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Nine

My boy, my son – has been outside in this world for exactly the same time as he has been inside my womb. *sigh*. HOW do they grow so damn fast? OK, if I want to get specific then maybe the days are a bit off because he wasn’t born at exactly 36 weeks. (yes, 40 weeks does not constitute 9 months – go figure!) So he’s still got a wee bit of catching up to do outside! But you know what I mean. Nine months! Geez! it’s a scary thought. My husband and I are still the same. Maybe a bit heavier and definitely more patient (esp running on less than a full nights sleep for months now) but we’re the same. Z on the other hand is not. He now stands (with some assistance), he is vocal, he laughs, he crawl, he eats food on his own and he smiles the most heartbreakingly beautiful smile. Ever. He is no longer the tiny lil puppy we got home who was swaddled and burped every two hours, no longer the lil baby who slept long and could be held in one hand. No longer the tiny baby who would entertain himself by running in place, on his back while he started at the dreamcatcher on the window. He now pulls himself up every single surface he sees. He wants to explore and taste, talk and communicate, share and touch. He wants to go out, and try new foods, observe people and feel textures, listen to songs and move with the beat – he’s becoming quite the little person and I love him more every day.

But today’s post is not just about him. It’s about being a spouse whilst being a parent. You see, we’ve been married for a while before we had Z. It wasn’t a conscious decision to delay babies but it just was how it happened. So life before the baby was exactly like it is for thousands of other regular couples out there. Simple, uncomplicated, as much sleep as we wanted, easy dinners, last minute plans with friends, short trips away, less fights, more time together etc etc. Nine months ago all that changed. Of course we changed too. The lack of sleep really really really got to us.(I personally feel that is a HUGE reason why marriages get strained after a baby) and the added responsibilities got us feeling exhausted pretty fast. We have no help/family members (our choice) and we do it all on our own. And although the first few months were so incredibly hard, we got through them (sleepwalked through them most likely) Our marriage changed, a bit. We rarely had time for each other. Well, we rarely had time for ourselves! And we snapped so much more, we argued and rolled our eyes, we screamed and banged doors. All this was done before of course, but never as frequently as we did now. And we were unhappy.

And then I read a post, on a Facebook group that I belong too. It was written by someones husband and it just opened up my eyes. But most importantly, it helped the Husband see how we needed to change asap too. Cos you see, women tend to focus on the emotional much more than men. And no amount of tears or pleading could get the message across as simply as this one post. Maybe because it was written by a man, I don’t know – but it worked. Since that day, we’ve made it a point to just stop being mean/unkind to each other. Just took it off the table. I mean, physical abuse is never an option. Thats a given right? so why should meanness be tolerated? anger is fine, frustration is normal but we have a choice to be kind. We chose to use it. And it’s changed everything!!!

This is the post, and I’ve credited the person who wrote it – brilliant man! Thank you Weinand

“Relationships and decisions
I have a really complicated job. As a result I try and try and try to simplify what I need to do every day. It saves me time and keeps me focused on what I need to do. I have come to the realisation that work (and life and parenting) is simply a series of decisions. Everything we do is the consequence of decisions and when we do act we simply create more opportunity for decisions.
I think our personal relationships are the same. Actually I think our relationships are a series of consequences due to the decisions we take. And I consider not taking a decision, to be a decision by itself! Let me explain: We decide to love someone, decide to commit to them and decide to treat them with respect. Relationships are a therefore a series of decisions.
Increasingly I come across relationships that are broken. I don’t know why they break, but in most cases they don’t break overnight. If that is the case then my previous logic suggests that a poor relationship is the consequence of a series of wrong decisions, made by at least one person in that relationship.
Some relationships are very strong though. Mine with my wife is exceptionally so. I know this, because we have taken a number of decisions that make it so. We have decided not to ever speak to each other in a demeaning way. I will never disrespect my wife with language. We can become very angry, but we decided not to ever say anything to each other that you can’t take back. Calling each other terrible names or hurting each other is simply not an option. It is off the table.
We also made a decision to be there for each other. We decided to be generous with our time and to give each other a break. We talk about it and then expect it from each other. And then we love each other for it. All of these decisions were conscious, explicit choices and I think that makes all the difference. In many relationships, the parties make implicit decisions or don’t make any decisions at all.

The thing about explicit decisions in relationships are that they build trust and makes accountability really easy. I trust my spouse 100% and I don’t have to ask myself why I do it. She also makes mistakes, says sorry and then tries to fix it. I do the same and probably make more mistakes. But we trust each other to fix them. Conversations about are children are tough, but we are explicit about it. Everything is out on the table so we know what we think and feel. Then we can make what we think are the best decisions together, consciously. Conscious choice and being explicit about it takes courage. We should all be courageous in our relationships. It is the least we owe our best friends and lifelong companions.
If you feel your relationship is not exactly where you want it to be, perhaps you should ask yourself what implicit and explicit decisions have you made to give it direction and shape. Revisiting those may give you a pleasant surprise in its simplicity and power.- Wienand Combrink”

I hope these words can make that small difference in someone else’s life too. It’s beautiful in its simplicity.