The one with the balancing act.
You’d think I’d have this nailed by now. An almost 12 year old and a 5 year old, technically I’ve been a parent for long enough to be able to keep a balance in life, but sadly I haven’t got it nailed. I’m still struggling with being able to switch between my various ‘sides’ – from being sensible Mum to wife to me.
The bloke and I don’t really get a lot of time on our own, unless you count evenings when they’ve gone to bed, and seeing as GG goes to bed at 9pm most nights, it doesn’t leave much of a gap between her going to bed and me falling asleep on the sofa, so those evenings consist of us eating our dinner, watching a bit of shit telly and going to bed. To sleep.
We had our weekend in Paris obviously, but god that feels like a year ago now (it was nearly 9 weeks ago!) and it went too quick. Now we’re back to the normal routine, work, kids, bed, work, kids, bed, it feels like we’ve gone back to being people who just meet up to discuss child based things and then carry on with our own lives again. Obviously we’re not joined at the hip (and I’d be ready to murder him if we were) but once you’ve become a certain version of yourself, it’s really hard to stop it. Being able to switch off while the kids are in bed takes time (and possibly alcohol) and if you’re knackered anyway, it’s not going to happen.
It’s too easy to be those literal ships that pass in the night, only we’re passing in the morning, usually on the stairs as one of us is going out the door and one of us shouting at smaller people to find their bloody shoes. After a while, that free side of yourself gets buried under ‘parent mode’ and it’s really hard to bring it back out.
We’ve been married for 13 years this year (shit!) so dates are a thing of the past, getting dressed up to meet each other at a bar is never going to happen because we live together, lazy weekends spent in bed – eating breakfast, reading papers and, well, screwing each others brains out are long gone. Even if we did have a weekend to do that, we seem to have lost the ability to lay in, we’ve got things we need to get done without the kids ‘helping’ (you know, clearing the shed, putting shelves up, wild stuff like that) Meals out that don’t include colouring books, iPads, kids meals and mini body guards are a rarity. Trying to spend time together as Mr & Mrs is such a big effort that sometimes we (both) think, do you know what? It’s probably easier not to bother.
NO! That’s not good. I read somewhere once that you only borrow your children, your partner is for keeps. So if you don’t put as much effort into your relationship as you do with your kids, then you’re going to be screwed. And this time not literally. It’s too easy to be lazy, to take things for granted but in the end that isn’t going to work. Leave that shed at the end of the garden to go rotten and fall apart because it’s easier than spending the day fixing & varnishing it, then you’re gonna have to take that shed down and build a whole new one. Not that I’m a shed but you get my drift.
When you’re telling kids off for leaving washing here there and everywhere, tidy more bedrooms than you actually sleep in, do homework (again) and constantly have a washing basket full to bursting you don’t really show your sexy side. The bloke walks in the door and I practically throw the kids at him & he thinks “yeah cheers for that” we’re not exactly exuding passion. Obviously we love those little pests more than life itself but sometimes we need to stop & remember that we’re both in our 30’s and we need to concentrate on us as much as we concentrate on them. We also need to step back and remember not to tell each other off for the things we tell the kids off for! Kids, budgets, jobs, responsibilities, they’re all very grown up & everyone needs time off from being an adult once in a while.
How do people do it? Hire regular, weekly/monthly babysitters? Take holidays without kids? (er, major guilt trip couldn’t do more than a weekend!) It’s hard enough making time to see our mates when one can stay home with the kids & leave the other in bed to recover from hangovers, it’s practically impossible to both do it at the same time! It’s got to be done though, I need to start dating the bloke again, before I turn into Nanny sodding McPhee.