Tag Archives: marriage

On highwaymen

What’s that Sinatra song – ‘Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage, Go together like a horse and carriage’…cute song, full of the joys of love, and, er, marriage. But like all good love songs, it seems to end before the kids arrive, doesn’t it? Just as well, I suppose – ‘Love and marriage and kids, go together like a horse and carriage AND DICK BLOODY TURPIN’

Not that I would wish to compare children to rampaging highwaymen. I mean Dick Turpin by all accounts was single minded in pursuit of his plunder, creating chaos to ensure he got what he wanted, and leaving dire consequences all around him if he didn’t. Nothing like kids at all…oh. Come to think of it, Dick Turpin actually comes out of this looking bit better – after all, he only wanted your money OR your life.

Seriously though, how the effing eff are you supposed to maintain any sort of grown up relationship with young children? If you google the top ten tips for a long lasting relationship  (I haven’t googled this by the way, and if I were to google it, it would TOTES OBVS be for a friend) but just say someone were to google it, while researching a blog article or something, and I bet the top 100 search results would be all spaff like  ‘Make quality time for each other’ and ‘When you talk to each other, make eye contact and listen carefully before responding’ and ‘Have a sexy weekend away’ and ‘Don’t forget the romantic surprises, how about a note in the fridge to tell him you love him’ and ‘Do a relationship MOT once every few months’ and ‘Make sure you have time away from each other with your respective circles of friends’ and blah de bloody blah.

Are you having a LAUGH, internets? Quality time? When, exactly? We used to put the kids to bed at 7 and know we’d at least have a couple of hours to do something together, even if it was only the VAT return…now they are bigger, bedtime is later, and our ‘us’ time is squeezed – and at weekends it’s non existent. Eye contact? We could probably do that, if we slept facing each other and propped our eyelids open – would that count? Romantic surprises? Do you mean the ones that appear from nowhere when you just might be having a bit of cuddle that just might lead to something else and – oh. SILLY ME. Hahahahdebloodyha. What’s next – ah yes, a relationship MOT. Right. So if it’s anything like the car MOT, you remind each other for weeks that it’s due, fail to book it, blame each other for said failure, finally book it, and then wish you hadn’t because you get a whopping great bastard bill to get the stupid car back on the road for another year, oh and a sheet of advisories just to tell you that despite all the cash you’ve just thrown at it, the car is probably going to die in the next 12 months anyway…Nah, not feeling the love for the whole ‘relationship MOT’ thing. And finally, make time away from each other…what the WHAT? If we don’t have time FOR each other, how on this earth are we supposed to make time AWAY from each other? And in all this time making, what do we do with the kids???

Admittedly this is made more tricky by the fact that we mostly work different hours to each other. We worked it out like that so that one of us could always be around for the kids before and after school, but the flip side is that one of us is working at least one evening a week and often two, and one of us is always working on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. Throw in Welsh classes another evening (which are essential as the kids go to a Welsh speaking school) and weekly admin for the business, and it’s not unusual for us to go weeks without having time for a proper conversation. Weeks? Possibly months, come to think of it…

So, oh grown up ones who are out the other side, how does it work then? Is it just keep your head down and get on with it? Does it get easier? And when? Are we the only ones who are finding that our kids, desperately wanted and loved as they are, are Dick Turpinning things?

As always – pearls of wisdom welcome!

16 months on and this remains as true as ever, so I’m linking up with ‘The Truth About’ over at Sam’s blog ‘And Then The Fun Began’…pop over for a root through truth, truth and more truth from some fab bloggers!

And then the fun began...

On coming out of the tunnel

I’m sure there are lots of people who won’t be able to relate to the Tunnel, and if you’re one of them, please feel free to be relieved and/or smug that it wasn’t like that for you. Just don’t tell me about it because – you know what – though I’m out the other side, I’m not that far out yet and I CAN STILL FLIP. Yes, over the internet, and right IN YOUR FACE. You have been warned.

It goes a bit like this. You meet the bloke, get pissed for a few years, have some good holidays, buy a house and do it up, get married…oh, this is a bit easy, you think. I’m a bit bored of finishing a cup of tea while it’s still hot, or having a poo on my own, or being able to remember my own name, or of having sex, or being able to put a pair of jeans on without having to fold over the spare flap of stomach and tuck it in. I know, it must be time to Have a Baby. Mwahahahaha go the Tunnel Gods – another one heading our way…..

And so, the Baby arrives. And it is all amazing and wonderful and tearful. Quite tearful actually. The husband did say, at one point, ‘the book says you should have stopped crying by now – it’s been seven days, for fuckssakes’. For which he had Penelope bloody Preach thrown at his head. He didn’t say it again. Actually he did. At about four years. And then he remembered why he hadn’t said it again. Muppet.

