HOT TOPIC: What’s harder, marriage or parenthood?

OK, I admit, I totally stole this topic from another blog discussion that happened at Momversation.com.  (This is a website where some super-funny and outspoken mommy bloggers get together and have a virtual discussion on provoking topics related to family life and parenthood.  Pretty funny stuff, you should check it out.)  Then it was relayed in more detail on Heather Armstrong’s blog.  (One of my all-time favorite bloggers, probably the first one I ever started to read.)  Heather had a different experience from the other moms, and mine correlates with hers, so I thought it’d be an interesting topic to bring-up and discuss on here.

So.  In your experience, what has been harder, being a wife/husband or being a parent?  I think this question is going to look totally different for every person depending on the kind of relationship you have with your spouse and the kind of kids you have.  I have learned that temperament is EVERYTHING.  Some people are madly in love with their spouse but realize that they are complete opposites in almost every way.  That kind of relationship will almost certainly take a little bit more work than the couple who shares most of their likes and dislikes and who have a similar personality.  I’m also guessing that the mom whose baby never cried and slept 8 hours a night by six weeks old might have a bit of a different perspective than the one whose baby still isn’t sleeping through the night and screams all day long.  So it’s not like there’s a “right” answer, but I think it’s a thought-provoking question and I’d love to hear your experience.

As for me, being a wife has been ten times easier than being a mom.  Clay and I are one of those blessed couples whose relationship, generally speaking, comes pretty easily.  Although we have our issues and we’ve definitely argued more and more as the years have gone on, from the begining we both characterized our relationship as just coming very easily and naturally.  In general, it’s just really easy for us to get along and be happy together.  (I just realized how many times I just said “easy,” don’t hate me!)  Of course we have certain things that need work and recurring issues that pop-up every now and then… But we’re both pretty laid-back, and we’re just a great match.  (This doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t love for me to be more into sports and outdoorsy stuff and I wouldn’t like for him to read more of the books I love!)

On the other hand, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned a million times before, our adjustment to parenthood was pretty rough for awhile.  Evelyne was colicky, I had a bit of PPD, and Clay was super-worried for me.  And we were just. so. tired.  The first six months sucked, the second six months was better, but by the time she turned 1, we had our own little groove going and were totally in love with our three-person family.  I loved Evelyne from the beginning, but she was a demanding little booger, and like Heather Armstrong said, if you went on a date with a guy who screamed at you for hours on end, you wouldn’t go out with him again!  But when it’s your daughter, ya just gotta give her the boob.  My marriage was a rock for both of us when we were totally freaked-out and tired of taking care of a fussy baby.  We used to fondly talk about how in another 25 or so years down the road we’d be empty-nesters again when our kids went to college, and oh, what a wonderful life it will be when it’s just us again!  Clay was a wonderful partner to be on a parenting team with, and our marriage grew a lot as we learned to rely on each other for parenting tasks like getting-up in the middle of the night, taking turns rocking a crying baby, and giving the other person a turn to take a nap.  I actually fell more in love with him and our marriage got stronger as we both suffered through wondering if we made the right decision to do this whole baby thing.

Now, of course, we’re both obsessed with Evelyne and regularly sit around and talk about how wondeful she is and how she’s the best little girl that God ever created and we wish that she would never grow-up and leave us.  We would never want to live our lives without her, and I’m still in that mom-about-to-have-a-second-baby place of wondering how I’m going to love another baby as much as I love her.  So yeah, the adjustment period has resolved itself.  But still.  In general, I think being with Clay is easier than being with Evelyne much of the time.  He doesn’t yell and whine at me to make him food that he then won’t even take one bite of before declaring that he wants to color with his new markers as he strips-off all of his clothing.  Nope, we’ve still got that whole give and take conversation thing going-on that makes marriage easier for me than being a mom.  At this stage of our lives.  I realize that every stage will present its own complications, and I’m sure there will be several seasons of our lives ahead in which our marriage will take every ounce of resolve and sacrifice that we have in us to keep it together, and loving my kids will be a heck of a lot easier.  (And there definitely are days where it’s like that!)

