Monday, April 09, 2007
New babies really do take over your life. Even when you have been through the experience a couple of times before, you quickly forget how rapidly they dictate how and when you get out (more slowly, less frequently). You forget because as they get older, so it gets easier to go out and do things and need somewhat less logistical planning or equipment (nappies, prams, car seats, changes of clothes, emergency food supplies for adults - emergency supplies of almost everything in fact!)
The other thing they do is put pressure on all your other relationships. We have had the odd few days since No. 3 turned up where we have all fallen apart or fallen out with one another. This Easter weekend has not been without its traumas and busts ups - and reconciliations and fun bits too.
I can begin to understand why some men just walk out on their families - well, almost. You think - "this is it, this is the rest of my life - dealing with pooh, never getting out or or doing things I want to do any more, always being tired, never sleeping enough, always having my life dictated too by our child". I think plenty of women feel the same, and I think it is a myth that they adapt better than men - they just have less in the way of socially acceptable opt out clauses - negligent fathers are frowned upon - mothers who walk out are liable to be burnt as witches. Double standards are alive and well in C21!
It is bloody hard at times being a parent - or being a spouse for that matter - parenthood changes marriages beyond recognition. Believe me if you have never experienced it, nothing is the same again. But that is not automatically bad, and because something is tough does not automatically make it impossible. We learn and grow through tough times - or we fall apart. Its our choice, and I made that choice a long time back. However hard it gets, I'm in it for the long haul. Because the good bits - when your baby recognises your voice or gives you a big smile for the first time, or when you hear them say their first words, or tell you that they love you, or write their first sentences or read their first book, or bring home their first boy/girl friend - it all makes it so worthwhile.
But it is flaming hard work! Which is why no family should ever be on their own - friends, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents - you need them all. That may be one of the reasons why the rates of family break up are so high - we are just not looking after each other and keeping families together. If was not for having family five minutes walk around the corner, and a network of church friends and others scattered across the country, I am not sure how we would have made it through the last few years.
I know that there is more to it than that, but even just having the role model of parents who are still together can make you believe you can do the same for your wife and kids. And that belief is vital.