Thursday, March 26, 2009

Any ideas???

Okay, my loyal bloggy friends, I have some questions for you and am begging for any answers / ideas / inspiration to help me!!!

The last few weeks have been a real blur for me.  The whole madness of the Wizard of Oz season, and now post-season, coupled with William's sudden weaning, my hormonal changes, subsequent emotional state, etc. etc. have raised all sorts of interesting issues and questions.  Funny that.

My mind has been plagued with questions regarding things I even struggle to put into words.  But I am so interested in getting some feedback on this that I will try!

So, the question put simply is this.  How do two people, once married and down the track of life a bit, find the balance between their own lives and identities and the responsibilities/ group identity of family life?  Does that make any sense?  Let me back-track.

I was 19 years old.  Stuart was 20.  We had just become engaged to be married, and over the next 2 years would do a great deal of thinking and planning (often on giant spreadsheets of paper!)  for our future together.  We were SO close, inseparable in fact.  Enthusiastic, dreamers, idealists! Our whole lives ahead of us!  If you read this post from last November, you'll already know things haven't gone quite to plan. :)  Some of the little disappointments and major failings have also lessoned our enthusiasm in general I think.
It's true that I leaned fiercely on Stu from day one, and *needed* his affirmation, love and affections more than was healthy; I have since given my heart to Jesus and now try to look to Him for these things- but I do still struggle in this area.  

Our engagement was just 9 years ago, but it feels like a lifetime.

I cannot believe how much having children has changed me.  I mean, really really changed me.  When Stuart said the other night, "Don't you remember what we used to be like?" I had to honestly answer "no, I don't!!"  I simply cannot remember who I was before Saraya's birth.  Is this normal?  
Stuart absolutely remembers, in fact, he is still very much the person he was all those years ago.  Yes, he's a youthful kind of guy, and yes, he's a prep teacher and thus a big kid in many ways and may never grow up, and yes, he's a man and they seem  more like "islands" to me than women who need to be connected to people and things...........  BUT, shouldn't I remember??  Shouldn't I still have a separate identity, see myself as valuable and worthy outside of my motherhood, see myself as a woman with a life and a future, have personal interests and pursuits, take time to develop the relationships with the women precious to me, ....... remember who I am?????  What do you think??

Also, I have always seen Stuart and I as a package.  You know, as one.
When I made any decision it was always in light of "us".  I never went through a single day or moment thinking of  myself as separate from him.  Or our children for that matter.
I've realised in the last month that Stuart doesn't see things that way. (I think..... I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog anymore but if you do Stu, feel free to verify/disagree/leave me a comment on all this rambling!, shed some light....) 

Stuart is Stuart.  He is his own person.  Sure, he has a family and I know he loves us.  He is often a wonderfully supportive, kind and generous husband.  He is considerate and helpful, and we have a polite, friendly relationship.
And I know deep down he loves our children very much.
But when it comes to the crunch, he is just Stuart.  Independent Stuart.  Prep teacher.  Funny guy.  The pied piper to the many children around us.  Lover of history and geography.  And now, like me, a lover of musical theatre. (forgive me Lord, I'm working through my emotions on that front.....)  And friend of many through the popularity of facebook. ;)

I have felt so alone, so confused over all this.  My head is always filled with the most mundane of things..... cooking, cleaning, washing, folding, baking, sorting, shopping, etc............ and the most serious of things........ mainstream schooling vs. homeschooling, a little girl with complex emtions, chickens who look sick (am I just paranoid after losing our last lot?), renovating on a budget, diet and nutrition, personal growth, my faith, etc etc.  I am desperate to share this all with Stuart.  And he will listen if I talk to him about these things, he is always willing to sit with a cup of tea in the evenings and hear me talk. (got to use up those extra 3000 words before bed, you know?!)   But in the deepest parts of my heart, I want him to want to know.  To want to know I am going.  How the children are going.  To be intimately connected to me, to them.  To really, really care. To be here.  Is this right? Wrong?  Normal? Unrealistic??? 

I am absolutely NOT criticising or putting down my husband.  As I have said, he is a wonderful person.  
I just feel over the last 9 years we have drifted.  Fragmented.  Become separate people.  Or maybe we were always separate people and I just didn't realise it.  Maybe we should be.  
I just never thought this would be a reality for us.

I can feel myself drifting from him.  Seeking out myself after being "lost" to my children and the domestic world for so many years.  In many ways I feel our relationship would be better for me finding myself again, being more independent, less needy, less naggy, more self-sufficient.  I am deliberately going to God about many things rather than to Stu, leaning on God more, seeing him as a support and Father to my children when I know Stu is wanting to be busy doing other things.  I know He is the ultimate Father and giver of help and wisdom.

