While the title might imply this is only about me, this post is really about Jake and I transitioning from solely husband and wife to that and parents as well. When Jake and I began dating, children were always part of our hope and plan in our lives. We decided we wanted to wait several years and did so. Still when we got pregnant with Emmett, it was a little bit of a surprise. A welcomed surprise that took a little while to get used to, I’ll admit on my part. So today I just want to share a little about what our transition looked like and a couple different specifics we did to help focus on our marriage while giving parenthood all the attention it demands and deserves. Becoming a wife and mom is such a journey!
As I sit down to write this, I am praying. I never want to come across that I think I know everything. I always have room to grow and learn and gain wisdom from those years ahead of me. But I also share this because Jake and I have walked through this transition and taken advice and wisdom from those ahead of us as well as the Bible. I don’t credit the state of our marriage to us. I credit it to Jesus Christ and believe our story is one of redemption and grace much like all of ours is or can be.
Here are 5 ways that eased the transition of our roles from husband and wife to husband and wife AND parents.
From Husband and Wife to Parents (and still husband and wife)
- We didn’t change who we are fundamentally. I don’t mean to start of with such a controversial topic. But one of the biggest things things I hear from parents my own age is, ” Well, we have kids so we can’t do this or we can’t do that (anymore).” Yes, SOME stuff does change but everything doesn’t have to. An example of this is Jake and I deemed travel in our lives important. Traveling changed but we didn’t stop traveling. Another example is that our faith and Christianity is the basis of our lives. We continued going to church. Even though some seasons were hard with naps and what not, we did our best to attend a service that worked for us or had our kids stay up longer than normal. Did we ever miss? Oh, I am sure we did initially, but not for long. However, it did change my seasons of service at times. I took off a couple months from Worship team and leading Bible study and then once I returned, I limited the number of times I went/served.
- Being on the same page. As a husband and wife you want to be on the same page and as mother and father it is no different. If you and your spouse are not on the same page, parenting is going to be harder than it needs to be. This doesn’t mean you are never on the same page–it means that when you are on opposite pages you seek to BE on the same page. Jake and I were very blessed to have wonderful premarital counseling and it helped our transition I believe. We’ve been blessed to see eye to eye on most topics and have good conversations when we are not. We both acknowledge we are new to this and have things to learn daily.
- We have date night. Our budget has changed drastically since becoming parents and we have seen some highs and lows. When our budget is good, we try and go out. But when our budget just doesn’t allow a steady date night out, we have brought it in. These in-home dates have become the highlights of our weeks. On Fridays we give the kids dinner and wait to eat. We put them down early and eat a special meal whether it is something fun from the store or take-out. We catch up on TV shows and relax together. I write this on a Friday anticipating date night tonight. It allows us to just be us together as husband and wife.
- We are a team. I know I have mentioned this before but this is something we stand by so diligently and deliberately. We both understand the other one needs breaks and has things to do. We both understand that getting from point A to point B works better when we have a joint plan. Choosing to become a family was our decision and we want our family to know that we stand on the same side. We are a team. I am an introvert and therefore find myself needing alone time to recharge to be the best mom I can be. I’ve had conversations with Jake where he knows that some days when he gets home from work, if I haven’t had a break yet, I am going to need 20 minutes in my office to recharge. Vise versa I know that he has things that need to get done on the weekends and that might mean watching the kids alone more often that week.
- We kept God at the center. This truly should be the first one in this list as it is the most important. But instead I am going to end with this and let you walk away thinking about this. God made marriage. He also created parenthood. He created them to go together. But with that said, I don’t think he thinks what we are doing is easy. He knows spouses will fight, kids require so much time and attention and that we are always learning. But that’s part of why he gave us the Bible. The Bible talks about living in harmony, how to treat our spouses, how to handle our children. He gave us a guidebook to use for this long period of our lives. How amazing is that! So keep God at the center and he will help you navigate these years of beauty and chaos 🙂
If you are a parent, what has helped you transition into your new title while maintaining that of a spouse? And if you aren’t married or a parent yet, what are your expectations of each?