Connected

connect

Apologies to anyone who now has that shitty Barbie movie song in their head. Or does now at least…

It’s always an interesting exercise for me checking which old posts people read over the course of a night when I check into my blog in the morning. Without exception, How to make a Peppa Pig cake is there. Every time. There’s usually the odd recipe, a strange phrase that someone has typed into google like “my husband packs the dishwasher wrong” and every now and then it’s about controlled crying. Or “my baby won’t stop crying” or “I am so tired I can’t see straight” that kind of thing. Those always break my heart. Like a war vet with flashbacks I am instantly transported to our terrace in Camperdown, sitting at the end of Daisy’s bed listening to a fucking Dorothy the Dinosaur CD on repeat riding out the waves of nausea from my pregnancy with Harper, the tiredness and of course the anger and resentment, desperately begging in my head for sleep to come to her so I could have 5 minutes to myself and with Rob before collapsing into bed to be woken up to 4 times in the night and do it all over again. Shudder.

I got an email this week from a reader who is EXACTLY in that place right now. I read her words and understood every single thing she said and everything that she didn’t. She was tired, and frustrated and going out of her brain and was worried about things with her husband, and the new baby on the way, you know all the million and 1 one things that we women and Mothers worry about on any given day. I tried to give her a virtual rub on the back, tell her it was all going to be OK, because it will be. One day her child will sleep. One day the new baby will be grown up too. One day her and her husband will feel like having sex again. One day.

One day.

The main piece of advice I gave this lovely reader was that she needed to speak with her husband. The thing with her kid sleeping or not sleeping will pass, but she needed to speak with her husband. To bridge any gap that may be there with a chat. Just some words. I told her to ask for help. Don’t weigh up what you have done versus what HE has done. Just chat. It reminded me of this post that I wrote a few years back. Just talk. So simple and yet so very hard sometimes.

Being married is hard work. It just is. Having a family and a career and all the things that come with being a grown up thrown in for good measure can make things even more complicated. Throw in some lack of sleep, or worries with one of your kids and things can instantly spiral out of control. I was recently reminded how easy it is to turn our backs on our partners and focus on the me’s instead. Why do I have to do everything? Why do I have to get up in the night? No good can come from it I tell you, no good at all.  A disconnect can happen without you even realising. First its thoughts, then the physical contact…sometimes you can go days without having a chat to your partner about something that ISN’T home/family life related. Not to mention actually touching each other.

How do you guys stay connected to your partner when life does its thing? I’m not talking about sex here, maybe for you that’s the answer, but I’m talking about feeling properly in a relationship again…like knowing what the other is thinking or feeling about any number of things. Being concerned for your partner. Being considerate of your partner and their needs…just because you love them?

I am guilty of all this stuff. I am the queen of keeping an imaginary tally of ALL OF THE THINGS that I do. Of ALL OF THE TIMES I have done x, y and z. Waiting for some imaginary ceremony where all the members of the family thank me and cloak me in some kind of glory of family gratitude. But it never happens and before you know it, you can find yourself back out. Disconnected.

A chat will usually fix it for us. A hug…man, a simple hug can mean so much can’t it? That physical touch will usually reconnect us and wipe away any tallies in my mind. We’re all just trying our best, doing our best impersonation of a grown up wife or husband, Mum or Dad. When the hell did we turn into our parents? Isn’t it still 1996?

I’d love to know how you stay connected to your partner?
And for anyone deep in the trenches of parenting with small people, IT WILL GET BETTER. I swear it.
And don’t forget, if you ever need to make a Peppa Pig cake, I’m your girl.

Comments

  1. you’ve just touched on every topic going in in my household at the moment. I’m fighting back the tears because I have bloody play group at 9. We can be so hard on ourselves that it drives us and everyone else crazy!! deep breath, some wine hot bubble bath and a locked bathroom door for me tonight.

  2. Advice from my MIL a few days before G and I were married, “Don’t blame each other, blame the situation.” I think when things go pear shaped it’s really easy to get caught up in whose fault it is. We’ve missed flights (with 4 kids, 2 strollers and 10 suitcases in tow), had accidents in uninsured cars (long story), and made a few really costly wrong decisions that we’ve both somehow managed to laugh at because we’ve realized there’s no point getting caught up on whose fault it was. I think our dramas and getting through them together has been what has kept us connected. There are days when I hate G’s guts, like really, seriously – but I’m never in any doubt that we’re in this thing together and that he’s my biggest supporter.

