Mommy Monday

mommy-monday2

 

Yesterday, Huff the Hubs and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. Some days it feels like we just got hitched, other days it seems like we’ve been married for a lot longer than six years (ya feel me?).

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Many people say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. I don’t agree. I feel like every year has its challenges. But, to be quite honest, the past two years have been the most difficult.

Now, before I begin, I want to preface by saying I spoke to Huff the Hubs about this and let him read this post beforehand so everything you’re reading has been Huff Approved. And also, this is not a husband-bashing,  “woe-is-me” post either. I really want this to offer encouragement for those couples going through similar seasons in their lives.

When HtH started graduate school, I was so excited for him. I thought it was going to be an awesome time for him to feel a little more intellectually stimulated because work was starting to become monotonous. I knew it would mean a “new normal” for us… I just didn’t realize how overwhelming the new normal would be.

In the two years since he started grad school, we have added a new member to our family, bought our first house, and I quit working full-time. For about six months, every single job around the house fell on my shoulders. I’m talking cooking, cleaning, lawn work, taking out the trash, feeding the kids, getting them dressed, nursing the baby (in his defense HtH can’t do that), laundry–all on top of working full-time. (Don’t get me wrong, Huff the Hubs helped out, too. He hasn’t been some lazy slug that comes home, plops down, and did nothing. He has helped out when he can in between writing papers, going to classes, and studying for hours on end. But even he will agree that the majority of the housework and kid-raising has fallen on me.)

Huff the Babe didn’t start sleeping through the night until he was about 9 months old so I was doing everything around the house, while also waking 3-5 times a night to nurse a VERY cranky baby.

I was emotional, angry, resentful, and could be set off at the slightest thing.

I. Was. Miserable.

I’ve found that its during those times that The Enemy really sneaks in to hit you while you’re down, whispering lies into your ear.

“This will never end. It’s always going to be like this.” 

“If he really loved you, he’d help out more. Sure, he’s been at work all day and he has a test tomorrow, but you haven’t showered in two days. Who’s the REAL victim here?” 

“He didn’t say you looked nice today. He’s probably having an affair with someone at work.” 

“You’re marriage is failing. You need to accept that now.” 

“You two can’t recover from this.” 

These were all thoughts I have had (on more than one occasion) during this season of life. (Now, if you know us, you know that we’re Bible-believing Christians and we believe this is it–we’re making our marriage work come hell or high water. And even though we clung to our faith, it was/is still difficult. Why? Because we’re human. And humans mess up. And humans sometimes let their emotions and circumstances rule their behavior and thoughts. Thank God–literally–for grace.)

It didn’t help that we were both so tired all the time and barely had energy to greet one another at the end of the day let alone do anything else. Couple our exhaustion with barely speaking after the kids went to bed (HtH would start homework AS SOON as the kids were in bed and he wouldn’t come to bed until I had already been asleep for a few hours) I was beginning to feel like we were roommates who just so happen to sleep in the same bed.

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This went on for about a year. I knew we could do better. I knew it because we had been better in the past. I just didn’t know how to get to that point. Finally, after a big, blow-up fight (I can’t even remember what it was about. Probably something ridiculous because that’s what happens when you’re physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted–you cause an enormous fight over something as trivial as placing the mail on the counter instead of in the basket. Yes, that’s happened. Aren’t I a neurotic delight?!) we decided to go to counselling.

We’ve been before; we try to have a “relationship physical” every time there’s a new, big change in our lives. But we hadn’t been in over a year and SO MUCH had changed. After that session, I started to see improvements.

We began praying together at night, talking more honestly about how we were feeling, and making more time for one another. We began emailing/calling each other during the day just to see how the other was doing. We made a rule that before he greeted the kids when he first got home, his absolute first order of business was to greet me and give me “first kiss”. Why? Because these kids need to know that Momma and Daddy put their marriage first: before the kids, before the jobs, before everything except The Lord, our marriage got top billing. It may sound simple but these little gestures have really buoyed the health of our marriage and our attitudes.

We had to lay down our selfishness, lay down our need for constant affirmation, and really take a hard look at what the other person was experiencing. We had to (and still do) continuously remind each other, “We’re a team, let’s act like it.”

