‘Some nights, we just fold laundry together.’: Mom talks balancing marriage and kids, ‘Take time for ALL the things you love’

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“One of the things I love most about being married is having a best friend, always by my side. I love knowing no matter what I do, I’m always going to have someone to share things with. The good, the bad, and the unexpected. I love having a partner, someone to make me laugh and create everlasting memories with.

Despite what the skeptics say, it truly is a wonderful thing to spend your life committed to loving someone. Every single day, I’m so thankful I got to marry my husband. My world would be so different, and so dull, without him. I’ve been very fortunate to have such a great relationship. From the beginning, it’s been a pretty fantastic journey.

My husband and I lived together for two years prior to having our firstborn. We were pretty spontaneous, made a lot of rash decisions, and had a pretty upbeat lifestyle. We liked it that way. It was fun to fly by the seat of our pants from time to time. I spent a lot of time cooking the two of us fancy dinners, planning out date nights, and sprucing up things when we would spend nights in. I loved to get dressed up and put on makeup. It made me feel good when my then-boyfriend, now husband, gawked at me.

A bride and groom kiss on a balcony
Courtesy of Molly Claypool

When we had our first son, I knew becoming a mother would consume a large amount of the time I was able to spend just being a girlfriend/wife before. I was OK with that because I knew it was simply part of the process of starting a life together and having a family. It was part of transitioning into not just a mother but a responsible adult.

The first year of juggling parenthood and marriage was pretty hard. Harder than I had expected. I was tired, hormonal, side-tracked, and overwhelmed. Not to mention trying to recover from carrying and birthing a 9 lb. baby. We had to cut off communication with my in-laws about 5 months into my oldest son’s first year, and my parents live in Texas, so it was a tough time to be coping with the newborn stage.

A mother presses her nose to her baby son's
Courtesy of Molly Claypool

Not to brag, but I like to think I took it like a champ. My kids were both amazing as babies. I got lucky. Most nights, I got to sleep 7-8 hours or more. But it was still a trial to not have any sort of help during the day. Some days, I just wanted relief to take a half-hour nap because the 24-7 thing was getting exhausting. A trip to the store alone would’ve been nice every now and again.

Motherhood is lonely when you’ve had to move away from everyone and everything you’ve ever known. I hadn’t made any friends in Oklahoma because as a former Texan, full-time mother, and college student, I wasn’t able to get out much. I spent all my days doing homework, soaking bottles, or hurrying to wash clothes before the spit-up soured.

During this time, I gave my husband a run for his money. My mind was racing. I was too tired to think, and I was slacking in the marriage department, big time. I had a hard time putting wife AND mother on the same (already) spinning plate. I struggled with putting effort into my appearance, worried about my weight and the way pregnancy had changed my body, and let’s not even get into how off the wall my moods were.

I had forgotten how to be more than just a mother. I had forgotten what it was like to love the feeling of being a couple with my husband. Everything in the world was on my mind except for my marriage. Still, my loving husband put up with me, and he made me feel like it would all be OK.

A mom and her husband stand by a fence
Courtesy of Molly Claypool

Don’t get me wrong, becoming a mother is one of my proudest moments. I feel like I’m always learning new things as a mom. It’s an ever-changing journey I’m really enjoying. My kids make me smile and warm my heart on even the darkest of days. But I’ve always loved being a wife, too. I’ve loved the idea of it. The thought of it. The experiences.

As a little girl, I always had a deep admiration for women who were fortunate enough to be truly good at the whole ‘be a wife’ thing. It wasn’t until I got married when I realized it’s not about being ‘good’ at it. It’s about what you do to make it good, to keep it good. It’s about where your focus is, and how well you distribute your attention and time. I can’t say it’s always the easiest thing to figure it all out, but there has never been anything in the world that has made me question my role as a wife.

Before my kids and their needs devoured my time, it meant everything to me to be the best wife I could possibly be, and one night, it dawned on me. It still meant the world to me. I had just let myself get preoccupied with one specific area of my life. I didn’t have to forget I was a wife just because I became a mother. It was up to me to make it a priority.

Sure, time for fancy dinners and movies became a little scarcer, and I had other things to spend time on, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t set aside particular moments and certain times to just devote myself to being a wife to my husband. I absolutely adore my kids. They are a huge light in my life. But so is my husband—so is our marriage.

Marriage to me has always been an important thing to acknowledge. I don’t like to let things overwhelm me and cloud my desire to be there for my husband. Motherhood is so important and such a great thing to devote your life and time to, but it doesn’t mean your passion should no longer exist. I feel like a large part of being a good mom is showing your children a good, positive, and sturdy relationship.

A different sort of smile lights up my face when my husband and I get to spend time together, just us. It is a whole new level of joy. I guess it would have to be, given our only nights out alone happen maybe twice a year. My husband and I don’t get the luxury weekend date night or the long trips away. We rarely have time to ourselves.

I won’t lie to you, it’s pretty brutal. It puts a strain on creativity, and let me tell you, nothing puts a roadblock on thinking outside the box like not having a babysitter. Especially being two people who really long for that time together.

A couple and their three kids take a messy selfie
Courtesy of Molly Claypool

But we’ve been pretty incredible at still finding ways to make our relationship and alone time a must. We have learned to make our own ideas. Our kids won’t be small forever, and we know that. A lot of our time now is spent simply cherishing and savoring these moments. Admiring one another. Squeezing in togetherness when we can and making the most of our time as a family.

I want my children to see two people who love and respect each other. Two people who always go out of their way to make time for one another. It’s important to me to show them a great example of what marriage should be like.

It’s never simple to master the art of wearing multiple hats. Being married and having children are two very underestimated jobs. You do so many different things and deal with a mess of chaos on the regular. There are going to be some weeks you forget who you are because you are so focused on what everyone else needs. Some days you will be consumed by a pile of laundry, work, school, or just life in general. It will happen.

But try not to forget to devote time to being a spouse, too. Single out a few moments every evening to nurture your marriage so it can grow and thrive, even when life is busy. It has so many benefits. I have found my kids make me happy, but a large portion of my happiness also comes from the time I get to spend with my husband.

A mom and her husband sit together in their car
Courtesy of Molly Claypool

During the time we spend together, I get to laugh with him. Enjoy a meal with him. Watch a movie, our favorite show, or hell, some nights, we just fold laundry together. On many occasions, we just sit and talk. I’ll never be ashamed of making my role as a wife a priority.

I am always striving to be better at it every day. I’ll never be the perfect example of what a wife should be, and that’s OK. I’m doing what I can. When you are on the twisting, turning road of wife and mom, it’s all you can do. It’s important to never forget yourself and your needs. Remember to take time for the things you love. ALL the things you love.”

A wife kisses her husband on the cheek
Courtesy of Molly Claypool

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Claypool of Life Unscripted. Follow her journey on Instagram here and her website here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Molly:

‘You’re the girl who feels like she is never enough. Dear girl, you ARE enough. Why? Because no one else is YOU.’: Woman writes touching note to others struggling, ‘We don’t break, we bend’

‘I’ve been the girl who didn’t fit in. I’m too much for some people and not enough for others. I’ve been the girl who wondered if she’d make it, and the girl who did.’: Mom loves who she is, ‘I won’t change for anyone’

‘He doesn’t mind me in the dirtiest pair of leggings or the most pristine outfit I own. He’s just there, always, ready.’: Mom of 3 reminds busy parents that ‘perfection isn’t the goal. Love is.’

‘You used to wear makeup. Now you’re wearing spit up. Laundry day is now laundry life. That first baby will have you questioning your sanity.’: Woman pens letter to new mommas, ‘You’re going to be just fine’

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