This week I am continuing the “Surprises of Motherhood” blog series and I’m SO excited to introduce you guys to a blogger-friend of mine, Cyndi Beer.
I met Cyndi through Instagram actually and she’s become one of my favorite mamas to follow along on the ‘gram. Cydni cares deeply about her faith, her family and sharing openly about her life to inspire and encourage others with lots of humor along the way. We actually started our instagram accounts on the same exact day, so it’s been so fun to share ideas and encourage one another since we share a similar mission. Be sure to follow Cydni on instagram at @the.messed.net and check out her blog at http://www.themessednest.com.
Becoming a Mother Made Me a Terrible Wife
My parents were on the verge of divorce my whole upbringing. Watching them argue caused a determination in me to have do whatever I needed to do in order to have a successful marriage. While my friends had fun dating different boys through out high school I would only occasionally go on causal group dates because I was very serious about finding the right person for my life partner.
I fell in love with Ben the first time I saw him. I can still vividly picture walking into my friends home and seeing the most beautiful red headed man standing in his white shirt and yellow tie. I couldn’t stop staring at him and from that moment on I planned on being his wife. Ben would end up being my first boy friend and my first kiss. I knew being thoughtful about marriage and dating while growing up payed off when Ben asked me to marry him. I felt that I had dreamed him up and couldn’t have been happier.
Ben and I had 5 years together before I would have a successful pregnancy. As much as I went into marriage with my head on straight, I went into motherhood with my head up in the clouds.
When I held my first born son, Rock, in my arms I felt love like I had never known before. I loved him so much that if someone else wanted to hold him I sat and cried because I wasn’t the one holding him. I loved him so much that I forgot to love the man I was suppose to be loving first, my husband.
Before Rock came along I did everything for Ben. I was so concerned with creating a happy marriage that everyday I would ask myself “What could I do today that would let Ben know I love him?” Then I would enthusiastically do it. In my commitment to never getting divorced I spent all my energy and time making sure Ben was happy. I made all his meals for him everyday and dressed up cute to ensure he’d be attracted to me. I was an incredible and slightly overboard wife.
Now, I sat snoring in a rocking chair in old sweats, unshowered for days, and holding my new baby boy. Ben couldn’t help but feel jealous and tried to communicate his feelings to me. He would say he missed me and he missed feeling like a husband and a wife. I would get angry and call him selfish. I would rattle off my day of diaper changes, a crying baby, and no sleep. He would fire back that I didn’t touch him anymore and he felt so alone. Instead of listening, I would tell him I was too tired, he wasn’t being understanding and I was unhappy with my body. We would go to bed angry and resolve nothing.
Months passed by and we drifted further apart. Ben would attempt to bring up the topic of our failing marriage and I refused to listen. I did nothing to show him I cared for him and spent little to no time with him. I was a wonderful mother, but I had no identity outside of that. I didn’t do anything positive for myself and I was unhappy with my postpartum body. I had gained so much weight and thought it would come off right after he was born, but he was 9 months old and I had only lost only a few pounds. I felt too exhausted to exercise and didn’t even attempt to eat healthy. I never asked for help but felt furious that Ben wasn’t helping. I put everything into being Rock’s mom that I had no energy left for myself and especially nothing left for Ben.
Ben begged me to take care of myself, promising I would feel better and be happier. He suggested I get out and make friends and have time for myself instead of staying inside being a slave to the new baby. I felt he didn’t understand how important my job was to be a mother and felt I had to sacrifice those things in order to be successful at parenting.
One night I surprised myself and Ben when I read to him an email about a weight-loss bootcamp down the street and admitted I was interested in it. It was the first time I brought up a topic outside of my day with a baby. Ben jumped up and threw on his coat and requested I did the same. He drove me there immediately and signed me up promising to watch Rock during my class.
A few weeks in to the bootcamp things started to change. I started to feel confident in myself again and putting aside time for myself gave me a mental break that I didn’t realize was desperately needed. I started to take care of myself and see myself as more than just a mother to Rock. I remembered I was a wife to a man I loved and started to think about my own needs and desires.
Ben reached out again to me to talk about our marriage this time I was willing to hear him. This time I remembered my first goal was to have a successful marriage. This time I communicated back. I told Ben I needed his help around the house and that I couldn’t keep up with the wife I was before because now I was also a mother. Ben agreed to do whatever I needed him to do and I agreed to communicate more and spend more time with him.
Our life shifted and with time, communication, and a lot of forgiveness we adjusted and found new footing. Our relationship changed but now we allowed room for the growth. We made time for each other and started going on dates again.
Just like a battle scarred solider returning home with deep wounds, but with a new more powerful perspective on life, our marriage that once was beaten down and barely holding on was now healing and would be stronger because of it.
Becoming a mother forced me to figure out who I wanted to be. Becoming a mother taught me I had to take care of myself before I could properly take care of others. Becoming a mother taught me how to accept and even ask for help. Becoming a mother made me a terrible wife…until it made me a better, more equal, and happier wife than ever.
Written by Cydni Beer, blogger at http://www.themessednest.com.
Stop over to Cydni’s instagram at @the.messed.net to follow along and say hello. If Cydni’s honest sharing has impacted you, like it has me, I’d love for you to take a minute to message Cydni and let her know how she has encouraged you!
New to this series?
Check out the other guest blog posts on the topic of “The Surprises of Motherhood”
Part Two: see above ^