Raising Kids – That’s the Easy Part

Today I shared the following thought on Facebook: “Raising kids is easier than being (and staying) married.”

I had the above “ah-ha” moment after a long conversation with my husband. The conversation was emotional though not angry, and like many of our conversations – there was no real closure, just a rehash of our struggles. While walking out of the room, once the conversation ended, I realized that while raising our boys has not been easy, keeping our marriage on the books has proven to be the biggest challenge. Hence, I say again, raising kids is easier than being – and staying – married.

Our marriage, like many, travels through peaks and valleys. Right now, we are living in a valley. And, during other valley-dwelling times, I tend to think getting divorced is our best option. For better (or worse), he disagrees with me. He admits he is not happy with how things are “today”, but he feels there is a foundation in our relationship that is strong enough to keep us together.

That sounds nice, and when/if we move our things out of the valley and closer to a peak, I will likely feel grateful he didn’t agree to a divorce. But for now, I find myself stuck in a rut with no end in sight.

Oh, this is Lenore, by the way. It’s been a few months since I last appeared in the blogosphere. I felt the need to quickly re-introduce myself. As I was saying…

Truth be told, raising kids is easier than keeping a marriage together, because parents are expected to “manage” their kids. More often than not, spouses do not appreciate being “managed”. Our boys will respond when I ask (tell) them to clean their room. When I ask (tell) my husband to clean the basement, I find push-back. My requests continue, as does the push-back, which typically leads to a conflict of some sort.

Oh, and this valley-dwelling time is not due to a dirty basement, though the basement could stand a good cleaning.

I shared two recent incidents with my closest friend. She was quick to point out that both incidents dealt with my husband being managed by me. The incidents were different, but the source of friction was the same.

Here’s the thing, I am expected to manage the kids. I am expected to manage the pets. I am expected to manage the house. I am expected to manage just about everything that pertains to my family, with the exception of my husband. And, since I am managing just about everything else in our life, I find it challenging not to manage him.

I find it funny how that works. Actually, I find it frustrating how that works.

So today I’ll accept the fact that raising kids – regardless of the challenges of the past, present, and future – is an easier job than being and staying married.

I didn’t run out on my kids when the times were tough with them, and I suppose I shouldn’t run out on my husband when our times get tough. It sure would be nice, though, if he would just let me manage him a little. I mean, the kids are turning out pretty good.



15 thoughts on “Raising Kids – That’s the Easy Part

  1. Welcome back! As I was reading, I had a thought. I view my “job” as a bit different than you. Yes, I am expected to manage the house. But when it comes to my child, I view my job as more of a guide and teacher, not a manager. My son is very independent and stubborn. And I definitely do not ever try to manage my husband. I figure, he’s a grown adult. He can deal with things (and himself). Yes, I might make a request of him, but it’s just that, a request. Just my perspective.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re in a valley right now. I hope that you are able to climb your way out of it.

    1. Thank you for the welcome back.
      I agree with you and the thought of being a guide and teacher for the kids. I believe I am doing that, too.
      “Manage” may not be the best word to use for the kids, but it is the word my husband used in our discussion when talking about us. And I can tell you, he hears my requests as a form of management.
      Thanks for reading and sharing your perspective.

  2. Welcome back. I think sometimes, we do manage but are resented for it. Very early in my now broken marriage I said the following to my now ex-husband:

    “You do not have to love all the things I love, you have to love me enough to be present and participate.”

    The above was said in reference to our marriage specifically and the valley we were in. It was pointed specifically at what was driving me to distraction, his resentment at what he considered my management, such as requests to assist in the household. I liked it cleaner than he cared about, our difference in style was a source of friction.

    Obviously, he never got to loving me enough. But I find if you can put it in those terms, maybe it would help.

