I often get asked, ‘I bet you can’t remember what life was like before you got them?’ and every time I’ve managed to manifest a smile stipulating agreement, when in reality; of course I still bloody remember!
We—my partner and I—had a great life. We’d meet in the pub after work on a Friday and cheers the weekend, we would spontaneously book city breaks away and insisted on a holiday at least once a year.
Making the leap from coupledom to adoptive parents of twin boys is exciting, exhilarating, and wonderful. It’s also exhausting, exasperating, and worrisome; combinations that can be toxic to the romantic relationship that made us want to be parents in the first place. Maintaining a vivacious relationship (and sex-life) post-children takes a lot of time and energy, exactly what we’ve got the least of right now.
It takes work! Gone is the social norm us gays our renowned for, I mean who knows how to celebrate better than us, and hello parenthood where spontaneity is a thing of the past! Planning and preparation is cool, getting changed and ready in half hour replaces hours spent on skin regimes and hair products, and you are out that door like a bolt once they are settled, after all, babysitter time is precious. We sneak in from nights out like teenagers past curfew not wanting to wake their parents and we grab those moments of passion when we literally can be fucked (excuse the pun!).
Our relationship has changed, deepened, and our new set of responsibilities brings unseen challenges. We bicker (a lot!) and we have an irrational fear of making decisions on our own, should it be deemed wrong or will (undoubtedly) piss the other off but working on our relationship has paid off in spades.
I mean, he still can’t make a bed (which drives me mad!) and I choose 06:30 in the morning to decide to voice an unwanted, unnecessary opinion (making him want to kill me!). Yet in the chaos of everyday life we are slowly starting to find calm. You have to, otherwise it can run away with you, and children can run fast, undeterred, unaffected while showing no sign of lacking in energy anytime soon. I don’t run, and as my partner has recently reminded me, I am a really smelly sweater (did I mention you also have to be thick skinned?) so this is a combination not worth thinking about.
We have learned to cherish those nights in, with a movie and a bottle of red, to channel what would be quite often weekly date nights into every other month and have somehow managed to expend energy growing resentful of each other, and invest it into enjoying one another. We ban, or at least try to, our phones in the evening. FOMO (Fear. Of. Missing. Out) can often take over, especially when scrolling through friends Instagram stories, all of whom have met in your favourite bar, drinking your tipple of choice. Bastards!
The dynamic of our relationship has changed but so have we, and part of that is still the person we “used to be” and still very much are. It is imperative that we hold on to that. Our children are only four, and are already seriously independent in many ways. If we forget who we were before them, then who are we going to be once they grow up, move out and no longer rely on us? Old. That’s what!
So yes, we hang on in there as we know that someday, in the not so distant future, we will relive our youth, with slightly more money and legal ID’s and these little sleep thieves, who we love unconditionally, will be worth their weight in date-night-taxi-gold!