I am not a fan of gossip, tabloids, or anything of that nature. So imagine my surprise about a month ago when I see several headlines while waiting to check out at the grocery store: "We may split up" from Kate of "Jon and Kate Plus Eight." "Jon and Kate" was once one of my favorite t.v. shows. For those of you who aren't familiar with the show, it's about a couple who used fertility treatments to get pregnant. They had twins, and when they decided to try for one more child, they ended up with six. I loved watching this show because it helped me keep my life in perspective- if Jon and Kate could manage with 8 kids, then John and I definitely could do it with just two under two!
I understand that having 8 kids versus the 2 that we have are completely different situations. But as I watch "Jon and Kate" now (which I am probably going to stop doing because where once it was light-hearted and fun, now it's like watching a car crash in slow motion), I can't help but wonder... what if John and I become a statistic?
Many days it's like we're two ships passing in the night. Most nights John doesn't get home until 7pm. He will play with Eric for maybe thirty minutes before he bathes him and puts him to bed. Almost every night I'm with Rachel while John's with Eric. Rachel is breastfed and has attached herself to me almost exclusively to the point where no one can seem to bond with her without tears. I swear this is not my doing! I would do anything to be able to pass her off to others. She's getting better, but John has a saying that "in Rachel's world there are 2 people: 'Mom' and 'Not Mom.'"
But I digress... It seems that John and I are room-mates at times, not really married. I can't even tell you the last time we were intimate (TMI, I know). When Rachel goes to sleep, I usually follow because I know I'll be up between 3-5am for a feeding. John's up with Eric between 7 and 8 while I try (key word here is try) to get maybe an extra hour of sleep before he has to get ready for work. Like most government contractors (heck most everyone up here in Nova!) he works long and sometimes crazy hours. We are always kind and loving to each other. We don't criticize each other. But I wonder if the lack of emotional and physical intimacy may one day come back to hurt us. What if we wake up years from now and find out we no longer have anything in common?
I wish I had known how much having children would change our marriage. Not that I regret having my kids. God, no. But kids change everything. People tell you that, but the reality doesn't hit you until it hits you. Can't say it any better than that. I know a lot of people are in my situation- you feel alone with the kids all day, but you can't connect with your spouse once the kids are finally down through sleep deprivation, lack of time, etc. I know (pray?) it won't always be like this. I hope for change once the kids are a little older (sleeping through the night would help!). But I wonder... will their growth just simply bring on more challanges that could make our marriage even more strained?