Looking back on my maternity leave, my husband and I were very fortunate, although technically
allegedly the Turk was rennovating the house, we were both at home throughout my 14 months. For the first six months I found this frustrating, we never saw him. I felt so alone. We would hear him a lot, he would shout up the stairs “why is the baby crying so much, have you fed him?” and I would throw something at him…it wasn’t great…
He worked so hard that at 10pm in the evening I would have to go and find him and beg him to stop work and come to spend some time with us. Aside from missing out on valuable time with his baby I really needed some support and company.
After Christmas 2013 the momentum on the money pit lessened. Our builders had disappeared
with our money leaving us in an incomplete house so it was just the Turk working on the rennovation, he had lost a lot of motivation and so spent more time with us “preparing to do work on the house” and less time “actually doing work on the house”. This meant that we spent a lot more time together as a family, admittedly mainly traipsing around DIY stores or in front of the computer trying to work out how to fix the toilet.
This is a good thing…or is it?
I have to say for us it really wasn’t. I think we spent too much time together, we started to bicker, and pick at each other. Of course I think every couple does this when you have a new baby and not enough sleep, but to do this more and more as the baby was settled and slept more is a bit strange. Suddenly my tactics for enforcing naps were questioned, someone else had a view and wanted to try putting Jem down for a nap. There were two of us there at every mealtime – great – you might think, but actually that’s two people arguing about how much the baby eats, how much is thrown on the floor, whose turn it is to get the water and who left the bib in the living room.
Since going back to work it’s hard to hand over control, but I’ve had to let go. We still try and have our evening meal all together and we have our weekends, but actually there’s a lot to be said for spending a little less time together. It means we seem to bicker less, and we actually each have something different to talk about during mealtimes as we haven’t spent all day doing the same thing. Yes we argue about how many nights out I really need, and why the housework isn’t progressing quite as well as I’d like, but I think we each now have a better understanding of the role of the person at home and give each other a little more slack than we might have done before.