How I’ve Stopped Marriage Burnout Before It Started, With 2 Babies And A Business

When you first realize you love someone romantically, it’s like a spark has been lit in your heart. The more time you spend with that someone, the more this spark is fueled, and before long your whole heart is set ablaze with love.

I tried coming up with a more original reference than fire, but honestly, it’s just so fitting.

Just as this love-fire is fueled by every little thing your someone does at first, so too is it dampened by the strains of responsibility and stress.

I’ve been finding myself missing my old fire more and more, lately.

My husband and I first officially got together when we were 19, just a month shy of his 20th birthday. That will make an entire decade next year from when my life was first changed forever.

Just like any fresh young couple, we couldn’t get enough of each other back then. We both lived with our parents at the time, so we jumped at each and every opportunity to be together. We grossed out all of our friends with our syrupy sweet PDA.

Those were the five alarm blaze days.

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First kiss as Mr & Mrs What are we doing with our arms, tho?

Then just a little over 4 years after we first got together, after a year-long engagement, we got married. We spent our newlywed years working and putting away money, throwing parties with our friends at our apartment, and drinking Bud Light Platnium and playing Gamecube on Saturdays.

Of course there were challenges to being around one another all the time. We quickly learned which quirks and eccentricies we didn’t care for in each other, and with the pressure of mortgage and career changes on us, we began to have more disagreements. But with relatively few pressures aside from that, we were still very much on fire.

And then, not even two years after we said “I Do,” we said hello to our first son, and not even two years after that, we welcomed his baby brother. While it was terrifying getting used to being responsible for a tiny human being, these two have added a beautiful, loving dynamic to our relationship that we wouldn’t change for the world.

In the midst of all of this, my husband has been a business owner, and recently has taken on the role full time.

And although we are humbled by the blessings that are our sons and his business, I won’t lie, it’s been rough on our relationship.

It scares me to say that for a while there, I’d felt my fire start to turn to embers.

What Happened?

Handling two under two has been relatively easy for me, with the exception of some bad days here and there. But, as you can imagine, it takes up all of my time. I’ve touched on how I’ve struggled to maintain my own identity outside of motherhood in a previous post, but I feel it’s just as important to hang on to who you and your significant other were before children. While Mom and Dad are incredibly significant roles, Husband and Wife are just as much so.

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Not a very flattering shot of me, but a great one that shows how much of a loveable goofball my man is.

I read somewhere that tragically 2/3 of couples report significant unhappiness in their relationships within 18 months to three years of the birth of their first children. And even more tragic, many of these relationships ultimately end in divorce.

And as much as I hate to say it, I get it.

Between doing all you can to keep your child(ren) alive and well, keeping up whatever household tasks you can, making sure bills get paid and rent/mortgage is good for the month, performing at your job, and trying desperately to keep up with friends and family and their needs, marriage/relationships often fall in the cracks.

If you think of these things in terms of the analogy we used earlier, it’s almost like each of these things are like heavy wet leaves, dampening the flame that was burning so strong before. And if you’re not careful, the flame can go out altogether.

Like I mentioned before, I had been seeing these things in my own relationship with my husband. Not too long ago, we were going through a rough patch where we got into arguments almost daily, and while I can’t speak for him entirely, I think we both got a little bit resentful of each other.

I know the pressure has been real for my husband with his business. And though he works so hard each and every day, he still takes time to be an amazing Dad.

But I won’t lie, I had been feeling just a little bit neglected.

I know there’s a ton of articles and blogs on how to keep a healthy marriage, and I may duplicate some of these points, but here are some “Best Practices” I had been trying to get over this turbulence and reignite my flame.

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Almost 5 years into our marriage and almost 10 years together and he’s still every bit a loveable goofball as ever. Never change!

Talk It Out

It’s been said time and time again, but it’s worth mentioning once more–communication is key.

And not just when you have a disagreement. I mean conversation, like you used to have when you were dating. I’m talking those deep conversations you used to haveย in your significant other’s car until 6AM that made you fall ass over tea kettle in love.

We would talk about the house, the kids, the business plenty. All important things. But I’ve come to realize that we were starving for those old talks.

I’m trying to make it a point to talk with my husband about anything other than our daily work, even if I have to find a prompt online. Just talking has done wonders for us so far.

Put A Pin In It

I’m not proud of it, but I had gotten into the habit of saying some pretty mean things to my husband when we would argue. I would just get so aggravated and felt like I wasn’t being heard. And with Mom Brain in full force, I would have a hard time articulating what I wanted to say. So I would lash out.

I recognized this after a while and knew it wasn’t healthy for either of us. So now when we have a disagreement, I’ll let him know when I need a minute to collect my thoughts, and to walk away before I say something mean.

But if I’m mad enough, I’ve managed to change my approach from, “You’re such a (mean word here),” to “Why are you acting like a (mean word here)?”

This change in how I clap back prompts him to respond with, “I’m not,” and he’ll explain where he’s coming from. By doing this, I vent out some of my frustration, and I get to understand how he’s feeling and we are better able to smooth things over.

