Married With Kid

A few things happened recently: 1) Kamel and I had a big argument over baby tylenol 2) This week is Kamel’s last week at home with the baby and he is super wishing he could stay home longer (and he is wishing hardcore he could be a stay at home dad… which will most likely never ever be able to happen) 3) I talked to my mom on the way home from work yesterday about the baby heading into daycare next week and how Kamel and I are handling it very differently and then… possibly less important but still noteworthy 4) I saw an old Grey’s Anatomy episode where Dr. Baily says, “There is no right time to have children” and then she goes on and on about how they suck the life out of you but then they also give you these little joys that are actually great big joys because they are yours and yadda yadda etc etc you get the drift.

After I got off the phone with my mom yesterday there was one really clear thought that rang in my head: Bottom line, I want to live the life I want to live and that includes kids, but it isn’t all about kids, and it isn’t except-for kids and it isn’t with a caveat about kids in anyway. It is just life and it is living it in a way that squeezes every once out of it before I go. 

But that comes with its own set of complications, because Kamel and I do not always agree on how to do all of that. So how do you parent with another person who is just as equally involved in the parenting AND have a loving, nurturing, non-stabby marriage?

Kamel, admittedly, is way more high strung about the baby than I am. Maybe that is not entirely accurate, I think we get worked up about different things and Kamel gets worked up about more things and the intensity with which I get worked up is probably double Kamel’s. Because I will cut someone (literally and figuratively) completely out of my life if they ever were to come between me and my kid, endanger my kid, or disrespect my house/family/child etc etc. Remember that story about the guy who slapped the kid on the plane? He was arrested, but if it had been my child I would have also been arrested for beating the living shit out of him. But I digress…

Kamel gets worked up about the baby getting sick. He wants to avoid this at all costs (at ALL costs if it were up to him… thankfully it is not just up to him otherwise we would never leave the house), even though he absolutely knows it is important for baby to 1) get sick and 2) get better and build antibodies. His anxiety over this sometimes threatens my bottom line (stated above). Because! (And this is where my biggest dislike of marriage pops up) being married to someone and having a family SOMETIMES means they can affect your life in ways you don’t like, don’t want, and generally suck. And sometimes I resent this because it means that I have to then work harder at doing the things that make me happy, sometimes I have to allow my husband to do things the way he needs to do them even if that sucks, and now sometimes I have to respect the fact that he is just as equally (and enthusiastically) a parent and sometimes he wants to do one thing and I absolutely 100% disagree but we end up doing it anyway because thems the brakes. Because that is what happens with partnership in life. Ride or die shit right there. Sometimes you have to let the other person own it, even though it is bullshit, or it is stupid, or it makes you cringe with how much you do not agree with that decision.

And it is true that there is never a good time to have kids and it is true that kids take everything you ever thought you had; all of the energy and all of the sleep and all of the extra spare minutes. But it is also true that your life doesn’t have to become unrecognizable afterwards. And it also doesn’t mean that you suddenly have this creature to place resentment/blame/your own martyrdom upon, because like any thing else – it is still up to me to advocate for my own happiness. To choose to fight my fights or to not. To spend the extra money, to spend the extra effort, to travel with baby or to not.

Daycare starts next week and that’s when real life starts. The 3 months of transition are coming to a close, next up: the rest of it. We’ve had a repreive of time off and newness, but in a few days it will officially be on. My house will be running at full steam, straight ahead… and it is going to be awesome and frustrating and Kamel and I will fight about it. And I’ll probably tell him I hate him a few times, and he’ll probably stomp around and go sit in the car when he gets really mad at me, but in the end it is only because we really really care. And for that I am grateful.

14 thoughts on “Married With Kid”

  1. If we ever have kids, Byron and I have already acknowledged what our personal “freak outs” will be:
    -I would be the parent constantly worried about germs and pesticides and “holy shit is this organic??” I will read every label and flip out if paraben shampoo touches its head.
    -Byron would be the one constantly worried about the kid getting *physically* hurt – falling into a ditch or breaking an arm or getting a concussion. He has actually said that he thinks football helmets are a good idea for kids — like, to wear AT ALL TIMES.

    I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to negotiate and figure this all out when there’s, ya know, an actual kid involved. But how lucky is Gabe to have two actively engaged parents? That kid’s gonna be a’ight.

  2. It’s funny these boys- I think if I managed to get the dream job… work with animals or in public health Mark would be much happier staying at home, and because I have to recognize he is a lot better than me at keeping house. I like stuff clean, and I do clean, but I am also chaotic / disorganized by nature so I leave stacks of books and stuff like that around.

    It is difficult to compromise…. but in the end it shows how much you both care and hopefully you will be able to find some middle ground together, but oh how hard that is. Specially when personalities are different and when you react to stressful situations / freak out in different ways.

