I met the man who would become my husband when I was in my very early 20s. I was working as an office Temp and he was in the same office.
I first saw his name on a work email. I read the surname several times. I thought it was the most beautiful surname I had ever seen. I practiced my name with it and thought that the two together were sublime; a proper author name (I was always looking for a good author name for when I eventually inevitably became a famous author of course). Unfortunately I couldn’t stand the bloke. I mean I could not stand him! So you could say I fell in love with his name – not him.
I thought he was arrogant and bloody annoying. All he did all day was royally take the piss out of me. One day we were on a work do in the local pub and we were arguing as usual and my best friend exclaimed “Oh for goodness sake! Why don’t you two just get a room!” I will never, ever, ever forget it.
Ten years later after a million mistakes and other relationships we finally fell into each other with the force of a sonic boom. I knew he was it.
The next five years would be a fast and furious flurry of two children and a wedding day.
Something he doesn’t get credit for is how he handles – on a daily basis – my mental health problems. He is, in fact, the only man who has been able to cope with me! When I am depressed he will sit next to me, hold my hand and listen. He understands – even though he has never been in that position. He lists what I have to be thankful for and always tells me I will be ok. He is a calming anchor to my manic highs and lows. He is amazing.
I am so glad I took that temp job all those years ago. I am so thankful that I finally got my perfect surname (even though no one in Yorkshire can pronounce it correctly).
Oh I don’t begrudge you, couples. When I see you all loved up, holding hands, making moon eyes at each other, holding me up in the Krispy Kreme queue. You can have your romance. You can have your pre children moments – just as I did. But just heed me this – if you choose to have children:
there will come a time when the only reason you will passionately kiss each other is because either of you has had a near death experience – or you’re so off your tits you have mistaken each other for someone else.
There will come a time when him being home at the weekend means one more person to hoover around.
there will come a time when the sexiest thing your other half can do for you is change a dirty nappy, scrape the mould off a baking dish you left in the oven so you don’t have to throw another one away, find your toddler’s ‘other’ shoe that has been missing since last year, fill the dishwasher correctly, or offer you a hot cup of tea.
there will come a time when the only time you look at him with pure adoration and a tear in your eye is when he is putting out the bins or giving the toddler a bath.
your bed will be used for sleep and the only ‘position’ that makes you excited is him facing the other way, as far away from you as possible and not hogging the duvet.
the kinkiest thing about your sex life will be the extremes you go to to not get pregnant again.
your fights will solely be about how much or how little each other do in regard to housework, the children, work and finances.
time together in a fancy hotel will consist of you having a two hour hot bath with a cocktail and him sleeping.
If he is ever late home from work your first thought is not “who is he sleeping with?” it’s “ooh! maybe I can watch ‘Dinner Date’ in peace!
Romance to me used to mean:
public displays of affection
all the right words
doing everything together
being as one.
Romance to me after children means:
‘don’t touch me!’,
your words are useless – your sonnets aint gonna get that dishwasher emptied,
separate rooms and
being left alone to enjoy the silence.
I don’t have time for jealousy anymore. The other night I watched a man on ‘The Only Way is Essex’ practically dancing in fury because his girlfriend had ‘followed someone back on Twitter’. Do you know who my other half follows on twitter? No, neither do I. As far as my problems go it’s probably at number 890987877 at the moment after “what if he only wins second prize at crufts.”
We had some fun after baby number one – don’t get me wrong. We eventually settled into parenthood, compromised within our roles, learned not to be so passive aggressive and I almost got my body back. We had a few outings without our son and rekindled the romance. I thought we were on the right track. Then somewhere along the line we decided to have another child.
Before I knew it I was massively pregnant and a parent to a toddler practising his role as Speedy Gonzales on crack. Now I am a drained and exhausted new mum surviving on micro sleep and malted milks.
If couples can survive one child they’re really heroic … two children and the odds are against you! Everything that brought you together goes out of the window and now all that’s left is sleep deprivation, frustration and fury in a confined space filled with noisy Fisher Price toys and the stench of shit.
To think I used to worry about what my other half would look like! His height. His shoes. To think his favourite film was a deal breaker! Now the only thing that is important to me is that I respect him (in my case because he is infinitely more intelligent than I am). R.E.S.P.E.C.T ladies – is the only reason you will have one day not to call him a cock womble and shuffle off. Think about whose hand you’d want to be holding during a spinal block. That’s your man!
I enjoyed watching the couples trying to find “love” on Love Island. The only thing I was jealous about was that they got to go on a relaxing, sunny holiday – we think we will be in our fifties before a holiday can earn the title of ‘relaxing’ again. I don’t begrudge them. All I wanted to shout at the screen was:
“If you can’t make it work after three weeks, on holiday, in the sun, in paradise, with no bills to pay, no responsibilities, no ‘reality’ of any kind – really don’t bother!”
A real compatibility test would be to send in a new born in with Colic, and a toddler with constipation and a fruit shoot and get them to watch Baby Jake on repeat and tell them they can’t drink till 7pm.
If you can survive one, two or more children together you really have my respect – it’s no walk in the park.
I am astounded that my other half is still here – putting up with everything I throw at him – and I am amazed I’m still here too! Which is why I’m marrying him at the end of this year. And the proposal wasn’t important and the ring isn’t important. What’s important? Who can look after the kids at the reception so mummy can have a drink?
If we can make it through two pregnancies and two babies – I know we can make it through anything!