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Opinions on this please? Do kids hurt a marriage?

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Maisie

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Our marriage is strong and we have 5 kids!
 

fieryred33143

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I wouldn''t base life altering decisions on something like this. If it is in your heart to have a family then I would have a family.

A thread worth reading is one that TGal started back in December: Link
 

TravelingGal

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I buy it to some extent.

I'm not sure about living together before marriage = more trouble after kids, but perhaps people who live together before marriage are more set in their domestic ways as a couple so a kid throws a wrench into it more?

I also buy that if you are financially more stable before having kids, it can be less of a problem.

I lived with TGuy before marriage. We have a 1 yr old daughter, who was born 1.5 years into our marriage. As far as I can tell, the child has not been a negative factor for us. However, I can see it as an ongoing challenge.

We talked a lot about childrearing philosophies before we had kids and found we were on the same page - I'm talking nitty gritty here. Stuff like are you OK with letting the kid cry it out. How much is expected of each parent in terms of duty, etc. I talk about CIO because I believe the NUMBER ONE reason that people go insane in the first year has to do with sleep deprivation. People just are far more irritable when they are tired. We planned out a course of action before she was born and pretty much stuck with it. Disclaimer: you'll find babies rarely do anything in an expected manner, but we did make sleep for everyone our number 1 priority. She was sleeping 12 hours with only one night waking by 8 weeks and by 13 weeks sleeping 12 hours through. Life became sane, because the first 6 weeks I was pretty depressed. TGuy may not have handled me too well if it went on for months like that, and vice versa.

TGuy and I probably split the work about 75/25 with me doing the majority. I work from home, so I am OK with that. I find I just need a recharge from time to time, so this is how we manage our week:

Thursday, date night (MUCH easier to leave the baby with a sitter you know she is sleeping, hence back to that whole sleep training again).
Saturday, TGuy's day to sleep in and do whatever he wants to the boys
Sunday, my day to sleep in and I go out and do whatever I want. So we each have a "day off".

Thursdays are set in stone. Sat and Sun (and the previous nights) are bookable/negotiable in advance. TGuy is wonderful about me going out and getting away time. So even though I do deal with her every morning on weekdays and put her to bed, all I need is that one day off. No matter how late TGuy stays awake the night before his "shift", he has NEVER flaked on wake up duty on his days.

So in a nut shell, here's my key to happiness:

- lots of sleep for everyone
- dedicated quality time as a couple
- dedicated quality time for yourself and your friends
- dedicated days to hang out and bond with the kid so you love her more and more.

Schedule and good sleep habits help with all of the above. TGuy isn't afraid to be with her the entire day because he knows the routine and it is manageable. There are a lot of guys who panic at the thought of being alone with their kid because they don't know what to do. But I find guys are good at following directions when push comes to shove and TGuy can follow simple instructions since Amelia is trained (i.e., bottle at 8 am 11, 3, etc and naps at blah blah blah time and play and keep her entertained the rest of the time.)

Hope that helps.
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 4/9/2009 6:17:19 PM
Author: fieryred33143
I wouldn''t base life altering decisions on something like this. If it is in your heart to have a family then I would have a family.

A thread worth reading is one that TGal started back in December: Link
Ha, forgot about that thread. Should have linked to it...I think I pretty much said the same thing back then.

And it''s still working for us!
 

Definitely. Maybe

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Tgal- Can you please just right a book? You always give such great sound advice. I always look forward to your posts. :)
 

meresal

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Date: 4/9/2009 6:46:11 PM
Author: Definitely, Maybe
Tgal- Can you please just right a book? You always give such great sound advice. I always look forward to your posts. :)
ITA. Tgal, you put it perfectly, you just have communicate everything ahead of time, and have enough respect for eachother and their personal well being to stick to your promises.

To be honest, after reading that article, the entire thing contradicted itself. It said, living together became harder after first birth, but some said the child made them stronger. Then others with parents that faught and were divorced, found it harder as well, but those with higher incomes and longer marriage ahead of time were ok. I mean, we're talking about common sense here.

I'm sorry but this article, to me, has no real substance at all.

And in the end every marriage experienced decrease, just one happened faster. That could be from many, many things, one of which the comment on in the second to last paragraph... "Family happiness over martial happiness". Then at the end "Children don't ruin everything ." What the heck?? They don't have any personal statements saying that these parents kids ruined thier lives, just that there was a decrease in marital satisfaction.
 

