My Marriage - What is Love???

I’ve learned the most about what Love is through my marriage and from my husband. I read a beautiful quote once that summed it up perfectly, it goes like this:

The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws. That’s just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you Love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind. Love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice. It’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.
Author Unknown

The truth is that the only kind of real Love there is, is unconditional. That’s what Love is, it’s dedicated and unwavering. Love is being there, even when you feel the desire to escape it or change it. Love is seeing someone’s cruelty, ugliness and hatred and choosing them anyway. Love is seeing beyond the stubborn, the negative, the moody and loving them anyway. Everything beyond total acceptance and tolerance is just lust, infatuation or fear.

Let’s be clear, I by no means think someone should stay in a relationship that is not fulfilling on the soul level. I by no means think someone should stay in an abusive relationship. I by no means condone someone staying in a relationship that they are not happy in. I’m saying that you may not be happy all the time. I am saying that when you look deep in your partner’s eyes, you know. You know deep down if the desire to run is there because you don’t want to deal with the life lessons that are being presented to you through your partner.

See our life partner and those we are closest to in our lives are our greatest sources of growth. They hold up a mirror at all times for the depths we need to explore within ourselves. They shine a light on the work we need to do on ourselves. They see the worst in us and the best. And we see the same in them.

By far the two largest strains on my marriage have been children (2, just 18 months apart) and our past. It’s pretty clear why having two small kids will strain your marriage (though you would never be able to anticipate this ahead of time). You’re exhausted first of all, pretty much all the time. When does that leave time for romance, connection or even sex? Um, basically it doesn’t. And when it does, there is this small hurdle of ‘work’ that has to be put in before you reap the rewards. It’s not all bad, all the time though. 2017 is actually the year I have had the most rewarding intimacy with my husband, albeit sparse perhaps this is a sign that the best is yet to come. The needs of our children far outweigh our own. They demand all of us, all the time. This barely leaves room for each other. So we do the best we can. We have date nights when the babysitter is available. We stay up way too late sometimes, just spending time together or doing whatever we did independently before we (temporarily) sacrificed our freedoms. We text a lot when we’re not physically together. We’ve managed to get away overnight about 4 times in 4 years (totally not enough and better than nothing). And one day (too soon I’m sure it will feel) we’ll be empty nesters and we’ll have 100% of each other again. Or so I think...or so I desire. The truth is, I really don’t know what the future will hold. I’m certainly not wishing this time away and I am certainly not longing to be an empty nester any time soon. I do have a sense that when the time comes we will be grateful for it. And don’t get me wrong, we are grateful now, just in an entirely different way. The second largest strain on our marriage has been our past. When the going gets tough we often look to the past to tell us what we are capable of or who we need to be (we do this as adults a lot and not only in our marriages). And when you’ve had a somewhat bumpy road at times, this can feel totally defeating. You might tell yourself history is repeating or the worst is yet to come. I have to remember that our past does not define us. Nor are we destined to repeat it. What we must do, what we can do is keep growing, keep learning about ourselves and each other and share in this journey together as best we can. We get to look at the people we were in our past and allow it to help shape the people we want to become in our future. What is available to all of us, right now is the ability to be vulnerable and share. And most importantly what is available to all of us right now, is Love.

I Love My Kids...And...

I Love My Kids & They Drive Me Crazy

I grew up with a stay-at-home Mum. My husband grew up with a stay-at-home Mum. Bless them. Thus, I just imagined that I would, or rather I should also be a stay-at-home Mum. I did this for a little while, kind of. I sort of was at home and was sort of coaching on the side, from home. I was sort of present and I was sort of distant. I basically had one foot in and one foot out with everything I was doing (including my marriage and that’s a separate blog post). This was because I wasn’t honouring what was real for me inside. I am not fulfilled being a stay-at-home Mum – I’m just not and that’s okay. I have two children just 18 months apart. That means I learned I was pregnant with my second when my son was just 9 months old. I hadn’t even adjusted to becoming a Mum before another one was on the way. Please don’t misunderstand my struggle as a lack of love and gratitude for my children. As cliché as it is, I wouldn’t change anything about my life with them or the journey I’ve taken to get to where I am with them. It’s all been here for my growth and for that, I am truly grateful. I have a way of always seeing the silver lining, I’m grateful for that too. I’ve always been very independent. Since I was 14 I’ve had a job. Since very young, I’ve always been on a mission to live life to the fullest (sometimes to my detriment). Staying at home with young children (still) feels a little like a trap, like some esoteric ideal to keep me small. Trust me I’ve been round and round on the emotional roller coaster to figure this out: guilt, shame, frustration, anger, confusion, lying to myself – you name it, I likely experienced it. And I know I’m not alone.

So last month my daughter turned 3 and mustered up the courage, put the guilt aside and enrolled the kids in care 4 days/week. Things aren't perfect, I still loose my shit every so often, especially on Wednesday’s when I am home with them all day. Amongst the joy and wonder I experience through them I also experience extreme frustration and exhaustion with all of their needs. Laundry, ‘can I have a juice please’, ‘I want some more cereal’, ‘can I have some apple, no skin please’ (yes, my son is usually this polite, my daughter is still learning this valuable skill…sigh), ‘can I watch a cartoon?’, ‘BUT MUM-MUM’ and on and on. My Father often tells me, ‘you only get frustrated when they aren’t doing what YOU want them to.’ He’s right, 100%. I get frustrated when my daughter is screaming and I don’t want her too. I get frustrated when I am asked for a juice or water for the 30th time that day. I get frustrated when I want to sit down and enjoy a cuppa and a fight breaks out or someone throws their toy across the room. You know what else is frustrating? When people ask me ‘how old are your kids? and you say ‘3 & 4’ and their response is ‘oh that’s such a cute age.’ Really????? Do you remember, do you even know how much work it is? Yes, there’s a reason they are that cute at this age and like the pain of childbirth, I think people must forget how utterly draining it is when you have to do practically everything for them.

So what’s the point of this post (I’m actually asking myself)? Am I venting (well, clearly that’s part of it)? Will this actually help someone else reading this? My goal in writing this is to speak to other Mum’s and Dad’s that feel they aren’t living up to their full potential because honestly, right now someone else’s needs are greater than theirs and that’s okay. I want to encourage all of us to be aware of the choice we’re making. Keep taking a stand with power inside you that has access to having it all. We can. We can have it all. It starts first with believing we can. I know I’m on the right path. I know in the 4 days I get to work I am contributing deeply to humanity. I get to help people and thus I help myself. I know on the weekends and the Wednesday’s I’m home with the kids I am contributing to our bond and their lives long term. I know later in life I will not regret having stayed home on Wednesday’s. Next year my son will start kindergarten and that feels crazy! ‘The days are long yet the years go so fast’. So in the mean time, I grow in finding the resonant integration of building my career and being the best Mum I can be to two toddlers. This no small feat and thus the journey will continue.