  3. Thanks for this post Beth. Resentment is a big one for me. I still breastfeed O, I still co-sleep with her (she screams blue murder if he tries to put her to sleep, oh god) and obviously I look after her in the day and do the house and cooking too. And WHAT DOES HE DO, NONE OF THAT! DONT YOU DARE COME HOME AND TELL ME YOUR TIRED! I’m sure you know how I feel there lol. One day we said we HAVE to stop comparing. Who is more tired, who’s job is harder etc. Just BE there for one another.
    But I know I need to put him first more often again because boy do we have a special something… I never want to lose it!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says:

      I know! How silly would it be to lose something special over a situation that WILL pass. I hear you Jackie…

  4. Whoah I am actually right in the middle of writing a post that answers this question. Will have to send you the link when it’s up xx

  5. Tara Lucas says:

    This really hit home with me on many levels.

    We have a 7 month babe and a four and a half year and the sleep is scarce and far between… for me.

    He drives for a living and it worries me if he has broken sleep so I do it.

    It kills me… I do what I can each day. That’s all I can do right?

    Well when my youngest was 15 weeks old things between my husband and I became… undone. He blamed ‘situations’, I blamed my sleep deprived, newborn busy, other mum business, consumed by breast feeding, recovering from birth self.

    Communication, has slowly started to patch things back together. Communication IS important. Even if {in our situation} its via text because we barely have two seconds to have adult conversation between the children’s bed time and mine.

    Sometimes there is a note left on the table. Sometimes letters are written and then read out to each other because the brain is too tired to put a sentence together to even know where to start.

    Things take time, but people don’t know what is happening unless you talk… unless you connect with them.

    Thank you Beth x

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says:

      Great advice Tara – thanks for sharing with us. I always think that a letter/text/email is a good place to start because you can stop and think about what you want to say. Usually once I start all this OTHER stuff comes out that I didn’t even know about!

  6. Tara Lucas says:

    This really hit home with me on many levels.

    We have a 7 month babe and a four and a half year and the sleep is scarce and far between… for me.

    He drives for a living and it worries me if he has broken sleep so I do it.

    It kills me… I do what I can each day. That’s all I can do right?

    Well when my youngest was 15 weeks old I discovered that my Husband was doing something that Husbands shouldn’t be doing. He blamed ‘situations’, I blamed myself.

    Communication, has slowly started to patch things back together. Communication IS important. Even if {in our situation} its via text because we barely have two seconds to have adult conversation between the children’s bed time and mine.

    Sometimes there is a note left on the table. Sometimes letters are written and then read out to each other because the brain is too tired to put a sentence together to even know where to start.

    Things take time, but people don’t know what is happening unless you talk… unless you connect with them.

    Thank you Beth x

  7. Lovely post. It’s so important to take time to chat with your partner. Thanks for the reminder xx

  8. Hi Beth, as parents I think we all go through this (relative to your own circumstances) type of crazy. I’ve seen lots of friend’s relationships suffer with their partner, it’s so common. So what’s the point we ask? Well, we learn patience, that’s for sure! The other (most important) thing both parents need is a break, a break away from the responsibilities of parenting. Unfortunately this can be almost impossible for some families, due to work commitments, lack of childcare options (no relatives close by) or cost of babysitter. It seems such a disconnected era in someways now. Fortunately though we can connect in seconds to other Mums and share and let each other know – you’re not alone :-)
    Liz xxx

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says:

      I agree Liz…people are far more isolated in some ways than we ever have been raising our children and yet we have this virtual community available at the drop of an Instagram pic or Facebook update that we never did before.

  9. For me, it’s everyday moments that mean the most. A proper kiss hello and especially goodbye. A gentle touch. A little gesture ‘just because’. And always, putting each other first, above all else, because your relationship deserves to be at the top. Everything else falls in place from there. x

  10. Anecdotal Anna says:

    We all like to talk but often don’t say what needs to be said. In my life I have long practiced saying what I need to when I need to. If the husband peeves me off I say so, if he makes me happy, I say so. No matter where we are. No matter who we are with. I think it has helped me to move on from disappointments quickly and not hold grudges as the emotions don’t have time to fester as they might if I waited for an “appropriate’ time to vent them.

    I also parent the same. How you see me in public is exactly how I parent at home. No cloak and dagger, no putting on a show for public approval.

    Also, I do love a chat. x

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says:

      I’m the same Anna…I can’t parent any differently in the ‘real’ world than when I do at home…that seems so strange to me to do otherwise!

