The Family Teeter Totter

How do people balance married life with child(ren)?

I’ve been going at it for three years now and I don’t think I’m very good at it. They say practice makes perfect but everyone in my family keeps growing and changing. The second I think I’m on to something, I run into a wall or trip and fall flat on my face.

Do you remember what it feels like to be spontaneous?

I dream of being spontaneous but married life with child(ren) seems to be full of plans. Calculations. Routine. Expectations.

Do you want to go out with friends? Are you leaving your family at home while you’re out? You can’t bring your child but what about your husband? You’re leaving your child at home? Is married spontaneity worth $40+ to you to find a sitter? You want family spontaneity? Have you packed the snacks? Has she had her nap today? What time is bedtime?


I don’t know if it’s healthy to live a social media life different from reality. The best pictures, biggest smiles, softest light. It all seems so perfect.

A lot of people I know are in an unhappy phase of marriage right now or are making plans to end marriage. I’m not naive enough to believe this is true for everyone but I think this social halo around family life makes the unhappy phases seem permanent. They’re stifling and we feel like there are few people to reach out to because everyone else is doing so well.

When we speak up, we feel like naysayers. Negative influences. Outcasts.

I had a friend tell me the other day that her boyfriend was so easy to get a long with and I scoffed. They’d just started dating and I thought back to that time. When it was easier. When we were on our best behavior. Our own bank accounts. Our own schedules. When our time together was chosen and treasured in a way that marriage dulls.

I’m not trying to say that family life is terrible. It’s incredible. But incredible doesn’t mean perfect. Family life is hard. Incredible. Beautiful. But also hard. Fred and I talk about wanting a better marriage a lot and we’re constantly talking about ways to raise a lady. A healthy child. A contributing member of society.

Are you going through a hard phase right now?  

Fred and I are working our way out of one for no reason other than life happens, it happens quickly, and it usually skirts expectations (and so do we as human beings – even if we love each other!). It strikes me that we don’t typically talk about the hard times when we’re in them. We often talk about them when we’re clear on the other side. Happy, so we can be an inspiration to others. How alienating is that happy message when you’re in the trenches?

Can we please start normalizing unhappy?

When I have written about marriage in anything less than a glowing light in the past, I have received feedback that people I know are talking about the well being of my marriage. Not to me but to others. We call that gossip and it isn’t a sign of care. If you care, you’ll ask me directly how we’re doing and I will tell you that Freddy and I are capable of weathering the hard seasons of marriage for the incredible seasons. We know that seasons are a reality of life and that the harder seasons make the good seasons sweeter. We are not divorcing; we don’t even talk about it so please calm down and let me be real about what it takes to be married and raise a family.


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