Aaron and I chose to watch the movie Marley and Me one night last week. We didn’t finish it. Here’s why: Marley, for those of you who haven’t read or seen it (and without giving anything away), is a disastrous, though loveable, dog who incurs endless chaos, and wholesome Hollywood-esque adventure. His owners are an all-American couple who move to
This is where it gets bad (and I don’t remember reading this in the book). The wife leaves her job upon having kids but later says she’s lost everything that’s made her who she is, and the husband feels his own dreams are unfulfilled, and life with a wife and kids is pretty messy and miserable. Marley, as far as I could tell, makes things more difficult but mostly takes a backseat to all of this family strife. This is where Aaron and I turned the film off (though there is no doubt some resolution to it all… I mean, it’s a tear-jerker, but it’s not
We’ve been all pumped up about starting our life as a family. After stopping the film, however, we couldn’t quite look each other straight in the eye. We laughed that we’re a far cry from Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson in Mommy and Daddy mode, but we both went to bed that night with a creeping question in our minds: Is this the end of ‘us’ as we know ourselves? Are we destined to lose our life passions in the midst of the diapers and drooling and domestic grind?
I had a conversation just yesterday with a friend who had her baby five months ago. She said, “It’s hard. My husband and I are at each others’ throats. Between work and the baby, there’s no time. We’re eating fast food. He wants us to go to the gym again, but when can we do that?” She’s happy, too—it’s obvious—and so is he, and things will undoubtedly get easier for them. I’ve seen it before (years of babysitting as a teenager). The intensity subsides and a rhythm develops. Roles are sorted our and the endless tasks are divvied and shared.
We’ve recovered from the film. We’re back to being excited. And I think we’re both prepared for the commitment (and, yes, the diapers) that parenting entails. But, I’m also bracing myself for the reality of the sleep-deprivation, of the diapers, of the amount of things we’ll need to keep track of.
So I wanted to throw this to all of you: Given that babies, and kids, demand a huge amount of energy and time (and of course we love this about them), how do you make time for you? How do you make time for your relationship with your partner? What kinds of things, big or small, have you managed to work into your days to strike a good balance? Tips? Tricks? I’d love to hear about what you’re going through right now-- whatever phase you’re in-- and how you’re making it all work… for you.