Weathering the shitstorm

I saw a post on Facebook today from a desperate Mum of a one year old daughter who was seeking relationship advice. She said that she was thinking of leaving her partner because they were going through some struggles and she was worried she didn’t love him anymore. It made me feel really sad and I didn’t even know the woman! It was just an anonymous post on a Mums group page.

I really felt for her and sad that she was considering giving up. Marriage (or any long term relationship) can be challenging but those first few years of parenthood are just a major shitstorm. Beautiful, yes. But a shitstorm nonetheless.

Almost every Mum I have spoken to about this say they have experienced a time of struggle in their relationship after having a child. And if you’ve had more than one child in a short period of time it is an even bigger, smellier shitstorm. And sadly it seems many couples make the difficult decision to call it quits rather than weather the storm.

We have not been immune to the struggle. I mean, when you throw hormones, very (very) little sleep, small people needing your attention 24/7, a fair bit less action in the bedroom and a shit tonne of laundry and dishes piled up things are bound to get a little….strained.

Now, they say that the key to any lasting relationship is communication. I just finished reading a great book by Alan Loy McGinnis called The Friendship Factor and in it he talks a lot about the ultimate friendship; a marriage. The author writes that many of us have a tendency to stop talking to the ones we love the longer we have known them. Makes sense, right?! He goes on to write about an experiment that measured the amount of conversation that occurs between the average married couple over the course of a week. The end result….17 minutes! SEVENTEEN MINUTES. Geez, the average male takes longer than that to take a dump!

This scares the life out of me. Especially since some day not too long from now the kids will be grown and we’ll be back to just us. Forever.

It’s definitely not always easy to keep the communication flowing especially during those difficult times. Though we should be able to be completely honest and transparent with our spouse it is often the hardest because we care for them so much and fear what might happen if we are. But the stories we tell ourselves and the resentment that builds up because, well, he should just know what’s wrong without me having to spell-it-out are always worse than just talking about it.

So in saying all of that, whether you are knee-deep in shitstorm or if you have managed to pop out the other side, I’d love to hear what you and your partner do to keep the conversation flowing (and not just about how many times little Johnny pooped today or what takeout to get for dinner). How do you make time for each other and what kinds of things do you do to keep your marriage pilot light lit?

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Photo Friday: Our two babies…

Every day we are astounded at how different our boys are. We are constantly reminiscing back to when Jesse was a baby and how different Jasper is to his older brother.

Apart from their completely different colouring and features, they are also very different in size. At just 3 weeks Jasper has already come back to and surpassed is birth weight, weighing in at a monster 4.7kg. Compared to Jesse who didn’t weigh that much until he was 3 months old!

Jasper is already wearing clothes of his brothers that Jesse was wearing much later. So we decided to have a bit of fun with this.

On the left is Jesse at 9 weeks old and on the right, Jasper in the same suit at 2.5 weeks old.

No doubt we will notice many differences as they grow up but there is no denying they are already very much in love with each other.

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Dealing with the Realities of Aging

Let’s talk about getting old for a minute. Or more specifically, caring for our loved ones as they get old.

But first I’ll preface this post by saying that, although we both write openly and honestly about our lives; mostly our parenting experiences, I do admit to censoring what I write about when it involves other family members. In this case though, I feel it’s an important topic to discuss and one that might resonate with others.

My family is relatively young compared to other people my age. My parents are under 50 (just) and one of my Nan’s was a Grandmother at 34! But these past few months we have been hit by the realisation that our loved ones are getting older and the impact that can have on the rest of the family.

One of those times was the passing of Kaine’s granddad a couple of months ago. And although he was 96 and my side of the family is much younger, my family are facing struggles in this arena too.

Recently one of my Grandmother’s was diagnosed with dementia. Due to circumstances within the family I have found myself becoming one of the ‘primary caregivers’ I suppose you could say. I entered the world of all things ‘old people’ and found myself knee-deep in social workers, senior living options, care providers, doctors and having absolutely no idea what I was doing.

I want to help, please don’t misunderstand. I want my Nan to be taken care of, be surrounded by family and enjoy quality of life as she still has a lot of life to live.

But as I sat in a meeting with her newly appointed case manager and we talked about care plans and medical services and what to do if Nan gets lost almost as if she wasn’t even in the room, my eyes filled and my throat closed.

This is too much. It’s too overwhelming. What if I make the wrong decision. What if she gets so sad and lonely and confused she’d rather not live in this world anymore.

I already feel so full with an energetic toddler and a growing belly that will soon become a newborn, sending me back into the haze of cluster feeding and unbelievable exhaustion. I don’t know if I can do it.

But here’s what I do know. My Nan deserves to feel loved, wanted and cared for at a time when she must be so afraid and lonely. I honestly don’t care who’s feelings might have been hurt in the past by different circumstances within the family or who was at fault. She is a mother, a Grandmother, and has survived the passing of two husbands that she loved dearly. She’s a person.

Yes it’s scary and overwhelming. It might even feel like an obligation at times, a hassle. But I know in my heart that doing all I can to help is the only option. I can’t promise that I’ll always make the right choices or that I will be able to be available all the time. But I’ll do what I can.

I love you Nan.

xx

Home Sweet Home

A few days ago marked 10 years of living in our home.

On the 21st December, 2005 we were just a couple of kids moving into our first home. At just 21 years old there was definitely a sense of pride and accomplishment in purchasing our own home. It wasn’t much, a three bedroom low set brick, nothing fancy. But we loved it and were so excited to be officially starting our life together.

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21 December, 2005
I don’t think I expected then to still be living in this house a decade later but so much has happened during our time here and a lot of dreams have been ticked off the list.

While living here we have married, had three pets (one of whom we miss very much) and two foster dogs, welcomed several guests requiring solace (some for a night or two and some for longer), been on four overseas trips, had multiple job changes one of which saw me working out of our home for the past five years. And most recently we became a family of three under this roof.

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21 December, 2015
Our home is still a humble one. Our backyard now resembles a race track thanks to our very energetic dog, Pacey. And most of the furniture and appliances are the same ones we bought when we moved in. Travel and adventure have always trumped that sort of stuff for us.

Though we have big plans for our ultimate dream home this place will always be special to us. And a place we’ll call home for a while yet.