Being married with babies can easily start to feel like you run a business with a tall guy you really like who you can also boss around and blame things on. Then you might work your way out of those roles into the best friends place. Awww, best friends are so cute, right? This means you really like each other and want to spend every day together but forget to do things like kiss and hold hands because you’re still running a business and you have shiz. to. do. And then sometimes, if you’re lucky (and stubborn), you get back to the lovers stage. And I’m not even really talking about sex, though that’s a nice bonus. On this relationship stop, you can’t keep your hands off each other and you smile and laugh a lot. You obviously still keep your kids alive, but you kiss your partner as much as you kiss your kids and you actually mean it when you tell him you love him just as much as you love your angelic offspring.
Three hours and a bottle of champagne after we start our walk, we’re back on lovers lane. We remember what it feels like to be connected. We bask in the part of our identities that is not mom or dad. Fun Gervase, relaxed Kev. We lean into the spontaneity of a night out that ends with karaoke. It is exactly what we needed.
Cards and gifts don’t matter to me or husband. You know what does? Quality time and how we show up emotionally and energetically in our relationship. When I’m okay, he’s okay and we’re okay. Tonight teaches us that lesson for the 200th time.
So about that hospital visit . . .
Because we wanted to create an anniversary that we would remember for-e-ver,we decide that a growth spurt, bridge walk, a couple bottles of wine and karaoke are not enough . . .
Home in bed later that night, I startle awake to the baby’s wailing alarm, per usual. Unsure of the time and definitely not fully awake yet, I launch—literally, LAUNCH MYSELF—from the deepest sleep towards the bedroom door. As someone with low blood pressure and a propensity for fainting, particularly when I’ve been drinking for several hours, I catch myself mid-fall on the bookshelf right outside our bedroom door, seconds later. The bookshelf just happens to carry a large glass-blown decorative plate from our travels in South America atop it (DEFINITELY NOT BABY PROOFED). Aforementioned plate crashes to the ground and shatters at my bare feet.
Husband comes running from the nursery where he was ALREADY HANDLING IT, to find me standing in a pool of blood in the dark insisting I’m totally fine. I could have stayed in bed where I belonged. “This is a waste of much blood and stress,” I can’t help but thinking as husband dutifully cleans up crime scene.
Three hours later (because I need to sober up), I drive myself to the emergency room and tell that same embarrassing story to about 13 ER staff members over the course of four hours. “Kind of an odd hour to be doing housework,” the lady at the front desk tells me at 4:30 am when I tell her about the plate attacking me. “It was our anniversary,” I mutter. I was just celebrating.
She is the worst.
Six hours and six stitches later, I hop on one foot (literally) back to my car and drive home to where husband is doing his best to hold down the fort without me. He will, regrettably, need to continue doing so for the next 48 hours since I cannot stand upright, let alone care for my children. This is terribly inconvenient, of course. #MomoftheYear
The weird thing is that my husband and I are kinder and more loving towards each other for those next 48 high-stress hours than we have been in weeks, which just goes to show it’s not necessarily about the quality of the “hard,” but about the quality of the breaks and connecting opportunities we take in between the hard #ThisIsRealLife moments.
Because, let’s be honest, marriage is hard work.
Raising tiny humans is hard.
But still— it can still be kind of a fun ride if you take TIME to create the moments you and your relationship and your #momlife need to survive it in one piece.
Why do women have a warped concept of marriage after kids?
Because nobody tells the truth.
Because everyone pretends theirs is the best.
Or everyone secretly feels like theirs is the worst.
We aren’t talking about it honestly and we definitely aren’t portraying it honestly through the filters on Instagram.
This is REAL life.
What if marriage after kids wasn’t the best or the worst?
What if it was both and we could totally handle it?
Marriage is an adventure. You get to fight in it and forit. You get to design it and evolve it and be surprised along the way. You can choose to stop the busyness and the hamster wheel living and celebrate it, without excuses. Celebrate the growth spurts and the date nights. The hospital visits and the picture-perfect moments, because you earned it ALL, and you do not get the GIFT of the highs without the lows. You don’t get to have one without the other. At least not if we’re talking about REAL LIFE MARRIAGES.
We’re here to live the full range of what it means to be human, and there’s nothing wrong with that experience. Your life doesn’t all have to be Instagram-ready to be fulfilling and freaking epic.
Yesterday, I brought the baby into our bed at 7am and she cooed and smiled at us for 10 minutes before the toddler climbed into bed and the four of us snuggled and laughed and loved harder than we ever thought we could love.
This is real life.
It hard then it’s easy then it’s hard again, and it’s all totally okay.
Happy (late) anniversary to the best life partner I could have ever chosen for this crazy ride.
I promise to keep apologizing to you, being honest with you, loving you and being brave enough to live the highs and the lows with you every year till we’re old and fat and these kids we’ve raised will pour our champagne and change our diapers.
**Note: This article was originally published on The Huffington Post.**