I'm just concerned that in all this drifting, this letting go, this seeking of my independent self, and encouraging of Stuart's, we will grow further apart.  That we will become two separate, happy adults, with our own friends and interests and pursuits.  That we will be merely friends and housemates who happen to have three children to our names.  That the intimacy and deep love and dreaming and longing will be lost.

Please, help me!  Women out there- how do you see your husbands?  How do they see themselves in terms of the family unit?  How do you keep the union alive yet allow room for individuality, freedom and time to oneself?  Does anyone else feel we need more hours in the day? I know I do!  Weekdays are so full, and by the time evening comes around we both are exhausted!  I am longing for connection withStuart, and yet we both also seek time on the computer.... facebooking and blogging etc.  We both tend to retreat.  And yet we used to want to do so much more together.  The couple of hours of evening just disappear.

Please forgive this ramble- you know I do this every so often!  But please please please leave a comment if you have made it through this post- I am so interested to know what you all think!  I just want to do this right.
Thanks, 
Saminda.

15 comments:

Cathy said...

So many questions. So real. So common. So familiar. So wanting to know the answers. Soon. So appreciative that you have expressed this with such clarity, realness, honesty. So much the right Way to lean on the Truth and the Life who is our Saviour and to know that we are being gently led by the One who knows the answers and holds us close to His Heart as we think things through and/or just relax in Him, solely depending on Him; total and minute-by-minute surrender to Him as HE works things out for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Love you so much,my dear, dear friend:)

Sandra said...

Love and hugs to you.
First, thank you for being so brave and open and sharing this.
Second, I don't think you're alone and third, I think I'll have to think on this some more.
I too have struggled with similar feelings, sometimes it has resolved and yet I would say we as a couple are coasting at the moment. I don't think you will always feel this way. It is good to pray about it and talk to Stuart. You just might have to be intentional about spending time together for a while. I know it's difficult with a small baby and a busy husband. For us we need time just to get back in step with each other and then time to get close again. I'm not sure if that helps or not.

jenb said...

Saminda that post was beautiful. Thank you for sharing yourself with us in such a real way. Most of what you said resonates with me at the moment, I don't have any answers either, just working through, waiting.
On a completely different note, some of your new links don't work, I keep getting a page load error. Not sure if it's my computer's error or the links on your list.

Tereza said...

I'll email you instead ok?!

Karen said...

I don't think I can remember life before the latest baby, let alone before any kids. :-) Even though I'm not where you are right now, I've been there...and who knows when I'll be there again because I tend to be there periodically. I'm afraid I can't give any words of wisdom as I'm not sure that anything changed from then till now. For me, I try to spend time with my husband whenever I can. And I try to read certain books which help me not forget to be a wife in addition to a mom. I too try to rely on our Heavenly Father instead of my husband...sometimes more sucessfully then others. I struggle with taking time to meet with God...between late nights with the baby and early mornings with the toddler and out-of-sync naps....and when I do think back to who I was..I can see that I really am glad I am no longer that person! Hopefully being a wife and mom has helped me to grow in Christ-likeness....

Linden said...

I know there isn't much for me to say... since I'm only eighteen. But just know, I am praying for you always. *hugs*

~Linden

Anonymous said...

Hey little chicken - that was a beautiful post! I love you. Many, many things have happened since you were young and full of plans and dreams. Back then - you had no experience of life. You had no idea how you would be as a wife, a mother, a friend etc. You were probably still studying Early Childhood. HOW COULD you know what your life would be like? How can you hold onto all your dreams and ideals (which were formed at a time when you were still forming as a person) and carry them on through all the stuff life chucks at you. Things HAVE to change. If they didn't, you yourself would not change. You would not grow in your ideals, your dreams, your relationships. It is very true to say that you are NOT that person anymore. Things have affected you (have they ever baby!) and changed the way you look at things. Take time with Stuart to reflect back to how you were back then (how he saw you and how you saw yourself) and the dreams you had, examine and discuss the changes you've been through and look at the differences in each of you now. (Then get really drunk and make NEW plans!!!)
I think that one of our greatest differences between young/single and older/married/mother is how seriously we take ourselves. Back then, we didn't have a care in the world really did we? And now, the whole future of our children relies solely on how well we mother them. I don't understand how we can believe this and yet we do. We are racked with guilt 24/7 and I think that it is this ideal which has to be turned around for us to return to being normal human beings again. Sorry about the really long ramble, but I think so many of us struggle with these issues!!! Love, love, love ya baby!!!

jazzy cat said...

