I have opened up quite a lot on this platform about my marriage, revealing what's it’s been like for Perry and I after having a child. I am constantly learning and evolving, discovering new ways I can better myself and our marriage. I share our experiences because I think it's important. I often wonder why we don't take communication and relationship classes all the way through grade school, high school and college? I feel like so many fights or mishaps could have been avoided if we had just been taught how to fight fairly. I learn the most about my marriage when I reflect and talk to others who can relate. So, I will continue to keep talking about it because, while I don't believe my marriage is quintessential or the holy grail of marriage, it's all I know.
I have been thinking about the fights that Perry and I have had in front of Winter, especially when she was super tiny. I regret a lot of the ways that I acted in many moments when I was frustrated with my husband. Quite honestly, there were times when I was out of control and full of rage. If mom guilt was a monster, it would be the scariest, most intimidating, ruthless mother f***er out there. I am definitely one that feels eaten alive by it and have to work really hard to combat it and not let it win and change the way I view myself as a mother or a wife. But the truth is, it's really hard being responsible for the physical, mental and social and emotional well-being of another human.
Let me explain---you know when you see someone else yawn, you can't help but to yawn too? Yup, it happens to me every time. In fact, I am yawning right now. Mirror neurons are responsible for this and so much more. Mirror neurons are cells insides our brain that respond the same way whether you yourself are performing an act or someone that you are observing performs the act. Mirror neurons do NOT know the difference between you and me.
So why does this matter? Without getting too technical, a child's central nervous system uses mirror neurons to attune to the nervous systems around them. Therefore, if you are stressed, your child's nervous system is also stressed. What a responsibility, huh?! It actually overwhelms me when I think about it, but I am not telling you this because I want you to feel guilt for having a bad day or a moment where you show anger or hostility. Emotions are a part of life and every emotion serves a purpose. I think I’m explaining this because knowing that my mood and stress levels directly affect my child's, reminds me in those moments when I want to freak out and yell in front of her that I should try to show it in different way.
Don't get me wrong, there have been many times where I wasn't able to pump the breaks and lost control in front of Winter. Those early days of having a newborn, working full-time, and being so incredibly sleep deprived were so stressful and hard on my marriage. If I let myself, I can pinpoint all those moments and I feel awful that I acted the way I did. But since I have been practicing tolerance for myself and my mistakes, I am trying my best not to dwell on those moments.
It's inevitable that Perry and I will disagree at times, but I want to have these disagreements in a different way, especially in front of Winter. One thing we started doing was using a code word. Ours is metropolis, which we picked because it's rather fun to say. When one of us is getting heated and feels like we can't react in a healthy way in front of Winter, we say metropolis and the conversation is done until we are behind closed doors.
Now I must also add, that it is not good to always resolve your conflicts when the children aren't around either. By showing them tension but not showing them how it is resolved, you are missing very important learning opportunities to teach them to work through conflict. So if Perry and I are having a minor disagreement, we try our best to solve it in front of Winter.
We certainly have a ways to go. I would love to know about any tips you have for conflict/resolution that you use with your significant other.
Photography by Brittany Renee'