Surviving Newborn Life As A Couple

ecoming parents with your spouse is such a beautiful experience. It deepens your connection and love for one another, but it is definitely a challenge to re-calibrate your entire life.


There are a lot of expected changes to a couple when they have a baby; fluctuating hormones, less (or no) sleep, your life suddenly revolving around a squishy little human. 

But one thing that can come as a surprise, is how your relationship with your spouse can change. In the first weeks and months of being parents, Ben and I bickered and argued more than we ever had before. 

Don’t get me wrong, we also spent copious amounts of time all snuggled up together as a family, marvelling at the tiny little toes of our perfect baby. He was incredibly supportive as I struggled through breastfeeding and adjusted to everything. He was, and still is, wonderful. 

But we also spent time snapping at each other, being frustrated or letting passive aggressive remarks slip through.

Day trips helped relieve stress in those early days, and were a lovely way to spend time together
Day trips helped relieve stress in those early days, and were a lovely way to spend time together

I found myself really upset, thinking perhaps we weren’t ready? Perhaps we weren’t cut out to do this? Parenting is no joke, and those first few months can be insanely challenging for a couple. 

It wasn’t until our daughter Willow was around 6 months old, I met a mother with a 6 week old baby, and I realised it wasn’t just us. 

While chatting over a cup of tea, she quietly asked if I had fought with Ben when Willow was born. My response of “OH MY GOD YES!” was instantly met with a sigh of relief and laughter, as I recounted some of our finest relationship fails the first couple months.

This is something that lots of new parents go through, yet both me and this new mom felt isolated and too embarrassed to admit our spouses were driving us crazy. If I had known other new parents experienced this challenging adjustment period, I’d have felt relieved and more at ease with our relationship. 

We’ve since become better at our communication, and have learned to notice unhelpful habits or reactions we have when speaking to each other.

We’ve built ourselves such a solid foundation we decided to get engaged late last year
We’ve built ourselves such a solid foundation we decided to get engaged late last year.

Below are my top 3 tips I have for new parents going through the rough newborn phase. We still practice these today as we encounter new struggles together.

Speak openly & honestly about how you’re feeling

I would tell Ben when I was feeling resentful, even though I knew it was irrational. He hadn’t gone through the physical pains of pregnancy and birth, and I’d be jealous he wasn’t struggling with breastfeeding, or having a baby constantly attached to him. But when I decided to be open, and tell him all the not so nice things I was thinking, we were able to talk them through and share how we felt. 

Be kind & patient with each other 

I would sometimes forget that this was all new for Ben as well. I’d be so wrapped up in how I felt; exhausted, sore, and hormonal. I’d forget Ben was trying to figure it out too. It’s easy when you are sleep deprived and feeling overwhelmed to let tempers rise, and snap at each other. But try to take a deep breath before responding and remember you’re in this together. Be kind, forgiving, and sympathetic with each other, whenever you can.

Prioritise Your Relationship

It’s so easy to get swept up in the craziness and sheer exhaustion that is parenthood. If you feel up to a date night, and have a family member or friend able to babysit, then go out for a quiet dinner together, and spend some time just the two of you. 

This isn’t something we did at all when she was very little. It took us months until we remembered we were a couple and had a life before becoming parents. 

Even if you just take the time to cuddle on the couch while baby is asleep or chat for 20 minutes before bed, any time spent together without your baby, and specifically not talking about your baby, will help give both of you a break. It’s good to remember your pre-baby life, and why you decided to give this whole relationship thing a whirl. 

Prioritising our relationship has kept our family happy and healthy.

Relationships take work, and when you’re parents, it’s all too easy to let your relationship slide down your list of priorities. Becoming parents with your spouse is such a beautiful experience. It deepens your connection and love for one another, but it is definitely a challenge to re-calibrate your entire life. 

Face challenges as a couple, be as open and honest with each other as you can, have the uncomfortable conversations, and try to approach each other with love and kindness at every turn. It’s not always easy, but caring for your relationship in this delicate period will not only make your life easier in that moment, but strengthen and deepen your relationship for years to come. 