  11. Reannon Hope says:

    My marriage is a bit different to most. My hubby is a FIFO worker & is gone for four weeks at a time & home for one. It’s a hard bloody slog for all of us!
    Luckily our marriage is rock solid but with a 14 year old (demon teenager), a 11 year old, a 10 month old ( who does not sleep) & a 27 week old baby growing in my belly I can’t deny there are times ( especially in the middle of the night) when I think he has it good & I’ve got the short straw. I mean aaaaaaalllllll he does is work 12 hours a day in the middle of bum fuck nowhere in 40+ degree heat for 28 days straight!! That’s gotta be better than what I’m dealing with right? I mean he doesn’t have to clean or cook or deal with kids day in day out so surely he’s living the life!
    But those moments are fleeting & deep down I know we are both struggling. That’s why when he’s home we have a debrief to make sure we are both ok, work out a few problems , reasses plans & make sure we are still on the same page.
    While he’s away I have to remind myself it’s ok to call him when I’m having a bad day. I don’t have to hide the shitty stuff & he’ll sit there & listen & talk & apologise he’s not here to help & that’s all I need- to know I’m not alone.
    I think sometimes us woman forget we can say that we are not ok, that we need help or need a break. Men aren’t mind readers & more often than not they need things spelled out clearly for them. Once you speak up, point things out they will do what needs doing.
    So I guess what I’m saying in a long rambling way is TALK!! Don’t stop talking to each other.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says:

      Men really are simple creatures compared to women. Talk. TELL THEM WHAT YOU WANT. Make them feel important and valued. And have sex with them. Easier said than done!!

    • The Lazy Housewife says:

      O Reannon Hope, you just made me laugh out loud…. all of these posts sound exactly like my life. It is good to know I am not a complete crazy wacko. O and my husband doesn’t call them Fly In Fly Out…. he calls them Fly in Fly ON and Fly out…. ha ha ha

  12. Lol – some of my married friends and I joke that the secret to a good marriage is acknowledging that sometimes you might not always like your partner (but you love them, even when you hate them).

  13. Gail Virgona says:

    Thank you for this virtual rub on the back for us all Beth. I feel like I’m in the trenches even thought my ‘newborn’ is 18 months but still breastfed still wakes at night etc etc blah blah. An hour alone out of the house (hard but we manage it sometimes) is the biggest reconnect. We went to see The Boss in concert on Sunday night. We kept looking at each other like we were newly weds. I can see being out being grown ups doing a non-kid thing reminds us both why we love each other. Oh and then a embarrassing but effective trick – grab the ‘front of his jeans’ and it makes him laugh every time. He says something like ‘yeah right, as if you want that’ but at least it breaks the ice!

  14. This was a timely read for me Beth…I am feeling that connection missing between hubby and I at the moment but trying to explain that and why to him is so hard. That simple act of a hug really does make all the difference with the sense of closeness and security it brings! A wonderful post, Tatum xx

  15. Dannie Wallace says:

    Beautiful post Beth :-) I can rarely stay mad at times with my hubby .I always take the time to chat cos he is ill and getting worse (yes he has some good days ) In pain alot ~ rare bone cancer MHE bio synthisis ) so iWe always take the time to never get angry and chat all day after 20 years of marriage you seem to know what works and always never hold secrets back x

  16. Margaret Jolly says:

    One of the readings at my wedding was the one with ‘love doesn’t keep score’. And it doesn’t, until you have children. Then is sure starts. But my kids are almost all grown up now (and yes, it does get better and easier) and I wish I had known then what I know now – Resentment is the poison you drink hoping your enemy will die. This is a simple concept – if you become resentful, the only person suffering is you, not the person you resent. So the only way to change that is to talk. And yes, hugs are so easy and simple. One other piece of advice for those in the trenches – teach your children to take responsibility for jobs from an early age. Do not become a slave in your own palace!

  17. I’ve been married for 10 years, together for 12. We have had 3 kids together and 1 from my first marriage, which I learnt massive lessons from and have what I say – as close to a perfect marriage as I could have ever hoped for. My biggest tip is Communication. About everything. The good, the bad, the ugly. Asking eachother how your day has been, even if you know it’s been a shit one, just talking at the end of the day opens up the lines for whatever else you want to throw in. He’s my best friend. I mean yeh, I have a few bestest bff’s also, but when it comes to the crunch – he’s the one who holds me up and backs me up and doesn’t ever walk away. And yes, all children are hard work when they’re little, and when they’re big. My eldest is 15, youngest is 5. And this year they are all at school. And i’m alone. Which in so many ways I have looked forward to for SOOOOO long (ummmm 15 years!!!!), but it’s gone so quickly, and my babies aren’t babies anymore, and how I wish I could just have those first few weeks of elation with a baby again :)

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says:

      We always wish for what we don’t have don’t we? I’m like that when we are away from the kids…desperate to escape and then missing them 10 minutes into a trip!

  18. Lisa Mckenzie says:

    We have been married for nearly 29 years in April and I totally agree marriage is a hard slog,when you have children everything changes there is not just the 2 of you and it never ends As a mother you always worry about your children ,a hug a secret smirk that they only know what it means and make time to have time alone even if it’s just coffee or dinner it doesn’t matter ,great advice Beth and make sure your on the same page!

  19. Beautifully written Beth. I agree on so many levels! Nothing like the physical connection (even just holding hands) to bring you back into line emotionally… Most effective form of communication sometimes!

