Hey! I’m Lauren, but you can call me LJ. I’m wife to Dominic, or here we call him DJ, he’s pretty much the best guy you’ll ever meet. Yes, I might be biased, but he is the bomb, just ask anyone. We have two gorgeous girls. Sutton, also known as SJ, who will be 2 the end of June, and Auden, also known as AJ, who just turned one whole month old! I’m a photographer and mother who just happens to have a blog. I started my blog, The Message Mama, as a way to document not only how I feel about motherhood, marriage, and faith, but also to keep me accountable in becoming a better mother, wife, and Catholic. If you want to follow my journey as a young mom and wife as well as a “Millennial Catholic”, it would mean the world to me! You can subscribe to my blog and follow me, @themessagemama, on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with my journey and for some adorable photos of my girls and all the lovey-dovey-ness about my marriage.
My marriage is what keeps me sane. When I’ve had a long day with the girls, a frustrating day with work, or I just feel as if I am going to crumble because the house still looks like a disaster, a hug from my husband reminds me that I am not alone and he believes in me. But, after having a baby and going from just having one crazy toddler to having a crazy toddler AND a needy newborn, it has become harder to step out of our “Mommy and Daddy” roles and back into our “Husband and Wife” roles.
I was extremely lucky that DJ was able to take 2 weeks of vacation after I had AJ while we all adjusted - and to help take care of SJ. We went with a divide and conquer approach. He took SJ and I took AJ. Our conversations included (and still do), nursing, nap time, diaper changes, what should SJ have for lunch, when the next doctor appointment was, and so on. It was all about the kids. Which is fine, except after SJ went to bed, that was still all we talked about. We never stop being a mom and dad, but for the love of all things, why could we not have an adult conversation about adult topics?! And I don’t mean just about the weather and what all needs to get done around the house. I want to have an actual conversation with my husband that doesn’t involve all the different bodily fluids that take over our lives in those first couple weeks after having a baby. When we can’t get out of our mommy and daddy roles, it’s like we are together, yet not together. Because I’m not with my husband in those moments; I’m with my daughters’ dad.
About a week after AJ was born, I looked at DJ and said “I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever.” When in reality, we had spent more time together than we had in months. That’s what happens when we start forgetting we are more than just a mother and father. There is a disconnect, which can be detrimental to a marriage, and that just is not okay with me. This is why I wrote a blog post about why my husband comes before my kids. The feeling of not seeing each other can also be from the fact that we are never alone together. We used to get alone time when SJ went to bed, but now AJ is in our room at night. This definitely makes it harder to remember that, “oh, we are married, not just the girl’s parents.” We had to start somewhere and figure out how to remember that.
What we realized is, it’s the little things. While going out alone for a date would be great, it isn’t realistic for us, or for a lot of couples. I’m nursing and don’t actually want to be away from AJ yet. We also don’t have the extra money to spend right now. DJ will probably not be super happy with me sharing some of these details but…I’m a wear my heart on my sleeve kind of girl and am willing to share the little things that help us so that it can potentially help others.
I said before how alone time doesn’t happen…but you can make a little sliver of your day for some one on one time. Our alone time now is when we shower. And I don’t mean this in any sexual way, but seriously, shower together. After the kids go to sleep, jump in the shower. This is actually where we have some of the best conversations. Maybe it’s something about being naked that helps the conversation flow, and like I said before, it doesn’t have to be sexual (seriously, just had a baby, not happening). We also have a shallow well and limited water and an old water heater, so there are other practical reasons to this as well. I digress.
Another little thing that I believe is extremely important after you’re married, and especially after having a baby, is flirting! Yes, flirting. Texts throughout the day, a butt grab here and there (I am also a firm believer in PDA in front of our children), anything that can bring a smile to your faces and remind you about the fun dating days. Even if it is just a “Hey babe, you really pull off the ‘spit up on your shoulder’ look well.” Okay, maybe not that, but reminding each other that their butt looks good in those jeans or just that they are looking really good that day is a major confidence booster. This definitely reminds me about my relationship with my husband and that I am more than just a snack retriever and milk machine.
One of the biggest ones for us is saying “I love you.” Not just in passing, but actually looking at each other and saying it. I personally believe every married couple should make a point in doing this, but especially those who are going through a disconnect for any reason. I’m a bit weird about it, but the last thing I always have to say to DJ before either of us leaves is “I love you.” Even if I say it, leave, forget something, come back in, say bye again, I HAVE to say “I love you” again. And that happens a lot because I can’t leave the house without forgetting something. It’s an easy reminder, and when you actually make eye contact and say it, whoa. It always reminds me that I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have him as my husband.
DJ and I don’t have this down to a science yet. Actually, most days we pretty much fail. But there are still days that we succeed, but we are starting somewhere. We are trying! If we can be conscious of the problem, then we can work to fix it together. Our girls are our life. I cannot begin to explain the love and joy they bring to our life or the way my heart melts seeing my husband be their daddy (but if you are reading this, chances are you know what I am talking about). And while they may mean the world to us, they wouldn’t be here if DJ and I weren’t first and foremost, husband and wife. And that’s what we need to remember.