Roseanne is the blogger behind the honest and inspirational personal blog Roseanne Writes. Native to Scotland and now calling Canada home, Rosanne helps mothers navigate motherhood while remaining true to themselves. You learn more about Roseanne and follow her personal blog here.

We had forgotten kindness in our marriage

A couple of years ago, around when our twins, (which were our third and fourth kids), were approaching their first birthday, my husband Mike and I got very real with each other and admitted that our marriage was in trouble.

What once was a high school friendship, turned romance, turned happily married couple, had rotted away to arguments and nastiness towards each other. We had struggled to keep our heads above water, while we rode out the baby-stage with four kids, all while completely neglecting our relationship.

After admitting that although we hadn’t fallen out of love with each other, we were at war with the other person, we decided to reprioritize our life and make sure we carved out time for us each week, including dating each other again.

Read ‘Why I am dating my husband again’ here.

It has taken a couple of years, a lot of talking, listening, dating and just having fun together to bring back that spark and happiness again. Don’t get me wrong, we occasionally argue these days, but everything from the frequency, to the tone has been diluted by our current state of marital bliss. It takes constant work to keep our relationship in a constant state of the “honeymoon phase.”

Something happened this weekend that made me realize just how far we’ve come and one of the most important shifts that we have made in our marriage.

Our weekend started as planned, excited about some tree planting we were going to do and simply cleaning up our yard. We had a big pile of topsoil delivered on our driveway and were ready to go.

We began our Saturday morning dividing tasks. I went grocery shopping with two kids, and Mike went to dispose of some junk from our yard with the other kids. As I was paying for our groceries, smiling as I watched our kids play so nicely, I started to receive texts from Mike that he had injured his back… bad.

I wrapped things up at the grocery store and raced home. Apparently he had been lifting some wood, in (what he admits) was the wrong way, and injured his back to the point where he fell.

Mike has had some back problems for sometime, but this was different and we knew it. The day had been shifted and he was now heading to the hospital to see what damage was done.

Mike felt terrible, that he had done this to himself, that he couldn’t plant the trees and he thought he had ruined our weekend. A calm came over me, and I quickly shifted my expectations and moved into double parenting mode, making sure Mike knew that I wasn’t upset and that our focus was now to heal his back.

As the weekend played out, much more exhausting than I had expected, (I never truly realized how much Mike does each weekend), as Mike constantly apologized as he watched life from the couch, I came to a realization that two years ago I would have reacted very differently.

Two years ago I would have been pissed. Two years ago I would have been annoyed that Mike lifted wood the wrong way, wrecked our weekend, and slowed our home improvement schedule.

It seems totally absurd, but it’s true.

But I didn’t feel annoyed. I felt compassion, and I wanted to show as much kindness as possible. I wanted to take everything off of his plate so that he could focus on himself.

Here’s the thing, when we went through some really stressful years, from just before we became parents, to six years in, we forgot how to be kind to each other. We had an underlying anger and neither of us really knew why.

The best explanation I can think of is that we were burnt out, generally unhappy, and forgot how much we cared about the other person. Instead we just blamed.

Date night each week is like hitting the reset button. We leave our house without any big plans and just enjoy each other’s company. We listen to each other, all about their week, without one interruption from our kids. We have a pow wow about whatever needs some extra attention, whether it is our finances, or a struggling child. We are each heard.

This undivided attention has not only reminded each of us why we are such a great match, but how we can support each other daily, by simply being kind to one another.

Watch our weekend unfold on the vlog here…

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Big Life Lessons I Learned From Doing Daily Videos

FamilyWell, it’s done, we did it, we’ve closed that chapter. I am talking about creating one video every day in the month of September.

There were days that I almost threw the towel in because I had to re-do an entire vlog when files were corrupt, or when the kids and I were sick. But that voice in my head was so strong, and my determination to see-through this challenge, (that was my idea), was so powerful, I just had to finish, and finish well.