  20. Great post, I am mentally preparing to tackle the Peppa Pig cake for my daughter’s third birthday next month. Not being a chef extraordinaire, I am likely to burn the packet cake mix before I’ve even attempted the damn fondant! Already feeling jittery…

    As for the disconnect with partners, it SO EASILY HAPPENS, doesn’t it? But it feels so great when you’re both on the same page.

    And yes, the sleeping thing does get easier. THANK GOD.

  21. You have just reminded me what I have been missing.. tonight I will close the laptop by 9pm.. work can wait as a cuddle with my guy is more important..

  22. Yep, so true. It’s so easy when you’re in the middle of severe sleep deprivation (and everything else life throws at you with small kids) to play the blame game and what a nasty little game that it. The bitterness that can build up at your partner (and anything and anyone – I remember feeling irrational hate once for Wags the Dog for keeping the Wiggles up all night) can be overwhelming.

    One way we kept connected and blew off steam at the same time, was to put some tunes on once the kids went to bed. A couple of glasses of wine, a singalong and a laugh completely soothed the soul and reminded us of how much we enjoyed each other’s company. While we probably should have gone to bed and got some much needed sleep, some much needed ‘us’ time was more important.

  23. MotherDownUnder says:

    Such a good post Beth.
    I was just speaking to someone about this today…of all the ways I expected my life to change after becoming a mother, I did not expect to become disconnected from my husband.
    But the days seem so full…and yes there is the tally of what I have done and what he has (or hasn’t done)…and by the end of the day I am just so worn out and feel like I only have time and space for me.
    I find that us watching a TV series together is such a simple, low pressure way for us to reconnect. It make take us a few months to get through a season or we might race through it in a week. But it is easy common ground. And we usually cuddle while we watch it! Thank goodness for Downton Abby and Mad Men I say!

  24. I’ve found, even in a new relationship like the one I’m in, it can be hard. I feel at times I haven’t really dated my guy – it went from a kiss to spending every minute we can together – which we both love, but with that comes learning and growing together. And some pretty difficult things have happened in our very young relationship – involving grown up stuff (not fair of me to broadcast on social media) thus taking out some of the fun we’ve been having. Grown up stuff can cause disconnect.
    And so; like you’ve suggested, a big talk and a hug has been the best way to reconnect.
    Great post Beth

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says:

      Thanks Carly…relationships are always in a constant state of change…even at the beginning. Good luck – hope all is back to ALL fun soon xxx

  25. fauxfuschia says:

    This is interesting. I once saw Dr Phil talk and he said “how much fun are you to live with?” and i think about that a lot. I’m a bit different to your commentors here because I think Mr FF and I have become a lot happier and closer since our child was born. For what it’s worth that 5 Languages of Love book changed my life.

  26. Sometimes it helps just to get a babysitter and then go and get rats arsed together. Like it was it 1996. xx

  27. ahoy.jenni says:

    “are we having fun yet?” (are we there yet) we always say that to each other when things are going pear shaped, like the 4 yo has just pushed the outdoor cafe table over with his feet and all the drinks have gone flying and 10 yo is having a screaming meltdown and it’s in summer holiday season (meaning its crowded) we look at each other and say that and always manage to stay calm and carry on.
    Hugs work too.

  28. Emily Psaila says:

    oh… best post in ages… this is me and my lot…

  29. I believe in connecting all the time. I’m sure it drives my husband nuts, but it’s so important to me. He makes me a coffee every morning and I always say thank you. We always kiss before we leave for work and say “love you, have a good day”. I always hug him and kiss him when he walks in the door each evening and ask how his day was. It’s the little things like this and the big things like always keeping the lines of communication open that keep a relationship healthy, strong and full of love.

  30. Sarah Derrig says:

    We always, always tell each other we love each other before going to sleep each night and try to hug as much as we can, especially in front of our 5 year old so she can see that we are affectionate. If ever we have a fight, we don’t let it drag on, we deal with it and it sounds corny but we never go to bed angry. We try and have a night out together once a week or once a fortnight. Tonight we are going all out romantic and heading to the Doha Motor Show but hey, it’s time for just the two of us to have a chat and enjoy each others company.

  31. disqus_pmUL8YkmuU says:

    When my partner and I first got together it was when I was a single mum, and so as to “hide” him we used to shower together so as to not have my child know there was anyone else in the house. So we have continued this and manage it about 95% of the time – we always wash each other and that physical connection is critical to us. Recently we both had surgery on the same day – I donated a kidney to him – and the thing that affected me the most was that lack of physical touch that we experience so regularly. I can now fully understand why they recommend skin to skin contact for babies – I now realise how much I rely on our skin to skin contact on a daily basis and will never take it for granted again. Thank you for such an insightful read.

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