The Post-Having-Children Relationship Dynamic
Key areas of change to a once romantic relationship after small humans arrive …
And no, I don't mean that kind of intimacy which is sadly not top of the agenda when a baby arrives (plus the only window of opportunity would mean missing Broadchurch. Silly billies). I mean openness with each other about things you would never have willingly shared before having children. Like things down below or boob-related agonies.
One time, after Henry was born, my boobs got so massive (or 'engorged' as they say at breast club) that my long- suffering husband had to help me out. Yes, such was the agony of my temporarily enormous boobs, I had to get my husband to hand-express me from behind. Interesting evening that one.
General topics of conversation, without disrespect, become quite dull. You won't realise they are dull because you are living in that all-consuming parent bubble. Time is allocated daily to discuss the meaningful questions in life, like: how many ounces of milk has the baby taken, where was the toddler when he went for his daily poo, how many packs of baby wipes are left (I told you we needed more, you weren't listening) and so on.
You'll also learn that attempting any kind of adult conversation with small humans around is pointless. You will be interrupted every third word as toys are thrown, sometimes at your head, and eventually you will forget what you were going to say anyway. Something about baby wipes?
And then there are the one-off phrases you never dreamed you would hear yourself say. Like: 'Can you just give his bum a quick sniff?' and 'I think I'll give the wine a miss tonight. Can you make me an Earl Grey?' Or sentences which demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that you are getting old, including, 'No rush - I prepped the casserole earlier so it just needs to go in the oven!' and 'Friday looks set to be the best clothes-drying day this week.' Seriously, what have I become? Is this it?
Time as a couple
Once the offspring have landed, time alone as a couple is largely non-existent. Instead, the most loving of acts will be to facilitate five minutes’ peace for your better half by taking over childcare duties. If you want to have a shower (or wee) on your own, or on the rarest of occasions stay in bed past 7am, your other half must occupy the children. Likewise, if he wants to watch the F1 without the toddler smacking him round the head with one of two lightsabers, you must vacate the living room and take the tiny terrors with you. It is an unsaid agreement that you give each other a break. What you never get to have is a break together.
(It is also an unsaid agreement that your husband doesn't elaborate too much on his work day. Particularly if banter and/or grown-up snacks were involved. Because you have been at home all day playing Star Wars in your dressing gown, and this will make you want to stab him in the face).
And when you finally do find yourself gloriously child-free at a nice restaurant? Well, you will eat your posh meal in thirty seconds flat (subconsciously trained to expect the mealtime meltdown) and then you will spend the entire evening talking about ... your kids. 'Isn't it cute when....' 'This is my favourite picture of them together!'
Sad as it may sound, you become completely and utterly obsessed with those sleep-stealing buggers. You will also conclude all conversations with 'what the hell did we DO before we had kids?' and realise you were lazy bastards.
And it was magical.