Is it back to the way it was two years ago? No. And I don’t know if it will be. But you know what? I’m okay with that. Why? Because we’re not who we were two years ago.

We are veterans of “grad school combat”. We’ve been in the trenches together during the most difficult days. The days that begin with a sense of dread and end with you crying into your pillow. The days that you feel you’re all alone and there’s never going to be a reprieve. The days that you think, “Is this it? Is this really all there is?!” Thankfully, with school ending in a little over two weeks, we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

We were talking the other day and I said, “You know in Band of Brothers when there’s a guy using the machine gun and then there’s his ‘helper’ that’s loading the bullets? I feel like you’re the shooter and I’m the bullet guy.”

“I don’t know, babe,” Huff the Hubs said. “You’ve been more than just a bullet loader.”

“Maybe then grad school has been our One Ring,” I offered. “You’re Frodo, because you’re carrying the weight of school. I can’t carry the ring, but I can carry you.”

“YES,” HtH replied. “That’s exactly it!”

Yes, the past two years have been excruciatingly difficult. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It has shown us what we’re made of. It’s shown us that we can survive some pretty dark days; those days you don’t want ANYONE to know about. Its shown us that seasons come and, even though you may not believe it, seasons end. Its shown us the worst of each other, and also the best. But most importantly, its shown us that despite all the bad that’s come, we’re still standing, still fighting for one another, still committed, and still here.

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Mommy Monday

mommy monday

 

Many times on Mommy Mondays, I whine about the parts of motherhood that aren’t that glamorous: spit up on my shirt, engorged boobs, and blowout diapers. But today, I’m thinking more positive.

Today I’m going to list some of the kick-a perks about being a mom that you may not have though of!

 

Even if you’re doing low-carb, Paleo, flexitarian, or whatever, you can totally steal sips of your kid’s Nesquick with FULL FAT milk before handing it over to them. Seriously, this has been one of my favorite things to do in the mornings. That chocolate milk is the bomb!

drinking milk gif

 

You have a legit reason to not go anywhere.

excuse

 

You also have a legit reason to have a girl’s night.

busting out

 

The pantry can be stocked with animal crackers and applesauce pouches and people think they’re for the kid…when they’re really for you.

snacks

 

You can totally look like a BAMF in front of non-mommy friends when you describe your birthing story (because, let’s face it, whether that kid came out of Lady Town or was cut out of your belly, you’re a BAMF).

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You can say what everyone else is thinking and no one can get offended because you can “blame it on the hormones”.

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But, the best perk is having a little piece of you and your honey running around that you can impart wisdom.

better have a motorcycle

 

 

 

What are you favorite parts about being a mom? Share in the comments below!

 

Mommy Monday

Mommy Monday3

Some days, I feel like a horrible mother. I’ll lie awake in bed, thinking over the day’s events and list all of the things that I did wrong.

I didn’t tell my daughter she was smart, I only told her she was “so beautiful”. Will that give her a big head? Will she only find value in her looks? 

I didn’t get in the floor and play blocks with her, I just read a book to her. Is she going to miss out on critical cognitive development? 

She didn’t have a vegetable at dinner. Now she’s lacking the vital nutrients she needs to be successful in life and I’ve effectively doomed her chances of getting into a good college. 

failure gif

 

Then, after worrying about all of the things I didn’t do right, I try to justify it.

Well, I had to cook dinner. Even though she’s not two yet, she could see I was busy and she’ll understand, right? Right? 

Even though I don’t go into an office, I still work all day. I was tired and didn’t feel like getting on the floor and chasing her around. That’s valid. 

 

After this, I start to get a little resentful.

Well, maybe if I had help cooking, I could’ve played on the floor for half an hour with my daughter like Someone Else.* 

Why does He get to come in and look like the hero and ‘Fun-Loving Dad’ while I’m stuck doing all of the housework?!* 

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I’ll lie awake and stew for a little bit and feel myself getting angry at the bearded man lying less than a foot away. I think of all the things I’ve done and how I’ve carried this family through. Who cleans? Me. Who cooks? Me! Who takes care of Huff the Babe, makes sure we have food in the pantry, and keeps track of everyone’s appointments? ME. ME. ME.

