Going to War with Your Spouse

The word compromise gets a bad rap. When I think of people compromising I imagine a place of war, two guys standing on a battlefield after days of violence agreeing to each other’s terms. They don’t like each other, in fact they were at literal war with each other moments before but now they have come to an agreement.

Do you ever feel like that’s what compromise in your marriage feels like? You are gearing up for battle, you’ve got your list of their faults as your shield and and angry rebuddles as your sword. You are feeling good, you’re going to get what you want because you DESERVE it. You shouldn’t have to lie down while they stomp all over you. You have pride, you have a running list of things you’ve done that they don’t do and if it comes down to it, you’ll just do what you want anyway.

Now here is where this all falls apart… compromise shouldn’t be me vs. him. That isn’t what compromise is about. In fact, the word compromise way back in the 15th century was defined as “a coming to terms, a settlement of differences by mutual concessions.” Now I’m going to be real with you here. I hate compromises in my marriage. I am a competitive person and deep down I want to get my way (neon blinking sign that says “child of wrath” should hang above my head). “Mutual concessions” is not my go-to move in my marriage.

Prior to being a believer I would argue back and forth and there were numerous times where there was no answer decided, we just moved on. Sometimes we just went to bed and woke up the next morning like it never happened. If you’re married you probably recognize these situations and are thinking back on your own arguments. That’s the silly thing about marriage, you’re going to fight. There is always going to be another fight and that’s okay. You have to learn to be okay with it (I’m still learning this).

When you live with someone you aren’t going to agree 100% of the time. If you mix in stressful jobs, commutes, family issues, friend drama, children, scheduling, chores, etc. it all becomes a hot mess pretty quickly. That’s why compromising needs to be important to your heart.

You’ve probably heard that we should both give 100% and I completely agree but sometimes the other person doesn’t have 100% to give. Maybe they have a big presentation at work, the baby isn’t sleeping through the night or they are having emotional struggles, the list could keep going. Sometimes we are giving 110% and that’s okay. There are times when “mutual concessions” are what will make your marriage healthier and stronger.

I’ve been compromising with scheduling recently to be able to attend a Bible study on Monday evening. I take our daughter to church small group and leave at 7:30 so she can be in bed at 8. My husband gets some time to himself and we both say goodnight to her together. Monday’s I’m not home in time to tuck her in and before we made this compromise I wasn’t usually home for bedtime Sunday’s either. Like I said earlier, I want to get my way but this was the compromise we all needed.

Compromising doesn’t mean rolling over or giving in. We need to remember that this isn’t a battle in the first place. This is someone we love and they have an opposing opinion that we should take into consideration. Compromising is showing grace and love to our spouse in a way that reflects God’s love and grace towards us. It should be celebrated and not shunned.

 

Thankful for the Terrible Twos

When you live with an almost 2 year old there are days that are full of sweet hugs and some days that are full of tears, whining and frustration. If I stop to remember that she wants to communicate with us and is trying her hardest I can sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) be okay with the whining.

This weekend has been a full of whining and tears type of weekend. We went to a theme park on Saturday and there were multiple times where she yanked her hand out of my hand. She wanted to be everywhere all at once and did NOT want to be carried, holding hands or sitting in a stroller. It didn’t help that she had bug spray, sunblock and sweat all over her hands. Today the family went to run errands and she was in the same mood.

My patience is almost completely depleted and we are about to start another week tomorrow. These are the moments where I struggle as a working parent. I want to enjoy the weekend with her and rest for the week ahead but I find myself in a down mood wanting to go lay in the bathtub.

Thankfully my faith and husband help me to kick the mood and enjoy my time. While doing my Bible study I read that this is all temporary which reminds me that although this season is hard, it is only temporary. My husband emphasized the good moments and helped me to see through the darkness.

Although I won’t be as rested as I would like, I have so many moments to be thankful for. In between the fits and tears there were hugs, cuddles and kisses. After the tantrums were pulling me by the hand to sit with her. This life has been blessed by our Father and I will keep reminding myself of that, even if my patience is completely out the window.

