This article in the Huffington Post caught our attention this morning, because it created an immediate reaction within us: that of complete and utter sadness. Sadness because, the article was entitled “Divorce Causes: Does Having Children Put a Strain on Your Marriage?”.
In this piece, we are told that a recent airing of the Ricki Lake Show focusing on this question, involved a married mother who felt as if her whole world had fallen apart, and because she blamed having children for the break down of her marriage and the loss of her self, she was unable to love her children or her husband.
We found this deeply distressing, and whilst many mothers occasionally feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of raising a family, those feelings are usually, thankfully, rare and give way to feelings of gratitude and excitement. But not so for everyone. The article goes on to share tweets from Huff Post readers on the matter and they are hugely thought-provoking for their diversity and honesty. In fact, we haven’t seen such well-rounded tweets on a matter for some time.
Amongst the themes which caught our attention were marriages which ended due to husbands feeling neglected or no longer number one in the relationship after the presence of children; the view that kids do put a strain on marriages, but bearing that strain is more than worth it; the feeling that it was the other way round – the marriage itself put a strain on the child; feelings of isolation during the early years; losing yourself within the family unit; children being the acid test as to compatibility with your spouse; feelings of unhappiness stemming from a selfish view of life and the fact that marriage can be a paradox, both at once wonderful and terrible.
The tweet slide show is a must read, and it got us thinking. Perhaps children really are the acid test – for us at least, if a woman meets a man who shows initial interest in her but later retreats once he finds out she has a child, it is in itself perhaps a blessing in disguise, a way to weed out the boys from the men.
But what of the need to have alone time, or couple time? In a world where both parents are increasingly having to work, and having time off during the working week to take advantage of school hours when children are not at home is unheard of, and in a world where grandparents live farther and farther away making the occasional baby sit often impossible, what can be done to keep that love alive and stave off any resentments which may affect the children?
Perhaps the answer lies in our notions of community, marriage and family, as well as culture in the work place. It’s a tricky one, so we’ll leave these thoughts with you and hope that better men and women than us can come up with some great ideas. For us at least, the joy of having children overrides any hardships and is one of life’s greatest adventures, as long as you’re not afraid to get a little roughed up along the way.