Nobody told me

by tammyhelfrich · 32 comments

Nobody told me how having kids would change my marriage.

Nobody told me that I would fall in love with these kids so much, that I would unknowingly isolate my husband, and make him feel like he wasn’t needed anymore.

Nobody told me just how HARD it is to raise kids.

Nobody told me that every waking minute would be consumed by taking care of their needs, and putting my own on the backburner.

Nobody told me that I would face serious hardships in my marriage. That my husband would be unhappy. That I would feel completely numb.

Nobody told me that I would ignore my husband for a very long time. And that he would get to a point where he didn’t really care.

Nobody told me that life can be really hard. And that sometimes I would just struggle to make it through the day.

Nobody told me these things before I had kids. Or even after I had kids. Or during those really, really hard early years with multiple children.

So I am telling you.

New Moms, young Moms, Moms with young kids – the road may be difficult.

You may feel exhausted. You may feel extremely lonely in your marriage. Your marriage may be struggling. You may feel like you can’t do it. You may feel like you will never love your husband the way you did before you had kids. You may be annoyed. You may be irritated. You may not have the energy to work on making things better.

Let me tell you something else. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

There are other couples struggling through the same things. Many of them may not be talking about it, but believe me, there are plenty of people in similar situations.

Photo by Mother Letters

But don’t give up! It does get easier. The kids will get more independent. They won’t need your constant attention. It will get better.

I am in a place now where I am past feeling like this. I chose to make changes in my marriage, and I was forced to make others. But the one thing I know is that being a Mom is tough. There are days when it is hard to go on. But, you can do it.

Your kids need you to be alive, and be present, and help them understand that they matter. And, they need to see that you have your own life as well. That they are not your entire world. They need to see you being the you that God created you to be.

Have you ever felt any of these feelings? What advice would you give Moms currently feeling like this?

  • http://twitter.com/croyseniles Christine Niles (@croyseniles)

    First, your advice is dead-on. Our kids need to see living models of healthy relationships and pursuit of God through us.

    As for my advice: cherish this time where they are independent, but still mostly innocent…and just wait until they become teenagers. It’s a different kind of practically-impossible to try to guide their character while allowing them to become independent and make mistakes and learn from them.

    • http://twitter.com/tammyhelfrich Tammy Helfrich (@tammyhelfrich)

      Thanks, Christine! I am really trying to enjoy this time. I know the teenage years are going to be tough! :)

  • http://passionatechristianmarriage.wordpress.com Sis

    My two yr old is going through a screaming phase right now where she screams every time she doesn’t get what she wants. It is sooo trying on my nerves and I’m spent by the end of the day. It is so nice to have this extra encouragement.

    • http://twitter.com/tammyhelfrich Tammy Helfrich (@tammyhelfrich)

      I remember those days well! It can be so stressful. Hang in there. It does get better!!

  • http://www.positivelymemyselfandi.blogspot.com Stephanie Ho

    I’m trying to pinpoint which phase I’m at right now….somewhere between the lost helpless loneliness and the coming up out of the mire. : ) There is light at the end of the tunnel, I see….I’m thankful for good friends to talk me through this stuff who can understand! Love you, Tammy!

  • Jessi Tampa

    I have been there, Tammy! And some days I feel like I’m back there again. Thank you for sharing, and giving us all the desire to reach out and get help!

  • Kelly Jones

    What would I tell Mom’s? Hang tough, it’s HARD, overwhelming, filled with guilt, and there is not enough of you to go around and you feel like you are losing yourself….but it does get better. You are doing a GOOD job, you are a GREAT Mom and just take a deep breath. Don’t worry so much, you got this. You are a GREAT Mom. : )

    Put your husband FIRST, that’s something my Mom taught me and after 18 years of marriage with 2 teenagers now and a 9 year old…..I am GRATEFUL for that example. I can still hear her say, “Hey wait, your Daddy is first in this house”. That example taught me one…that the world did not revolve around me, and two….to put my husband first. Right now I’m sitting at a coffee shop with him, it’s early in the morning and we’ve left the kids at home…alone….like it said, it does get easier, not as overwhelming.

    Second piece of advice……take care of yourself. Cultivate friendships that are based on YOU…not your kids. Have friends who let you dream and will dream along with you, because this Mommy gig won’t last as long as you think it will. There will come a day….when they don’t NEED you as much. Mind you…..they will ALWAYS need you. They will always be secretly saying, “look Mom!!” But they will have their own lives and you will need yours!!

    You ARE doing a GOOD job. You are a GREAT Mom.

    That’s what I would tell Moms. :D

    • http://tammyhelfrich.wordpress.com tammyhelfrich

      Great advice, Kelly!

  • Lisa L

    Thanks, Tammy! Thanks for reminding me that I am not the only one and that things will get better!!

  • http://gravatar.com/peterdewit P-!

    Great blog! We have Five… and we know the feeling. I have seen over the years the despair, anger, hopelessness in my own wife at times. And I have seen the hope, the energy and
    sacrificial love too. Sometimes we expect more love back from our kids than they gave. Expectations can be a killer in this regard. But there are many moments that they do respond. one “I love you mommy!” And the world is right again…. and you feel like all the pain was worth it. Then when you see growth in them, it feels like heaven, for a moment. They are becoming independent and becoming good human beings.

