E and I have the ideal love story; we are each other’s ideal partners. I knew this on our very first date.
This is not to say that we do not have our own individual baggages. And that our marriage does not have its challenges. When we merge two strong, independent, and unique personalities together, there bound to be arguments, disappointments, and friction. But we thought: love will conquer all. We will fight with poetry. We will remember our love.
Four months into the journey of new parenthood, I felt like everything was unraveling. My ideal partner who rushes home from work every day to spend time with this baby boy and wife slowly became my least favorite person. I resented the burden placed on me as a full-time mother and wife. I detested his computer. I got annoyed at every little thing he did incorrectly; the way he did the laundry. Why can’t he fold the towels they way I fold the towels?
I really thought of leaving. I figured if I have to do the parenting thing all by myself (and I do it well), why would I need a man around who constantly annoyed me?
These thoughts, they brewed inside me. Sometimes, they evolved into explosive screaming. Other times, I was just silently angry.
I told E my thoughts of leaving. I even mapped the divorce in my head…
I sought out marriage and family therapists to help. They would ask me questions over the phone, but didn’t follow up to do a new patient intake. Our problems must not have been drastic enough for them.
After the last big fight, somehow a light shed upon my subconsciousness. Perhaps, these therapists are right; maybe, our problems are not that big? Are there simple solutions that would solve my angst? At least in our marriage?
So, I didn’t leave. We didn’t break. Instead, I drove to Michael’s and bought planner pages to organize our family life. On one of our kitchen walls sits 4 cork boards. There are monthly planner, weekly planner, and to do list. Anything that affects our family must go on the calendar. The last board contains love notes that E writes to me on my birthdays, our anniversaries, etc.
We have been religiously doing the calendar thing for about a week now. No fights. No stress. I know where and what E is doing. I know what to expect and what to anticipate. E no longer springs things to me last minute and expects me to accommodate. Not that he is an inconsiderate person; I think that sometimes, time and planning are just not everyone’s thing.
Yesterday was E’s business beta launch; that meant I was on Odinn duty for almost 14 hours straight. I was tired and burnt out; O even got a little bored seeing my face for so long. However, knowing that E will come home at 6 pm to take over assuaged my fatigue. I was not angry. I was not disappointed. I was fine. O and I enjoyed our time together.
Before, by now, I would let my anger brew inside me. The narrative in my head would go like this:
Is my time unimportant? Why is he starting a business when we are newlyweds and new parents? Why is he burning through our savings when I have no income?
By the time E got home, the anger inside me would have had enough time to ripe. One wrong move, like E forgetting to wash his hands after handling the trash, would spiral into a gigantic fight.
Thanks to a simple thing called a planner. Crazy and simple, huh?
The truth is: I am adjusting to being a full-time mom and I do have some underlying anger issues from my upbringing. E is adjust to being a dad and family man. When he was living with his mom, even as a young child and teenager, he did his best to defy her requests. That was the nature of their relationship. When he was married to his ex-wife for 12 years, he did whatever he wanted because they did not have a unified marriage.
With Odinn and I, E has a huge learning curve of having to include our needs and desires into his daily life. I have a huge learning curve of letting go of control. We are going to need to work on individual challenges over time.
For now… though, for now, we have a calendar wall. We have our love. We have an amazing baby. There is love after a baby… but not without a lot of bumps on the road.