Then, I hear a Soft Voice. “Who gives you the strength to do it?”

Humbly I have to say, “Not me.”

Finally, my thinking changes.

Who pays the bills so that I can go grocery shopping? 

Huff the Hubs.

Who pushed himself through college to get a degree in Electrical Engineering so we could have a better life? 

Huff the Hubs.

And who supports me through all of my craziness, no matter how insane I get? 

Huff the Hubs.

 

The Soft Voice returns and asks: “And Who has trusted you with all of this?”

You, I say.

“And who are we supposed to serve?”

Everyone. 

“And how are we supposed to serve?”

Sigh. Gladly. 

Soon, instead of tooting my own horn, I’m shamefully reproaching myself for my attitude. I have turned my own insecurities into a “Battle of Who Does More” and before I knew it, I was contemplating shaving off one of HtH’s eyebrows.**

As if knowing the train of thought that had already derailed in my mind–and in perfect timing–HtH rolls over and says, “I love you.”

He still loves me. After all the things I think I did wrong today, he still loves me. Finally, I can fall asleep.

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Do you ever do this? How do you talk yourself out of the “All About Me” trap? Do you find yourself growing resentful because of your motherly duties? How do you split responsibilities with your spouse?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This is not husband-bashing. These are real thoughts I’ve had (and I know other women have had). They may not be accurate–actually, they’re not accurate–about life in the Huffman Homestead. Huff the Hubs is an EXCELLENT father and laughs, plays with, reads to, and loves Huff the Babe so much. He is also a WONDERFUL husband and helps out quite a bit. We’re a team.

**I wouldn’t do that. Well…maybe. No, I wouldn’t.

Try It Tuesday

Typically I like to do Try Its that are edible or crafty. But this week, I decided to do something else. 

With a new baby, its tough to get alone time with your spouse. Heck, even without a new baby its tough to find time in busy schedules to spend quality time together. 

But thanks to The Dating Divas, I have found some awesome date night ideas! This weekend, Huff the Hubs and I tried one of their ideas! 

Dating Divas

 

It was really fun and super easy! 

I printed out the game board:

Let's get ready to rumble!

Let’s get ready to rumble!

and Huff the Hubs and I got started. We both had a sheet with questions that we had to answer:

What's your favorite color? The color of victory.

What’s your favorite color? The color of victory.

 

After we filled in our answers, we asked each other our questions. Such as, I had to ask Huff the Hubs what my favorite dessert was. If he got it right, he moved down the board, if he got it wrong, he had to move backward. (Its cheesecake by the way). 

It was so much fun! We haven’t laughed so much in a such a long time! It was so cool to see who knew more about each other (and how we didn’t really know ourselves as much as we thought). There was more than one time when HtH said my guesses were better than the ones he wrote down. I guess that’s why I won!

Behold, the winner!

Behold, the winner!

You really need to check out the Dating Divas’ website! They have so many fun ideas! They have scavenger hunts, date nights that are out of the house, date nights in the house, and dates for every budget!

Happy Anniversary!

Today is mine and Huff the Hubs’ second wedding anniversary! Yippee!

 

Honestly, it doesn’t really feel like two years have gone by. Some days it feels like we just got married yesterday. Others it feels like: “Well, this is just how its always been; me and you.”

 

Over the past two years, I’ve felt like I’ve learned a lot about marriage, men, and relationships. I’m by no means an expert, nor do I feel like books I read and people I talked to fully prepared me for marriage. I think marriage is like most things, you get a lot of “on the job training”.

 

But, in the spirit of passing on wisdom, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in my two years of marriage.

 

1. Even if you really don’t like your spouse’s hobbies/interests, eventually you’ll get sucked in.

Neville and Luna

Neville and Luna

When Huff the Hubs and I first got together, he loved anime and Japanese movies. I hated them. I loved was obsessed with Harry Potter, he thought it was okay. Now, I actually like anime and he’s read all of the HP books. (The guy even agreed to name our daughter Hermione!)

 

2. Encourage each other.

The theme of his grad party? Robots.

