I am so thrilled to be done with graduate school! The one person I owe the greatest debt of gratitude is my husband. He has supported me every inch of the way including juggling our schedules to make sure our toddler son was taken care of. As most parents will share, daycare costs are astronomical - my husband and I opted to shuttle our son between us and for that I am eternally grateful. I had a healthy dose of being a stay at home mom in the daytime with grad school at night. When my mental health/marriage & family therapy internship came about- we had to reconfigure schedules again. We probably have a good definition of flexibility in roles and life transitions :)
I went back to graduate school when our son was 2.5 months old because I had to - long story. Since I am a die hard believer in nursing, that presented some issues for my poor hubby including panic when the baby finished all his bottled milk :) He became an expert diaper changer, his way of playing with the baby was rougher than I - yet our son loved it! The greatest lesson I learned was that, I was not an expert in caring for my son and therefore my husband needed to find his own way without my constant criticism. We are different and our son thrived because of that difference. He is a healthy, extremely verbal, active and funny 2.8 year old boy. He started 2 days of preschool 3 weeks ago right in the middle of my final class projects and loved it! My story is not unique by any means, there are other women who can share about supportive husbands who helped them achieve their dream. I'm just glad to be able to write about it and give my hubby public props.
Were there times of tension and conflict over all my roles as a wife, mother, grad student, mental health intern? Yes! We had verbal disagreements, ignored taps on the shoulder in the middle of the night, silent treatment mostly from me and then we figured we'd better smarten up. By the second year of grad school in 2007 - I began wondering how other young couples were coping with juggling marriage, careers and babies. This is the reason why my website http://www.earlyfamilyyears.org/ was born. I was determined to help young couples make it during their early years of marriage when life goes insane with shifting roles. I talked to stable married friends and older couples who had faced similar circumstances and also searched the web and a couple of good books. The main advice was having an attitude of "stick-to-itiveness".
Our story is not unique, lots of couples deal with worse trying times. There's no perfect way to deal with juggling marriage, careers, babies and life changes - keeping your communication line open and choosing to stay together through thick and thin works. The secret seems to lie in having a die-hard committment to stick together and make it together. My point today was to give my husband public props for being the coolest level headed, secure hubby ever!