October 26, 2015

My, How Mighty the Changes Have (and Haven't) Been

Since I last posted five years ago, we had a child. We also moved. The quieter streets? Check. The big trees? Check. Less clutter? Check. Simpler life? Oh, fuck no.

If anything, having a child friendly home means more work. Oh, and the having a child thing, too.

When we got pregnant, we were in agreement not to find out Spawn's gender. I kept that agreement Spouse Unit did not. He went about secreting the information for a number of months and did not , to his credit, even inform his 'rents. It worked fine until one night when he came home drunk and he let it slip. We were about six weeks out from delivery it turned out. And with that the Worries started. The Worries are what I call the agonizing what-if's and crisis management play-by-plays that happen when you have a little bit of information, but not the whole story. In this instance it was knowing we were having a daughter and knowing that eventually the whole mother-daughter competition would inevitably unfold.

It is a natural stage of development for a teen going through puberty to rebel and compete against their same sex parent. If fathers and sons fight,  then mothers and daughters destroy the world. All hail, Armageddon. I am sooooo not looking forward to this eventuality. In fact, I'd rather have my toenails pulled out, my anus filled with lead and my eardrums pierced daily with a rusty icepick. Why? Because the thought of arguing with the person I love most in this life breaks my pea-pickin' heart.

Our identities ave changed. I am no longer the Child Bride, but Ninja Mom. Spawn is Baby Lady and Spouse Unit is now Captain Dad. Notice that my husband's and my new nicknames no longer revolve around our marital status, but around our roles as parents? Yeah, well, that's pretty much because like most married couples who have a small child, the marriage is non-existent. We are not divorced, but we really function more like college roommates sharing responsibility over a very hyper, very precocious and unreasonably cute war/cuddle machine. If Baby Lady is not there, the silences are long and painful. Somehow two people who used to b able to talk about anything now cannot even bring up the weather without the implications of age, regret, grievances and constant misunderstandings.

At least I know we are not alone in this. It is a real threat to new parents even those married nearly a decade like we were when we had Baby Lady. There were already chinks in our armor. That's natural with two lawyers who do not know how to pull punches, but it got worse as we experienced the pregnancy in very different ways. He got to keep his lifestyle and went out 3-5x a week without fail. I got to stay home, take prenatal supplements, plan a nursery by myself, research all the testing they do on older mothers and play with the Worries. By the time I was on bed rest, I had lost all trust for him to co-parent. It's not like he stayed home with me or was an equal in decision making. He went on about his life like nothing was changing and what I said did not matter. So, communication broke down more and we became wholly separate people with one common goal of parenting our child.

We are raising a fantastic child, but I wonder how much more fantastic she would be if we were not in a constant cycle of war and detente? I also wonder if my blood pressure would even out.... but that's another issue altogether.

So go back a year and we were very much heading towards divorce. It was announced between us. Him unhappy. Me free. We just had to wait to make it FB official until after our seasonal family and social obligations ended. I am not sure so much I chickened out as I am certain I chose my child's happiness and future over my own. All the gains I made in health and happiness before I decided to stay are slowly fading and I wonder how long I can keep it up. Hell, I still have the job I hate because that's what you do. You do for those you are responsible for first. Right? Fuck having any right to happiness and self-fulfillment. That's a goddamn fantasy world you're living in, Buck-O.

Anyhow, I digress. My original point is: though the window dressing is better, the interior is not. Don't buy into the "perfect" pictures and FB posts about wonderful family togetherness of your friends. I have found in my line of work it is all a farce to save face but also to avoid the Worries. The Worries will suck the life out of you and make an already difficult experience intolerable. So the first step to avoiding the state intolerability is to deny it exists. The second is to deny some more and the third is to deny even more. You will learn to grasp onto any small happiness and inflate it to cover the deficiencies. Eventually reality will either catch up with fantasy or it'll get so bad it doesn't really matter anymore. Ain't nobody getting out alive at that point.

We all, at some point, will start thinking that if we do this, change that that our overall lives and sense of happiness will improve. We are lying to ourselves. We are just trading one set of problems for a new set. That's exactly what adulthood and adult relationships are. So, suck it up or be a whiny bitch or be somewhere in between. That's teh only real choice you will get. Welcome to Adulting 101.


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