Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Transitions

When we decided to have a baby, I knew that there were things about my relationship with my husband that would change. I also knew that there would be things that would be hard. We'd been together for fifteen years before we had the baby. As our union became a true family, the dynamic between us would be different.

Similarly, I knew that there were a pile of things that would be hard about taking this new job. After all, we moved 500 miles so that I could get training, knowing that we would move internationally when I finished training. We didn't know at the outset exactly how much training I would get, or exactly how long we would be here. We moved to a place that neither of us was familiar with. I changed fields, so I am learning entirely new skills every day. I have new coworkers now, and will have new ones again in another month or so when we move again. T gave up his career to become M's full time caregiver, so there is the loss of how he has defined himself professionally, as well as the transition from professional with his own business to staying at home full time with a baby, which we all known can be wonderful, intense and isolating all in the same day. We've left our familiar support network of friends and family.

Much of this has been joyful and easy. Some of it, though, has been hard.

Our relationship continues to evolve, both in relation to having a baby and with regard to all of the other changes going on around us. The evolution is not always for the better. I am short-tempered sometimes. I am tired, particularly when I've had a number of long days in a row, and Miss M hasn't been sleeping. I am quick to become irritable with the fact that T can't be bothered to rinse out the bottles after he feeds them to her, or take out the trash when he has been home all day, or leaves wet towels from the pool on the living room furniture. It makes me crazy. He will become sullen and quiet when I tell him Miss M needs to be strapped into her carseat all of the way when we go out for a walk with her, that it's not safe otherwise. He'll tell me bitterly that I suck the fun out of everything when he proposes going out for burgers, and I point out that will only make him feel poorly and ruin his sleep. Some days, it feels like we either bicker, or there is a gulf of silence between us.

I know this is just a transition phase. We have a strong relationship and a long history together, and there has been a lot of change for us over the last nine months. I adore him, and he makes me laugh. I know that we can work past all of the stupid stuff, and that our lives are in a really good place right now overall. There are plenty of nice moments among the irritating and difficult ones.

But lately, our marriage feels--for the first time in a decade--like it really takes effort to make it work. I am used to speeding along on autopilot and having everything slide along smoothly. I'm not used to this. I'm not used to it being hard.

I underestimated how much of an impact transition upon transition upon transition would have on us. It's one thing to have a baby, or move, or take a new job, or go from running a business to taking care of a baby. But doing all at once is infinitely more challenging.