Friday, October 8, 2010

"marriage first"

us, last November

I was reading an interview with a woman named Pam as part of The Motherhood Project on chookooloonks, and I loved what she said in response to the question "What advice would you give to someone who is still trying to figure out this parenting thing?" (and isn't that all of us who are parents?):

"Really, the best advice I could ever give are two simple words: marriage first. Children are the single most disruptive thing to a relationship, a budget, a routine and life in general. Also silence. Doesn't mean that they aren't wonderful, it just means they are extremely distracting and, if you're not careful, the days and thoughts and energy can go only to them. A family only works if a marriage works. If the marriage suffers, the children suffer. Do everything in your power to support the marriage first. Your marriage is the model for what the children will expect and do in their own relationships."

I think this is so wise. It's what my parents modeled for my sister and me, and what I strive to model for Elan and his sister/brother on the way. It's not easy. Elan is the kind of kid who hates it when his parents attempt to have a conversation in front of him. After he goes to bed, we are both tired and in need of quiet "me" time; we tend to retreat into our separate activities and interests. There are nights where 9 p.m. will come along, and I'll realize that all we've done is sit in front of our respective computers, Mikhail watching soccer and me reading blogs. And of course with another little attention-demanding person soon to arrive, it will be even more challenging.

In September, Mikhail and I went away for an overnight just the two of us (my fabulous mother-in-law watched Elan, with help from my fabulous sister-in-law -- we are lucky!). We stayed at a B&B in Calistoga, floated around in the pool, poured over baby name books, ate a nice dinner out. It was beautiful, though I have no pictures. I didn't even bring the camera. We talked to each other for more than 5 minutes straight. We were quiet together. A little time away from the household routine and you start to remember that your relationship is more than being co-parents, co-workers on the domestic front. I cannot recommend it enough.

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