7 Semi-Ridiculous Things My Husband and I Argue Over Since Having Kids

7 Semi-Ridiculous Things My Husband and I Argue Over Since Having Kids

As a self-proclaimed “cool girl” for many years of my unmarried life, I could sit there and tell you exactly what kind of wife and mother I was going to be. “My kids will never eat hot dogs, watch television, or play with any plastic toys. My husband and I will have sex every night, travel around the world with our children, and we will never, ever fight,” I would self-righteously announce to anyone bored enough to listen. In retrospect, I’m sure every one of my poor, verbal vomit victims who were in fact married themselves or had children were silently scoffing at the absurd ideals that me and every other husbandless, childless woman swears they will abide by and unwittingly abandons as soon as their water breaks. Since having children, I have become the ultimate hypocrite of my former self. Not only do my children feast on McDonald’s Happy Meals, know the names of every Sesame Street character, and have a playroom filled with junk from Toys ‘R’ Us, but my husband and I manage to argue about things that I didn’t even know were debatable. Forget about amateur topics like money and sex, there are far more uninteresting things to bicker about when it’s not just the two of you anymore. 1. The accumulation of stuff, or as he likes to call it: packratting. What I consider saving memorabilia (and there’s a lot more of it now that I have kids), my husband vilifies as straight up hoarding, treating me like one of those glutinous slobs on the documentary series Hoarders. Birthday cards from great Aunt Edna, “art”...
What Making Time For Your Marriage Really Means

What Making Time For Your Marriage Really Means

One of the most common pieces of marriage advice is that you must make time for each other. We read about the importance of “couple time” in self-help books and magazine articles. We listen to seasoned married couples tell us how important it is to make time for each other. And we hear talk show hosts and self-prescribed experts tell us that we can’t let parenthood take priority over marriage. This is all well and good, but what these books and experts don’t always say is that the definition of “making time for your marriage” changes as a marriage evolves. Making time for marriage used to mean weeklong vacations, regular date nights, and Sunday mornings in bed. But as a marriage progresses—and especially after kids enter the picture—“making time” takes on a whole new meaning. Making time for marriage requires flexibility, patience, and a whole lot of creativity. Making time for your marriage means a long hug or a quick butt squeeze in the kitchen. Making time for your marriage means emailing and texting 50 times a day about things like grocery lists and soccer practice and your mother-in-law’s birthday because it means more time to actually talk when you’re together. Making time for your marriage means laughing at the first 10 minutes of Saturday Night Live together before one of you falls asleep on the couch. Making time for your marriage means trying eight times to finish a sentence, interrupted with a “Daddy, guess what?!” each time, and then finally giving up with a sigh and a smile, because whatever you were going to say can wait. Making time for your marriage means quickies...
Date Night: It’s Nicer Than Divorce

Date Night: It’s Nicer Than Divorce

I showed up to Little League with all four of my little kids in tow, and I asked the coach which nights practices will be held, because I’m the mom who has no idea when practices are until the first day of Little League. “Wednesday nights,” he said. “Wednesday nights?” I replied. “You won’t be seeing me on Wednesday nights. It’s date night. You’ll be seeing Joe, the babysitter.” “This week?” he asked. “Nope,” I said. “I mean every week. Wednesday night is date night every week.” “Seriously?! Sounds nice,” he replied in an unnecessarily snarky voice. “It’s a whole helluva lot nicer than divorce,” I replied. Because it is. I get it—how scheduling date night can seem like a fancy-pants thing to do. Hire a babysitter, put on some mascara, change into a shirt that’s not covered with food splatter or something that came out of one or all of your children’s bodies. Sure, it’s a workout. It’s also contingent on the fact that you and your spouse both have a common night you can set aside each week, when you’re not scrambling for more hours at work or to drive some kid somewhere or to fold 37 loads of laundry. Plus, it’s expensive. You need to buy food you would’ve eaten for free at home, and you need to pay Joe the babysitter. And paying a babysitter to take care of a bunch of kids, even for just two hours, it adds up. But I maintain, it’s a helluva lot cheaper than paying for a divorce. And date night means something in my marriage. There’s this guy I married...
Let’s Admit That Marriage Is Difficult