TravelingGal

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Thanks guys - different things work for different couples, but I''m one of the sleep nazis on the mommy thread.

And LOL, I should edit that Sat is his day to do what he wants WITH the boys - not TO the boys!!
 

Definitely. Maybe

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Date: 4/9/2009 6:56:14 PM
Author: meresal

Date: 4/9/2009 6:46:11 PM
Author: Definitely, Maybe
Tgal- Can you please just right a book? You always give such great sound advice. I always look forward to your posts. :)
ITA. Tgal, you put it perfectly, you just have communicate everything ahead of time, and have enough respect for eachother and their personal well being to stick to your promises.

To be honest, after reading that article, the entire thing contradicted itself. It said, living together became harder after first birth, but some said the child made them stronger. Then others with parents that faught and were divorced, found it harder as well, but those with higher incomes and longer marriage ahead of time were ok. I mean, we''re talking about common sense here.

I''m sorry but this article, to me, has no real substance at all.

And in the end every marriage experienced decrease, just one happened faster. That could be from many, many things, one of which the comment on in the second to last paragraph... ''Family happiness over martial happiness''. Then at the end ''Children don''t ruin everything .'' What the heck?? They don''t have any personal statements saying that these parents kids ruined thier lives, just that there was a decrease in marital satisfaction.
I definitely agree Meresal. I noticed that too when I was reading it to BF. I had to pause and leave out the contradictions so I didn''t sound like an idiot reading certain parts. However, I was still interested in knowing how it plays in real life.
 

Dancing Fire

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they hurt my wallet.
 

Kaleigh

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Date: 4/9/2009 7:07:09 PM
Author: Dancing Fire
they hurt my wallet.
I knew you would say that. I love TGals advice, it''s soooo spot on.
 

vespergirl

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Our son adds a lot of joy to our marriage, and we were only married 6 months when he was born (he''s 2 1/2 now). However, as the article states, people who were older having kids and with higher incomes didn''t report marital deterioration, and both were true for us (DH makes enough that I can stay home & we live well, and I was 30 when DS was born, DH was 35). So, in our experience, our son hasn''t added any stress to our marriage - only happiness.
 

AGBF

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Just a couple of days ago while my daughter and I were watching a DVD with him, my father (age 88 and very wise) commented that marital problems always start after a couple has children. Naturally that is an oversimplification, but he would swear that it is true in the majority of cases!

AGBF
 

musey

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Date: 4/9/2009 6:33:08 PM
Author: TravelingGal
I'm not sure about living together before marriage = more trouble after kids, but perhaps people who live together before marriage are more set in their domestic ways as a couple so a kid throws a wrench into it more?
It seems like this would be more an issue of length of time living together before having kids, as opposed to having lived together before marriage, right? My husband and I will likely have lived together for 6-8 years by the time we're ready for kids, and I can't imagine why it would matter whether any of that was pre-marriage. In this case, anyhow.


In the end, it's almost impossible to say whether or not kids hurt a marriage, because people either have kids or they don't. A couple may be blissfully happy without kids, and attribute their happiness to the lack of kids, but who's to say that they wouldn't be just as (if not more) happy with kids? Likewise, a couple that has kids and is unhappy may have been just as unhappy without them.

There's always the couple that was happy happy, then had kids and things instantly went downhill, but... A) how common is that scenario really, and B) it may be that any major life shift (and many are inevitable throughout a lifetime) would have created a rift in their marriage.


For us, I have a strong feeling that our marriage will improve and grow with children. This is just based on our own love for kids, our enjoyment of caring for them together (with friends' little ones), and my knowledge of our handling stress as a couple in the past. Of course, one can never know, maybe kids would rip us apart. However, we both want kids too badly to make such decisions based on that unlikely scenario.

ETA: TGal, our 'relationship idols' (a couple that we babysit for often and seem to get happier and more in love every day) gave us almost identical advice to what you wrote above. It's obviously working well for them, too
 

LaraOnline

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Stuff like that story always strikes fear into the hearts of women contemplating kids, and there are so many variations on that story too - the one about all marriages ending in divorce or constant unhappiness; the one where mothers and daughters never get on (rubbish, now that I''m mum of a daughter, I know absolutely HEAPS of daughters that really dig their mum); the one where sons are necessary to allow a man to be happy in a marriage...

Why do we do it to ourselves?
The thing is, life requires a good attitude, and some get up and go.
There''s no doubt that having children adds some challenges to a life together.
But... if you never test the strength of your relationship, or build on your relationship, there''s nothing to measure it against or grow to.

