Tag Archives: marriage problems after baby
Q. My mother in law is causing me a lot of stress. My husband and I have two children.We have a very loving relationship, a happy marraige and a very happy home. When I returned home after having my second baby, my mother-in-law took over the house. She told my husband to say good bye to me and go stay with his father because he would be no use to me.
Sometimes grandparents have a funny way of welcoming a first grandchild into the fold. Specifically, they fight about it. It’s a battle for dominance. Whose culture and traditions will take hold? Who will win the coveted position as uber-grandma? Continue reading
Google “happiness and having children” and you’ll find a lot of depressing studies that seem to conclude that we have a national epidemic of miserable parents on our hands. The three of us have to admit that, in some respects, a good response to our own “what happened to my body/career/marriage since I had kids?” questions would have been a fairly swift kick in the ass. Continue reading
When my first kid was about three months old I reached my breaking point. I was downright exhausted and needed my husband, Ross, to pick up some slack. (Let me preface this by saying that Ross is a great guy. This happened during the early days of parenting when ‘he just didn’t get it.’) One time, I remember telling him that all I cared about was stepping on some sort of exercise apparatus, improving my overall hygiene, and getting a few hours of shuteye. At the end of the day, he was no where in sight. Where’s Waldo? I called him on his cell and of course he said he was on his way shortly. And what did I hear in the background? I could swear it sounded suspiciously like a combination of Golden Tee and a keg being tapped.
After living much of our pre-parenthood lives as relative equals, it comes as a surprise when, post-baby, men and women start to assume different and not always complementary roles. Our instincts nudge women into the role of nurturers and men into the role of providers. When we become parents our most basic instincts rise to the surface. We find ourselves back in the prehistoric suburbs, where women wonder if baby might be allergic to mammoth and if there are enough wild berries in his diet, and where men stalk buffalo and question whether their hunting abilities will be good enough to get the family through the winter.
It’s like our brains get completely rewired, running two separate “his and her” programs, but for good reason. Both programs are equally important for the survival and well-being of the baby. She focuses on the micro, the day-to-day development of the baby, while he focuses on the macro, providing food and shelter for the baby.
In simple terms, she has The Mommy Chip, while he has Provider Panic.
There have been times in my life when I have been absolutely astounded by the male sex drive. I was awestruck a couple of months after the birth of our first daughter when Mike attempted to have sex with me. My leaky boobs, matted hair, stooped shoulders, hairy legs, stained bathrobe and – I am pretty sure – stinky breath did not deter him. Continue reading
Q. I live in California and my mother in-law lives in New York, so we don’t see that much of each other. She just sent a gift for our seven month old baby that I think is awful. It’s a hideous looking jack in the box type thing, that has a scary laugh when it jumps out. Continue reading
Last month, as I was eating dinner at a new restaurant in Austin called Eleven Plates, I noticed Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kimberly Buffington-Quaid, talking to one of the servers at the bar. I don’t usually stare at celebrities, but in this instance, I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Dennis looked unhappy, withdrawn, almost defeated. Kimberly looked like she was trying to make an effort, but still seemed sad underneath it all. As they slowly walked out the door, I couldn’t help but wonder, why did they look so miserable? Did they have a bad meal? Were they unhappy with their service? But it was so much more than that. Then it hit me. With two young children, four-year-old twins, at home, they are no doubt going through the toughest stage in a marriage. Maybe they’re having marital problems?
Fast-forward a few weeks, and here we are reading the headline: Dennis Quaid’s Wife Files for Divorce. According to court papers, Buffington-Quaid says she is filing for divorce because things have “become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities.” Are they, yet, another Babyproofing casualty?
USA Today ran an article yesterday titled “Years of Research Point to Strain Kids Put on Relationship.” Not exactly breaking news for those of us raising young children. The article refers to the more than 25 separate studies in the past two decades that find that marital quality takes a dive with a baby’s birth: babies raise stress, reduce happiness and otherwise upset the household. There seems to be a never-ending series of academic reports that find that those of us who are married with kids are less happy than our childless married friends.
But are all of these studies focusing on the right emotion? Should we really be asking ourselves how happy having kids has made us? Continue reading