We're not 'us' anymore...when two become four
This hit me like a train the other day. I was sitting there thinking how me and the hubby desperately needed a date night, some time alone to ourselves, some time to reconnect and look each other in the eyes and feel the love. I kept thinking about how easy it all used to be. All we had to worry about was where shall we go and eat? What bar shall we meet in for an after work drink? What takeaway do we fancy? We could while away hours, sometimes literally days, just talking, laughing and loving. Our early days and years as a couple were the most fun I have ever had. Our wedding was absolutely magical and our honeymoon, well I didn't know I could love anyone that much.
Where are we now? Sleeping in separate beds and barely having a moment together. Why? We're parents. We have two little people sharing our love now. We have two small people who are completely unpredictable and demand all of our time and our hearts. We have non sleepers (yawn) so we have maximised what sleep we can by sleeping with a child each. It's not ideal but it means we sleep a bit better. We are constantly putting their needs before ours. We only seem to have time to talk about timings and food shops. We are constantly 'on'. The minute there's some breathing space, we retreat. We retreat to our own spaces, his man cave, my corner of the sofa to watch Netflix. We have nothing left to give. We have nothing left to give to each other. We need that space, to pick it up again when they're awake. It is exhausting and relentless and overwhelming and we do it all day, every day. When you throw in something else on top, heavy work weeks, family tragedy, an unexpected visitor, whatever it is, it's even harder.
So when we do get a chance to go out, it is often separately so one of us can be home with our non sleepers. So our social lives have become separate, our fun has become separate. We make an effort to chat and cook some evenings, but tiredness soon steps in and we're on the sofa once more. This is a hardcore time in parenting. The little ones are in charge but we're in this together, we're in it for good, so we need to find a new 'us'.
It is ok that we're not out partying all the time, hammered five nights a week, rolling in at 3am at the weekends and sleeping until noon. It is ok that I haven't shaved my legs for ages and we never get to kiss each other good night. It is ok that we mostly talk about scheduling our lives and little ones. It's ok because we love each other, because we're parents and because we know it will get better. We know that when we get a bit of breathing space, we're right back where we were, laughing, enjoying each other, not wanting to leave. It's ok because we adore our kids and they rely on us to look after their hearts right now. It's ok because we can be there for each other in different ways. You do the smallest things which are huge, like always bringing me home my fave tea or chocolate and I'll make the effort and actually get round to cooking a proper meal some days. We show each other love not in grand gestures, time or even compliments but in small kindnesses, an hour longer in bed here, sit down and have a cuppa there, go to the pub for a pint, I've got this for a bit.
We're sharing our lives now, with two more loves of our lives, there's less of us to go around but we are so much more in love than we've ever been, it just looks a bit different now.
Love you Ruthers