Try. Try Again.

Look at that picture. What a happy family, right? All smiling and dressed in coordinated denim for this little photo shoot. Might even want to make you gag a little.

But the picture is one dimensional and it doesn’t tell you our story. So let me tell you just a teeny part of ours.

Before we had kids, John and I had a lot of time for each other. We both had challenging careers. Confession: I think I always say I have a challenging career, even at times when it isn’t all that bad for the simple reason that it makes me feel important. We would go to the gym together, we’d be current on episodes of our favorite shows, we’d watch movies and go on dinner dates with friends.

Fun stuff.

When Shaila, (Baby #1), made her appearance in this world, I remember the joy and most of the fuzzy memories from the hospital where I was absolutely fine with taking my fair share of painkillers.

But I remember as we were dressing her to get her ready to take her home, this crushing, panicked realization of “I’m not ready.”

Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy Shit.

It wasn’t just that John had forgotten to read the instructions on the car seat as we were trying to adjust it to fit her little 6 lb body. And I still fully blame John for that because it was the one task I gave him while I was incubating our child for 10 months.

As we fumbled with the child seat, realizing that the outfit we brought from home was way too big for her (A one month outfit is way bigger than the NB – or newborn outfit), we looked at each other and I think it was the first time we admitted to ourselves.

“We have no effing clue, do we?”

We somehow managed to get her home without breaking her, but it was close. She cried the whole way home and I kept trying to put the pacifier in her mouth while John clenched the steering wheel in his hands.

“Why is she crying?” he asked. Yeah, just like that I’m the Baby Whisperer because I have a uterus.

“I don’t know. It’s ok. We’ll get home and she will be fine,” trying not to panic. John was freaking the shit out of me.

Things got better when we got home. Family helped. We got into some kind of routine after our families all left. And we started to get the whole parenting thing down.

But despite all the books I had read, I just didn’t know what it would be like. What the exhaustion would feel like. That I would struggle with breast feeding both of my children, trying so hard that I was often in tears. That I gave up and turned to formula and always felt like complete crap when asked, “And how is the breast feeding going?” and I would mumble something non-sensical, hoping they wouldn’t ask me to repeat myself, feeling like I had the most inept boobs in the world.

Another shortcoming to add to my list.

But somehow we made it through it. We officially felt like parents. We even were good at it some days. Not all, definitely NOT all. Sometimes we were more like taking guesses and crossing our fingers (and toes) that we were not causing irreparable harm to Shaila. We may have done some damage, we still question it, but again, we are hoping she came through relatively unscathed.

Crossing our fingers again.

Nico (Baby #2) came and it was harder this time. I didn’t bounce back into work with the same fervor that I had the first time and it took me longer to adjust. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I was going through Postpartum Depression in a bad way, and the shiny veneer of my normally happy self was wearing thin.

So now we get back to the point of this post. Somewhere along the way, John and I stopped prioritizing each other. We kept up with the demands of work, parenting and maintaining a home, but when it came to our marriage, we did little to nurture it or each other.

After the kids went to bed, John would fall in front of the television and get lost in whatever sports event was on, while I would be in my own world, sipping on a glass of wine and writing or producing songs.

And the distance between us grew. The time we spent with each other dwindled.

We had officially stopped giving a shit.

I write this now because for quite some time this year, John and I were thinking about giving up. About calling it quits and starting over. We were very close to making a decision that would have changed our family forever.

But as the time grew closer for the actual split, I started to break down. Like, really breakdown. I would cry incessantly. If John walked by, I would burst into tears and leave the room. I would hold my children and think about having to tell them about this and cry some more.

It’s amazing I didn’t drown in those tears. I did drown my sorrows in a lot of wine though. Too much.

It took the realization that whatever our differences were and whatever our grievances are with each other, that our love and respect and concern for each other far outweighs that.

And that was a pretty amazing revelation for me.

And with that realization came the understanding for both of us that we wanted to fight for this. A little harder than we had.

Today is the day I would have been closing on the new house I bought. Some women shop at Target when they are sad. Some women splurge on a new pair of shoes from Nordstrom when they have the blues.

Not me. I bought a house. A shiny, new one.

Once John and I realized that we wanted to work on this and to “really” work on it and not just say we are working on it, it became clear that I needed to return the house. I asked John if we could keep it because I really liked all the features I had picked out, but he said that would not be a good idea.

NOTE: You lose a little more money when you “return” a house than say when you return a pair of shoes. I would strongly advise against it.

It’s a little scary trying again. It’s scary because you know there is the chance that you will fall into old habits. That the constant demands of all the other stuff, especially the really noisy stuff like the kids, can still stand in your way.

But you can’t do anything about all that. That’s still going to be there. And short of slipping some hard liquor into our kids’ sippy cups, in the hopes that they will pass out, the kids are still going to be loud.

This post is personal. I get that. I am not writing it for cathartic release or for some kind of exhibitionism of my family. I write because I know that I am not alone in this. And that others like me have sat on that scary precipice just like I did. And no matter what decision you make, you will find your way.

