There’s nothing that will test your friendships and relationships in general like what athletic team you root for. Basically, for me, if you’re a Missouri fan you better love the Lord more than those awful Tigers and have a love for good food or, sadly, I’m going to have to write you off. Obviously the Crimson and Blue that I bleed isn’t that overwhelming but it goes to show how things that are near to your heart vastly affect who you surround yourself and the type of people you keep in your life.
The same can be said about motherhood. Suddenly your friends are the people that are socially acceptable to call before 8AM and are up, dressed, and ready for a play date by 9. Staying up until 11 is pushing it and you better not even ask why I’m wearing the same yoga pants two (or is it three) days in a row. Showering during the day is a huge feat and putting on make up AND blow drying your hair is pushing it. You must have some serious making up to do with your man to pull out all the stops in the wardrobe department, or you’re awesome and just make time for that. Either way, things change.
My situation is rather unique as shortly after having K I relocated out of state and several hours away from those closest to me. Thankfully my best friend is still my best friend and my other best friend (my super hot husband) came with me so I suppose that helps matters a bit. You have to find new things to relate to your non married/non mama friends about because, trust me, no one besides your mama friends thinks its cool your kid rolled over two weeks ahead of schedule or are saddened when your kid throws a tantrum in the store. People just don’t get it and it’s not their fault, yo.
Count me amongst the people who didn’t really care that your child was student of the month or learned their ABC’s. All kids do that stuff, right?! I’ve learned not to fault people for not thinking K is the best thing since sliced bread because I think she is and I’m her mom so my opinion’s the only one that matters. You learn to find new things to talk about and share, and honestly, it’s pretty cool to still have friends to live vicariously through. I’d like to stay out until midnight on a date with my husband and have a beer in the meantime. I’d also like to not have to pay $35 for a box of diapers but Huggies hates moms and their wallets so out goes the cash and down goes the checking account balance.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for and certainly no one shared with me is how detrimental WebMD and the Internet in general is to your parenting and ability to be Dr. Mom. So far according to the interwebs K has had a myriad of heart problems, several types of incurable diseases, a fluoride overdose, and a partridge in pear tree. The stupid Internet didn’t accurately diagnose her pneumonia last year so as far as I’m concerned Googling symptoms can hide where the sun don’t shine, likely somewhere in Missouri (are we sensing a theme yet? I’m done.) If you think your kid’s sick they probably aren’t. Snot turns green and they won’t die. They get fevers after shots and they don’t die. Or maybe they do. Maybe the vaccine is slowly doing something to K’s rambunctious body but my guess is that she’s fine and my doctor isn’t a quack.
The most significant relationships that has changed is the one with my husband. It’s rather cliche to say “parenthood changes you” but crazily enough, it’s true. I always knew Chris would be a great dad but I have to admit I thought he may resent not having a son first. I couldn’t have been more wrong. From the moment K was born she held her daddy in the palm of her hand. I was so thankful to have someone who knew what they were doing…or knew enough to put on a good show to ease my anxiety. My parenting and wife-ing style is fluctuates greatly between controlling and very, very passive. I’ve come to appreciate him for more than just cleaning the kitchen and changing diapers. Though we’ve had our struggles, some more significant than others, we remind ourselves and each other (typically after I stop being catty and generally defensive) that our covenant was real, it matters, and it’s not only between us but God. I think that keeps me humble. In a world where divorce is often a result of one spouse neglecting each other’s needs, being complacent, or simply “growing apart” there’s so much more to consider and work for given the fact that K loves her daddy oh so much, and so do I. Through our relationship change I’ve learned there are many different ways to parent, some more high energy and random than others. It’s nothing for me to come home an hour after K’s bedtime to find them giggling and having tickle wars in her bed. She’s typically on his shoulders or back significantly more than on the floor playing alone. This little girl is loved. I’d hate to think Chris and I wouldn’t be as close as we are if we didn’t have a child but if that’s the case then the hard days, new sleepless nights, and days where I.can’t.read.another.book.to.her. are worth it.
One thing we’ve really failed at since moving is being intentional with dating one another. Chris has always been a homebody (except for in college-though he spent significant amounts of time being a Guild leader for WOW…and early in our marriage where were chasing the world and not our God.) I have also always been a homebody (except for…wait. Nope. Never been.) Our happiness comes from very different things sometimes. I can enjoy a date inside with a carpet picnic, a movie that I fall asleep into after an hour, or creating something fabulous in the kitchen. I get my fulfillment outside of the house. I know you’re thinking “that girl’s a Grade A Whackadoodle” but crowds, strangers, and new surroundings excite me. There’s no such thing as an awkward conversation unless you’re a man who doesn’t understand I’m married and have no problem punching you at which point my husband will have to physically lift me up, move me away, and remind me that it’s not worth it. (True story. I was 21. Not proud. Well, kind of proud.) The point is we differ very much in our relational desires and the moment we let our guard down and forget that we have to actively pursue each other if we’re going to beat the odds we have trouble on our hands. Since the closest family to us is 40 minutes away, and K loves them more than us sometimes, it’s difficult to find a sitter. I take that back. I have a few awesome mama’s who watch K for free but it’s hard to ask so often for help when you feel like you should just cough up the extra $30 and pay a teenager who needs the money. Unfortunately, $30 is a lot for a sitter just to go eat and spend time together so our cheapness has limited us from pursuing each other as much as we should have at times. I’d encourage at least a 1x/mo date out of the home, every other week if possible. It’s nice to be reminded how your sense of humor, personalities, and overall good looks got you to this place anyway.