We’re sat here in silence. Too tired to really speak about anything. We’ve done the conversation about how our days were; quickly as we moved around each other in the kitchen; tidying, sorting dinner, cleaning up. We’re both tired. Well aware of the fact that we were up before six once again. That from then it’s been constant; play, work, eat, sort. Bedtime has been and gone and it’s just the two of us once again. Sat in our own little worlds.
We’re on edge tonight. We bickered throughout the day about various things. I got mad with you about something that wasn’t even your fault. Probably. You did that thing where you sighed as I vented my frustrations. You were trying to help. You hadn’t meant to annoy me. You didn’t think. And all it does is push that grumpiness further. Go back to work, I bite, wanting the opposite but knowing if you stay much longer we’ll argue properly.
It feels like we do that a lot at the moment. We bicker. We sigh. We sit there in silence letting our frustration build before one of us lets it out. I say one of us but we both know it will be me. I’m not capable of keeping it in. It feels like I’m not capable of much these days.
Every time it happens, I feel sadder. I feel further away from the relationship that we used to have. From the person that you fell in love with way back when. Sometimes it feels like I imagined what it used to be like. Before the tiredness. Before the endless list of jobs. Before the stream of distractions. Back when we had time to just be.
That’s the problem with parenthood. It’s made us into someone else. I’m still me and you’re still you, deep in there. But on top of that there’s someone more important. Someone who demands our energy and focus. Someone who has made our lives amazing. Someone that relies on us. And when he’s not there, he’s still present. He’s the topic of our conversations, the noise we’re constantly listening for, the subject of our plans, fears and excitement.
Our best conversations these days are conducted via text. We always say we’ll spend more time together, discuss it later at home but we know that we won’t. That it’s too hard to maintain a longer conversation with a toddler there. That when he’s awake, we want to be giving him the focus. When he’s asleep, we lapse into a comfortable silence wanting to zone out, enjoy the quiet… sleep.
I know we should make more effort with one another. We both know that. Rather than sniping at each other we should take the time to really talk, to get some of that elusive quality time together. The lack of that makes us less tolerant of each others foibles and whilst we remain a strong parenting team, there are times when I feel lonely and distant from you. The nights where we used to get into bed together and dissect the day have been replaced with separate bedtimes; me asleep long before you come up, both of us trying to balance tiredness with a need for some quiet space.
Are we too tired to be married anymore? I know it isn’t the case. That in amongst the demands of parenthood, there are snatches of the people that we used to be. The interest in each other, the affection, the jokes. That this is just a stage in our lives, that there will be times when it is harder and there will be times when it’s easy. That we will come together and stretch apart at various stages. That noticing it is half the battle. I just didn’t realise it would be this hard.
Tonight, we’ll go to bed like normal. We’ll lie there in the dark listening to the monitor. I’m sorry you’ll say and I’ll whisper it back, knowing that right then, things are okay.