‘You’re not the woman I married.’ – how motherhood changed my marriage.
We had taken Squid to have his feet measured and he was having none of it. The shop was packed, there were no available shoe fitters and I’d had enough. I grabbed our small person and walked out of the shop, leaving my husband behind in the chaos.
And, when my husband caught up with me he uttered those fateful words: ‘you’re not the woman I married’.
It hurt like a knife.
On the sullen drive home I held back my hurt tears, and mulled that sentence over and over. Truthfully, he was right. I am not the woman he married. I don’t recognise myself half the time either.
We got married at 23
Young, but sure. Emotionally, we were happy, determined, carefree, and considerably better off financially than we are now. We laughed lots, ate out, saw friends, had holidays and weekends away, spent money on frivolous things we didn’t really need. Physically we were different too. No signs of age had crept across our faces, there were no grey hairs, I was certainly thinner, I always had time to shave my legs.
We were happy, most of the time.
We wanted a baby. It felt like the logical next step to our relationship. A mini human of our own, a bit of both of us. So when Squid arrived, 18 months after we got married, we were ready, prepared to tackle this parenting lark together. How hard could it really be?
Oh, how little we knew.
Motherhood has changed me. Motherhood is the single hardest thing I have ever embarked upon, bringing up a child. It is all consuming: physically, mentally and emotionally. But, It is also the most wonderful and inspirational thing that’s ever happened to me.
Motherhood means that there is very little left of myself to offer my husband when he walks in from work each day.
We fell into a steady rhythm. No doubt, our child became the central steering mast of our relationship. ‘Where are the baby wipes?’, ‘whose turn is it to wash up?’, ‘we’ve run out of nappies’ – these sentences narrated our home life. It was so easy to get swept along by the rigmarole of life, by the mundane and the every day. There was very little time for each other – and I don’t mean physically, though of course that’s important too. I mean, that I am sometimes so wrapped up in how mine and our toddler’s day has been, with its trials and tribulations and wonder, that I forget to ask my husband how his day was. It’s not that I don’t care. I just don’t have the brain space.
The sleeplessness and the mental fog can make you forget that you’re a team. You and your baby’s daddy. It makes us bicker over who has had more sleep or who works longer hours. It makes you irrational at times. I have to remind myself, often, that it’s not a competition.
We’re in this together.
I am tired, he is tired. I work hard, he works hard. We both do it for each other, to support our family.
But, today made me realize. Today made me stop, think and understand things from my husband’s perspective.
I am NOT the woman he married.
And, actually, that’s okay. Our marriage has evolved, from the fun and frivolous, to the ordinary and every day – that’s a normal progression, I think. But I also think we need to remember to make time for each other.
At the end of a busy day, it can be so hard to switch off, ignore the housework and the mounting to do list, but it’s also so important. Yes, becoming a parent can change you. And, it can mean a shift in your relationship, but I think it’s so important to remember how you got here.
How much you really do love your other half.
Sometimes, I think our child is the only thing we have in common. But actually, that’s not true at all. We have a lot in common: we both love wine (white for me, red for him), we both love eating out, spending time with family, holidays, clothes, discussing politics, we both love animals.
So as I type this, one handed whilst I nurse our toddler to sleep, I am making a promise. When I leave this bedroom, our phones will go away, the TV will be turned off, the dishes can wait.
My husband needs me. Because, I’m NOT the woman he married. But, I am the woman he’s married to. We’re not young and carefree, but we ARE a family. He’s the man who kisses me before we sleep, who doesn’t care about my hairy legs and who knows I’d rather have a pint of lager than a glass of wine. He’s seen me at my best and at my worst, and he’s still here.
I loved him on our wedding day, and now I love him infinitely more, in a million more ways
Has motherhood changed your relationship with your partner? How do you make time to stay connected?