Episode 18: Frankenstein

This is the second episode of the season, but the first with a reader driven question. For some reason this struck a defensive nerve with Kamel and I even though we actually do an excellent job.

The question from the reader:

My biggest fear about having kids is that it will drastically and negatively alter my relationship with my partner. My question is: Does it? How do you deal with that? How do you maintain a strong, meaningful relationship with your partner after kids (especially little kids)?

And because I feel like this episode is a total mess and we may absolutely fail at actually answering the question, here are some bullet points – real world things we actually do to accommodate each other despite our children.

  • Guilt free time alone. Whether that is a movie or shopping or needing to hide in the bedroom to write (me). It is so important to gift your partner 100% resent-free space to still be a human. I think whether you have kids or not this is pretty major.
  • Being willing to take the kids places by yourself in order to give your partner space at home by themselves. This is different than the going out and about first bullet point. Because we all need to sit around in our sweats and not have to justify it. We all need to take long showers and paint our nails or finish a book or whatever, without being pestered.
  • Date nights and babysitters. Have many. Use them. It’s hard to use them, I know from experience. It is hard to ask for that. But it is SO AWESOME when you do and you leave the house together, without children, and then it’s like all you see are rainbows shooting out of each other’s eyes.
  • Ultimately be a team. Have inside jokes away from the kids. Steal their treats in the kitchen together behind your toddler’s back. Share knowing looks. Make out during nap time. Share a glass of wine after a successful bedtime. Celebrate each other. Be kind.

If anyone else has their own married-with-kids tips and tricks please comment. I will steal them all.

5 thoughts on “Episode 18: Frankenstein”

  1. I feel having a kid amplified our relationship – the good and the bad. We weren’t great at communicating and it got worse with kids until I was so resentful I nearly exploded. We had to work on it, and still do, by ourselves and with professionals.

    I so agree with those last two bullet points… we lived far away from support for the first four years and it was effing hard. Too hard and we were on the verge of divorce because we couldn’t find moments to connect with each other again admidst the slog of surviving. When we moved back to our family, it became so much easier. But we should have put money aside and hired a babysitter, or done something to make our team a priority.

    1. I like the idea that a kid amplified our relationship. In the first year of marriage I felt overwhelmed because each and every little thing felt huge and final. After a while I realized I was still me and Bob was still him and it settled back down. Having Oli did the same thing. For a while after him every fight felt like they extended out forever. Everything was followed by the invisible question “is this the way it’s going to be for 18 years?”. It’s settling back down again as we gain confidence and work together.

      Things were rough for a while, we live close to support but I still want to say that in my opinion professionals are a great resource. We waited until what felt like the last second to go to one and I really think we could have saved ourselves a little bit if we weren’t both so stubborn and determined to fix it on our own.

  2. One thing I really had to remind myself over and over (in marriage and in having a baby) is that in a partnership you have two options – you can do something, or you can accept that something may get done in a different way than you would do it.

    Unless I am willing to do ALL of the laundry, I have to accept that it may not be folded and put away like I like it. Unless I am willing to stay at home and put the baby to bed EVERY night, I have to accept that my precious bedtime routine may not be followed to the minute.

    That was really hard for me. IS really hard for me. The only way my house will be 50/50 is if I let it.

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