Having a baby can often bring couples together but it can also place immense strain on the relationship. It’s not surprising really when you’re constantly tired, stressed, and overwhelmed with responsibilities to end up focussing solely on the baby rather than on each other. Back in the romantic, carefree pre-baby days we were nice to each other. Now we don’t seem to have the time, energy or inclination to. Here’s an example of how things have changed…
The combination of winter germs, being run down from a lack of sleep and Mishty coughing in your mouth makes it inevitable that we are never too far away from getting ill. Still nothing is more awful than when your partner declares he has Man Flu.
Previously you used to be sympathetic
“Oh honey, your poor thing! How are you feeling? Why don’t you lie down and have a rest?”
Now you go into a desperate denial…
“Maybe you’re not actually dizzy and we are just experiencing a minor earthquake?”
“Are you sure you feel achy and it’s not just the strain of picking up Lego scattered all over the flat? [Note: although this implies Hubby puts away toys, I regret to inform you that this is factually incorrect]
Then it dawns on you that he is actually ill and all traces of sympathy are overtaken by the sinking feeling you get from realising you will be looking after two babies by yourself. One is an actual baby and the other is a grown man who has become so feeble that he is as useful as a jellyfish in a library, and is making whimpering noises while huddled under the duvet. Annoyingly, this will coincide with the scheduled time that he was supposed to take over so you could get on with doing That Really Important Thing that now has to be done some other time, as in never.
Previously you used to be nice and make sweet gestures to make him feel better
“Honey, can I get you any hot drinks or make you soup? Would you like some medicine? Here, let me give you a head massage and rub Vicks on your back.”
Now you whisper sweet nothings like “Do it yourself, you puny weakling. Do I look like Florence Flipping Nightingale to you?!”
Previously you would leave it to him to get better
Now you’ve turned into the overzealous and impatient Nurse Nazi where you throw oranges at his face and overdose him on medicines in the hope of a miraculous overnight recovery because you can’t face the prospect of him being bedridden (aka useless) for a week.
“Here’s my credit card. Lets make some lines and see if you can snort the lemsip powder so it can go into your bloodstream quicker…”
Previously you would check in on how they were doing during the day with actual concern.
Now you check in because you are concerned about whether he’s managed to do anything productive while being at home.
“Hello, are you feeling better enough to do the laundry? If you’re able to stand up now, could you do the dishes? If you’re a bit bored of lying down maybe you could just do this… and this… and that… and ooh that also needs doing too… Wait, what do you mean you haven’t gotten out of bed yet?!”
Previously you would give soothing and uplifting pep talks
“There, there, it’ll be ok, poor you, aww honey” etc.
Now your version of a pep talk is to tell him to man up, stop being a wimp and mutter angrily about the time when you were off sick with real flu and still managed to do the nursery run, laundry, bins, vacuuming, tidying, cooking and washing up.
Previously you would still be affectionate without worrying about germs, saying loveydovey gumph like “sharing is caring”
Now you wear a facemask and make sure you’re not in the same room as each other. Even when he’s recovered.
Moral of the story, if you want to be loved, don’t get sick.