October 24, 2009

Doing, Take #2

I wrote a post recently titled "Doing" that I managed to leave out there live on the internets for about 6 hours. Then I deleted it. Then, a very good friend contacted me questioning where it had gone because she had wanted to comment on it - and identify with it - but when she went looking for it, it had been removed. By me. Because I'm apparently only able to permanently post items that don't actually expose any sort of ongoing strife or struggle. And for those of you who weren't privy to the 6 hour post of "Doing" most of the struggle had to do with mom and dad, not the tot.

See, I'm ok with exposing my inperfections. But in the adoption blogging world (these days) it seems as though you'd be hard pressed to find a blog post that does anything but praise the significant other over and over and over again. In some cases bloggers will be so bold as to describe the difficulties over the bonding and attachment proccess with thier children, but nothing along the lines of "we now suck at being husband and wife" has made it's way to the blog stream, at least not lately - or not to my knowledge.

So I posted something that exposed the fact that we are currently sucking majorly at being husband and wife but absolutely loving and rocking at being mom and dad. And then I deleted it because I couldn't think of one single other blog post that I had read that expressed even the faintest notion that that "the marriage part" had become tough. And then my friend sent me a note, saying that she gets it, and identifies with it, and now I think I'm ok with it being out there permanently.

As previously posted on 8/21:

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
There's nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.

Sometimes keeping your thoughts to yourself is tough. Sometimes it's the right thing to do, and other times it's the only way out of a mind bobbling conundrum. So... as of late it feels like we have no idea what we're doing. Apparently upon first glance we do "a lot" but more often than not we're overwhelmed with feelings of not doing anywhere near enough. We're busy, we work, we travel, we have high aspirations of what life could hold - but more often than not those feelings make me feel selfish for being so self centered as to assume that moving my own life forward equals a good thing. I know it doesn't, but I also don't want to stop moving the "my" part of my life forward, and I also really don't want to stop the "doing" part of my life - the part that puts me 2nd and everyone else way up there at the top. And apparently, I suck at a small thing called balance that would just solve this dilemma and all of a sudden grant me a solid 5 hours of non-thought interrupted sleep for just one night.


Work (and a play date for mommy sans child) kept me in our Brooklyn home with the boys left to entertain themselves upstate. While I was off working obscene hours and grabbing a very delicious meal with a girlfriend I've seen way too little of lately, daddy was taking our son rock climbing. He was doing something with him while I was chatting and strutting in my city heels and ordering another glass of wine. He was doing and I was just, well, not doing.


Now it was my turn. Daddy had a multi-day gig in the city and I took my turn upstate with the tot. We had one of those nights where I felt like I was a good mom, which is a pretty big freaking deal for me seeing as "good mom" is pretty much close to never self-described.


When will it be OUR turn? I can't quite figure out the right string of words to put together that just simply shouts "we want to feel like we're being a good husband and wife and not just a good mommy and daddy".

So there. I said it. We constantly question our mommy/daddy capabilities but at least we seem to be holding down the fort on that front just fine - after all, the boy is a complete genius. Yet, we're kind of failing at the whole being husband and wife thing right now, we don't seem to know how to do the "doing" part of that while sustaining the "doing" part of parenting.

And what sucks the most is that most Googleable answers are ridiculously fake. Give us some credit, we can fake it like no other - we just don't want to. And finding the "real" is turning out to be a bit harder than we had hoped. We want to be great parents and we need to be really connected as husband and wife and we want to go about this by DOING. No theoretical BS roll playing and use feeling words and talk with your heart kind of crap - just the real YOU and ME and DO.

And yet, we don't. But we know we can. We just need that swift elephant kick to the ass that clears the clouds and allows the shooting stars to take the stage. AKA, we need control, and for some reason I don't see that arriving anytime soon. Control left the building the day we became first time parents to a 13 month old. Control was completely out of the question the moment we sent our son off to school after having parented him for a mere 2 1/2 months. Control, my friends, is fiction in our little storybook right now. And if we're going to DO anything it's going to require one helluva shift in the alignment of the stars. Which, I'll admit, feels not so probable but must be a little bit possible. And even a little bit of possible equals just enough control to at least get things started. Or at least start doing something.

There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you
in time - It's easy.

All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

Yeah, not so much...


Kelly said...

I can't remember if I've ever commented here before, but I am definitely compelled tonight. I appreciate your honesty. We are embarking on our Ethiopian adoption journey to bring home our first child. I have no idea how this will impact our marriage. I know that it will not be easy, and frankly, I want to hear from others who've been through the experience when it's not all 100% perfect. I know it isn't going to be perfect. I am sorry that I don't have any suggestions for you, having not been there, but I am wishing you the best. Hang in there.

one + one said...

