It’s Mother’s Day, and I’ve treated myself to a raging hangover courtesy of a rare night out with the girls yesterday. It wasn’t exactly hard core; I was even home by midnight, Cinderella-stylee. Although I’m pretty sure when she was reunited with her Prince, his first words weren’t “She’s in the bloody pan cupboard again, I’m off for a poo”…
Speaking of J, he didn’t really go all-out this year gift-wise – nothing says ‘I love you mama’ like a scratch card from the Co-op. But having thought about it a bit (once my Prosecco-soaked brain cells could finally string coherent thoughts together again), I realised that I’m not massively bothered. Overall, he’s a pretty high-performing member of Team Butel.
One of THE hardest things about having a baby is going from ‘husband and wife’ to ‘mum and dad’. You’re both sleep deprived, completely out of your depth, and your temper is on a knife edge. It’s the ultimate relationship test.
Pre-baby, we’d spend the weekends visiting friends, trying new restaurants and staying up until the wee small hours debating anything and everything (usually completely irrelevant topics like how many member of Eternal there originally were,“It’s 4, it’s BLOODY 4!!! I don’t care that it’s 1am, I’m Googling it…”).
Now, around 50% of the texts we send each other are purely focused on the contents of Miss O’s nappies (I’ve checked; they make for a thrilling read!), and most evenings are spent dashing around ticking off dinner/bath/bedtime related-jobs before collapsing on the sofa to indulge in our regular ‘who’s the most tired / overworked today’ parenting pissing contest. And on top of that, I’m the first to admit that I was a complete mess for many, many months after Miss O was born. I found the whole experience incredibly overwhelming and unrelenting; the smallest thing would set me off. I remember crying bitterly for a full half-hour because I couldn’t get the lid off the Sudocrem. Crying over fecking bum cream!! I must have been a joy to live with.
I can honestly say though that J never got frustrated with me and really stepped up to the plate when it all got a bit much, whether that meant holding her hand all night so that we all got a decent night’s kip, or doing an emergency wine run (not an uncommon occurrence…)
He’s also infinitely more patient with her then I am; he’ll happily read ‘IgglePiggle loves Christmas’ to her over and over again (it’s chuffing MARCH and she’s still obsessed with this sodding book), long after I’d have distracted her with a chocolate button and consigned the little bollocks to the kitchen drawer for the day (IgglePiggle, not the baby; that kind of thing’s generally frowned upon these days).
Things have calmed down a lot now she’s a bit older, but we do still drive each other mad; I find his overly-relaxed attitude to the way she constantly finds new and interesting ways to injure herself infuriating (“well, she’s got to learn about edges sometime” – “not by running head-first into them you muppet!”) and his 50% approach to household chores is enough to drive a girl to drink; nappies left next to the bin rather than in them, 40 different items ‘left to soak’ in a blatant attempt to avoid the washing up, a clothes horse so stacked with washing that it looks like someone’s playing an elaborate game of laundry Buckaroo…
BUT he’s pretty much the only person interested in discussing which military organisation Major Clanger’s part of, and whether Mama and Papa Wottinger feel uncomfortable getting it on in the same room as their 8 children. He’s the one beaming with pride alongside me when Miss O rugby-tackles the older kids to the ground at soft play. He’s seen me at my very worst (the post-birth sponge-down in the shower was really not a sexy moment), but still thinks I’m beautiful, even on the days when I have scrambled egg in my hair and an entire scout troop could comfortably set up camp in the bags under my eyes (pretty much any day ending in ‘y’).
So, I’m going to let the whole scratch card thing slide, because I know I wouldn’t be anywhere near as (relatively) sane or strong a mother without him, and that’s worth a whole lot more than a poxy bunch of flowers.
(Although the odd the bottle of champagne wouldn’t go amiss!)