Happy Friday everyone! This week we’re back for another post in the guest series #UsAfterYou. If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s all about exploring relationships after having children. This week we have the lovely Robyn from The Years are Short, who’s joining us all the way from New Zealand.
Over on her uplifting blog Robyn writes relatable posts about parenting, recipes, books and well-being and reminds us all to cherish every moment and remember that ‘The days are long, but the years are short’…
Over to Robyn!
Us before you…
Dear Little One, I know you can’t really believe there ever was an ‘us before you’. I could never believe my own parents were once babies, children, teenagers, or grown ups with lives of their own before I came along. Their stories of being given 10 cents to go to the movies, buy an ice-cream AND have change in their pockets seemed like pure fiction. Or at least so outdated as to make their histories obsolete. It’s true though, your Dad and I were also toddlers once, firstborns who impressed our parents with every remarkable and (mostly) adorable thing we did. Just as you now captivate and complete us, sometimes bewilder us.
How I Met Your Father
Your Dad grew up with his three brothers in Ireland, and I grew up with my sister in New Zealand. Although we only met 8 years ago, I spent a lot of time before that wondering what your Dad would be like. I always believed in Love, and one of the greatest mysteries of my teenage years was when/where/how I would find it. We met in the first week of my year-long trip to Ireland. I didn’t know at first that it would be the beginning of a whole new family, but your Dad says he did. You may have already realised that your Dad knows everything and is always right…
‘Us after you’ is still the same old us, only better in a lot of ways. We have less time, less energy, and less money but lots more love. You haven’t heard The Beatles yet, Little One, but they say All You Need is Love.
Sometimes stress and fatigue gets the better of us. Your Dad is a bit bossy and your Mum (that’s me), doesn’t like being told what to do. No amount of baby love will ever change that! We don’t hold grudges anymore though, we both know there’s too much to lose now, to let stored up resentments disrupt our family. We can never stay angry with each other for too long, because a dozen times a day you do adorable things that we want to share with each other. No-one else would get it quite the same way.
In it together
There’s a new level of cooperation. Sometimes we still negotiate over who’s going to walk the dog but your Dad is always ready to pitch in. During the first year when you thought sleep was for the weak, it was not unusual to find the whole family up in the dead of night trying to convince you that half the world was sleeping and you should be too. I know your Dad must be tired after working all day, but he never grumbles when I ask him to do the bath duties so I can catch up on things around the house, or just have 10 minutes peace. I do believe there is nothing he wouldn’t do for you.
The Breadwinner & The Housewife
Before you, our areas of responsibility were less defined. We both worked the same amount of hours and took equal responsibility for the dog. Taking care of the house felt like a no-man’s land and Saturday mornings were always a tense time as I hurtled from room to room with a cleaning cloth and disapproving air. After you, our roles are more traditional. Dad works hard and takes total financial responsibility for our family. It seems that the least I can do in return is keep the bathroom clean(ish) without resentment. I know some women chafe at the idea of being a housewife, but I feel quietly relieved to be released from the daily grind of ‘turning up’. I’m enjoying this more domesticated time in my life with you, knowing that it won’t be forever. One day in the near future the best thing for all of us will be for me to return to work; you’ll thrive in daycare and I’ll regain some individuality. That will be a whole new chapter in the story of us after you.
I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. I know this for sure: life after you is a whole lot more exuberant than it would be without you, and us after you is more purposeful than us before.