Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Why it's good to remember times before our kids

A couple on a beach

Life before kids.  It might as well be another dimension. Nothing prepares you for the changes that will happen once you've got little versions of yourselves to look after.  Nothing prepares you for the love, the heartache or the worry.

Ten years ago I had little clue about autism, ADHD or additional needs.  SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) was something you did with Christmas cards.  Our normal sleepless nights are now nothing to do with... enjoying my partner... but are just part and parcel of three kids under nine, two of whom have sleep difficulties. Sometimes life becomes entirely about the kids and their needs.

Last winter we went skiing for a few days.  After the first evening meal and second breakfast I couldn't think of anything to chat to my husband about that didn't mention the kids.   What did we do, what did we talk about before conversation was consumed by children?

And remembering this is so important. Here's some interesting findings about couples with disabled children. One survey of couples raising a child with ADHD, like Anthony, found that 65% were divorced or separated or experienced marital problems, much higher than those without. The Families and Children Study found that more SEN children (Special Educational Needs) live in lone parent families than couple-headed families. 90% of parents with a child with learning difficulties say they don’t get to spend enough time together.

One of times most couples remember back to when thinking about good time spent together is their honeymoon.  So often this is a time to be completely immersed in yourselves and each other.

Our honeymoon was at the most beautiful destination I've ever been too.  We went to a place I've always romanticised - Thailand.  OK, it's was called Siam, when I watched The King and I, and still Siam when I later gorged in Anna and the King. But there seemed to be something truly beautiful about the country.

Boats by a secluded beach in Krabi

My new husband and I got all cultural in the north of the country, staying at the Mandarin Oriental in Chang Mai for a few days.  As we arrived jasmine wreaths were hung around our necks.  The smell was beautiful.  Then we flew south to Krabi for a week on the Phranang Peninsula in a resort only accessible via speedboat. We felt like stars in a James Bond movie - well I did at least.

Everything about the holiday was about us.  We were secluded in one of the individual double storey pavilions that made the resort feel like a Thai village.  Everything inside from the double bath and shower to the couple sized swing sofa in the lounge enticed us to focus on.. well us.

The resort had it's own beach that could only otherwise be visited by boats, one of which made Pad Thai and smoothies.  We could have dinner in our pavilion or in one of the locations such as the raised huts, the beach and even in a beautiful cave.

We were relaxed.  One day we explored the peninsula, the next I went to the Spa and my hubby the gym. We spent endless time on the sun loungers reading, paddling on the beach.  I discovered new foods.  I only managed to really acquire two phrases in Thai, "S̄wạs̄dī" which sounds more like 'swazadee' and "K̄hx k̄hxbkhuṇ" which sounds more like 'cop-kun-ka'. I liked learning little phrases.

Boats by a secluded beach in Krabi

And remembering this wonderful time is good for us.  Every time I smell Jasmine, have sticky rice or even spot an elusive dragon fruit at the supermarket, I smile. I find that looking back and remembering what I did with my other half, and the things we enjoyed by ourselves and together is a valuable activity.  I'm not suggesting I dream of my life without my kids, my kids are my life.

It's just important for me and our couple that we are part of our life too.  And looking back at just us, remind me of simple things.  We both like reading, trying new food and exploring places and even a bit of language.  I like time at a spa, my other half enjoys the gym.  It can be hard to remember things we like nowadays - so much is about what the kids and the family can (and can't) do.

So instead of stressing out that all I can talk about is the kids, I can relax.  It's ok for us just to be 'us' even if that's during a quiet breakfast.  And once I remember these things and realise this I can relax more.  And a more relaxed me, makes me a happier partner and a better mummy too.

Do you reminisce over a time before kids?