This experience was life-changing. No, seriously, I am not just throwing around a term used too often. It literally changed my life.

Here are some lessons I learned while creating 30 personal videos in 30 days…

I am A LOT stronger than I thought. This lesson is something I had already learned once before, when I was pregnant with my twins. Deciding that I was going to take on such an enormous task that was mentally, physically and intellectually draining was one thing, but not giving up, or skipping a video, even when people who were cheering me on supported me to “take a break,” was the biggest test.

When I was pregnant with my twins, I never had the option to take my gigantic tummy off for a day to take a break. I was in it whether I liked it or not.

Doing daily videos for a month was my idea. No one was relying on me to produce them. There was no monetary pay-out at the end. It was just a personal goal that I took on and could have just as easily given up on.

I am not a 90% person. I had always been the person that would want something, but not even try because I would be scared that I wouldn’t be perfect at it, or complete it. But this time I started and ended something that was really, really hard, and that feels really good.

My marriage is pretty damn strong. It is no secret that in the past couple of years our marriage went to a very bad place, and with a lot of hard work from both of us, we have turned it around.

About a week, after starting filming, editing and uploading a video everyday, when the honeymoon phase was over, and Mike and I got into a fight.

Don’t get me wrong, he was my number one supporter, and partner in this project. I can’t even remember the details about why we were fighting, but we fought.

It was so bad that neither of us caved, and he decided to sleep on the couch downstairs that night. Ouch.

But the next morning we talked, worked it out and got passed it. From that point on we teamed up and I worked each evening as Mike picked up my slack around the house.

We found our joy in doing the videos again, and this test, in turn has made us an even stronger duo.

I found Nesting Story’s direction for the next chapter. Although I know for sure, (at least for right now), that three videos a week, instead of seven is a better fit for us, I have fallen in love with video all over again.

For a long time I was only telling our story through written word and photographs on the blog. But organically more and more has shifted to video. I love that we are able to share our story through video with the blog supporting it.

I have completely fallen in love with the YouTube community as well as the community of people I have reached on my other social media sites through video. I have created long-lasting friendships with other creators and have truly felt supported in this endeavour.

Thank you. All of you!

How precious time with my family is. Doing daily vlogs took me away from my family. We all survived, but it made me miss them in a way that I needed to experience.

For a long time I was living from nap time to nap time and conference to conference.  I had been so burnt out from having twins and being in the baby stage for so long that I was just going through the motions.

But working around the clock while watching the previous day unfold in front of me on my computer did something to my soul.

It made me want to participate in life with my husband and my kids again. It made me want to do things with them, like cook, venture out of the house, play and show more interest in what they were doing.

Because of this renewed love of family time, I have been actively taking some unnecessary irons out of the fire and creating time.

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In the end I always circle back to why I started sharing what started as my story, and became my family’s story… to connect. I was so lonely during my twin pregnancy and wanted to know that I wasn’t alone, and that maybe there was another mom out there like me.

I wanted to open up my experience of motherhood complete with triumphs and failures, but always problem solving along the way.

Whether I am sharing on video, the blog, or other websites like Baby Center, I will continue to be real, to inspire and to connect.

Here is the last of my September daily vlogs with something very special at the end…

Learning To Love Where We Are And Living Life Without Looking At Real Estate

toddler flyingChange is exciting. It is also somewhat addictive.

Ever since I was a child, I was always chasing after the next big thing. I always wanted something new, and I could barely enjoy a holiday, or a special outing because my mind was already focused on the next event.

Gradually I became well known in my family as someone who was always pestering, restless and thrived on excitement and drama.

As an adult this need for the next thing right now transformed into having to get married, get a puppy, build a house and have kids as fast as possible. My husband, Mike was always the voice of reason and made sure we always waited until we were ready.

But as the years have passed, I have watched Mike become restless too. We each were constantly perusing real estate online and in person, despite now living in our second home that is definitely large enough for us, with a great school nearby and being surrounded by fantastic neighbours. Sure it’s very suburban, and a bit cookie-cutter, but it’s home.