  3. When I have to do something sucky to make my husband happy, I feel a little less resentful about it by focusing on what an amazing and virtuous person I am for letting him have this. I look at his happy, content little face, getting what he wants, and feel better that I am such a wonderful wife. I’m only a little bit kidding.

    1. I read this at work and it made me laugh out loud. Yes. I am so incredibly awesome. You are right. PAT ON THE BACK FOR ME! Especially if I don’t slam doors or make a scene about it. haha

  4. Here is one of many reasons why I love your writing; describing the ups and downs of marriage as “ride or die shit”. Sigh. Partnership is hard for me when it means doing what the other person wants mostly because I never understand why they don’t see that MY WAY IS CLEARLY RIGHT. I imagine baby care opinions will be the same way.

    Also I’m sure you know but beginning daycare makes for a sick baby gabe for a bit, and probably you guys too. Just think of all those health boosting antibodies!!!!

  5. I love this paragraph, hard:

    “And it is true that there is never a good time to have kids and it is true that kids take everything you ever thought you had; all of the energy and all of the sleep and all of the extra spare minutes. But it is also true that your life doesn’t have to become unrecognizable afterwards. And it also doesn’t mean that you suddenly have this creature to place resentment/blame/your own martyrdom upon, because like any thing else – it is still up to me to advocate for my own happiness. To choose to fight my fights or to not. To spend the extra money, to spend the extra effort, to travel with baby or to not.”

    PS. Gchat with me, today, if you’re around!

  6. Oh man, I love this. I wish there was some great book out there that talked about how to parent with another person. Because man, it’s hard.

    Jami and I have regular disagreements about apple juice, which go basically like this:
    J: Should I give Frances apple juice?
    Me: No, give her water.
    J: Why can’t she have apple juice?
    Me: She *can* have apple juice, she just doesn’t need it.
    J: I’m a parent too, why do you always have to argue with me?
    Me: You asked my opinion! I don’t think she needs it! If you want to give her apple juice, just do it and don’t ask me.
    We probably have some version of this conversation at least once a month. Seriously.

    This whole post makes me feel a little more sane. It’s not just us!

  7. Oh man. This was hard to read (in the best possible way).

    I am somewhat newly-pregnant (weird!) and am having one hell of a time. I have actually been going back and reading your early pregnancy posts because it helps me to know that someone else has felt as candidly shitty as I am feeling. I am seriously having the worst time and it sucks. And 9 times out of 10 David is so, so supportive and is bringing me things and trying to make me smile and is giving me space when I need it and is just being so great. And then that one other damn time he is mad at me, because even though he knows otherwise there is a small part of him that thinks that morning sickness (and all sickness, really) is mental. As if I am just lying on the couch dry-heaving and canceling all our plans for fun. Like it’s optional for me, and I am just refusing to get past it. And oh, man, that is a really fucking awful fight to be having (while dry-heaving on the couch).

    And fast forward several months, and I know we will have disagreements and fights about parenting, too, and that also sucks. But I also know that our partnership will survive it, which is the good part.

    1. Forgive me for raging a little bit about that 1 in 10 times your husband thinks you can mentally overcome the absolutely scientific hormone raging crap that is pregnancy. I want to shake him. A parasite is setting up camp inside your body and will use all of your nutrients and iron and blood and stuff to grow and thrive. That is some serious shit.

      Oh and congratulations!!! (ha) It’s going to be amazing. And horrible. And then amazing again.

  8. This post prompted me to reflect on the ways I’ve “policed” my partner’s parenting instincts and to discuss with my partner how it is a frustrating, but ultimately a good thing that we parent differently, so thank you for that.

    Forgive me if this is an intrusive question, but why do you say? that Kamel will most likely never be a stay at home dad? Is it as simple as he’s the one with greater earning power and it’s not worth entertaining a remote possibility that his income won’t always be necesssary? Or do you not want to shoulder the responsibility of financially supporting your family 100% on your own? Or is it because you see your career heading in a direction that would foreclose that possibility? I’m always super-interested in your thoughts on career/employment.

    1. No problem! And intrusive away! 🙂 It is all 100% financial. My skill set is not AT ALL as financially valued as Kamel’s is. He makes almost twice as much as I do, he also has a few more years climbing his career ladder than I do – to be fair. But for the life we want and the amount of kids I want, it will always be all hands on deck with us. I love love love that he loves being with the baby as much as he does, but we barely can afford any kind of savings at all – we need both incomes and will most likely always need both.

      On a side note: The more we both work the better we will be for retirement and that is really important to us.

  9. I love this and you.

    I know that when (if?) T and I become parents we will most definitely have arguments. Probably over how much to supervise vs how much independence to give our kids. His parents were very strict – he wasn’t even allowed to walk to the corner store on his own until he was about 15. Whereas I was baby sitting other people’s kids, not just my siblings, at 13/14 and going to the local shopping centre with my friends – even walking there on my own – from the time I was about 11 or 12.

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