Kiran

36 Responses to Try. Try Again.

  • What a beautiful post! I also remember – vividly – the shock of bringing home my son. It. Was. Rough. Now that my daughter is almost fifteen-months-old, some things have gotten easier…but I struggle daily with keeping things alive in our marriage. I totally get it. It’s hard work!

  • I never did anything officially, but once I threatened to leave, I found we started working together much more. I feel like it’s all normal in the stages of having kids….

    • Masala Chica says:

      We were done – separation agreement signed, money divided, new house bought and I have all this furniture sitting in my house the I just bought for the new place. Yeah we were making it official. So glad that despite all that we realized it was worth holding on to.

  • Dave says:

    K – I have been through same throught process (minus the buying a house) more than a few times. It is sooo damn hard to find time & energy to give a damn about your spouse when 120% of your time is already given to the job, kids, PTA, etc. I mean hey, what about some me time, right?

    So why are we still together? For me, it comes down to a few simple truths: despite everything else, I do still love her, she is my best friend, and I am stuborn SOB that hates to admit defeat. OK, so the last one is not very romantic, but it is helpful.

    Thanks for posting this, because I know when I look around at everyone else, it seems like they have it all figured out.

    • Masala Chica says:

      I remember when she was pregnant with her first – we had no idea what we would all be in for one day as we had your BBO shower at Sweetwater. And I think what you said resonated for me – he is my best friend. He is my “person” when I need someone or need to talk or need support. You become part of a team and to lose half of it is a really hard step to take.

  • Tracie says:

    My husband and I had problems before we had kids. I look back at those days and wonder what the heck was wrong with us. We didn’t know how easy life really was. I hope you are able work through things. I know so many of us can relate to this post.

    • Masala Chica says:

      Thanks Tracie. Who knew what things we complained about when we were single? I don’t even remember now. But I do know the fissure in our marriage when the kids came. I am not saying it will all be perfect – but I hope I can get past some of my shit and he can get past some of this is and find some cozy little place in the middle.

  • Sig
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ve heard that the roughest time in a marriage is when a child is about to be born. Evs and I have been together for so long that I honestly can’t remember a time before him. And while we love each other – it’s a comfortable kind of love…and I miss the days of wild, heady love even when I’m feeling unattractive in a pair of stripy pj’s and a t-shirt that doesn’t quite fit over my growing belly. I broke down in the shower the other week because of that.

    I’m most afraid that we’re just going to grow apart…drift away as we get caught up in, well, life. I don’t want that so this post was a good reminder that we need to make the effort here as well :)

  • Ilene
    Twitter:
    says:

    You write with such heart – and I love that you are brave enough to get personal. It’s one of the things I love about reading blogs. And I also love that you are willing to face your marriage head on AND buy and return a house. You are one bold lady, I love it

    • Masala Chica says:

      Ilene, I stumbled on your blog yesterday and loved it. Love how strong you seem and real. Thank you for the compliments, likewise to you. And tell that new job that you need your own time and not to take over your life. NOT acceptable.

  • AJ Collins says:

    <3 My husband and I didn't consider divorce or separation, but we also started to fade apart. Fortunately we caught it before it got too extreme. :) So glad to read that you guys are working it out. Good for you!

    • Masala Chica says:

      AJ! How are you love? I think it goes in cycles and you find yourself moving back and forth to closeness. Our problem was once the kids came, we pulled away so dramatically and never thought how big the chasm would grow. I am glad too. Thank you :-)

  • lemon gloria says:

    Oh, Kiran. Having two kids makes it so hard to have time and energy for yourself, much less your partner. I had no idea it would be this tough. Sending so much love and support your way.

    • Masala Chica says:

      Lisa, I am hoping that you guys are getting this better than we did. I bet you are. The kids are beautiful – love their pictures. Sending you the same. Love and support is sometimes what gets us through it all.

  • Krystal
    Twitter:
    says:

    Kiran! I am so glad that you have been back at blogging. I missed your posts..really. I have been reading, you are such a great writer. I completely, understand how writing getting it all out there can be cathartic. I started blogging for that same reason because sometimes I feel like no one understands the things that I am going through. Any who, wishing you the best…in this ride called life. Have a great weekend!

    XX

    • Masala Chica says:

      Krystal – thank you so much. I have missed writing too but when I was going through everything that was leading up to where I am now, I felt like I couldn’t write about it and hurt the family. Did you see my book recommendation yesterday? Hope so – go on and get it.

