Way back, when I was in the middle of my pregnancy, I remember thinking, as all of us do, about all the things that were going to change once we entered parenthood. I remember trying to mentally prepare myself for so many things… like… giving birth, finishing work, sleep deprivation and the daunting pressure to be the best parent I could possibly be.
It was only the day before we went in for induction, that I paused for a moment and looked beyond how it was going to affect myself and PB individually, and started to contemplate how it would affect us as a couple. We went on our last official date as just two, to a lovely country pub nearby, where we sat and ate lunch together in a quiet corner without any other distraction. I remember the drive there and back, the weather was bright and we tucked into hamburgers and chips, bistro style. I remember thinking that it was our last time as ‘just us’ and a tinge of nostalgia became mixed in with the many other emotions (and hormones!) I had swishing around my body that day.
Before we knew it, our son arrived and we were thrown into the deep end of parenthood. It is the best rollercoaster ride I have ever stepped on, full of highs and lows and twists and turns that I know will last for the rest of our lifetime and I am thrilled to be on such a fun journey. But the other day I caught myself observing a conversation between a couple that had me chuckling inwardly to myself and has caused reflection over this past week.
I am a hairdresser, and a week ago, my much loved client came in with her two young girls for their haircuts, with her husband due to follow for his once he has gotten through traffic and parked his car. Upon having the kids, and the husband’s hair cut, they decided to get going so that Mum could stay and enjoy a peaceful appointment. They started exchanging information at a frantic rate, with things such as:
‘Did you remember their swimsuits for tonight’s swimming class?’
‘I could only find their old ones but they look ok, are the arm bands in the car?’
‘How long are you going to be roughly?’
‘Have you put money on the car?’
‘I’ve come out without my wallet, do you have change?’
‘Just use the card… or your phone’
‘My battery’s dead…’
‘Here! Just use my phone! Give them their tea at 5pm… no later than 5pm… then their swimming class is at 6.15pm… Bed by 8. Don’t forget their teeth’
‘Do we have anything for tea?’
‘Put the tray on the side in the oven for 25 minutes, Gas Mark 7’
‘Give me a call when you’re done’
‘Give me a text when you’re out from swimming’
‘Don’t worry about bathing them, just use the showers at the pool’
‘Did you pack shampoo?’
‘Where’s the towels?’
All of this went on whilst they were putting coats on the girls (and on the husband) and juggling car keys, carrier bags, rucksacks, a scooter, a school jumper and a book bag. The husband and the kids left and my client began to come back in through the salon door before making a ‘Uh!’ sound, at which her husband instinctively turned back round and they gave each other a quick kiss goodbye. As the kids and the husband ran up the road, my client sat herself down with a big sigh of relief. And I totally got it.
I got it, because PB and I have these conversations on a daily basis. Sometimes hourly basis. Parenthood is an operation. A complete balance. It is a series of (on a good day) well organised and planned out steps and procedures, scheduled to maintain order in the chaos through out each living day. We have to do lists, appointments, work timetables, errands to run and a routine to get through. Homes need maintaining, bills need paying and functionality is of upmost importance. In the midst of all the noise and the chaos, you forget to take time to simply just be together. We are always together… After all it is a partnership. You are a team. Like the ones from Crystal maze who work hard at figuring out challenges to help each other succeed, constantly providing helpful guidance, support…. even cheering when necessary.
But witnessing this conversation made me chuckle because it is exactly what myself, and no doubt many other couples, do and has become the norm. Gone are the hours of chatting about nothing and anything. Gone are the hours of pottering about at home with only ourselves to please. Gone are the lazy mornings in bed, brunch and all nighters watching movies and ordering pizza. Well… almost gone… once baby is asleep we do cling to our sacred evenings of ‘alone time’. I could feel sad about it… sometimes I do. On the busy weeks, like this week, it is easy to feel suffocated and miss a time where we didn’t have to have Nasa precision to get through a day and the proverbial arms get tired of juggling so many tasks.
|Us… on a day both of us were suffering delirium from sleeplessness.|
But, ultimately, parenting is the ultimate team building experience. And, though tiring and often irksome, you end up learning so much about yourself. And each other.
Additional information and findings from this week:
– Our son has a couple of words in his vocabulary now. I say words… but I guess sounds would be a more accurate description. For example, he mimics PB’s Chewbacca impression. My son growls… that’s fine and normal… right?
– BB knows to lean in for kisses. Which is so cute I feel like I could explode and have rainbow coloured unicorn confetti come raining down everywhere!
– We are stepping up our baby proofing bit by bit now. Stair gates, foam door stoppers and socket covers are dotted all about the place… like some amateur obstacle course. So far I have tripped over the stair gate twice, stubbed my toes on them five times and broken approx 4 finger nails trying to charge my phone. May just wrap baby… or self… in bubble wrap to save injuries.
– This week has been so busy, there had to be personal sacrifices. For example, I took BB swimming on Tuesday and I didn’t get a chance to wash out the chlorine. I managed to wash it this morning… which is Friday. Not only that, but I went without pants twice due to laundry duty failure, and turned up to work on one day with no makeup on. Went well with the chlorinated hair pineapple on my head, I assure you. Luckily, I sent a text to pre warn my client so she could recognise me. I love her for not keeling over in shock.
– English Summer is shit. Correction: Soggy and shit.
– Peanut butter M&Ms = happy place.
– In complete contradiction to my previous point, I have been trying to lose weight and have lost over 8lbs in a month. Long may it (and my resolve!) continue!