Get Close

We used to be so affectionate when we were first dating, and physical affection is super important to my husband. I had been feeling a little bit detatched, so I was not reciprocating his attempts at affection, nor going out of my way to give any. Naturally, this put a rift in between us.

I don’t know about you, but being in the trenches with potty training, while caring for an infant and maintaining the organized chaos that is my home, along with my writing “work,” and the pressures of keeping up with a social life burns me out. At the end of the day, the last thing I want is the hand on my knee. You know the one…

I’ve been trying little things to remind my husband, and myself, that I’m still very much attracted to him and want to be close to him. Even if I’m not feeling particularly affectionate, I’ll try to hold his hand for a minute, or run my fingers through his hair. Or better yet, hug him.

Hugging releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone. It’s good for you, and the person you’re hugging. I highly suggest asking your SO at randomย if you can give them a hug. It’s kind of like smiling even though you don’t want to.

Studies have shown that if you smile even though you’re not particularly happy, eventually it will actually make you feel happy. I feel like it’s the same thing with hugs and relationships. Even if you don’t feel particularly affectionate or loving, hugging for a little bit might make you actually feel loving. It’s been working for me.

Log Off

Hi, my name is Melissa, and I’m a Social-MediAholic.

I have a social media addiction. My husband has a mobile-gaming addiction. When we’re not caring for children or building estimate for electrical work, you can find us with our noses in our smartphones.

Or at least, you used to.

I’ve recently started a social media fast, and it’s made a difference in the way I feel. It’s been bumming me out subconsciously, and I’ve been carrying it into other aspects of my life. Now that I’m not on it so much, I’m much more aware of what’s going on around me, and it’s made me more open with my husband.

I know social media can be an escape for some, and it’s a great tool in keeping up with relatives and old friends. I suggest limiting its use, though, and if you must be on it, try to involve your partner in what you’re looking at. If you don’t already, make it a conversation.

“Hey, did you see so-and-so is doing this? Maybe we should try that sometime!” Or,ย “Tell me you’ve seen this meme!”

Never. Stop. Dating.

I know this is easier said than done, especially the more kids you have, but I cannot stress enough the absolute importance of taking time to “date” your significant other.

Even with all that we have going on, my husband and I have agreed to try to carve out a certain time on a certain day each week just for us.

Childcare can be hard to come by, and with our budget a night on the town won’t be in the cards for a while. Regardless, we make our time and make the most of it, usually from the comfort of our own home.

Whether hanging out on our porch for an hour before the sun goes down, or making fun of a bad movie together after the kids are asleep, we use this time to be engaged with each other, with no distractions. It’s made a difference.

Say Thank You

I realize I struck absolute gold when I found my husband. As much as he irritates me sometimes, I really do see that I’ve been blessed with this man. He’s a hard worker, an amazing father, compassionate, funny, and gorgeous.

And I know once in a while he needs to be reminded of that.

I’ve tried to make it a point to thank him each day for something different, whether it’s for changing x amount of diapers that day, washing the dishes, or even for just being patient with me on a bad day. I realize how much he’s expressed his gratitude for me, and I used to thank him a lot more when we were dating and in the early days of our marriage. Now that I’ve brought it back, I see the changes it’s made in both our moods.

I recommend thanking your SO every day, even if it’s just for being them.

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Holy throwback! Us at 19 and 20
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And us at 28

Love is a beautiful, blessed thing. It should never be taken for granted.

Sometimes, yes, it takes a little work. But everything that’s worth anything does.

What have you Mamas done to keep things fresh in your marriage/relationship? Any other words of wisdom? Let us know!

Thanks for reading, my gals! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

๐Ÿ‘€If youโ€™re new here, and this content or any of my upcoming content interests you, make sure you add your email and follow so you donโ€™t miss any updates! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ And if youโ€™re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿค—

๐Ÿ“‹ Upcoming Content: Two Vs. One: How To Survive 2 Under 2 and Battling Body Dysmorphia As A Mom

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The “Boy-Or-Girl Blues,” How I Got Over My Gender Disappointment

When we first talked about having another baby so soon after our first, somehow I had gotten it into my head that the next one would be a little girl. ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ‘—๐Ÿ’…๐ŸŽ€๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ‘‘

So convinced was I of this that I had even purchased (from consignment, of course) some girl clothes I had come across and couldn’t resist and had begun saving girly items for a possible sprinkle I’d have for her. I’d even had her name picked out (She was going to be named after someone very, very special๐Ÿ’–). I had even made a Pinterest Board with her name containing the matching outfits we’d wear and hairstyles I could attempt on her. ๐Ÿ‘—๐Ÿ’„๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’‡๐Ÿ’…๐Ÿฅฐ

Almost all of my pregnancy symptoms were even “indicative” of a girl–wicked morning sickness, ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ carrying high,ย ๐Ÿคฐmassive breakouts, ๐ŸŒ‹๐Ÿ˜ฌ etc. I even found myself instinctively calling the baby “she” and “her” in the early weeks. Friends and family were even convinced of it. I was so happy.