 

Parenting Advice I Wish Someone Told Me

When your friends, family and even strangers find out that you are going to have a baby, you are going to be buried beneath mountains of advice and wisdom. Some of the advice is helpful but most of it is just going to freak you out. I remember someone warning me about having to have my downstairs cut open to pull the baby out for it to be easier on the doctor… what the heck. Another piece of sage wisdom I received involved feces, your SO and a room full of surgeons and interns (I’ll spare you the details).

It’s funny now to think about all of the things we were told before P got here and the things we wish we would have known. So instead of terrifying you with stories of stitches and fecal matter I’ve put together a list of things that you should really know about having a baby:

You won’t be able to go anywhere alone anymore (but you won’t want to).

At least in the beginning (our little one is still super cute and doesn’t have a cell phone) you won’t want to be apart from this new addition to your family. The first night she stayed with my parents all we could think about was what she was doing. We were texting asking for pictures and spent our “date night” at Target buying her clothes. Sure there are times when it would be easier to run out the door without having to get another human being ready to go, but they make up for it with kisses.

You will never sleep again (If your spouse sucks).

If your spouse doesn’t let you take naps when you are exhausted then y’all should have a serious conversation about the side-effects of being that tired. Hubs and I switch off when we are both on the brink of exhaustion (both working parents with super long commutes in decently stressful jobs). Since we switch off we are always at different levels of needing sleep so P is never just running amuck while we are passed out. When P was a newborn, we even took shifts to let the other sleep and recover for even moments at a time. If anything, the phrase should be “you’ll never sleep at the same time again” and even that passes.

You’ll never get to shower (any time you want).

There will be times when the baby is crying and you are covered in all kinds of disgustingness and you’ll want to get in the shower, but you can’t. That doesn’t mean you’ll never shower again. In fact, when the baby is a newborn it is much easier to shower because they can’t go anywhere (at least P couldn’t). When they can’t even roll over you can put them in a bouncy in the bathroom with you and get in the bath/shower. Now that doesn’t mean you won’t look out every minute and a half to check on them but you are getting water on your covered in snot body. There are also going to be times when you are just too exhausted to get in the bath but that’s fine too. Your baby will love you no matter what you smell like.

Stick to your guns (but not everything is a mountain to die on).

I’m more of a every fight is a mountain to die on type of girl, but I quickly realized that you can’t be as a parent. If you don’t want your baby to eat certain things then let it be known but if grandma or grandpa sneaks them a treat don’t lose your cool (I say this from experience). Not everyone feels the same way about foods and grandparents and other family members with children don’t always agree with you. That doesn’t mean they are right to give your kid something you specifically expressed you didn’t want them to have; it also doesn’t mean you should ban them from your next get together. Unless it is a detriment to P’s health, I’ve had to learn to let some things slide. Family members aren’t intentionally trying to hurt your child (it was hard for me to come to grips with too).

Moral of the story, it’s all going to be okay. If you poop on the table during birth, if you have a c-section or natural, if the baby has a head as big as a melon… it’s all going to be fine. Here are my parting words of wisdom:

No child is exactly alike, your combinations of life choices are never going to match perfectly to someone else, and that’s okay. Love them, keep them healthy, safe and don’t raise them to be a jerk and you’ll be good to go.

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter a crappy piece of advice that you received when you found out you were going to be a parent.

Finding A Daycare That Is Perfect For Your Family

As a new mom it was really hard to find a daycare that didn’t have a wait-list a mile long. I know that isn’t the same in all areas but where we are we had to wait a full year for an open spot at our daycare of choice. Picking who is going to be a surrogate parent for your child during the day is stressful. Here are the tips that I wish we had before we picked our first daycare:

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How to Get Your Chores Done Fast

I hate to admit that I was a terrible partner but I absolutely was. It’s embarrassing to say that for the first several years we were together my husband did 90% of the housework and cooking. I had a lot of baggage that made me believe that if I cooked/cleaned that I was subservient to my boyfriend/husband. I just couldn’t get it through my thick and selfish head that I needed to do my part. I didn’t want to be like my biological mother and I was so stubborn that I didn’t see the difference.

One day it finally sank in and I realized that chores weren’t a way to put someone in their place. It really was as my husband had been saying all along; they were just “things that had to get done.” Once I got over my baggage and selfishness, we started doing all of our chores together. I’m very blessed that he was patient with my nonsense. This is when a completely different issue popped up. He had his way of doing things and what all needed to be done but I didn’t.

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