10.09.2009

divorce & parents of multiples

I want to talk about something a little controversial...
I have been reading a lot about Jon & Kate ever since I heard their show will no longer be Jon & Kate Plus 8, but simply Kate Plus 8. I am honestly heartbroken for her that her family fell apart. Sure, she was not innocent in the demise of her marriage, we all play an important part in our relationships, but I do feel that she would have been willing to try counseling or something, whereas Jon was ready to be done.
But I am not here to defend Kate.
Or Jon.

I am here to talk about their divorce, their children & the challenges they faced as parents of multiples. When I tried to look around on the internet for statistics, what I found instead was site after site of people talking about how Kate used parenting her multiples as a copout for her divorce.
I disagree.

Josh & I were the happiest married couple I know for the first five years of our marriage. Lost jobs, stolen cars, hospitalizations, crazy college classes & opposite schedules never fazed us.

These TWO boys, on the other hand, have turned our relationship from enjoyment mode to survival mode. We are both just scrambling to get our jobs, schoolwork & housework done. And above all- to get the boys' needs met. I honestly think you could not understand the pressure unless you have multiples.
If a couple has one baby, they can take turns. Mommy can leave for an afternoon "with the girls" and not have any guilt for leaving her husband drowning in a sea of screams & diapers. These singleton parents can go to the park, play with the baby, AND visit. When we go to the park, it's every man for himself. We both have to chase babies. There is no leisurely visiting. Especially at this age.
Parents of singletons can spend time with their one baby & not feel guilt for having left the other one out. Parents of singletons have at least half the laundry, half the bottle washing, and half the cost of basic necessities.

I don't want to appear bitter. I love the boys. I am blessed to be their mother and would NEVER trade them. But my love for them does not take away the challenge they have provided for Josh & msyelf within our marriage. We struggle to get out of the house on weekends without the kids because we are using our sitters during the week and do not want to burn them out.
In a nutshell, with our work & class schedules, plus the boys & no date nights, I can see quite easily how a marriage could fall apart if both parties were not focused on making it work.

The tricky part is that it happens slowly. Our boys are 16 months old. Over the last year and four months, days have gone by where we haven't hugged or held hands. Things that used to happen naturally (making Josh's lunches for him, Josh taking out the trash for me) now take a backseat to more urgent demands (poopy diapers, naughty climbers, biting brothers).

Every day we have to make the choice to stop, look each other in the eyes, and say "I love you." This morning we woke up late, fed the boys, got ready, loaded the car, put the boys in their carseats, and each got in our cars. As I started my car up, there was a knock on my window. Josh wanted to give me the goodbye kiss we had forgotten. It's the small moments like that that make me thankful for him, and remind me that we have a strong foundation under us, we just need to remember to value each other & make time (if we can) to talk & reconnect.

If we were to let things continue naturally, we would be strangers by the time the boys got old enough for us to spend time alone together again.

Lucky for us, we are both committed to surviving this crazy time in our lives. We are going out (wahoo!) this weekend for dinner & a movie (can you imagine?) while my sister (bless her heart) watches the boys.
We really need this. As do lots of people I know.

Do something for your marriage this weekend.
For the sake of your kids.
For the sake of your husband.
For the sake of your happiness.

6 comments:

Heather said...

I'm not sure how I came across you blog. Reading what you wrote about multiples and how hard keeping your marriage together is very true. I wanted to thank you for what you wrote it has inspired me to take some time for me and my husband. My daughters are 8 months old and it's hard to find time for myself let alone time for him and I. Here's a link to my daughters blog if you interested. http://chloecasey.blogspot.com/
Thank you again
Heather

Kenny and Allison Durbin said...

I can't say I know what you are feeling because I only have one, but I would have to say I identify with everything you are saying just maybe on a different level. Good job on being honest! Life is so hard and I am so tired of reading blogs that are like oh yeah my husband is perfect, my kids are perfect, my job is perfect, life is perfect. No one has that kind of life and I appreciate it when people can be real! You made me feel like maybe I'm not going crazy, maybe everyone has struggles like me. :)

Lynnette said...

It's been difficult with just one baby, I don't want to think about trying to manage more...Thank you for posting this, made me remember to hug/kiss my hubby when he came home from work!

Rox said...

I love the honesty! I think you're so right, marriage takes work and focus. If it falls of the priority list it sure could take a lot of work to get things solid again.
I look up to you and Josh so much, as a couple. It's nice to hear that it takes effort. Maybe that's something some couples have forgotten along the way.
I'm glad to be reminded!

Julie said...

For me I will never be able to say our marriage is good now I can work on something else. It's always going to take effort. I read this the other day on the LDS website. I really like it, and need to follow it!! "Pray for the love which allows you to see the good in your companion. Pray for the love that makes weaknesses and mistakes seem small. Pray for the love to make your companion’s joy your own. Pray for the love to want to lessen the load and soften the sorrows of your companion."

Elizabeth said...

Hello I just found your blog and I know this is an old post, but I wanted to thank you for sharing. Also my children are older (but I don't have multiples)and to a degree my husband and I felt like this until the kids were about 3 years old. Until then it is so intense and draining and tiring being parents, that lots of things "slide" and your relationship can be one of those things. As the kids get a bit older there demands become less (in a way)and you will find more time.
You sound like you are both trying really hard and so good luck and I wish you all the best.
Elizabeth