Before I begin I’m going to put in a disclaimer, be sentimental and say I truly love my husband from the bottom of my heart and feel so lucky to have married him. However no matter how hard they try no husband can ever fully understand what it is to be a mummy and part of the reasons for me writing this is to help him have more of an insight into my thoughts and feelings and that my irrational outburst because he buttered my toast wrong isn’t to do with the toast at all, sometimes I don’t know what it’s about I just need him to do something to cheer me up – it doesn’t have to be flowers or chocolates – just change the bins.
I feel like my husband and I started out of this journey on an even keel. It was the blind leading the blind. Neither of us had navigated this journey of twists and turns called parenthood…
When my daughter was born my husband did every nappy change pretty much for his whole paternity leave. I was input and he was output. I was worried about how I would deal with nappies when he returned to work however I need not have worried. I became a nappy ninja, particularly at nighttime – barely even waking the baby with my lightening speed skills. My husband on the other hand became deskilled. It became painful to watch him, knowing that because he had faffed about for so long she was gonna pee again in the time it took for him to reach for a nappy.
Babies come with a lot of clothes and it introduces new vocabulary to our husbands – grobags, sleepsuits, rompers etc. Some clothes are self explanatory for instance long sleeve and short sleeve vests. When I instructed my husband to put a long sleeve vest on our daughter and he proudly presented me our freshly bathed clean daughter wearing a short sleeved vest. When I asked what his thought process was he had no answer. Our baby vocabulary learning continues.
I have learnt to multitask at the highest level which the male species seem incapable of. I can eat breakfast While emptying and reloading the dishwasher, put on a wash and hang up another and supervise the baby. This can be done in less than an hour and I’ll be out the door with the car packed ready for the day. My husband will have had a coffee and watched half a movie. (Who watches half a movie?!)
I realise this makes him sound lazy. He isn’t, he does do stuff but only if I ask him . Occasionally he will spontaneously do chores and this is when he is at his most sexiest to me. However when he does said chores they will be royally announced and a fanfare needs to follow or you run the risk of this spontaneous job doing to become extinct.
I understand he is out working while I am on my ‘extended’ holiday with crap pay and the most inflexible and unsociable working hours. It must be hard having a set lunch HOUR (?!) where you get to eat lunch with two hands and have normal conversations and your day doesn’t revolve around how many hours sleep baby got and how long has it been since her last poo.
As mummies we have mental checklists of shit that only we get. We know what’s needed in the change bag, we know exactly what we need to bring on a day trip, we know when the next wash was put on and when the next one is due. This is all mundane stuff but if it doesn’t get done the house doesn’t function. We also notice stuff like when the nappy box needs refilled, when the floor needs brushed, when a bib needs changed. Again all mundane but vital to our daily lives. So when daddies give themselves a big old pat on the back for spontaneously emptying the bins that one time or having a nice rough and tumble play session with baby before handing them over for mummy to calm them down before bed…spare a thought for said mummy. She can’t switch off. Her priority is baby’s sleep but her sleep is no ones priority.
Yes babies put a strain on relationships and although there are times when I have contemplated murder because his snoring has woke up the baby and you have to deal with the aftermath at all hours of the morning, but at the end of the day we created something so perfect and so beautiful and the fact that my daughter gets so excited when daddy comes home from work means he must be doing something right. (I just wish I knew what it was so I could get the fanfare started!)