What beautiful sentiments from your Mum!! You have achieved such goals, one of them being having a beautiful family and marriage - and now the goal posts have changed. That's not necessarily a bad thing - like you mum said, it's just hard to accept perhaps that change is occuring and is always present but sometimes it sneaks up on us and whacks us on the head to remind us ;-) I'll save the rest for later...communication is the key though and taking time out to do this with each other I would imagine. Growing the self - the relationship of others with your blossoming self - is very important. Best wishes!! Lots of love!! Jen

Saminda said...

Hehe, that wasn't my Mum, but my friend Helen- also "anonymous"! :) Thanks so much for the kind words everyone.

Renata said...

I wish I could give you advice, but all I can say is I've been there - last year it did seem very much like the kids & I as one entity & Dave as another. I don't know when it changed for the better or how, but I can truely say that now I feel like part of a marriage again. I think it is a phase in marriage - esp as we are so involved with the children at this stage. I am also trying to spend more time with my family & less with the computer (that's why my blogging is so slack lately). I wish I could give you a big hug & say I understand. All I know is just to pray about it - take it all to our Father.

Last night Dave & I watched the movie "fireproof" (available at koorong) & once you get past the average acting, it is EXCELLENT - I would highly recommend it to everyone who is married or thinking about being married. Kind of off the topic,I know, but it's about marriage & the importance of it.

As for the chickens - what problems are you having?

Cathy said...

Hi there!

Just wanted to first say thanks for visiting my blog!

Second, that was a good post and very thought provoking. I agree with one commenter that I'm going to have to mull that one over for awhile (it's late and I'm tired:)) and another commenter that said that the movie Fireproof is a must see!

Third, your children are adorable! and I, too, have a William, who we call Will!

Amy said...

Saminda, I wish I understood what you were feeling and expressing. I am in a very different stage of life and so cannot share my thoughts on this with you. What I can share with you though and my trust and belief that you share also that we have a God who cares more than we can imagine about anything and everything that is troubling us. Do lean on him. Do crash on him and let ALL your burdens on him.
My prayers are with you.

Heather said...

Saminda, I completely understand your feelings, and I can only say that I'm praying for both of you.

I see my husband as my partner in all things, and I do expect him to put our marriage and his family first (after his relationship with God, of course). I also know that he needs personal interests, and friends, and time for himself. I need that too, but it's a delicate balance, difficult for all of us to manage. Like you, I can hardly remember who I was before my children came along, but I think that's completely normal. Children change everything.

I suspect that all marriages have times like this...we went through a really difficult period after Cakes was born, and we did seek counseling. It helped so much, and now I feel like we're closer than ever.

You and Stuart will get through this! Place your concerns at the foot of the cross. Jesus knows your struggles, and He loves you. He will see you through.

Linda said...

I don't believe a person with small children is wrong to be dependent on a husband. Eventually you can be but then you end up feeling how you are feeling.

I was 20 when we moved in together and married not long afterwards. Yes, the internet seems to make it worse.

I know which people think being independent is more healthy. I think they learn it in their jobs. I don't think they are necessarily right.

I do remember what we used to be like before children. He may feel frustrated that you can't. In our house it is the other way around. Why frustrated, because he forgets my good points. Yes, spending more time together helps that and being willing to make a go of it.

Kelly said...

Saminda,

First things first, you are an amazing woman and it sounds like Stu is an incredible man. Together you've created a fabulous family. It is 100%, no, let me rephrase, 1000%, normal to come to a point where you question your identity and process the changes that you've made in your life that have arisen gradually from environement, not necessarily from any one choice that you've made or path that you've conciously taken.

Ed and I have been together for 10 years this year, married for four of them. We were young, too, when we met and got together - 17. It's amazing how I still feel like I don't know him - like we've been together for such a short period of time. Yet, I feel as if he's always been with me, and he has been - my entire adult life at least, LOL. I think that I'm a very naive person in a lot of respects, and I can imagine him grinning and shaking his head at me (wait, he is, LOL, just kidding) as I type this out about feeling like I've known him forever versus a day. He tends to see my feelings more clearly than I do myself. Blessing and a curse, LOL!

I think that you taking care of who you are is going to bring your relationship into a whole new - more dynamic and wonderful - level. In fact, just today I was thinking about how odd it is that two people pledge their lives to Christ as a husband/wife team and then really only celebrate their togetherness by having dinner around a table together, going to church together, sitting on the same sofa, sharing the same bed, brushing their teeth at the same sink. I think that the Lord WANTS us to seek out who we are throughout our lives, because we all change, and we all SHOULD change. Change is learning, and to learn something new we need to be made uncomfortable first so that we're willing to shift our perspective and open our minds up to new possibilities.

I pray for you guys during this time - God will bring triumphant and terrific results from your journey, mama! I am certain!

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