So for right now being a wife is much easier than being a mom.  What about you?

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9 responses to “HOT TOPIC: What’s harder, marriage or parenthood?

  1. That was good to read. I’m glad you are so honest about your feelings (hense the name of the blog I guess). I too have to admit, even after a failed marriage, parenthood is still harder. In fact in hind sight we both acknowledge that having two autistic children definitely weighed heavily on a marriage that was unfortunately sitting on a quick sand foundation. I wish that instead of drifting a part, we had both worked on building a stronger marriage so that we would have been more prepared for kids. I hear a lot of couples saying that they want to wait till their finances are in order before having kids. I personally believe that finances being in order is far down on the list compared to the relationship being in order. I wouldn’t trade my children for anything and love them more each day. It’s the fact that I love them and my heart is so vulnerable towards them that it hurts to see them struggle or be sad or feel shame when not being able to answer when spoken to. When you’re a parent of any child, it’s like your very heart is out of your chest walking around in diapers. You want to do anything to protect them, teach them, and just love love love on them because they are your babies!

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  2. Great discussion…especially because there is no wrong or right. I would definitely say for me personally that marriage is harder. I don’t have perfect little angels and I do worry about them but in general I have always felt God’s hand on me when it came to them. My marriage on the other hand….let me just say that my husband and I are NOT good communicators. I have been divorced and that left some marks on me too. I feel that for me it takes a little more work to keep my marriage spark alive than to keep me confident in my parenting. Also not that I take my parenting lightly but I have always felt that my children are not mine …they are God’s children and he will guide me to raise them in his way. Maybe I should be more open to feeling that way about my marriage….have more faith in God to allow myself to open up to his guidance as being a wife. Good topic.

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  3. Interesting read. Made me think.

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  4. “…if you went on a date with a guy who screamed at you for hours on end, you wouldn’t go out with him again! But when it’s your daughter, ya just gotta give her the boob.”

    Actually, this may be a good tactic for a guy who screams at you as well. I’m just sayin.

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  5. I’m laughing so hard at what JR just wrote that I will have to regain some composure before I’m able to respond better!

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  6. Okay….I cannot truelly comment on this topic because I do not have children, but I did help raise my younger sister and brother (11 and 13 years younger). I have to say that because of that time I feel pretty confident in my parenting skills and can pretty much say now and forever that my marriage will always be hardest thing I have ever done. When I think about parenting, the thought of daily routines doesn’t tend to get to me, but the thought of being a godly example and teaching them the ways of the Lord terrifies me! I mean, I fill like a failure already and I don’t even have kids to teach.
    Oh and I can’t let JR get away with that comment….hilarious and gross all at the same time.

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  7. since i don’t have kids, all I can do is laugh so hard at JRs comment, too. holy cow.

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  8. Thats a tough one, because my husbands job is so demanding of our life style that it makes our marriage and being a parent harder than it would be for most families, but it also makes us and me stronger and in ways i wouldnt change it for the easy way even if i could. I love challenges too much!
    -h

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  9. @ Sarah B. I like what you said here: “my children are not mine …they are God’s children and he will guide me to raise them in his way.” I am responsible to be the best parent I can be, but this was a good reminder that I can’t fix everything- they belong to God and their future is ultimately in His hands. My guess is that in marriage or parenthood, God would like us to rely a whole lot more on Him than our own strength- (which doesn’t really exist w/o Him if you think about it) I’m very thankful my ex and I are still good friends and we agree on a lot concerning raising our kids- this is helpful. The more I thought about it, I want to change my original opinion, because it wasn’t till after divorce that we became closer friends. We joined in friendship to do whatever it takes to help our sons, whereas in marriage we were caught up in our own needs and expectations from each other. Marriage shows you just how selfish you really are.

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