At this stage, you don’t realise you’re in the Tunnel – it’s clever like that, see, it sucks you in. You just think ‘oh, I’m tired. I’m a bit down. Must be the hormones. It’ll all be fine when things settle down’. I was lucky enough, first time round, to have a baby that was a good sleeper, but I was still exhausted, useless and – of course – constantly comparing myself to those parents whose kids don’t ever sleep (well, according to them, anyway) and who STILL manage baby yoga and organic everything and stimulating play and ooze Yummy Mumminess from every pore. Interspersed with all this uselessness are of course moments of pure joy, of amazement, of love. But somehow these moments just serve to sharpen the knife edge of anxiety of how unfair it is that this poor defenceless thing has been born to me and doesn’t he deserve someone better and nobody told me it would be like this and I. Can’t. Cope. Oh, is it dark already? How weird, actually it seems to have been dark for a while. Hmm. Maybe it’s something to do with global warming, nobody else is mentioning it so I won’t either….

Of course, the minute you start to get a handle on it all, you’re up the duff again. Wheeeee! Down some more!  Oh! And again! I mean, really, how does this HAPPEN? First time round it was all headstands and ovulation charts and doctors and drugs and every-other-day-or-the-sperm-gets-stale and no booze – for about a hundred years. Second and third time, well, I think he might have looked at me across a crowded junkyard of a playroom. Who knows. Wheeeeeeeeeeee! Down some more! And some more again for good measure! My, we really did break the climate didn’t we if it’s dark ALL THE TIME…how weird that nobody else is talking about it…best just smile and wave…

And so it continues. Guilt and exhaustion and purees and sick and guilt and tantrums and tears and crappy plastic toys that sever your toe if you step on them, and more guilt because the toys are crappy and plastic in the first place, and MORE guilt because your severed toe led to you stamping on the bastard toy, and shouting like a banshee and constant ringing in your ears and panic attacks and guilt and becoming obsessed with sleep and waking up and calculating how many hours before you can slip back into sleep and oblivion, and guilt, always the guilt. And it becomes the new normal, so you forget that life was ever any different. And of course there is happiness too, and laughter, and fun, and love – it’s not all terrible by any means. Just a bit, well, dark still. But we’re kind of used to that now.

At some point though, and so slowly that you don’t even realise it’s happening, things start to feel ever so slightly different. One day you wake up and decide not to wear a hoody and maternity jeans, as you have every day for the past six years. Of course, you’ll probably have to, because you have long since sold all your nice clothes on eBay to pay for more crappy plastic toys, but still, the thought crossed your mind. And one day, the lady in the Co-op DOESN’T tell you that you look tired! Then you start noticing its a bit lighter all around. Phew, maybe we haven’t broken the climate after all. But hang on – global warming shouldn’t affect the light levels, should it? And then the thought is gone, as quickly as it came, But it doesn’t matter, because it was A RATIONAL THOUGHT!  Next thing – you start noticing how haggard and exhausted and generally unfit you are. This sounds like it’s a bad thing. Nope, it’s not. It’s a sign that the light levels are increasing, that you’re finally coming to the end of the Tunnel. And then one day your kids say to you “You used to be so shouty and grumpy all the time. Now you’re fun, sometimes.” At which point it might be wise to remind them that the shouty ogre is NEVER FAR AWAY so when I say go to bed, I mean go to bed NOWWWWWWW before I completely lose the fricking plot…Oh, er, or you could take them in your arms and promise never to be grumpy again. Your call.

It’s not until you are completely out of the tunnel that you realise you were ever in it. So this is a message of hope for those of you still stuck underground somewhere – there is light! Life will return! The darkness isn’t climate change! Of course, the downside of coming out is that you’ll realise that  you’ve been living in something approaching squalor, and your beautifully done up house needs doing up again, due to things like THIS  that seem to have appeared on every wall. In permanent frigging marker. But hey, you’re out of the Tunnel – welcome to the world!


On eleven years ago today


It was eleven years ago that Easter Monday fell on April Fool’s Day. Why do I know this? Because it was also the day that the Boyfriend became the Husband, nearly seven years after we started getting pissed together after work. Clearly, there should be some sort of warning on what a pint in the Betsey can lead to!


So here we are today, via London, Cardiff and Cesky Krumlov, where we tied the knot. We’re a bit fatter, a lot greyer, and much, much tireder. Not any chuffing wiser, probably, but there you go. And somehow – somehow, we have managed to produce three amazing kids between us, and for that I don’t think either of us can believe our luck.

The thing about kids though, amazing or otherwise, is that they do take it out of you, particularly in the first few years. There have been weeks, and probably months, where our sole communication has been exhausted and terse functional exchanges about the kids or the businesses, interspersed by the odd curry being thrown across the room. Where we’ve held it together through a family day out, only to descend into competitive tiredness bitching the minute they have dropped off. Of course running two small businesses through a double dip recession has added a nice amount of stress to the mix, because there’s nothing like a few money worries to stretch the camel to breaking point. Or the straw. Whatever.

We’re still going, though. I’m not going to come over all roses and say it’s wonderful, because a)that’d make me puke and b)I know he reads this and it’d make him puke too. But, we are still going, despite some pretty hairy times these last few years. And now the kids are getting bigger, and sleep isn’t such an issue, and we’re just beginning to notice each other again it feels like we’re entering the next phase of our lives. I’m nervous – it feels like we have to get to know each other all over again – but I’m quite looking forward to it also.

We chose our first dance, Pulp’s ‘Something Changed’, because we felt it reflected on our situation perfectly – we were never expecting the other to be more than a passing fling, but something did change. And something’s changing again now. Happy anniversary, sweetheart x