how to not kill your husband {after having a baby}

They say the first year of marriage is hard, but "they" don't tell you much about the first year after having a baby. That's the year that will rock you. Next to marrying the love of your life, the greatest joy you will ever experience is having a child. Your heart completely explodes when that child is born and every bit of your energy and time goes into that tiny little person. So, what about your husband? Your marriage gets put on the back burner. That's just the way it is. Your husband is perfectly capable of making his own sandwich and washing his own clothes. But the baby? Not so much. They need you every second of the day. They 100% rely on you.

For the first year, you as the mama are the primary caregiver. Then Daddy becomes the primary fun giver.

Yes, you share responsibilities with your hubby to raise the child, but when they are teeny little humans...mama just knows best. We are born with parental instincts, while for the most part men kinda have to figure their way around a baby.

Here's my best shot at advice to help you survive that first year, and come out on the other side still over the moon for your man.

1. Give yourself some grace. You just had a baby. Even when 5 months has gone by, you still just had a baby. You can't compare yourself to those super moms you see on tv who walk out of the hospital in their size 2 designer jeans. That's just not normal. Remind yourself that this is a very short time in your life, go eat some ice cream and give yourself a big bear hug. Grace is the key.

2. Take your time. Ahem, in the bedroom that is. Just because you get the "all clear" from your doc at 6 weeks, doesn't mean you may be ready to jump in the sack. Seriously, take your time. It all changes after having that baby. Ease into what works for you, don't just rush it because the doctor says it's ok and you feel like you need to!

3. Talk it out. Are you struggling? Tell him. A lot of things change around your house after a baby and it's important to keep the lines of communication open and talk through things with each other. Figure out what you expect out of one another, and be open and honest!

4. Make a plan. Do you both work and plan to trade off night feedings? Do you expect him to put the baby in bed? Do you want him to help you with some housework or do the grocery shopping? Figure out way to help each other, and don't be afraid to ask him for some help! Make a plan, ask each other for help! Do it!

5. Go on a date. Or several actually. It's so easy to barely spend any time together away from baby. Your life becomes wrapped around this person, but you have to remember in 18 years they will be gone and you still need to like each other. Get all fancied up and go out to dinner. It's ok if you talk about baby all night, just talk! Enjoy each other! Hold hands and love each other. I promise a few hours alone will be a HUGE breath of fresh air after diapers, spit up and sleepless nights.

I promise I'm no expert on this subject, but I'm in the middle of doing it for the second time. I've learned a lot and failed a lot. My husband and I will come out on the other side still crazy about each other, because we will continue to work at it. I guarantee you that it's hard. Sometimes you'll just want to punch him right in the face for not understanding you...but remember he's a man and he's not going to understand you. Give him the opportunity to try and work at it every single day!

There's something about that moment on your child's first birthday, as they tear into their cake that you make eye contact with your other half and sigh a deep sigh and say "WE MADE IT!"

a large meat lovers pizza

I've always thought the hubs and I have a great marriage, but something hit me hard this week. I don't encourage him nearly enough. Whoa. What?? Sure I do. I'm his wife, and I'm an AWESOME wife at that.  But I get complacent.  I get comfortable. He knows I love him. He knows I'm proud of him. But does he hear it enough? Not likely.

That hurts my heart just a bit. A lot of bit actually. I should be a constant stream of compliments. An overwhelming encourager. His rock. It's easy as women to fall short of this, because we are the woman. We aren't strong and steady like our man.  We have hormones, we have babies and we have dirty houses. The dishes scream at us, the kids scream at us.  It's easier to crawl into bed at night and curl up with the latest vampire novel than our husband. {Yikes, I don't read those things by the way, I would totally have nightmares.}

Because, I wanna end up like this couple...

There are few things that really grinds my gears worse than a woman openly dogging her man.  It breaks my heart when women gripe and complain about their hubby on twitter or their blog. And then they wonder why he's not helping around the house or taking her out on a date.