Then suddenly, while somewhat settled with our two kids, our house and our careers, the universe decided to throw us a couple of curveballs.

First it was finding out we were adding twins to our family, and the ripple effect that had on us, including my difficult pregnancy, preparation, having to stop working and then life with two more people.

Then another wave hit. My little blog, which at the time was an outlet, almost therapy for me, hit a viral nerve. Although exciting, this sudden catapult into success knocked the wind out of us for a few months.

mom and twins

These two life events was enough to shake me to the core and change my outlook. I now crave structure, routine, calmness and familiarity. Something that I had never wanted before.

I was barely finding my footing, and I could see that Mike’s restlessness about where we lived, and wanting to move further into the country wasn’t stopping. So we started to seriously look, and although it was at the very edge of our price-range, we decided to go for it.

kids in backyardHolden and Beau exploring the backyard of the first home we almost bought

Suddenly, at the eleventh hour, a massive, unexpected red-flag went up and we pulled the plug. Although devastated, confused and a little heartbroken, we dusted ourselves off and tried again.

This time we found a less expensive fixer-upper that we truly fell in love with. We diligently started the process once again, and suddenly, once again an unexpected bomb dropped which sent up another red flag.

backyard

The second home we almost bought

Devastated and deciding what to do, we sat on the floor of my office going back and forth, trying to make the best decision for our family. I was exhausted, stressed beyond belief and was finally the one to say “no.” So, we backed away once again.

After that second attempt I made it clear that I was done going through the emotional rollercoaster of looking elsewhere and wanted to stay put and make our current home more custom to our taste.

Financially we just couldn’t get what we wanted, or what would make it actually worth it to move. Plus the upheaval alone at this point with our kids ages and our careers, could bury us.

But our opinions drastically differed. In fact, in the nine years that Mike and I have been married, and the fifteen plus years we have been together, we have never disagreed on anything, even close to this magnitude.

I loved our home, and so badly wished that Mike could feel the same.

For a long time this disagreement created a massive divide in our relationship. I would try to talk it through with him and attempt to heal the wound. But Mike’s regret, frustration and even anger (partially towards the realtor that misguided us), was too great, and he finally let me know that it had to be an unspoken topic for a long time, for any kind of healing to take place.

So we lived. We healed what we could and slowly the divide closed, and the anger left Mike.

There are days that I will occasionally peek to see what is out there, but I quickly snap out of it and remind myself how much I love this house we are in, and with a little work each week, it is becoming what we want.

There will even be days that I see Mike emerge himself in a project and actually seem in love with our house too, but then the reminder will come back when I hear him talk to someone about how he likes our house, but would still love to move one day.

I too think that maybe one day we will move. But when I think about it, I am immediately filled with sadness. The thought of leaving this home, this neighbourhood and this school almost breaks my heart.

Recently, I heard someone talk about how so many of us live life going after the next thing. But what if the X that marks the spot is right under our feet?

Learning to happily co-exsist knowing that there is something that we do not agree on has probably been the biggest hurdle in our marriage. In a perfect world Mike and I would happily say “yes dear” to each other’s ideas and opinions and skip hand-in-hand into the sunset.

But let’s face it, that’s not reality and it is okay that we don’t agree. In fact, I am sure that there are many marriages that disagree on everything from religion to politics and somehow, someway they learn to happily co-exist.

So, for now we are going to continue getting our hands dirty and plant our garden, add shiplap to an accent wall, hang our family’s photos and allow our current home, that is constantly filled with laughter and love be our X that marks the spot.

Four kids

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A Wedding Anniversary Surprise, Plus A Look Back At Nine Years (Vlog 8)

wedding cake

When I think back to our wedding day, it feels like just yesterday. But when Mike surprised me on our nine year anniversary by bringing me back to where we were married, it actually felt so long ago.

We walked around remembering that day, while Mike eerily remembered little details I had forgotten.

It was very nostalgic and really made me realize how long ago that was and not only what we have been through since, but also who we have created.

Have a peek in today’s vlog…

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