The Stages of Team Griffin
was so glamorous. The
anticipation, the planning, the excitement. The question marks and hypotheticals of single life turning
into answers and decisions and a confident way forward. Myself on my wedding day was the most
beautiful I have ever felt in my entire life.
Add a deeper
dimension of intimacy, shared closet space and a whole new set of challenges,
and that was Newlywed-ness.
Just as fun but way more rewarding, and thus, that much harder. And that much more 'worth it'.
Once I got
past my round the clock nausea, Pregnancy was like being engaged -- but with a
whole new level of anticipation and planning. Amazingly enough, Daniel would say that I was even more
beautiful pregnant, swelling and all, than I was on our wedding day. Gotta love him.
that having a new baby is unlike any of these other stages.
When I was
pregnant, it really really bothered me when other men would say things to
Daniel like: "it's all downhill from here" or "your wife will
never be the same again" or "have sex now while you still can"…
not these things would be true, they shed such negative light on what I believe to
be the utmost beautiful expression of married love (a child), and I didn't like
it one bit. Daniel never let it
get to his head and has always been Mr. Supportive and Mr. Positive, but it
always made me wonder: what will our romantic life be like after Penelope is
born? Will it cease to exist?
hardest times of all the aforementioned stages, Dan would remind me that we are
both on Team Griffin, and say to me “I choose you.” On my ugliest of mornings, at the summit of an argument,
following the humblest apology. These three words have grown to be even
more impactful than “I love you.”
A reminder that it’s not just a loving feeling that keeps us together,
but a choice that we make every day to believe in each other and believe in our
marriage, even when we let each other down or disagree.
and this sentiment have become increasingly important since Penny was born. With my extra pregnancy weight,
stretch marks and giant scar on my belly, I’m feeling far-from attractive. Add the fact that we barely know what
we’re doing and don't agree on everything, some serious breastfeeding
hormones, a complete change in how we spend our time, and a heavy dose of sleep
deprivation... the natural result?
parenthood for us is inherently the least romantic stage so far.
In the midst
of the exhaustion and new lifestyle, how do we keep connected? I don’t have all the answers, nor would
I ever claim or even imply that Daniel and I accomplish this every day. But like a lot of things, I think it
comes down to maintaining perspective,
flexibility and realistic expectations. This also means recognizing jealousy and
resentment as soon as they rear
their ugly heads. And last; finding time, getting creative and laughing together.
Maintaining Perspective, Flexibility and Realistic Expectations:
that our life (or our love life) with a new baby would resemble our life before
baby would be a disservice to our marriage and our parenthood. Instead, we look at our offspring and
we marvel at one another in our new roles as parents. I choose to admire and love Daniel the
Daddy more than any other version of Daniel I’ve known. Likewise, Dan sees me as
beautiful Julie the Breast-feeding Mommy and doesn’t require me to pretend I’m
Julie the Newlywed anymore.
Perspective and expectations are huge.
Recognizing Jealousy and Resentment:
It would be
so easy for Daniel to be jealous that I get to stay home all day and "hang out" with the baby, or jealous that Penny gets to be physically-on-me pretty much
all the time (I love #babywearing).
And it would be easy for me to resent the fact that I haven’t gotten
more than five hours of sleep at one time in three months, but Dan can go sleep
in a separate room if he needs to catch up on some Zzzz’s. But no. These feelings do not belong on Team Griffin. However they may manifest themselves,
jealousy and resentment must be called out and forcefully booted out of the
|Words of Affirmation expressed with|
a dry-erase marker and a bathroom mirror.
Finding Time, Getting Creative, and Laughing:
We love each
other in new ways, sometimes by coming up with fresh ways to speak one
another’s love language, sometimes just by reminding one
another that we choose this – willingly and lovingly. I confess that Daniel is
better at this than I, but I’m working on it. Today, I packed Daniel a humble light breakfast and
put it on the seat of his car before he left for work.
Last night, Daniel watched a (seriously bad) chick flick with me while
Penny took her early-night nap, and only made fun of it a little tiny bit. Little things really add up (and sometimes "little" is all we have time for).
I would love
to hear of other ways that couples with young kids keep the fire burning. Please message me or comment here if