Hey my love,
Yes you are still my love. My great love, in fact. You are the one who I chose (and who chose me) to ‘do’ life with. You are my best friend and the guy who gets me more than anyone. I also know you better than you know yourself. We belong together and I love you so much.
You are also my partner in parenting. And sometimes, I wonder if we relate more to each other these days as business partners in this whole adulting thing – trying to run our household and raise our two cute little humans, than actual partners.
But I want you to know …
We are not alone
I speak to my friends about us. It’s a girl thing, we do that. And I know we are not the only ones where one parent falls asleep on a child’s bed during story time and the other cleans up the kitchen at night.
I know other parent couples who also lack the vibrancy to smile, joke and laugh with each other as often as they used to.
I know my friend’s relationships are not as easy as they once were pre-babies. I know some of them now have to ‘work’ at them, scheduling date nights and the like.
I know intimacy (and I am not even talking about sex here) happens less for them too and that sometimes, it even feels a little ingenuine.
I know all of this because I have talked to almost every one of my mum friends about it.
Read more about relationships after kids:
- 3 ways to survive parenting – with your marriage intact
- 5 lovely ways to get your libido back after you have babies
- Blessing in disguise? Why my husband and I sleep in separate rooms
This is the parenting stage we are in
We all have young kids. We are all tired. We are all stressed out trying to juggle work with mumming and dadding, while also staying afloat and moving forward with our lives.
My love, we are not alone. Now is the time when words are spoken less because conversation just doesn’t happen like it used to – thanks to interruptions from our little loves and that tired fog hanging over us – and the ones that are spoken, well they often have more to do with what needs doing than what makes us laugh and feel connected.
Think about it. When you get home, we have a quick catch up in between someone tantruming over their dinner and another wanting to be held while we try and convince them to eat their carrots. I mean, it’s not exactly conducive to conversation!
Then after dinner, we are in the swing of the bath and bed routine, so we can finally have some ‘us’ time on the couch. Only one of us usually crashes midway through reading The Gruffalo for the 10th time in a row before we’ve even had a chance.
I know my texts to you during the day don’t help with us feeling like partners of love and not business, either. They usually say things like, “Hey, can you grab milk on the way home?” Or “Can you print the boy’s immunisation registrar thingy for kindy?”
Then you also leave me the same kind of notes on the kitchen bench. They are usually FYI things like, “Sam’s asthma flared up in the night. Gave Ventolin at 2.15 am. He is due for more at 6.15 am” – where once they said, “Love you, lasagne for dinner tonight!”
We need to rekindle ‘us’
I know you adore being a dad and being a mum is hands down the best thing to ever happen to me, and I know you admire me and I admire you in our respective roles, but it’s a different kind of admiration. I miss the way you used to look at me. I miss the way I used to look at you. I miss ‘us’.
I always wondered what people meant when they said they had to ‘work’ on their relationship. I have never felt that way about us, until now. Our relationship has always been easy and flowing. But now we need to remind ourselves of what makes us tick as a couple now we are also parents.
So apart from having a kid-free weekend away, which isn’t going to happen any time soon, I think we need to stop. Pause. And then take stock of the situation. Let’s see it for what it is and try to move away from being business partners to partners again.
We are not grand gesture people, so I think we just need to make some little tweaks.
Maybe it’s simply adding a “love you” at the end of my, “Can you grab milk” texts? Maybe it’s making an effort to not fall asleep with the kids so we can have even ten minutes of couch time before hitting the hay, together? Maybe we need to take it in turns to let each other nap on the weekend so we snap less at each other and the kids and smile more? Or maybe we just need to say, “I miss you” and have a cuddle when we feel disconnected?
We are still great. We are still us. We just need to tap into that again.
Also love, let’s remember that the time will come when we are not so tired and run down. When we can reclaim our bed because no little, warm body wants to share it with us anymore. When we have time to chat because the kids are quietly immersed in their phones. And then, well then I know we will miss this stage terribly.
Until then, let’s get a bit of ‘us’ back.
You are my partner in life and in parenting, but you are not my business partner and we both need to remember that.
I love you.