Let’s Admit That Marriage Is Difficult

Recently my marriage went through a glorious period where I was “newlywed” in love with my husband. We parented in synchronicity. We finished each other’s sentences. We were the Facebook couple others pretended to be. And in one fell swoop, it ended. We fought—a knock-down-drag-out fight, the sort reserved for reality shows and soap operas, minus the drink-throwing of course (we don’t waste beer and wine). The fight was exhausting. We talked, we yelled (okay, I yelled; he winced and almost walked away) and we resolved little. I felt like a failure. I felt tried. I felt angry. I felt cheated. Where was my Prince Charming, the type I was sure all my friends had married? Why wasn’t my marriage as perfect as the others I’d seen on Facebook? The couples who stared into each other’s eyes or hugged by the beach while dolphins leapt behind them. Later that night, I sent a text to a friend. I didn’t know what I was expecting—not much, honestly. No one I knew was very open about marriage, including the people who raised me. Marriage—like money and all other issues we keep mum about—seemed off-limits. Sure we would laugh about how our husbands made us crazy or how they didn’t do the dishes or compliment us enough, but no one really went into detail about it. We never shared the ugly, the real, the truth. To admit to having issues in your marriage seemed to be an admission of failure. This was how I felt as I rolled through the peaks and valleys. My friend listened as I laid out the beginning, middle, and...
A Family Vacation Vs. A Real Vacation

A Family Vacation Vs. A Real Vacation

We are going on vacation! I’m actually a little reluctant to call it a vacation, since I’m bringing my toddler along. Yes, I’m taking the week off from work, and I’ll be at the beach. But I don’t know how much relaxation will be happening, as “relaxation” is not exactly my son’s middle name. His middle name is actually “GET THE HELL DOWN FROM THERE! YOU’RE GOING TO KILL YOURSELF!” Typically, on vacation I’d spend most of my time sleeping in and reading and drinking and eating. But this is a so-called “family vacation,” and with a toddler in tow, the things one would typically do become if not entirely impossible then altered beyond all recognition. Here’s a list of ways I suspect my family vacation won’t actually be all that much of a vacation: 1. Reading My wife and I made a handful of last-minute book purchases from Amazon, and I swear when I hit “checkout” I could hear my computer laughing at me. The odds of us having time to lounge around reading books on the beach are about 8 million to one. Pretty sure most of the reading I’ll be doing will involve GPS directions and stories about trains. 2. Sleeping The computer isn’t laughing at me this time; my son is. He has settled firmly into a 6:30 a.m. wake-up routine, and it doesn’t matter if it’s Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, or he’s sleeping in one of those space-tubes in the Alien movies; the kid’s internal clock is my eternal nemesis. It doesn’t know when I’m on vacation, and why would it? My son’s whole life is...
5 Reasons Married Life Is Different Than Living Together

5 Reasons Married Life Is Different Than Living Together

My husband and I lived together for about 18 months before we tied the knot. You can call it cohabitation, a warmup, pre-gaming, or even living in sin, but no matter what name you put on it, things change when you become Mr. and Mrs. Marriage is different than being two people who share the same bed and the same address. Cohabitating couples may say stuff like “a piece of paper isn’t going to change our relationship,” but I’m here to tell you: things do change. Here are five reasons (that have nothing to do with kids — parenthood is a whole different story) why married life is different than living together … 1. You’re really family now There’s a difference between your boyfriend’s relatives and your in-laws. The difference may not rear its head right away, but marriage brings a sense of permanence and obligation when it comes to family; love her or not, your boyfriend’s mom and your mother-in-law are not the same woman. There’s a responsibility that comes with absorbing family problems, especially as parents age. And yes, there may also be joy in expanding your family circle, but the permanence adds another layer of complexity … no matter how crazy you are about your in-laws (or how crazy your in-laws are, you choose). 2. The gross-out factor no longer exists When we were just living together, my now-husband and I made an attempt to keep our less-than-sexy bathroom habits under wraps, or at least to be discreet about them. The announcement of “I might be in here for a while” might’ve meant I was clipping my toenails and plucking stray...