Children are such a long term thing. I am more rewarded now, with my children at age 4 and 2, then I was a couple of years ago, when my second child was just on the ground. TBH, the changeover from one to two children was a big deal - and having that first child is a huge deal in itself!


I was talking to an older mum today, who has four grown up children, and she actually volunteered to me that it is the change from one to two children that was the most difficult for her to negotiate, and also for other mums of larger families that she has known well...

I will say that it is likely that having a toddler or two is going to be a stressful time... and no doubt teenagers will do their very best to make you miserable as well... but having children has added such a depth to my loving relationship. It''s as if we''ve become a little community of our own, and while we are still very much lovers, we are now also facilitating the personal growth of each other in our ''wider community'' (family) as well...
 

LaraOnline

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My DH just asked me what I was talking about on the forum.
I said this thread - do kids help or hurt a marriage?
His response was: ''If you don''t want kids, why get married?"

sort of reinforces my own theory on men and their view of marriage, if nothing else!

''I''m glad I got you at the right time then,'' I said.
He rapidly retreated to his rugby game on TV, muttering to himself.
 

Ellen

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I wouldn''t say they "hurt" a marriage, but they certainly can challenge one. Being on the same page helps beforehand, unfortunately kids don''t come special order, you get what you get. And therein lies where problems can arise, when you find out you are NOT on the same page with something you could not have forseen. I could see where that could make or break a marriage or two.

Sleep schedules are good, I agree with Tgal, and I was a stickler too. Until my 3rd one came along with problems. The only way he really slept at all was if I held him. That went on for about a year. I learned what "priorities" truly meant. We had to eat, and have clean clothes. It''s amazing the simplicity your life can be broken down to, when forced to decide what''s really important.



Overall, I think they "help" FAR more than they "hurt", in most cases. We are both better people for having our 3 boys.
 

vintagelover229

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Wow! Thanks for all the replies! My husband is quite a bit older than me (about 10 1/2 years) and we are ready to start a family. Like the OP he is the bread winner in the family, he makes enough that I can be a STHM for as long as I wish. I''m getting my elementary education degree and want to teach pre-K or kindergarden...perhaps 1st grade. So I really do love kids.
Its just when you see something like the article I posted it makes you wonder who they are interviewing.

Thanks TGAL for your advice! I should have my hubby read that! He thinks that I''m goign to be the one waking up all hours of the night because he has to get up early. Perhaps we can do something where I do it during the week and he does it on the weekends.

And I agree...he WILL know the babies routine, and how to change a diaper.

Oh, another question...how old is the average age to be potty trained. My neighbors daughter is over 3 and still in potty training pants and wets them ALL THE TIME. They baby her and so she doesnt really try. I thought 2 was the age you had it done?
 

LaraOnline

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Regarding sleep schedules, if you''re breast feeding right through to six months or more (W Health Org even says 2 years, which I think can be a real strain), sometimes it can be hard not to have that early-hours feed. It depends on the baby, as much as the parents. Tgals got it sorted, but I''m not sure it would have worked for us... although I did tend to bring the little blighters into bed for that feed!

In relation to potty training, I think between 2-3 years is the usual time, but it is important to help them, not yell at them or force them. Otherwise, they can ''regress''.

My little boy, square on 2 and 1/2 years, is doing brilliantly with his potty training, I have been trying to get him to ''think about it'' since he turned two - the potty''s been out for him to see, and every morning he had the choice of big boy pants or baby nappies... every morning when I asked if he wanted to try the potty he would say ,''No Mum, not yet!!''.

And then one day, we just switched. Now he loves going to the potty, and even refuses to wear a nappy at night! Because it really has only been a couple of weeks, I go back in and put a nappy on over the top of his big boy pants when he''s asleep. *heart*

He''s really persisting!! Even getting up really early and going to the potty, and then coming back for another cuddle in the big bed!

An advantage of having the boy just go to the potty rather than standing up straight away is that they seem to get the ''number twos'' sorted out a lot more quickly as well... well, that''s definitely my experience! So hats off to my DH there, because I wasn''t sure if it was ''wrong'' to make him pee sitting down!
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 4/10/2009 9:05:28 AM
Author: LaraOnline
Regarding sleep schedules, if you''re breast feeding right through to six months or more (W Health Org even says 2 years, which I think can be a real strain), sometimes it can be hard not to have that early-hours feed. It depends on the baby, as much as the parents. Tgals got it sorted, but I''m not sure it would have worked for us... although I did tend to bring the little blighters into bed for that feed!

