“I’m looking after the baby all day whilst you go out and have fun” my husband says accusingly in the middle of a heated discussion.
The truth is I’m going out for 3 hours to host a baby shower for my best friend. I’ve organised it, she organised mine recently and I want to return the favour and give her a baby shower she will love. Of course the last thing I really have time for is organising a baby shower, but I wanted to do it so I’ve done it, the venue is booked, presents wrapped, decorations sorted and I’m ready to go, this morning I’ve also done two loads of washing, fed and clothed our baby, bathed and got myself ready, stuffed a changing bag full of everything that our son could possibly need for 3 hours whilst I’m out and walked the dog, and I’ve had no sleep, because my son is going through the four month sleep regression. I’m exhausted.
I love my friends so much but I really don’t want to go out and socialise today Sleep deprivation makes everything suck, and as I rush around the house, getting ready, cleaning up, sorting everything I need, all the while trying to settle my grizzly, over tired four month old whilst my husband sits on the sofa playing his PlayStation. I seethe and silently lament what happened to my loving marriage as we share only cross words and comparative insults about who works harder until my lift arrives, late, and I run out the door armed with balloons and gifts leaving my crying son and future ex husband behind me.
I feel stressed, isolated, like I’m failing (remember my last post- how quickly things change!) I don’t want to talk about it because I don’t want to be judged. But there’s an amazing thing about women (at least the ones I’m lucky enough to know) the minute I speak out about my crappy weekend of motherhood they kind of leap into action, empathetic because they’ve all been there, full of sympathy and compliments and understanding, I leave the baby shower feeling so much better, turn up at my father in laws where my husband hurries out of the house to help me out of the car, my dog runs over tail wagging to greet me and my baby boy grins at me from his bouncy chair, my husband kisses me and asks if I’ve had a nice time, I ask him how he’s got on without me and he smiles and says great, and just like that we’re a a team again.
My husband really loves our family a lot, he is a brilliant dad and I know he thinks I’m doing a great job at motherhood, most of the time I feel like a multi tasking super woman, keeping the house and our lives together, looking after the dog and our boy as well as still doing the odd bit of producing for friends in the arts industry. I know that I’m doing a fucking amazing job and my husband does too, but rationalising all of this is hard work when you’re sleep deprived and feeling like a zombie and sometimes I need more then self validation to keep my confidence up, sometimes I need my husband to just tell me, unprompted how much he appreciates what an amazing human being I am, but of course, he’s sleep deprived too so we end up in that endless cycle of competition over who works harder and who is worse off and that never gets anyone anywhere.
We eat at my father in laws and talk happily together about the joys and challenges of new parenthood, then take our sleepy baby home, devising a plan about how we will help our boy sleep better, get home and fall onto our sofas, baby asleep in my arms, dog asleep in his bed, and smile at each other, a fully functioning happy family unit once more, all angry thoughts forgotten. I put the baby to bed and my husband cuddles me as we drift off to sleep, we may only get a few hours, but that will be just fine, tomorrow is a whole new day…