The Balance of being a Young Family.
I’ve been asked a few times how old we are and I usually don’t address it directly because it makes me uncomfortable. It really shouldn’t make me uncomfortable because it really shouldn’t make a difference. But in some ways I guess it does make a difference, hence my post today.
I had Hailey when I was 19 years old so I am quite used to the judgement from others about how young I am to be living the life that I live. James and I were married at 21 and 23 years old. We had all three kids and even knew about Timothy’s diagnosis before either of us was 25.
The responsibility of raising a family is a great one, a family with three kids even greater, a family with three kids where one has a disability…phew. As you can imagine there is a lot on our plate. Heck it would be a lot on our plate at 35, but admittedly these situations did make us grow up a lot faster than some (let’s be honest…most) of our peers.
We really don’t mind having to be more grown up. We both wanted and chose this life. Marriage was always in the cards and something we wanted for ourselves. Kids were always a dream of both of ours separately before we were together.
See we didn’t really fit in with others our age who wanted to party and explore their options…if you know what I mean…
Instead we mostly fit in with a more traditional lifestyle.
On our one year wedding anniversary we went to a comedy show and I was heavily pregnant with Timothy (he was born exactly a week after our anniversary). We sat near the front because that’s what was open, and as you can guess we were singled out. I think he spent more than half of the show teasing us after he nearly died when we told him this was our third kid.
These types of instances have happened a lot over the years. I remember when I was pregnant with Timothy all of the nurses and blood lab technicians seemed so much nicer than before. I later realized they all felt I was now an appropriate age to be having a baby, and I was married, so I was worthy of congratulations. That nice demeanor often disappeared once they asked if he was my first.
“No, he’s actually my third”
“Oh…you sure have your hands full”
Anyone with more than two kids has probably heard that one a million times.
But as much as we love our grown up life, we can’t ignore the fact that our age does occasionally come into play. And what we have learned is that part of the fun in getting married when we were younger is that we do not only get to grow old together but we also get to grow up together.
We have found that having a balance between being Mom and Dad, and being Melissa and James, has made a world of difference in our relationship.
Of course we are Mom and Dad all of the time. But now that our kids are old enough to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s we make a lot more time to be just Melissa and James.
What this usually looks like for us is a date night where the kids stay over at their grandparents when James is on his off time.
Taking this night has been such a recharge in our relationship. It gives us the opportunity to connect without interruptions for a snack every two minutes. It gives us the opportunity to have fun as just a couple. And it gives us a moment in time where some of the pressure is off (because having three kids and dealing with a diagnosis is a lot of pressure).
This last rotation we decided to turn that date night into a little more and spent a couple of nights away. We went up to the mountains and went zip lining. We wandered the small town going to breweries and pubs and enjoying each other’s company. We got drunk and went to a karaoke bar. We even ended the trip with some spontaneous mountain tattoos.
And then we went home, and were back to being Mom and Dad.
There was a point in our relationship where we did not do these types of things. Where date nights were few and far between. And when they’d happen it was rushed so we could get back to the kids.
I always spent a lot of time worrying about what others would think of us for taking time away from our children.
I didn’t want to be seen as the young, immature, irresponsible parents dumping their kids with the grandparents to go have fun. But I realized it doesn’t matter what people think because that is not what we are.
We are the young parents who spend 99% of our time doing whatever is needed for the family.
We are the parents who are constantly working, scheduling appointments, learning new techniques, struggling through delays and service restrictions. We are the parents who are trying to make a comfortable living for our family while still trying to make as many memories as we can together. We are the parents who put everything we have into our kids.
So I’ve decided its okay that for 1% of the time we want to act our age.
As always thank you for reading and keeping up with our family’s journey.