When couples have a baby, they tend to end up having arguments that go along the lines of who has the harder life, who's having the least amount of sleep and who does the most stuff. These arguments reach a peak somewhere around 9 months after the baby is born. It's about this time you'll have a screaming row about why it's ALWAYS you who has to pack the baby bag and why does he ALWAYS just have to walk out of the house clutching keys and tutting about being late.
You might think that it will never get better. But it does. Eventually he learns that he gets shouted at less if he packs the baby bag and he might even suggest you go out with some friends so that you can get some you time. But mostly, you just learn to accept that life has changed a lot, particularly for you and that there is no point getting worked up about it.
It has taken me quite a long time to reach this place of acceptance (possibly one of the reasons I sailed across the Atlantic last year). But I do still find it incredibly hard to balance work and children and it continues to be a niggle that just won't die.
Take yesterday. I had a big client launch. I got up at 5am, raced into London, performed the PR luvvie dahling thing, raced back home, barrelled through more work while the kids played next door, then raced downstairs at 4.30 to make dinner. Realised that dinner was still frozen, but managed to defrost chicken, turn it into chicken nuggets, chops up potatoes to make chips, get veg on the go, race next door, grab kids, return to finish dinner. Force feed them food, while ironing karate outfits, get them dressed while they were still eating chicken pieces and then was charging out of the door, when my husband waltzed down from the office saying: Do you want me to take them?
Now I should have been pleased that I could get out of racing through traffic to get to karate and could at least use the time to catch up on work, but I just felt annoyed. Why is it that he gets to work undisturbed all afternoon, concentrating solely on his to do list, while I have to interrupt my work to charge about like a lunatic doing 1 billion other things?
Today, the same. I have to stop working at 2.30 to fetch the kids, get them back home and then become 'The Provider of Snacks' (I'm thinking about getting a super hero style cape for this role), 'The Swimming Pool Life Guard' and 'The Meanie' (this last title being awarded to me by son1 as I forced him to do his long overdue homework.) I then got to do laundry, make dinner and break up several fights. Meanwhile, my husband is upstairs working. The amount of work I have waiting for me is staggering, so it means I have to do it at night (when I'm tired) or early in the morning (another 5am start today).
I know, I know. His salary pays the mortgage. Yada yada yada. But how am I ever supposed to build a career that enables me to pay the mortgage when I'm so busy doing so many other unpaid jobs? Why is it that men have the luxury of working on just their job, while women juggle several things at once?
Before you think my husband needs a slap - in his defence, he does help around the house (when he's here). But he does what he's told to do. He doesn't have to THINK and PLAN what has to happen.
I try to see the bright side - I get a varied life and get to spend time with my children (although with today's behaviour that isn't much of a selling point) - but every now and then, that little wrinkle of resentment furrows my brow and if feels like the baby bag days all over again.
I know I'm not alone in this. Solutions on a post it please.