    Now my kids are older and they sometimes have had to share some things with us. it isnt easy to hear that and we feel so guilty for any dissapointment that they feel towards us. We just know that we have been imperfect parents at times. We can admit that and have to admit it to them. Yet they have survived and they are able to overcome. They still love us.

    I can also relate to the relational part between the parents too. How difficult it is to keep the love strong between the husband and wife. Exhaustion plays a heavy hand between the two. Expectations can play havoc in this time too. All Moms and Dads need to talk about all these things, even before becoming a mom or Dad. I wish personally that I could have had more impact in e kids lives. Moms do impact more I feel as they are for the most part with the children constantly. Our role too is to love our wives (easier said than done) through these hard times.

    Sorry this is so long. I almost thought my wife wrote this under a pseudo name. It was like reading a page of our lives.

    • http://tammyhelfrich.wordpress.com tammyhelfrich

      Thanks for your comment! I promise that I am not your wife under a pseudo name. That did make me laugh, though, as I have felt that way before when reading others’ work.

  • Laura Anderson

    great and so true… resonantes wellw/me.

  • Lisa Price

    Great post, Tammy. I will say, though, that the best thing you can do for teens is to not impose the expectation that the years with them will be difficult. It is a different kind of parenting, for sure, but it doesn’t have to be contentious or combative or even difficult, if you, as mom, stay present and available to them.

    In fact, the hardest part I have with it is the driving. We’re almost to the point where they can both drive themselves, but until then, there’s a lot of activities and work that they need to attend to, which means I am driving a lot.

    Kids will live up to the expectations we put on them, positive or negative. Parenting teens can be a positive experience for everyone, if we parents set positive expectations to that end.

    • http://tammyhelfrich.wordpress.com tammyhelfrich

      Such good advice, Lisa. I will be looking to great examples like you when my kids get there!

      • Lisa Price

        I’m here for you, now and later!

  • http://jkflickinger.wordpress.com jkflickinger

    I’m enjoying your blog. Heartfelt and thoughtful. Thanks for following mine too!

  • Tiffany

    Thanks for that! So true! It’s nice to know, through all of this, when you’re kids grow up and act like they don’t need you anymore, your Hubby cannot be everything for you, or your kids are just being tough…… That God is one that LOVES you and is everything for you!

  • Pingback: Exploring the Unknown… |

  • http://www.crazyaboutchurch.com/ Charles Specht

    I’m with you on this one, Tammy: “Nobody told me just how HARD it is to raise kids.”

    Kids are tough! I used to think that I was a very, very patient person. And then I started having kids…..

  • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

    Tammy, i don’t know what advice I can give to moms, but I can certainly offer my 2¢ for dads. Keep your wife #1. Do dishes. Cook. Clean. Drive the kids to pre-K. Don’t beep the horn in the driveway on Sunday morning–pack the diaper bag and get the kids ready for her.

    Show your children how a healthy relationship looks. After all, they will model how you act in their adult life, as well as choose a mate based on how your spouse acts.

    Scary stuff, but this is what we signed up for, right?

    Thank you for pouring your heart into everything your write, Tammy. This was awesome.

    • thelfrich

      Thanks! That is great advice for Dads.

  • http://recreationalwordslinger.wordpress.com/ Tessa

    The concept of “you are not alone” was a foreign one to me in the first year of our marriage. I thought I was the only one who got so irritated when my husband would leave crumbs on the counter. I thought I was the only one who got frustrated when he didn’t call to tell me when he would be home for supper.

    Three years in, I’m still learning, but I realized that it’s “my” marriage, and there is no blueprint for it. I can’t compare it to other people’s because we are different people. Thank you for this post. It truly resonated with me!

    • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

      Thanks for stopping by! You are not alone. We will celebrate 15 years in October. It has not been easy, but it has been worth it. And your advice is great. Your marriage is different than anyone else’s that you know, so there’s no use comparing.

  • http://twitter.com/LivingOneHanded Ryan Haack

    Wow…powerful stuff, Tammy. So true. Thank you!

  • Pingback: The Secret to a Successful Marriage | Tammy Helfrich

  • http://www.ordinaryservant.com/ Pilar Arsenec

    Yes, I have had these feelings and I’ve just celebrated being married 9 years. I’ve known and been with my husband 10 years. This is my second marriage. We weren’t married long when I got pregnant with Christian. I was 37 at the time and the pregnancy was the worst. Our humble beginnings of a marriage begun to be a living nightmare very quickly. It has been a rollercoaster since then. Marriage and raising children is very very hard. Thanks for your wonderful and encouraging post. I’m glad to know I’m not alone. Love you.

  • Pingback: I am so honored | Tammy Helfrich

  • Pingback: 5 Ways to Encourage your Spouse | Tammy Helfrich

  • http://www.facebook.com/lori.s.gray.5 Lori Sherman Gray

    What a great reminder!
    I say this alot to the young moms I mentor. I have teens, and they have littles…it does get easier…though there are still issues and problems, somehow it’s easier…
    Thanks Tammy!

    • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

      Thanks for stopping by, Lori! I think it does get easier as they get older, even though it can be more complex sometimes.

  • Brock Webster

    It is not all the “moms” fault, we husbands can and should be understanding. Great post!!

    • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

      So true. My husband says this as well. Kids are a learning work in progress!

Previous post:

Next post: