The balance between self care and marriage

As a stay at home mom to two (soon to be 3) boys with higher and complicated medical needs, it’s pretty safe to say that more often than not, I am completely burnt out.

I’m lucky enough to have a husband who I know loves and supports me through anything that I need. On weekends, after a long work week (for both of us) I pretty much tap out and let him to it.

Saturday and Sunday are the only days I get help with parenting, or any sort of a break at all. Over the past year or so, it’s become kind of our routine that my husband will take the boys out for a few hours or so, just so I can collect myself, breathe in the silence for a few minutes, and just exist.

Those precious hours are the most important hours of the week to me. And it’s so easy to just…kick them all out, and eat a damn salad in peace.

During high stress times, like it is right now, everyone’s mental health takes a hit. Including my husbands. He starts getting more anxious, more worried about money, the future, starts feeling like he isn’t good enough or contributing enough, and it gets him in a pretty rough headspace sometimes.

I know when that happens that it’s my turn to step up, that he needs more from me, and that I can’t rely on him as much for my own selfish gain.

We’re in one of those periods right now, and it’s hard for me. I want to take care of him, take the burden and the stress from him. But that will cost me, which is a difficult.

It’s a lot harder for me to kick them out the door for a few hours when I know he is struggling too and could probably use a break.

This is where the balance between self care and marriage gets blurry for me. I want to take care of him. I want to be able to give him those hours of silence, to be there and give him whatever he needs from me. But by doing that, it means that I’m sacrificing that for myself.

And to be honest, as an extremely introverted person, I am NOT my best self come Monday if I don’t have the weekend to recharge, even just a little.

But I also need my marriage to be strong. I need him to be strong so we can be strong.

It always seems like I have to sacrifice one to get the other, and I hate that. My tank is empty, and so is his.

I don’t know how to provide both of us what we need, especially when the cause of our stress seems to have no solutions.

I don’t need any more from him than he is offering. He is enough, and I love him right now, exactly as he is. I wish he knew that, I wish he felt that. I think he does, but feeling stuck in life with what seems like no good options to improve can leave you feeling pretty…well, bad about yourself I guess.

At the end of the day, I know that I need to take care of myself so I can continue to take care of our kids, and our marriage. But it hurts me to feel like I’m not doing enough either.

I am the less than stellar image of self care and mental health, but when it comes to my husband, I know how important it is for him, and therefore for us.

This is one of those things that I don’t have the answers to, that probably doesn’t have any good answer.

I know I can’t sacrifice my own needs and my own self care, I’m already falling apart, and I can’t give up my only sanity.

But I guess it’s hard to find the peace in the silence when you’re too busy feeling guilty about it. And my husband would never ask, or imply, that he needs or wants anything different. But I know him well enough to know that he wouldn’t prioritize his own mental health over mine.

And I also know him well enough to know that he needs me to show up and be more present, and to be more actively loving. So I will keep doing that, if it’s all I can do.

He just came up to me and told me that “if I’m not happy, that’s not on you, it’s on me. You’re doing a good job.”

I want to believe him, but I want to take care of him too.

At least we can honestly say that we love and support each other. And I know I always will.

5 thoughts on “The balance between self care and marriage”

    1. We weren’t always in that place, I’m glad we are now. Even on our hard days, it’s easier knowing we have each other.

  1. Alana, your post really resonated with me. I can understand the challenge of prioritizing your own needs and that of your husband. I’m currently expecting our first child and it has been tough. There was a constant struggle within me to take care of myself, with simultaneously be there for him in the way that he needed me.
    I find that as long as we’re both aware and understand that we love and appreciate each other’s it makes things much easier, and there isn’t so much tension; rather, a gentle love and understanding.
    I’m sure with 2 kids in the mix it just makes it more difficult!
    Thank you for sharing, it really resonated.

    1. It’s such a hard balance, with or without kids. It’s hard to take care of yourself when other people have needs too. It definitely helps when you have communication and awareness of what the other person needs. My husband and I have not always been in this place, it took a lot of work to get here. But it definitely makes lessens the tensions when we treat each other with love and understanding over anything else.
      I’m glad it resonated! I think it’s probably a really common stressor.

      1. Marriage always takes a lot of work! And that’s the beauty when you’re on the other side, together, having faced challenges together and braved them.
        Yes it definitely is a subject which is relevant to many and I appreciate you writing about it 😊

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