15 comments:

  1. Love this post - is that really you, looking hot in that top pic?! Thanks for the reminder, think I will go back and dig out some happy pics to reminisce over too :) x

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    1. A lot of things looked better in those days, that's for sure. Thanks for commenting Steph xx

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  2. We went to Thailand pre-kids too! To Chang Mai then Koh Samui - it sounds a very similar experience and one that seems a long forgotten memory. We do however still laugh about the drunken night in the swim up bar, the hungover morning when we nearly missed the once in a lifetime trip to Koh tao, and I clung to a damp flannel all day like some kind of security blanket. We had a hilarious cookery lesson by a chef with one eye hanging out, trying not to giggle like two naughty school kids, and we asked if we could sit on the roof during the 4x4 jeep safari. I mean, who even ARE those two people?! They were cool, and it's definitely nice to remember them. They'll be back...
    Love this as you can probs tell Ann! Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

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  3. Sometimes I wish we had more time before the kids but I feel we met quite late in our life journey. My wish would be that we met earlier in our lives. It is so important to take time out together. It isn't something that is easy to do. How I miss those cinema trips... ;0) #WotW

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  4. What a beautiful honeymoon, lovely photos. It is easy to become all-consumed by being a parent, and of course that's because our kids are our everything, but it is important to think of yourself as an individual and as a partner, you're so right. And yes, we like to reminisce from time to time, usually holidays like you x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

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  5. A wonderful post - parents must care for themselves and their relationship #PoCoLo

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  6. Firstly I think it is great how you point out that parents of children with special needs did not come pre-programmed with the knowledge, qualities and skills they will need going forward. I think that helps new parents and other people too. Also I think I was very guilty of putting the children first so much that it was to the detriment of my relationship with my husband. We recapture it sometimes but it is a challenge. I think you have raised a really important issue in this post.

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  7. My first husband and I had separated before our son was diagnosed which probably turned out to be a blessing as he has never accepted it. My new husband has been wonderful although we did not really have much time as a couple together without kids as I already had two!
    #wotw

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  8. I think it's great how you focus on time together here. Parents (whether of special needs kids or not) need to function as a team, so they need to take time out to stay a team!

    https://lizziedailyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

    #pocolo

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  9. I'm not reminiscing about life before kids anymore, i'm now in the stage of life after kids.Having had my first child at 21, that's really much to reminisce about, now at 46, hubby and I are enjoying our day to day lives doing all the things we planned to do whilst our kids were growing up, although I do miss those days and reminisce an awful lot about life with kids....lol. We're also parents to an almost 30 yo (I'm step mum) daughter with profound disabilities, whose biological mother left 18 years ago, leaving my husband as a single dad, but not for long before we became a family of 5. #triumphanttales

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  10. This is such a beautiful post and interesting perspective - I have the flip side in a way, my husband and I have been married for 10 years but we can't have children so have been through our own set of challenges as a couple in relation to that. We've come the other side even stronger, but exactly as you wonder about what you talked about before children, I've had people ask us "what on earth do you talk about if you're not talking about kids?!" Thank you for sharing your memories X #PoCoLo

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  11. Oh your honeymoon sounds like it was utterly idyllic. It is hard sometimes to remember what life was like before children - especially when they have additional needs. Those statistics about couples with disabled children are shocking but it is true that the extra pressures can put extra strain on a marriage. I think it is important to reconnect and revisit memories and to remember the people you are outside of being a mum and dad. We mostly talk about the kids when we're alone because that is the biggest focus in our lives but we also have a lot of "do-you-remembers" and looking back on our pre-children life. #WotW

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  12. Ahh, this takes me back! We went to Thailand pre-kids as well. We didn't go to Chiang Mai, but we loved Bangkok and then went to Krabi and Ko Phi Phi. Such an amazing country, and the food was incredible. I'd love to go back one day! #KCACOLS

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  13. this is so true - and also good to remind us that those times will one day come again! #KCACOLS

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  14. What a great post! Always good to look back at these great times, as you make new memories going forward! Happy holidays to you and yours! #KCACOLS xoxo

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