    1. Yes, Valentine! I have said something similar to my husband – several times. I think the sentiment I tend to repeat during our conflicts is my feeling that “If it doesn’t matter to you, it doesn’t matter. Period.” I suppose we are a work in progress. Sharing my thoughts has certainly helped me feel lighter. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

  3. Lenore—I have missed your thoughts! This was a really hard one to read because it was so honest, I guess, but kudos to you for writing it and hitting publish. I am on the other side of the parenting thing with a 26 and 29 year old but I know what you mean about managing. As a stay at home mom when the boys were little it was all about managing. The funny thing about marriage is that somehow you “manage” to find a balance. The hubby was in charge at work and as the years have gone by I have seen him try to tell me what to do. It is just a carry over from being at work and in charge. I have to remind him occasionally that I do not work for him but it has not bothered me—more it has amused me. He gets into that mode of being the boss and it leaks over—how can it not? Same as you with being the manager—-it leaks over. As long as you can both see it for what it is and figure out how to deal or not deal with it you will be fine. When we were in the Navy our neighbor was a helicopter pilot and never home. When he did come home he knew to let Claudia still run the house because if he stepped in and tried to be in control it would be chaos because he was not there normally and there was a routine. A difficult role for him to step in to being the “submissive” but he did it because it was what worked best for all of them. I am confident that you and the hubby will find yourself on the other side of the valley and be stronger for it.
    I don’t know if any of this makes sense but it hit me that we all have things in our marriages that need fine tuned and and adjusted at times but hopefully you will get there. Hugs!!!

    1. I’m not anything if I am not honest, Beth Ann. Nah, that’s not true. Ha. Kidding.
      I like the way you expressed how the roles leak over into the home life, etc. I nodded my head in agreement, as I read your comment.
      I told my friend that I hope when the kids are grown, Rob and I will look at each other and say, “Hey. I know you.” And, we’ll have the time and energy to reconnect. Sad that I said we’d have the time and energy, as we should be putting time and energy to each other. Ah life. So easy, eh?
      As I told Valentine, writing and sharing my thoughts left me feeling lighter. One day at a time.
      Thanks for the hugs. Back at you!

  4. Lenore, just wait until they are teenagers or in college….you may sing a different tune. I am not so sure that raising children is easier than being/staying married. Raising my children was a full time job and a challenging one at times, marriage is the same. I figure if we give our marriage as much energy, love, thought and persistence it will grow and mature just like children do. Plus, if you are decent person, there is no option to having children and not raising them, you just do it to the best of your ability. Having survived valleys and peaks myself, it’s worth hanging in there, at least it was/is for me. There were probably times I would have liked to divorce some of my kids….but that just isn’t an option so we plowed through and came out stronger and better on the other side!
    Plus….managing husbands is a futile effort…..

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Lisa. Funny you mentioned the teenage and college years, because I am noticing that we are really in an easy stage right now. I suppose we are coasting downhill at the moment, only to have to pedal uphill once we reach the teenage years.
      For whatever reason, I find giving my kids unconditional love, support, dedication, etc. easy. The work comes when I try to do those things for Rob. Funny how that works, eh?

  5. Hi Lenore! It’s great to see a post from you. I’ve been pondering your words since I read them on Facebook yesterday. I had the same thought as Lisa, your boys are still in their pre-teen years. I once read, the best thing parents can do for their kids is to love each other. You are setting the example for their lives. Teach them that sometimes it’s work to keep a family together, but each one of you is worth the effort. Another thought, once the kids are grown, you and Rob still have each other. Wishing you all the best.

    1. Hello Patti. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I find it helpful reading the thoughts of others, plus I feel better sharing my story.
      When I was talking with my friend, I told her that I hoped Rob and I would find ourselves reconnected once the kids get older. I tend to think he and I are not in the minority in that regard.
      He and I are together today, and rather than focusing on what happens next – I’ll do my best to keep the focus on today.

  6. I think it’s difficult when the draw of being parents can overbalance the need to be spouses. Sometimes it’s hard to (re)find the right chemistry when so much of your time is other-directed.

    1. I agree with you 100%, Steve. I try to avoid the use of the word ‘balance’, because I’m not sure it exists, but I really like your use of the word ‘chemistry’. That’s it. Sometimes one relationship is more acidic than the other, work is required to ‘ahem’ balance the PH. He would agree, the kids are our focus right now. We just need to remember that the kids can’t do it without us. Frickin’ frackin’ kids. (wink)

  7. Oh what heartbreaking times. Marriage IS tough. That’s why I’m not. I hope you two pull each other to the ridgeline again real soon. It’s the pits being in the valley.

  8. I’m catching up with you today. Didn’t realize you had blogged again. Always love reading you. This post troubled me, but I know you both will be okay.

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