I’m currently on parental leave from my relationship.
“Have a baby!” They said. “It’ll be amazing!” They said. “Holding that baby for the first time will make you fall in love with your husband all over again,” they said.
Now, I knew absolutely nothing about babies prior to having my seven-month old son, but I’m not completely naive. I knew there would be sleepless nights. I knew there would be crying (the baby and me). I hoped to breastfeed and I knew that if I did that would physically tie me to the baby’s location for a while. I knew there would be less time for date nights, dinners out, seeing friends, movies, dancing and parties. I was as prepared as I could be.
But I didn’t realise I was signing up to relationship parental leave. Fast forward to the post-baby period and there is zero time for adult conversation. If we do manage to grab a rare moment then days filled with sitting on a play mat building colourful block towers on repeat so the baby can knock them down on repeat doesn’t make for scintillating chat.
There is no time or, honestly, desire for sex; sleep is way too precious and, sorry guys, for breastfeeding mums it’s the Sahara Desert down there. Meals are eaten in shifts while one of us is settling the baby who just woke up. Nice clothes get vomited on, splattered with food or milk, drooled on or sucked (yes, everything including your sleeve goes in that baby’s mouth).
Babysitters… well, your neighbour’s 15-year-old daughter isn’t confident enough to babysit a less-than-one-year-old child (and fair enough too). Plus, if you do go out and the baby wakes up to find a ‘stranger’ trying to resettle him then there goes the rest of the night’s sleep.
Listen: On This Glorious Mess, our podcast about family life, we’re rounding up your funniest parenting stories. And Liz has a doozy. (Post continues…)