When you’re waiting for a baby to come there’s a lot of info on the baby. When the baby comes there’s a lot learn about the baby. When the baby gets older and your bond is nurtured there is much love to share with the baby. Can you see the theme here? It’s all about the baby! One tiny little being creeps in (ok, that’s possibly not an accurate description for labour), and single handedly takes the whole lime light. And quite rightly so; life changes for the better and all your love, ambitions, desires and lifestyle are now built around this little thing and you simply can’t imagine it any other way. That’s all well and good, but what about your relationship with your man that you’ve spent all that time prior to arrival your darling boy building: who’s looking after that? If you build a life around children, how can you still build a life around yourselves?
There’s no easy answer…in fact I wish I hadn’t written the question, as can’t answer it. You become a family, a unit, and yes you do lose a bit of the ‘twosome’ power you created in another life, but you gain so much more in your status as a ‘family’. What you can never prepare for however is the sheer wave of new stuff there is discuss, plan and argue about. No one will prepare you for the tiredness levels in your house which will climb so high you’ll wonder what the hell you let yourself in for. You’ll argue over who is most tired and then forget what you’re arguing about because you are so tired. But all the time you’re seeing it, every day, the magic – the smiles, the cuddles, the stories, the walks, those little moments that are what being a family is all about….and they make up for everything.
I realise I am fortunate to have a one-off husband who is kind, caring and emotionally generous. We are relatively untraditional in our roles and share the childcare, both take him to nursery, both choose his clothes and both feed him…… Hmmmm, actually that last one is not true at all, I handle all food and cooking. In fact despite the fact Ben has been looking after Phoenix one day a week from when he was 5 months, every morning without fail just before I’ll leave for work he’ll say ‘what’s he eating today?’ – what?! Food! Look in the fridge!! And whilst we’re on this train I should add that I will never empty the bin (yuk), Ben pays all the bills as I can’t count, I don’t think I’ve see Ben use the washing machines and I have nothing to do with the car apart from drive it really carefully and park 1 metre away from the curb at all times in fear of scratching the wheels. So there we go maybe we’re not so modern after all
I think we’ve adapted our relationship really well to parenthood. We do argue more of course but fortunately Ben could win awards for his ability to turn a shitty situation into a comedy or a cuddle. But then something happened. Ben decided he’d train for the marathon. Sigh. Yes I know: what a marvellous thing to do. Isn’t he so brave and so fit! Oh how I marvel at his fitness, what a hero, a greek god, an adonis a real athlete! Ugh. I just can’t bear it. I know, I know I sound like a moany old witch, but the moment the training started it just cut right through me. I will be so relieved when the whole thing is over.
Our Saturday mornings now consist of the following routine:
- 6.30am P-man wakes
- 6.40am ‘please no, not on weekend. A lie in, I would do anything for a lie in’! (that’s me)
- 7.00am Breakfast for Phoenix, Ben eats and drinks strange things out of large white tubs (he’s an athlete so he needs these things you know. I don’t think they’re steroids. I do hope they’re not)
- 8 – 10.45 Ben goes off for his run (wow! Gasp!)
10.45 Ben comes in ‘buzzing’ off his run. Buzzing?!!! Why not wheezing!? He’s het up on antioxidants and powders and all proud of himself
11.00 I slope off to aerobics with a big scowl on my face knowing I will burn no where near as many calories as he’s just done and will be exhausted for the rest of the day because I really could have used a lie in after that week at work etc etc
But this whole saturday morning exercise ‘tag in’ routine is not the worst part. It’s the phone calls. They usually start before he’s through the front door. They are the calls to other boys that are taking part in the silly ‘race to run as far you can’. They discuss their best miles, their fitness, the latest gels and magic beans they’ve chomped on, when they might need new trainers, the running apps, running clothing, running pants….It’s just SO boring!!! And so time consuming! Fo the rest of the day if I try and be all spritely and arrange a family activity which may possibly involve us all moving his legs. he’ll go all serious and make the following statement: ‘I just want you to understand how many miles I’ve ran today. Today I ran 17/18/19 miles, do you actually know how far that is?’. And I haven’t even mentioned the evening ice packs and groans for much needed massages. Arrrrggggghhhhhhhh!
I swear if it was just us two I wouldn’t give a crap, I probably do some training with him, but when there’s a child in the mix there’s this kind of unspoken rule about doing your own thing. I really do think it’s great he’s doing it, but for every mile he runs I feel like I should be owed something – where’s my freedom miles!
So I’m not sure what the conclusion of this post is – don’t be a bitch? Um, don’t do a marathon? Probably not but there is just this: you really do have to laugh. Family life and parenthood, warts and all is at times just greatly amusing. The silly things you do, the crazy things you think, the situations you get yourself into, it’s quite mad. And then some idiot goes and starts training for a marathon…..give me strength….
Here is also the Phoenix film from our trip to Bali in December edited by Ben Martin, athlete extrodinaire and my real life hero …