In relation to potty training, I think between 2-3 years is the usual time, but it is important to help them, not yell at them or force them. Otherwise, they can ''regress''.

My little boy, square on 2 and 1/2 years, is doing brilliantly with his potty training, I have been trying to get him to ''think about it'' since he turned two - the potty''s been out for him to see, and every morning he had the choice of big boy pants or baby nappies... every morning when I asked if he wanted to try the potty he would say ,''No Mum, not yet!!''.

And then one day, we just switched. Now he loves going to the potty, and even refuses to wear a nappy at night! Because it really has only been a couple of weeks, I go back in and put a nappy on over the top of his big boy pants when he''s asleep. *heart*

He''s really persisting!! Even getting up really early and going to the potty, and then coming back for another cuddle in the big bed!

An advantage of having the boy just go to the potty rather than standing up straight away is that they seem to get the ''number twos'' sorted out a lot more quickly as well... well, that''s definitely my experience! So hats off to my DH there, because I wasn''t sure if it was ''wrong'' to make him pee sitting down!
True. Like Lara said, depends on the baby and the parents.

I''m just one of those people who believe babies can be trained or conditioned. If you don''t believe it as much, it''s harder to start early because you simply don''t believe conditioning can happen at that age. My friend is more of a nazi than me. She breast fed both kids until 9 months and both were sleep trained at 3 and 4 months - 12 hours through the night. We both used the same book. Her nieces and nephew - all three breast fed and similarly trained.

Many docs will say somewhere between 4-6 months for a healthy, non preemie baby, they no longer NEED the night feeding. This goes for bottle or formula. They may want it, but the biological need is not there to get through the night. Tummies do not need to be full to get through the night - hence why the feeding solid food before nighttime theory isn''t really true.
 

DivaDiamond007

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I don''t think that having children will ruin an otherwise healthy marriage; but having children can and does put a strain on a marriage.

DH and I planned having our son nearly to the date and time of conception and we''ve had a bit of difficulty since our son has been born. I agree with Tgal that so much of it has to do with sleep deprivation. Our son is 9 months old, teething, and not sleeping through the night. He''s routinely up at least once a night and sometimes twice or more. DH takes the night duty, but I still wake up when the baby cries and have difficulty getting back to sleep. Tired mommy = grouchy mommy. I''m also currently in the camp that says "if there''s time for sex then there''s time for sleep and I''d rather sleep".

I wouldn''t go as far as saying that my marriage has suffered since having child but that the dynamics have changed. We routinely find a sitter and do date nights and my DH sweetly lets me sleep in on Saturday and Sunday. After I catch up on my sleep DH will take a nap to catch up on his.

We also make a point to share the parenting duties. I take care of our son by myself in the a.m. before work. We switch off washing bottles, feeding our son dinner and bath time. After bath time we play with the baby and then DH gives him his nighttime bottle and to be put to bed. This way we''re both getting the opportunity to spend quality time with the baby and also time together as a family.
 

movie zombie

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whether or not it ruins a marriage is debatable. that it changes a marriage is undeniable.

mz
 

fatafelice

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This is very timely for me, as I have been really debating the kids/no kids idea lately. I actually even said to DH the other day, "What if we never had kids?", even though we have both always planned on doing so. I am really torn, because I feel like I want to be a mother - feel a baby growing inside me, feed, bathe, teach, etc. - but I am also afraid that I will grow to resent the restrictions that it places on my life. And I worry about how having children will affect our relationship. I think it is because my parents divorced when I was one and my sister was four. They had been married for 10 years, and sometimes I wonder if the stress of having children is what drove them apart. I also saw the stress that having a baby put on my dad and step-mom, and the toll it has taken on my best friend and her husband, who had such an amazing relationship before they had kids.

It is heartening to hear from those of you for whom this was not the case. I have to wonder as well, however, if the number of kids makes a difference? It seems like adjusting to one would be a lot easier than several.
 

fatafelice

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TGal, I think I agree with your parenting philosophy! What book did you read? (I am sure you have mentioned this before, but I am too lazy to look for it) :)
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 4/10/2009 12:27:01 PM
Author: fatafelice
This is very timely for me, as I have been really debating the kids/no kids idea lately. I actually even said to DH the other day, ''What if we never had kids?'', even though we have both always planned on doing so. I am really torn, because I feel like I want to be a mother - feel a baby growing inside me, feed, bathe, teach, etc. - but I am also afraid that I will grow to resent the restrictions that it places on my life. And I worry about how having children will affect our relationship. I think it is because my parents divorced when I was one and my sister was four. They had been married for 10 years, and sometimes I wonder if the stress of having children is what drove them apart. I also saw the stress that having a baby put on my dad and step-mom, and the toll it has taken on my best friend and her husband, who had such an amazing relationship before they had kids.

