So, I may be exaggerating a bit, but, I did get married when I was 20 and Clay was 22. The older I get, and the older my kids get, I realize that I was literally a BABY! I had no idea what I was doing (who does!). I just knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. As I do in most of my posts, a little back story. So, I was homeschooled…we were part of lots of different groups ranging from ATI (hello duggars…we may have not lasted long in that situation thanks to my loud mouth…shocking I know!) to more mainstream homeschooling groups. I LOVED being homeschooled because it gave me the freedom to experiment with what I liked and didn't like and my parents were amazing at helping me to navigate what I wanted to do with my life and how to use the freedom of homeschooling to get there. Long story short, I volunteered at 16 years old on the very pediatric unit I would work on for 7 years during, and once I graduated from college. In true stereotypical homeschooling form, I also "kissed dating goodbye." I worked a little bit with Josh Harris when he had some conferences in Orlando and, at 12, decided I wouldn't kiss anyone until the alter. 12 y'all. 12. Now, as I mentioned in a previous post, I don't tend to commit quickly to things because if I decide to do something, come hell or high water, I will do it. This is NOT necessarily a great character trait. High school was not very difficult for me to keep this "commitment" because I spent a lot of time at dance with my best friends, and when I wasn't there, I was usually babysitting to pay for dance. Also, most of my friends weren't too interested in boys so it wasn't too difficult. Fast forward to college. Good night. Culture shock. I didn't realize that if I mentioned I had never been kissed it was like the challenge of the decade to be an added notch to some fraternity boys belt (insert eye roll emoji). Then I met Clay. The beginning of our relationship will need a whole other blog post, but lets just say, after a bit of middle school drama, lots of prayer, and terror on both of our families parts, we dated for 5 months and were engaged for 15 months. It was so, hard, but we decided to keep my commitment of not kissing until the alter (their were some bets involved and I HATE losing!). Y'all, in hindsight, i don't know how we did it, but we did. Our first kiss (and my first ever) was at the alter…in front of 350 people. This is definitely NOT for most people, but for us it was and it made our love story oh so sweet. Clearly, we have figured it all out…..seeing the amount of children that live in our home. So, onto SOME of what I have learned being married as a baby.
y'all, living with another human being is NO JOKE! People (especially boys) are weird. I vividly remember being married for 3 months, trying to finish nursing school, working and trying to be the perfect housewife. Clay and I did not grow up the same, both of us went into marriage with preexisting expectations. Lets just say, without throwing any said husband under the bus, at the 3 month mark, out of NOWHERE i lost it. Like yelling "I AM NOT THE MAID!!!" Poor Clay looked like a deer in headlights about to get run over by semi-Megan. We are still learning 13 years later what it means to manage expectations, but we have learned the only way to do this is to TALK. I know this is shocking, but Clay cannot read my mind. Ifwe can't talk about something quickly (due to never ending children noise) we try to choose to think the best of each other until we can talk. This can be super hard, but necessary. After a lot of years we have fallen into a bit of a rhythm of what each of us expect from each other, but if we have big changes we talk through how it will work best for us and how to make it work. Talk, lots of talking.
LEAVE HIM BE
When we had our first son I had to learn this in a whole new way. We had been married for 5 years before Cole. I tend to be fairly laid back so when it was just the two of us not too much would throw me. Then we had Cole. I had an emergency c-section with him and 5 weeks later ended up in the hospital with pancreatitis and had to have my gallbladder removed. I was in the hospital for a week. It was awful!!! Clay had never changed a diaper and I was out of commission. He got a crash course (with lots of help from his and my mom). I then had to go back to work at 12 weeks post partum, then we adopted Cooper 8 months later. I think it's really easy to micromanage EVERYTHING when you are a new mom. Hello! You just carried a human inside of you for 10 months and either shoved them out of a very small hole or had them sawed out of you….I think it's normal! What I had to realize is that just because Clay does it differently than me does not mean it's wrong. As I would get ready to scold clay for the way he fed the boys, or bathed them, or looked at them I would think, "if I don't let him do it his way he will probably stop helping me." I mean seriously, who wants to be told they are doing everything wrong….I'd stop helping too…..Just let them be. Unless it's life or death enjoy the help. I remember walking out one morning (I would work from 7p-7a, sleep till 11 and then he would go to work) to the boys jumping from the coffee table into a pile of pillows. Definitely not what I would call a constructive activity, but they let me sleep and no one died. A win win for everyone. Sometimes he lets me sleep in and makes cheese toast on hot dog buns, whatevs…..I got to sleep AND didn't have to feed people! Let him be!!!
CHOOSE EACH OTHER
Being married in this crazy world of all things technology and some task or chore always pressing sometimes we can get lost in the shuffle. When kids are screaming or dinner needs to be made or finances are tight or whatever else you can add to the list it can be hard to choose the other. Let's be honest, most of the time I'm counting the minutes until I can go to sleep again! Clay and I have learned that the way we can keep our team (team zookeeper) strongest to battle "team terror" I mean "team kids" is to make sure we stay connected. We have to choose to make time for each other. Let's be real, sometimes I have to remind myself why I like clay (sorry babe!) and date night helps a lot with that. I think this also means to not get lost in the vortex of kids. Don't forget who you are what you need to do to keep yourself sane. You are not called to sacrifice every second of your life to the well being of your kids….I'll get on that soap box later.
HAVE FUN TOGETHER
Y'all life with humans in general is funny, depending on you perspective, but with kids, it can be hysterical! One of the benefits of growing up with your spouse is we definitely played hard before kids. We took time to learn about each other, we, whether on purpose or not, had so much fun together. Enter children…hello! Those little people don't care if you don't feel good or if you are tired. They don't care if you'd like to pretend to have it all together, they care about themselves and how to get what they want. It.is.exhausting to raise little humans. Clay and I have found that the best way to stay on team zookeeper and win against"team kids" is to have fun. Don't take everything so seriously. Embrace the craziness that is little humans, together. Their are so many dinners we are trying to be the picture perfect family, eating our gourmet meal, talking about our day when some kids busts out with something completely bizarre….it has become one of my favorite things. Laughing at the unexpected, and laughing is one of my favorite things to do!
Just like with parenting I am no expert at this marriage thing! This is just what has worked well for us. Their is also so much more, but as we celebrated our 13th anniversary this month it had me thinking a lot about God's grace in how he has preserved and protected us from our baby selves.