The Mamamia office is the kind of place where breaking news is greeted with a sound.
A collective gasp. A cheer. A groan.
Yesterday, a moan. Oh. A celebrity split, a couple we all ‘like’.
We don’t know them. They don’t know us. But we saw them falling in love on Packed To The Rafters, so you know, of course we’re all experts.
My co-workers were sad. “But, they have a daughter together. She’s only three.”
I said nothing. Of course, none of us have any idea why this couple have decided to part. But I am never, ever surprised when the parents of young children break up. I am only surprised that even more don’t.
There is one thing I know about Jessica and James. Their daughter Scout is almost exactly the same age as my youngest child, Billy.
I know that because when I went on maternity leave to have Billy, I celebrated the first day of non-office work by buying a magazine. And they were on the cover, posing with their stunning baby daughter, Scout.
Days later I had my own beautiful baby, although the cover of Who didn’t beckon for us.
It’s almost three years since that day, and more than five since my partner and I went from being a couple to being a family. And while I am not the first person to ever point this out (the phrase, ‘having a baby is like throwing a grenade into a marriage’ is A Thing), something that is not talked about enough, in our tumbling rush to prove ourselves as worthy parents – is that tiny children place an enormous strain on relationships, and that it is fine to struggle.
Related: The 8 reasons marriages fail.
Because this is fucking hard.
I feel like for every candle on your child’s birthday cake, if you and your significant other are still speaking, you deserve a party of your own. One with adult drinks, and a creche.
Instead of mourning the breakdowns of celebrity relationships and wondering why they couldn’t make it work for the sake of their photogenic offspring, we should be looking around and celebrating any parents who still seem to like each other. Because they are the real miracle of birth.
If you are looking at your phone quizzically right now, I know why. You don’t have children yet.
Let me explain.
1. Your love for your baby is the ultimate affair.
When my first child was born, I went into a love bubble. Many do. And my partner was in there with me. I was so overcome with love and gratitude for him, for seeing me through pregnancy and labour and for sharing with me the most profound moment of my life to date that I had never loved him more. And then the haze cleared, the hormones calmed down, my milk came in and there it was – The Baby. And far out, I loved her more than anything I could possibly imagine, all of her peachy fuzzy screamyness. And suddenly, there’s not so much room in the love bubble any more. Many partners get nudged out at this point, and have to wait patiently to be noticed again. Some act out for attention. It’s a dangerous moment.