Life BC (Before Children)…
Life with children is all our marriage knows – I fell pregnant while undergoing fertility testing about 2 months after we got married, pregnant against huge odds with sever polycystic ovarian syndrome, no period for over two years and was potentially facing three years or more of IVF.
I have this vague memory of ourselves in life BC, the two years together before tying the knot, that involved a lot of breakfasts in bed, spontaneous weekends away, late night dinners (we actually used to Google cool new restaurants to go to at 6pm on a Saturday night and be out the door on the same night!!)….hour long showers and hot steamy nights….. I am sure we still fought but the above is all I remember.
Life AC (After Children)….
Now we are knee-deep in parenting two young boys while juggling three business and an academic career in there too.
Breakfast is coffee gulped down in the morning and if we are super lucky some scrambled eggs made with our four year old helping and our near-two year old attached to my hip, (if we had not planned on scrambled eggs they certainly are by the end of that).
Sleep ins, ah sorry what is sleep period? We may as well have a wall chart that keeps track of who’s turn it is to get up to the children. You can forget a shower, if I get one every second day we are doing well and always with two little people watching.
As for hot and steamy?
Sometimes I barely have the energy to pull on my (very not sexy) pajamas at the end of the day, and if my husband falls asleep working on the couch (common) I actually sneak away and purposely do not wake him so that my introverted self gets to sleep alone – I will take any snippets of time to myself, even if it is just in the form of a few hours’ sleep alone.
We both worked very hard before children but now it’s actually a competition as to who works the hardest on the least amount of sleep. This is normally what stems most of our arguments – how many hours sleep we got, who’s working more hard, who has not done X,Y, and Z.
X, Y and Z being real deal-breakers like my inability to stack a dishwasher correctly and his miserable efforts to use a washing basket despite it being 2cms from where he dropped his underwear.
Do not even get me started on the argument of who has carried more of the load with the children and how they always NEEEEEED me and somehow it is my husband’s fault that this is the case.
“Why do I HAVE to do EVERYTHING around here?”
All of the above is so ridiculous because of course we are both working incredibly hard and have made so many sacrifices, above and beyond what we ever thought we would for our family and our children.
Wanting to Quit…
Have I ever wanted to walk away?
One of the hardest times was at the start of this year…. I was beyond exhausted from my Doctoral thesis (and the birth of our second baby in the same year) to being thrown from that straight into holidays, full-time mum duty and the children desperate for me. I did not know who I was or how to find myself again and as I couldn’t even give to myself I certainly had nothing left to give to another person. I know for my husband he was desperate for me back, and frustrated I was not ‘there’. All I remember is we just could not seem to agree on anything and everyday felt like I was moving through thick fog (you can read more on my struggle post-thesis here).
I distinctly recall being in the car, not agreeing about something (again) and I could hear my husband’s words but it was like white noise and I just put my head to the window, closed my eyes and silently prayed “please can we just end this, please, I don’t care who leaves but can it just be over”.
Deep down it was not what I wanted, but at that time, in my state of total exhaustion with nothing to give – out seemed the only solution.
But do you know what, we clung on. Knowing that pressure and fatigue which just seemed never ending would hopefully pass and that somehow the sun would start to shine again – which it did. The season passed, it was hard but it passed and we are stronger for it.
Love Now Is…
I am beginning to see that marriage is a constant evolving journey – and now five years in, two children down love has a different definition. A deep-seated love that comes from seeing the very worst and very best of each other and yet sticking by one another just the same.
It is looking at each other across the table and saying “how on earth did we make it through the day?”
It is having a baby screaming in my ear, a toddler half hanging out of a high chair, his breakfast on the floor and me bellowing down the hall “will you just wake up?!!!” and seeing my husband stumble half asleep down the corridor and just taking the screaming baby off me.
It is collapsing into bed and hugging each other and begging whoever is listening up there for sleep and for tomorrow to be a better day.
It is seeing our boys run to the door and jump up and down yelling “Daddy, Daddy Daddy” when he comes home.
It is when we lost our angel baby and we clung to each other sitting at the bottom of the shower because I could not move.
It is when I went to hand in my Doctoral thesis and I said to my husband “what if, after all these years, I have failed?” and him wiping my tears and lifting my chin saying – “well you will still have us”.
It is watching our children playing together, like actually playing, for all of three minutes and thinking – maybe, just maybe, we got something right.
It is knowing how exhausting it all is and both of us still wanting another baby.
Are we the only ones finding this time of life really hard? Are we the only ones that question what on earth are we doing and how are we actually still standing, let alone standing side-by-side?
Well I do not know.
What I do know is that five years ago my husband was the man who when the going got tough, would pull on his boots and dig a little deeper and tell a Chuck Norris joke along the way.
And he is that man today.
Even though I would love it if he used the washing basket properly, remembered to bring the milk and stopped taking my efptos card and not returning it (seriously!)
I simply could not imagine doing this crazy journey without him – I actually love him more today than I did five years ago, and those little moments we get in among the chaos are just worth everything,
So here is to the next 50 years,
Xxx Dr Julie Bhosale