Ummm....hello?! Stop your complaining, and start your encouraging! Be his rock. Don't let home be a place he dreads coming to after work because he's just going to hear your moaning and groaning. Be partners, be friends, be lovers. {"That word bums me out unless it's between the words meat & pizza" - name that quote and you get 10 cool points}

So, women. It's time to put your big girl panties on and be there for your man. Encourage him!!! Curl up with him! Love him, and heck even do things that bright shiny bling on your hand allows you to do. I promise he will respond positively, and will be a better husband and dad for it.

And if it doesn't, I'll have a meat lovers pizza delivered to your door. Heck, I'll personally hand deliver it and smush it in his face because that man is messed up if he doesn't fall in love with you all over again!

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daddy date nights

To say my daughter has a great daddy would be a major understatement. And seriously, I'm not just trying to get bonus points or something here. I am married to an incredible man who loves me with all of his heart, and adores our daughter. She lights up everytime he walks in the room, and she's started doing this adorable little pout every time she can see him. We have ourselves a little daddy's girl in the works. Since I am a SAHM, he doesn't get as much time with her as me. He gets home around 6pm, and she goes to bed at 8pm. So we try to pack in as much fun time with dad while he's home. Even though he's only been a husband for 2 1/2 years, and a daddy for 5 1/2 months, he's really got this family stuff figured out. We are FIRST. We are his world, and spending time with us is always his priority. {If you are a man who has happened to stumble upon my blog, this is a serious turn on. Just remember that}

Now that we are a little more settled into life as a family of three, and the munchkin is on a pretty good daily schedule and the colic is gone...mommy needs time. Time to collect my thoughts, to just sit in quiet mostly. So daddy has started "daddy date nights" with her, which I know she will grow to love as she gets older.

I'm so thankful that she has such a great daddy to learn from, and compare all the boys she will ever meet to. Not sure how she will find a man that even begins to match the qualities her father has, but maybe that will keep her away from them longer. No? Oh right, she is her mother's daughter afterall :)

Do your kids do something fun like this with dad? If you have multiple kids, do they have individual date nights with daddy?

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my man

My husband and the amazing father of my baby girl.  Today he turns the big 3-0! I love him so much and my life is absolutely perfect with him. He's the man of my dreams and the greatest blessing I could have ever imagined! Even though he's turning 30 today, and is technically "old" he's still a kid inside and a blast to be with.  Life is never dull in our house!

Happy Birthday baby, I love you!!

bragging rights

Sometimes I fear that I don't take the time enough to brag on my hubby and tell him how proud I am of him.  I always hope he knows, but I never want to take for granted that he does.  Being a pastor's wife isn't always an easy job, as I'm sure my fellow PW friends can agree. It's a difficult balance of "work and life", when your life revolves around your ministry and serving others. My hubby is amazing at this.  Sure, sometimes he brings his work home.  But he does a good job of knowing when it's time to unplug and focus on me. He's practicing well for being an amazing daddy by taking his days off to spend with his family.  I'm so thankful for this.  Although him being pulled in a million directions can get hard from time to time, it's a blessing to get to be a part of what he does. It's not just his ministry, it's OURS. I love that he makes me a huge part of it and always values my opinion so highly.

I've been a bit of a wreck for the past 8 months.  It's not been easy on me to be pregnant, and that could have put a lot of pressure on our marriage because it's hard for me to focus on it a lot of the time.  He has stood by me every step of the way. He tells me I'm beautiful when I feel the size of a house.  He encourages me. He tells me it will be over soon (that's the best thing I can hear these days...). He never questions his feelings for me.

As women, it's not always easy to be vulnerable with our spouses.  Especially when we want them to see us as beautiful and as perfect as possible.  But we're in this thing...for better and for worse.  I've had my fair share of "worse" days lately, and he's not left my side for a second.  And he won't leave my side during our better days either.

One of the best days is to come, when we see our baby girl for the first time.  I can't imagine a better man to share this with and to be the father of my children.  Thank you baby for all you for our ministry and our family.  You are truly my hero.