Two weeks into having Baby O enter into our lives, I remember vividly how smug I was about the strength of my marriage with hubs.
After all, the cliché that I would love my husband more deeply once I saw him with O rang 100% true. My love for him grew exponentially as I saw how tender he was, how hands-on, how unconditionally giving…
It also helped that right after my C-section and for a few weeks after, hubs became our Dobby. He scolded me for trying to do anything that required me to go up and down the stairs and instead he did everything around the house…including bringing me meals on trays, taking care of the dogs, doing laundry, changing diapers. Plus, the hazing of being first time parents also fortified our relationship. We were a team on this new adventure – happily taking turns bearing the brunt of sleepless nights. “You sleep.” “No, you sleep.” “No, you.” (Yes, you may throw up in your mouth a little bit).
Fast forward to just a week ago and for the first time in our marriage, the “D” word reared its ugly head. Yup. “D” as in D-I-V-O-R-C-E.
Are we going there? No, we’re not. But for the span of a couple of days, which felt like an eternity, it hung out there – a dark and twisty cloud only pierced by the sunshine of O. Only she could bridge the gap between us, only she could bring us to smile at one another.
I remember thinking to myself: “How did we get so far from where we were?”
In hindsight – the formula was easy and perhaps, inevitable.
Take two full-time working adults with stressful jobs. Add an additional part-time job because one of the adults works in BigLaw. Subtract sleep. Add some keeping score and sprinkle in a little resentment. Subtract self-care (like workouts, nutritious meals, regular showers). Add some guilt. Ok, a lot of guilt (the working mommy kind). Subtract sleep again. Also add Type-A, anxious, micro-managing parenting (I’ll let you take a wild guess who that is). Add a little baggage (the “I didn’t have a father growing up” kind). Subtract date nights. Subtract any conversation that is not baby-related. Add sequential late nights at the office and weekends with a laptop. And shake it all up and wait for something small to trigger the explosion…
The soundtrack is shameful: I know how to take care of my daughter – you don’t have to tell me what to do. I am not an absent mother – I have to bill to pay our bills. My job is important too, but I have priorities and set boundaries. You think I want to work late every night and every weekend?
I am ashamed.
So why air out our dirty laundry?
The same reason why I share all my previous confessions connected with being a newish working mommy…
To keep it real.
To break the façade that this journey is “perfect.”
To let you know that breakdowns are normal and you are not crazy.
To give you hope that it’ll get better (or so my mommy friends tell me).
Until then, I’m going to work on this load of laundry.