  • Ashley says:

    What a beautifully written post. It made me chuckle (“Yeah, just like that I’m the Baby Whisperer because I have a uterus.”) and it made me tear up (“Somewhere along the way, John and I stopped prioritizing each other.”). I recognized myself in your words. Thank you for your raw honesty and sharing this. Best wishes as you guys set new goals for your family. =)

  • Sue Ranero says:

    Hi Kiran, although we don’t know each other well, I felt that I needed to respond to your very personal post regarding your past year. Fast forward to 30(next August) years of marriage… Yikes is that for real?? Anyway, it is never easy. I someway felt that I was self- evolving while Mike just stood there content to kept it all as is. The kids were always fine. Bumps in the road, but thankfully that was all.
    We are now “empty nesters”! Sounds scarey. I was not sure what to expect- I honestly did not know. I would joke that we were back to where we started – just the 2 of us.
    Surprisingly, (and gratefully ) it is good – really good. There’s an ease that we both are satisfied with. I am so fortunate to have a husband that can continue to make me laugh, as well as drive me crazy.
    I think John had those qualities as well. Grandma would be so proud!
    So, I just wanted to say that marriage is a process – along with the family. I think I can continue to self evolve while Mike just hangs…
    It’s always work, but I believe that the results can be very surprising!
    Best of everything. It always turns out the way it is supposed to..
    Sue ..
    (Tell John hello :) )

    • Masala Chica says:

      Sue,
      Thanks for the response. Yeah – you guys are empty nesters – crazy how fast that happened – remembered getting Michael’s graduation announcement and being like “what the fudge?” but it did go by fast. And I think as long as John lets me pursue some of the things I need to do in this life, some things I need to fulfill for just me – I think we will all be happier in the long run. Sending love to you and Mike. And yes – Grandma would be proud. She might be wagging her middle finger at me upside down but she would still be proud.
      Love,
      Kiran

  • Emily says:

    I’m glad you’re finding your way. And I think you were right. It’s never a good idea to let go of something when part of your soul is still crying out to hang on. I hope the next few months bring peace for your family.

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  • suburbancorrespondent says:

    So beautiful – and so good of you to share. People need to understand that marriage is work and not-so-good days and days that are better, all mixed up together – just like life, right? So many of the fruits of marriage (aside from children) are simply not apparent for decades.

    • Masala Chica says:

      I’m glad I found you today. Yes – I think especially in the first few years of marriage, when the kids are young and neither of you really has time to be you – well, it’s easier to resent someone at this time. A few posts ago I wrote about how we almost ended it, but now I need to focus on how we rebuild it…
      Kiran

  • Alison
    Twitter:
    says:

    My husband and I – we’ve nearly separated a few times. Many times before we were married (I offered to give him back the engagement ring, and you know I’m serious because by god I’m in love with the diamond, heh). A few times after, especially when my job was taking me out of the country for weeks on end. And the worst and realest was 2 weeks after our first was born.

    Once that (the “Maybe we should go our separate ways”) was out of our mouths, we knew that we couldn’t do it. Because we have so much going for us than against us.

    It IS hard. It’s still hard. And now with two kids, it’s like, effing hard. But we try. We always try.

    I’m glad to hear that you have decided to work on things. Even if you have useless new furniture lying around and a shiny new house (how about putting them into the house then renting it out? No?)

    • Masala Chica says:

      Oh Alison. I wanted to keep the house, you know, just to look at. It was so cool. But it makes no sense in this market so instead we are going to refinance our house and maybe, just maybe I won’t have to be so career minded right now and can be a mom and a writer and the things I want to be.

      Thanks for your honesty.

  • Dixya says:

    I am not married nor i have kids yet but reading blogs and hearing from friends, it is not that easy as it sounds and like you said it might be easier for some couples..trying to balance other family/friends relationships, jobs, boyfriend everything is pretty challenging by itself then try adding kids and husband…but like you said- sometimes you just have to try little harder to make things work..and if you are able to stick around in bad times, most likely good times will be a breeze :)

  • Such an honest post! Hubs and I almost gave up, too. For us, it’s been about 6 years since that really bad spot. And I have to say that I am SO THANKFUL we didn’t give up and we realized how much we wanted to fight to be together and to make each other a priority again.

  • Ana says:

    Found you from your comment at Stirrup Queens. This hit home, with 2 kids under 3 years of age, we too have pretty much “stopped giving a sh&t”…not that I don’t WANT to, I just don’t have the physical and mental energy to maintain everything in the clusterf&c1 that is my life right now. It hasn’t gotten to the point of considering separation, but the reminder that it can go down that road is timely. Thank you for writing this, its good to know I’m not alone (judging from the comments, far from it!) and also because YES, I saw that gorgeous picture of all of you (really SO GORGEOUS YOU ALL ARE, sorry that came out weird & stalker-y, just a really nice picture) and as usual got that twinge of, “oh they must be so perfect & happy”. I know this is crap, everyone has their stuff.

    • Masala Chica says:

      I am glad that you realize you are not alone. I don’t think you are weird or stalkery – just really sweet – and besides concealer can do a lot to help me out.

      Everyone’s got their shit. Pictures are perfect – people and relationships rarely are.

      Kiran

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MEET KIRAN
I'm Kiran, I'm a dreamer. A writer. A singer. A mother. An ugly crier. An Indian-American. Who loves Gandhi. My stories are full of truth that is sometimes hard for me to say out loud. This blog is where I overcome my fears and live (and love) out loud. Read More....
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