Welcome to episode 11 in my Life After the Dress series. In this series I interview married woman and ask them questions about their lives after after all the fluff and sparkle of their big days have passed. You can read all the other interviews by clicking here.
Today I've got the lovely Cindy and her gorgeous family here on the blog. Cindy has her own delightful corner of the web "3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House" in which she chronicles her family adventures, putting finger to keys to help keep all the memories alive. Married at 20 and a mommy to three by 25, this lady knows her stuff. So grab yourself a cup of something warm and get ready to be inspired.
Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)
Hello! I’m Cindy (27) and I’m married to Seth (29) – we live in the most beautiful city in the world, which is Cape Town of course. In March we celebrated our 7 year anniversary. In case you didn’t spot that, it means that I was the tender young age of 20 when we got married – at that time my parents still had to sign in consent (the legal age has since changed to 18). Aaah, good times.
Since then we have been blessed with 3 gorgeous kids – Kyla (4), Riya-Ray (3) and Knox (18 months), parenting together has been so much fun (despite the hair tearing out moments) that we blog about it as 3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House.
Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?
I don’t know why, but my first thought was Rapunzel. Maybe it’s the long blonde hair thing that we have in common or that she likes to beat people with frying pans, who knows?
Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?
We happened to go on a church camp together when I was 16 years old. Our eyes met from across the room, there might even have been a nervous, shy smile shared and then it erupted from there. I go into far too much detail in this post if you feel like taking a little trip back into time and my embarrassingly new blogging days!
Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?
In hindsight I think that our wedding was actually so perfectly “us” at that point of our lives. Sometimes I wonder if I had the chance to do it differently if I would, but it would probably lose some of the casual, understated charm that I remember so fondly today. Also, weddings now are just so beautiful but it sometimes feels like people get too lost in the décor/dress/event in the stress to have THE PERFECT wedding, that they lose sight of each other.
I was borderline Bridezilla with my file, my almost to-the-second schedule and my strict instructions for no one to be late or wear white. But you know what? Things didn’t go absolutely perfectly and other people wore white (I know right?!).
My advice is to do what you feel you need to have a great day and then on the morning let go and enjoy it – come what may. It’s hard to think of like this, but it really is only one day in the rest of your lives together – when I look back at our life, this day is obviously special but definitely not the only one that defines our relationship.
Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?
Yes and no. Knowing that Seth and I are “doing life together” is such a joy to me. Being able to parent our babies and grow old together is something that I try not to ever take for granted and I think our love has grown deeper because of it. Knowing that we are in it together for the long haul – despite what obstacles may come is very comforting and, dare I say, essential for any partnership.
However - marriage is no joke. Despite what people may make you believe about it, it actually takes work to survive. Although we spent as many waking hours as we could together before we were married, nothing quite prepares you for living together which we only did after we were married. The first year was a bit rough, with us finding our feet and adjusting to our new environment (read: Seth adjusting to just how untidy I was), but through a lot of communication and the occasional blow out, we made it through to the other side.
I really do think the first year is the hardest by far.
Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?
That I am more selfish, untidy and stubborn than I ever thought possible. But at the same time, I never knew I could love so much or as deeply.
Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?
“Tackling life together”
Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?
We went on a marriage course before we got married and that already helped us to set realistic expectations in marriage (I’d really recommend it). But what actually being married has taught me is that there are 2 important things to try and remember:
Manage Expectations – Don’t have all these expectations of your husband, especially if you know that it is out of his character to live up to them. I’ve found that it is pointless being mad at him if he didn’t even know that I wanted him to do something. Express your expectations to him and then if he doesn’t do it, you can be angry ;) This is especially important once you become a Mommy – whose turn is it to go and give baby a bottle or walk around trying to get them to sleep?
Talk It Out – Early on in our marriage I would get so intensely upset about something, but instead of talking about it, I kept it bottled up. Instead of dissipating, it grew and grew, I added more things to it and eventually I was so mad at him that we had a huge an unnecessary argument about the stupidest things. Being open about it and talking about things as and when they come up has saved my sanity.
Oh, and get a dishwasher – that managed half my expectations in one go.