It is heartening to hear from those of you for whom this was not the case. I have to wonder as well, however, if the number of kids makes a difference? It seems like adjusting to one would be a lot easier than several.
It''s a tough decision for sure fatafelice. A lot of moms say they could not remember their life before their kid. Well I CERTAINLY can.

I can remember delcious mornings where I could lay in bed until the grogginess wore off. I can remember running and doing errands and having it be FUN. I can remember planning trips and going out to meet the girls on a whim. And oh yeah, I remember being energetic enough to want sex a lot. Life was MUCH more stress free.

It was a nice life. And I think if I didn''t have her, it STILL would be a nice life.

Now, of course, there is that question of whether I would prefer or go back to that life? No, I wouldn''t because of course my daughter brings me all sorts of joy. But I really think if I didn''t know what it was like to have a kid, I would really have had a great life. From a comfort and relaxing viewpoint, it is the EASIER life, and one could claim possibly better.

You know something funny? I still don''t see myself as a mom. I see think somehow I went to "rent-a-kid" and got her. It hasn''t hit me even yet that I have to raise her for a long long time. And sometimes when I think about it, it feels overwhelming. I sweat the big stuff. I worry already about her future friends, whether she''ll finish school and be able to support herself. I think all parents do this to some degree, but for me to be having nightmares about it now? I''ll fully admit that sometimes I wonder why I signed up for this. Mentally sometimes it''s a crazy burden to bear. I hate the thought that some day she is going to have to bury me and I''m petrified of the possiblity that I could bury her first.

Morbid, right?


My point is that yes, it''s stressful, but most people just manage to get through day to day, and in that day there are so many little joys that light up your world. She has the power to ruin my day too, but hey, that goes with the territory .


I figure at some point that I''ll be shocked to realize that I somehow raised a capable woman. That''s what I am hoping anyway.
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 4/10/2009 12:28:56 PM
Author: fatafelice
TGal, I think I agree with your parenting philosophy! What book did you read? (I am sure you have mentioned this before, but I am too lazy to look for it) :)
For sleep I read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Possibly the most painful book to read ever and if I didn''t see my friends use it to great success, I don''t think I would have gotten through it as well as I did.
 

Bia

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Tgal, and/or other moms: do you think you can coach your baby to sleep through the night? I mean, in between feedings? My FSIL is delirious, she''s so tired. Her son is now 11months and he fights sleep. He is a great andhappy baby but he doesn''tsleep well. She has resorted to (against her mother''s advice) sleeping with the baby in her bedbecause that''s the only way he''ll go down. I know they don''t like to let thebaby cry. She said next week she''s going to try to get him to sleep in his crib. Since she''s planning to start trying again next month, I wonder if she can do something different the second time around.

*computer keyboard is sticking, please don''t mind the typos :)
 

purrfectpear

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Date: 4/10/2009 8:48:00 AM
Author: redrose229
Wow! Thanks for all the replies! My husband is quite a bit older than me (about 10 1/2 years) and we are ready to start a family. Like the OP he is the bread winner in the family, he makes enough that I can be a STHM for as long as I wish. I''m getting my elementary education degree and want to teach pre-K or kindergarden...perhaps 1st grade. So I really do love kids.
Its just when you see something like the article I posted it makes you wonder who they are interviewing.

Thanks TGAL for your advice! I should have my hubby read that! He thinks that I''m goign to be the one waking up all hours of the night because he has to get up early. Perhaps we can do something where I do it during the week and he does it on the weekends.

And I agree...he WILL know the babies routine, and how to change a diaper.

Oh, another question...how old is the average age to be potty trained. My neighbors daughter is over 3 and still in potty training pants and wets them ALL THE TIME. They baby her and so she doesnt really try. I thought 2 was the age you had it done?
Isn''t this the FI that works a ton of overtime so that you can stay at home? I don''t think anyone working 60 hours a week should have to get up to take care of a baby too


When you both work outside of the home, you split the child rearing duties. When one of you stays home as primary caretaker, that IS your job...taking care of the kids IMO.
 
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