The theme of his grad party? Robots.

In the months leading up to our engagement, Huff the Hubs was still in school. There were times (mostly around finals) that I could literally see the effects that his high-pressure degree was having on him. He would lose weight, have dark circles under his eyes, and would sometimes go hungry rather than stop an 8-hour study session. I knew that he needed me to be his cheerleader. I’d write him notes, take him food, and just say encouraging words to him. And he does the same for me. He’s always there to tell me “Good job!” or “You can do this!”.

 

3. Be silly.

"Don't move! It can't see you if you don't move!"

“Don’t move! It can’t see you if you don’t move!”

Sometimes, life can be too serious or you can take yourself too seriously. Loosen up! Its okay to fart in front of each other and its okay to laugh at dumb jokes, and its especially okay to act like complete weirdos together. Marriage is about loving and accepting each other no matter what weirdness you bring into it.

 

4. Take care of yourself.

"Eyebrows, there should be TWO!"

“Eyebrows, there should be TWO!”

I’m sorry, but what wife wants to come home to a dirty guy that hasn’t showered, has food running down his shirt, and belches a greeting? Not this chick. And I don’t think a husband would want to come home to a wife with crazy hair, still wearing the pajamas she had on that morning. I work from home most days, so I don’t throw on a dress before Huff the Hubs comes home. I sometimes don’t even put on makeup all day. But I do make sure I don’t look a hot mess when he arrives. Simply brushing my hair and throwing on some lip gloss gets me a kiss and a: “You look pretty.”

 

5. Help each other be healthy.

BB's and J!

BB’s and J!

One of the ways I feel like you can show someone you care is by how you treat your body. I want to be able to be around for a long, long time for Huff the Hubs (and our kids). I want to be able to go hiking, go swimming, and chase the Littles around the park. I know HtH wants to too. One of the things that drew me to the hunk of man I married was that he placed a lot of value on eating right and exercising. I feel like so many health problems can be avoided simply by eating right. I don’t want to have some sort of debilitating health condition (that could be prevented) that turns HtH into a caregiver at a time when we should be enjoying our life together. We take care of ourselves for our own health, yes, but we also take care of ourselves for each other.

 

6. Protect each other.

"Eighteen in the clip and one in the hole, B-Dog is about to make some bodies turn cold."

“Eighteen in the clip and one in the hole, B-Dog is about to make some bodies turn cold.”

Something I’ve learned over the past two years is that spouses need to be each other’s first defender. If someone attacks that person (literally and figuratively) you should be the first one to step up and defend your husband/wife. Sometimes I can take my role of protector a little too seriously (one day I’ll blog about the guy that got up in HtH’s face at the midnight showing of Harry Potter and I tell you about how I went southside) but I know HtH knows I care. And I know he does too. Especially during the pregnancy, HtH has been careful to make sure I’m okay and not in any danger. Although it’s hard for him to protect me from my own clumsiness.

 

7. Make time for each other.

It does.

It does.

Yes, married time is important (nudge, nudge; wink, wink), but so is couple time. That time that you spend together, just the two of you, not worrying about bills, work, or the noisy neighbor upstairs. HtH and I try to have a date night once a week (and please spare me the: “Just wait, you won’t have that come September” line. It’s important to us, so we’ll make it a priority. So shut your gob.). Whether it’s going to the movies, going out to eat, or just calling in a pizza and watching 10 episodes of Adventure Time, we try to have an evening where we shut out everything else and just spend time together.

 

8. Help your spouse bond with your family.

Yes, that is a My Little Pony book. He loves those kids.

Yes, that is a My Little Pony book. He loves those kids.

My family and I are very tight-knit. I talk to my parents and sisters at least every other day, if not every day. They are super important to me and the five of us have a special bond. When HtH and I were dating, he said he was a little intimidated because we had so many inside jokes and he couldn’t really keep up with our ever-changing subjects at dinner. Over the past two years, I’ve seen HtH really fall into place with my family. He’s to the point now to where he goes places with family members when I’m not there and really makes an effort to form relationships with them.

 

 

So, what about you? Is there anything about marriage you’ve learned over the years?