it’s a long road, and it isn’t always pretty

I saw a quote somewhere the other day that was, in sum, how we (proverbial we) struggle and aren’t happy with our lives because we compare everyone else’s “highlight reel” to our regular, everyday, ho-hum existence. Or we compare the highlights to the part of our life that we don’t really talk about. The part, for instance, that may show we aren’t perfect or that our marriage or relationship isn’t all rainbows and laughter and magazine worthy perfection.

No one wants to talk about that part, even though we all have been there…or we are there now.

So, let’s talk about it.

I will be the first one to tell you that my life isn’t perfect. I’m sure Tim would line up behind me and be the second to voice the same. We have our moments that sometimes last for months. We go through ups and downs. We argue. We fail to communicate. We say things that are hurtful to each other, sometimes without even realizing it. Just the other weekend, after taking Kellan to a (what we thought would be) fun event called Tiny Tots Inside the Orchestra, we walked to a nearby coffee shop. We had to leave after a few minutes because Kellan was scared – it was too loud. So. Plan B. Coffee shop.

As we were walking in, I wasn’t paying attention to anything other than the fact that Kellan was whiny/probably needed a snack and pretty much snapped at Tim when he tried to tell me something about what the menu outside the shop said.

I don’t remember what I said or how I said it because my mind was 100% focused on getting Kellan’s needs met.

Tim asked me three times to repeat whatever I said….and I didn’t respond at all. I legitimately didn’t even hear him ask.

He got upset. I hurt his feelings and at the time, I didn’t even know why. It took getting into an argument (debate?) on the way home before I even knew what I had done. He didn’t want to talk about it or deal with it or start a fight.

I guess I did.

However, even though the whole conversation on the way home was zero percent fun, it helped. It took down some barriers we both had put up over the span of time this same type of thing had happened and neither of us dealt with it; but instead held it in and put up a protective wall. I’m pretty sure at some point, Tim said, “It’s always the same things. We always argue over the SAME THINGS. So, we are either not adjusting/changing our behaviors enough or we aren’t willing to change them at all.”

Ouch. But, that is true. It’s hard to change.

However, actually hearing what it was/is that I did/do that upsets Tim helped me realize that what I was doing (basically saying something with a snippy tone to stop the conversation dead in its tracks) was not the best way to handle a stressful situation for me (Kellan needing something). Tim learned that he sometimes has to actually make me repeat what he asked to make sure I heard him (though I’m trying to get better at hearing him the first time).

(And Kellan was asleep, by the way, so he wasn’t having to consciously witness this.)

I have a really hard time explaining to Tim, or to anyone, really, how difficult it is for me to pay attention when Kellan is actively needing something. It’s like my entire brain is buzzing, tuning everything out, except whatever it is that I need to do to satisfy the need. I’m sure I will get better at handling myself in these situations as Kellan gets older, but right now my brain literally goes into tunnel vision mode. It drops everything, tunes everyone out, doesn’t see anything except for any possible solution to take care of the need.

That automatic response is why I said my snippy comment outside the coffee shop and why I didn’t hear Tim ask me to repeat myself three times. All I heard in my brain, on repeat, was, “Do they have apple juice???

We have a really long way to go. We have much still to learn about balance and communication and compromise and letting go and being a family. It is really hard. Maybe I have more to learn in those areas than Tim, I don’t know. All I do know is that even though I mostly talk about lighthearted things and post pictures of fun events or moments, know that everyday life isn’t always so glamorous. We are not the perfect example if anything, other than maybe how not to be perfect, if that makes any sense. We are just regular people, trying to make the best out of what we have.

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9 Responses to “it’s a long road, and it isn’t always pretty”


  1. 1 Sanibel October 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Awh I really like this post. We too tend to have the same nit picky arguments and get into a funk. It isn’t fun. Marriage is hard ass work no matter what. I think throwing in a third demanding smaller version of yourselves changes the dynamic so much that you essentially have to redo a lot of what just naturally worked before. It doesn’t always have to be pretty though.

  2. 2 Mrs Loquacious October 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Oh how I wish I could give you a hug! But I can’t, though I will tell you that you and I may have been separated at birth or something because what you said is exactly what happens to me and Hubbs too. All. the. Time. And it’s over little things, made big because of old baggage and assumptions and poor tone or choice of words in the delivery. So yeah, I totally get it.

    You aren’t alone.

    I, too, develop a tunnel vision the moment DD fusses. It’s not intentional but my only goal, my only purpose, in that moment is to meet a need and stop the crying. Which Hubbs doesn’t get, because his brain doesn’t operate that way. And I lose patience when I feel like my time/attention is being divided, because he’s a grown-up and she’s a toddler, and I keep thinking, “Surely he can handle this himself? Can’t he figure it out without me, or talk to me later?!?” It’s not right, but it is one of the uglier parts of me that I discovered post-baby.

    One book that has helped has been Dr. David Hawkins’ Nine Critical Mistakes book (http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Critical-Mistakes-Most-Couples/dp/0736913491). It gives me perspective when I feel like I am the worst wife ever. And sometimes it helps me to figure out how to tell Hubbs when I feel like he’s being the worst hubby ever 😉

    And ain’t it grand that these guys are stuck with us, for better and for worse?! 😉 Thank God for vows. LOL.

  3. 3 Jeanette Lawrence Ghioto October 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    When couples have babies a temporary power shift needs to happen to accommodate the new baby. But as soon as some independence happens in toddlerhood he/she needs to see that unless he is in mortal danger he is second. If he ever gets into first place in front of the couple then healthy boundaries shift and the toddler knows that his ______ (critical (not) need for a sippy cup, snack whatever… Can trump his parents. And that is when the child’s behavior will start to manifest itself in ways that parents don’t like and cannot understand. The BEST love any parent can give his child is to LOVE that baby ‘s mom/dad first and to make sure the child knows that. “No you do not need your sippy cup NOW but mommy/daddy needs a kiss and a hug now – wait please”. Parents think they are doing the best for their child when they respond to every need immediately. But they aren’t. The real world does not care if you need your child needs their ____ right now – and preparing a child for the real world is what parents do.
    ” wait ” is one of the most important words that will mold a happy and successful child.

  4. 5 DetroitFamilyFun October 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Well said, thank you for the personal example, it’s definitely a tough road adjusting with your partner when the dynamic changes. When we had our one and only child, even though we had been married for ten years and together for twelve, it was like we had to get to know each other in our new role AND try to adjust in our own mind at all of our new priorities…it’s still a challenge some days… It’s still nice to know others go through it too 😉

  5. 6 lucindalines October 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Wow! My husband is the one who can’t get past the need of the child, and it doesn’t go away when they grow up, their voice just changes. I would try to ignore and focus, but it just doesn’t work. Good luck to you in working through this, I guess that is why marriages are such give and takes. Blessings to you today and always.

  6. 7 Jolene October 3, 2013 at 5:41 am

    I love this post for its honesty and how much I think we can all relate to this. The rathole arguments that are usually over something small, but it builds and builds and you realize maybe there is a bigger issue behind it. Good news, it is fixable, absolutely, and you two are consciously working on it. xoxoxo

  7. 8 Maureen October 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I appreciate this post because sometimes I truly think that everyone else’s relationship is better than mine. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who is always having fights about the same things. But, you’re right. It is hard to change, and recognizing the need to do so is the first step.

  8. 9 lucindalines October 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    FYI Lucindalines has nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award.


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