But then at my 19 week scan, the ultrasound tech said those three words…

๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ”ต”It’s a boy.” She stated, almost too matter-of-fact-ly.

My heart sunk. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’” I must have asked the technician, much to her annoyance, three times if she was sure, and to each question she would reply with a cold “Yes.” I can remember watching her type “Boy” over the anatomy in slow, deliberate keystrokes.

I still hate to admit it, but I cried. I hadn’t cried much this pregnancy, but I did that day, on the examination table. I was devastated. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”

I know that sounds terrible. After all, he was perfect! Healthy, measuring on time, no concerns ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™ …but I couldn’t bring myself to be happy.

I cried and cried all that weekend. I was inconsolable. I couldn’t get out of bed. My melancholy continued into that next week, as all I could think of was that I wasn’t getting the little girl I had dreamed of this whole year.

I had begun to suspect that I’d been having issues with prenatal depression leading up to this, too, so I know that’s also a big part of what was making this such a big deal. I stopped eating right when my birthday and anniversary came and went that month, and really let myself go when I found out the gender. I’m paying for that now. ๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿ˜“

๐Ÿ’ปโŒจ๐Ÿ’ฌI ended up reading and posting on a lot of forums regarding Gender Disappointment and learned that what I was going through wasn’t completely abnormal. It turns out what I had done was created this person in my head and my heart, and had made her “real.” I hadn’t prepared myself for the very real possibility that this baby would be a “he.” I had gone into this pregnancy believing that I was coming out of it with “my” girl, but this wasn’t going to happen. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ž

๐Ÿ’ฏGod had other plans๐Ÿ’ฏ

It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with all of this. Truthfully, more than three months later, I still struggle a tiny bit. I still see pictures of my niece and my friends’ little girls and I feel a twinge of sadness and jealousy. And sometimes I lay awake worrying that it will never happen for me…

๐Ÿ’”How I Got Over It๐Ÿ’™

One thing I’ve learned from all of this is that I can plan for something all I want, but God’s plan is better, and it will always prevail. ๐Ÿ’ฏ And if you don’t believe that, then maybe look at it this way: everything in life, good and bad, happens for a reason. If you’re going through a hard time right now, it’s going to make you stronger, ๐Ÿ’ชย and it’s going to lead you to where you need to be.

That’s what this is for me.

Finding out my baby was a boy was what led me to Perinatal counseling. ๐Ÿ“’๐Ÿง ๐Ÿ˜Œ I had been debating going before, but didn’t want to take the time and have to have another thing that I’d need babysitting for. But when I went through my gender disappointment, I finally made an appointment, and I’ve been working through some other things that are actually really helping in other aspects of my life. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ˜

It was really hard for me to look on the bright side at first, as everyone was trying to help me with. But I knew that I had to get through it, so I made a physical list of all the good. In doing so I’ve been able toย  see that while it might still be a little devastating for me, there’s really so much to be happy about. โ™ฅโ™ฅโ™ฅ

  • First, I have a healthy baby, that’s plenty to be thankful for.ย ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿ™
  • Second, Vinny will still have a little sibling close in age, which comes with all of the benefits I listed in a previous post. ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ‘ถ
  • Next, it’s another boy, so my husband gets more chances to have his family name passed down in a traditional sense (almost all of his cousins are female, or have a different last name, and he his only sibling is my sister-in-law, so the family name depends on my husband and two of his significantly younger boy cousins), which I know is important to him. ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ’—
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๐Ÿ’šOur Second Baby๐Ÿ’š
  • Furthermore, as Vinny is named after my husband’s father and grandfather, Michael (Mikey) is named after my father and shares my grandfather’s name. Plus, Vinny was even born in the same month as my FIL and Mikey is due the same month as my Dad’s birthday! Talk about serendipity ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’ž
  • Finally, he’s my baby. ๐Ÿคฐ๐Ÿคฑ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿฅฐ He’s part of me and the love of my life. If that’s not a reason to be happy, I don’t know what else is.

So maybe I didn’t get my way this time. And who knows what we’ll get in the future? But God willing, someday soon I’ll be able to throw that “Girl Power Superhero Sprinkle” I had already planned in my head, and my little girl will have two super brothers to look out for her and show her how to be her own hero. ๐Ÿฆธโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿฆธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿฆธโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’–


I had also bought Mikey his own coming home outfit to help make me feel better. I try not to make retail therapy a habit as I have in the past, but it did help a little looking through Etsy at all of the creative, personalized newborn outfits and coming across this little gem. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Now Mikey has something of his own aside from his brother’s hand-me-downs. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š 90 percent of his wardrobe is going to be passed down from Vinny. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘•๐Ÿ‘–๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

And honestly, I can’t wait to see him in it. And I can’t wait to welcome him into our family. ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿฅฐ


Have you or someone you know experienced gender disappointment? How did you overcome it? Any other tips for readers? Post them in the comments!

Thanks for reading, my gals! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ˜˜ Stay tuned and I’ll tell you about how spending less time with my son makes me a better Mom. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ’“