me. I wanted to explain how hard I tried to be a good mom, to raise a kind human, but I swallowed the words so I could vomit them at my 5-year-old son on the ride home.   Didn’t he know that pushing another child was unacceptable? Hadn’t I taught him to use gentle hands?   RELATED: To the Special Needs Mom Who Sits Alone Despite implementing the parenting books that promised me a new kid by the week’s end, I often wondered...

Keep Reading

There’s No Instruction Manual for These Middle Years

In: Kids
Little girl smiling on porch

As a preschool teacher and a mom, I’ve always felt pretty confident in my parenting from ages birth to 5 years old.  I by no means am perfect, and I silently rejoiced the day my kids could pour their own cereal and turn on Netflix for themselves while I caught some extra sleep. Even though that’s probably not a proud mama moment to celebrate, it’s just the reality of parenting.  We both celebrate and mourn independence as our children need us less. And let’s be honest, oftentimes independence makes our daily lives easier. Yet it is bittersweet.  It feels like...

Keep Reading

I’m Halfway Through Raising Little Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two girls smiling outside

Today I stayed in my car a few minutes more than usual as my kids hopped out onto the hot driveway and ran inside. The cold air conditioning felt amazing after a long day at the local water park; so did the silence. Then it felt odd, so I turned on the radio. The song that started playing hit my soul: “Woah, we’re halfway there/Woah, livin’ on a prayer.” I’m always living on a prayer, but I also noticed we are halfway there. RELATED: Growing Up, You First Then Me Halfway through the year, more than halfway through summer, and...

Keep Reading

Kindergarten is the Start of Letting You Go

In: Kids, Motherhood

We’re physically ready for kindergarten. We’ve got the backpack, the school supplies, the school clothes, and the new shoes. We’ve talked about it all summer. We’ve practiced the skills he will need, and how to open everything inside of a cold lunch box. We’ve talked positively about it and imagined all the friends he will meet and the places he will go, and how kind and caring the teacher will be. We’re physically ready for kindergarten. But here’s a little secret . . . My heart? My heart can’t fully be ready for him to go to kindergarten. I know...

Keep Reading