"That's the monotony of middle parenthood," my work colleague exclaimed to me - I had just been discussing the experience of what my work mate referred to as 'middle parenthood'.
Men and women in their late 30s early 40s who are mums and dads know it the most – life, while not always a struggle, seems to turn into a monotonous lifestyle.
'Don't worry; we all go through it and it does get better' my colleague reassured me!
Friends no longer seem as available as they were in your late teens and 20's.
Everyone moves along with their own families or move on to different areas to find dream jobs. That's not to say you can't or don't keep contact, but your own pressures combined with theirs definitely reduces social time to a fraction of what it was.
I miss the days of just dropping around to friends' places and randomly going out to do things like dinner, the beach, even a hike somewhere in the hills.
Children get to the point where they are no longer babies, proudly being shown off and brought around the place – sleeping mostly!
They are now curious little people and require a lot of guidance and time spent with them, helping them to achieve and develop in the areas they enjoy.
Assisting at their schools, while rewarding and good to meet other parents, adds to an increase in tasks.
The relationship with your spouse doesn't seem to have the spark it once had. Even as a strong advocate for marriage and reinforcing the relationship between husbands and wives, I admit that the stress of work and especially running after those little people, including what sometimes seems never ending sicknesses and challenges amongst other pressures, really puts pressure on relationships.
Reduced displays of affection, time together and increased irritability, all play a part.
Before we were married, we rarely argued, let alone fought. Since children? While we are not at breaking point, the arguments have become regular – and usually to do with child related issues.
Once upon a time, we would both come home from work at some point (overtime? Not a problem! Let's get takeout!) and without the pressure of almost anything, we then had the entire night and weekends to ourselves and our friends.
Tired? No worries! We would just sleep in on Saturdays – something which is now a long-lost memory!
In my last job which I recently changed from, I did morning and afternoon shifts – which put more pressure on my wife to get everything done.
Getting kids ready for school and cooking for them all amongst the other domestic tasks at night - and don't dare ever think about doing overtime!!!
Things were quite stressful with shift work and I am glad God has directed me to my current job of normal hours and little requirement to do overtime.
Your health choices start to catch up.
All those years of eating whatever, whenever, can finally start to catch up if you did not make wise choices.
I, personally, am a comfort eater – stressed? No worries I'll eat a chocolate bar or have a nice curry with extras.
I recently had a routine blood test where the doctors found slightly elevated blood sugar levels at fasting and elevated bad fat levels – indicating if I held my current diet and intermittent exercise trend, I would be diabetic within 5-10 years. My doctor told me at around 40 is when your digestion starts to change, and you need to start keeping an eye on what and how much you eat.
It's a shame it took a bad test result to get my motivation into gear. My wife and I have also noticed you need more sleep. We used to regularly do all-nighters on a Saturday night, no worries. Sure, we would be tired, but we were ok.
Now, ha! We are rarely awake past midnight and I also noticed excessive lack of sleep now makes me feel really unwell.
So, I have concluded, sometimes life becomes monotonous and things seem bleak.
Unfortunately, I have seen too many couples break up around this time in their relationships, as they want what they have recently lost – the freedom of their youth. They seek to break away from responsibility.
The Bible's wisdom even mentions this: Ecclesiastes chapter 7, verse 10 says 'Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" For it is not wise to ask such questions.'
The past is the past. Don't ruin the future.
My wise work colleague had seen the same around this time in his life - what I have seen in couples breaking up marriages.
"In the end, if you make it, once the kids are older and you will get your lives and time back, you and your wife will realise you were both there for each other through it all, you will fall in love all over again and it can be like a second beginning. Together, you will be wiser and stronger."
I liked the sound of that, and I agreed with him. After pondering our discussion for a while, I have planned to keep doing the best I can, improve that which I lack and maintain a positive outlook on everything.
As Job chapter 12, verse 12 reminds us: "Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long-life bring understanding?"
Courtesy of Press Service International