So glad you re-posted. I am adopting and it is just around the corner. I really, REALLY appreciate your honest discussion here. Why does no one ever talk about the difficult parts of parenthood on these blogs? I'm adopting by myself, so I'm sure my struggles will be different, but I so appreciate you having this conversation 'out loud'.

rebekah said...


I loved your post - I saw it the first time:)

As much as I loved it, it didn't strike me as shocking because we're living it too. And I hate to say this, but wait till child #2, if you go that far.

We dream of a quick 5 day getaway to Paris. Instead, we got a 4 day getaway camping. Romantic? No. Peaceful and helpful? Yes.

Wait.... are you talking about sex???? Cause we have a glorious king tempurpedic whose main job is to help us sleep when the 5 year old is in between and insists on perpendicular sleeping without covers, which means one of us gets pummeled by his feet.

So far, 5 years into this parenting thing, all we know for sure is part of us being a good us is us being a good parenting team. It's all intertwined now. Another thing I know for sure, sometimes it's the most romantic when we acknowledge we would never want to do this without the other. We're not just a team, we're a family team. Once just two of us. Then 3. Then 4. And someday soon, hopefully, 5.

Anonymous said...

We are waiting for adoption and have been married for 12 years. Although we have a great relationship, it is certainly a lot different than when it started. Although I dread what you are just talking about I know it happens to all parents. As long as you are both in the same page be reassured that in marriage there is ebb and flow and as the little one gets older you will have more time together. I do not think there is such a thing as balance- just striving for it is all you can do. Good luck to you and all of us.

PC said...

Marriage is hard work, always. I feel kids sometimes even makes the marriage part easier. When "those" times come when I thought it would be easier to just walk, I stayed and worked thought things because our family came first. I hate to say this, but this won't be the last time these feelings surafce.

It's all about comunication, keep talking. Love Mom C

Sam's mom said...

This does need to be said. Lately, I've done some uber-honest-not-sugar-coated adoption/marriage posts too...but they were posted as private.
Glad you did this Jo. It's good for you (venting) and it's good for the blogging community. We need to, must be HONEST about all aspects of parenthood and adoption.
We too have had a lot of problems finding our "groove" since Sam came home. We fight...a lot. We don't have time alone. Lately Sam's been super-fussy at night so I lay down with him to put him to sleep and then I pass out in the meantime so I don't even have evening TV/movie time w/ Gregg. It's awful. I know we have to be strong in our marriage. I know that's the foundation. I know Sam deserves that and WE deserve that. I have yet to find the balance.
If you do, please clue me in!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your honesty--I think blogs can sometimes become Christmas letter perfect! But I know among my real life friends (whose children run the range from international adoption, fertility, planned and unplanned) this is a topic that frequently comes up over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. Maybe its just easier to put out on the table when there's someone else nodding along with you--but you certainly aren't alone in this struggle to learn how to balance new roles in life.

Jodi said...

Awesome post - Just wait until you have more kids... no, I am just kidding. You really have to work at the marriage thing the longer you are married. I have truly found that the closer we are to God, the closer we are to each other.... I know you may not be religious, but... just my experience.

Katy said...

My husband and I sit in the same room and email eachother while we're facebooking. This way, we don't fight. It would take way to much energy and thinking to fight that way. I am serious. I sent him a message tonight while he was 2 feet away that said "Hi honey, how was your day?" We go through phases/cycles. For one solid year after our kids arrived we were Mr. & Mrs. marital bliss couple, just so happy to have them and eachother. Lately, we're more like we were before kids. Really f'ing annoying to each other. We have the same "it's hard to make time for just us" issues as everybody else. And lots of times, like today, that's fine with me.

Anonymous said...

Jo... you are not alone! I can relate to many of your thoughts. Hang in there. You guys rock as parents, and the day will come again when you rock at marriage! If it is anything like ours, it is a constant roller coaster. Going down only means that very soon you will need to go up again!


Barbara said...

I cannot relate, except to say I've waited my whole life for a really great guy and I still haven't found him, so please treasure what you have and work through things. It's even tougher to do it alone. Thinking of you,


Anonymous said...

My husband and I are adopting our first child. We are in the waiting stage, it could be any month now. We have been married for 7 years and together for 13. I know that our marriage will change when our child comes and that we will have to really stay focus. My husband on the other hand does not think so, and that scares me. How do you go from being all about me and then over night it's not about me or us any more it's about our son. I don't mean to talk selfish, but how does a person change that over night. You are living my fear and I am sorry. I hope things get better. It's nice to know your not faking it and talking like it's all good when we all know what a challange parenting will and can be.

Cory, Lisa, and Weredesh said...

Yeah, I'm with ya...we're currently "sucking" at marriage too. As I sit here with my laptop, my husband watching NCIS, and the baby sleeping. We adopted a 1 yr old as well, and we've had her home almost a year. If I could only figure out how to get another round of energy for us once the baby goes to sleep!