Released On 22nd May 2018
Lawrence's blog: Living for the weekend - 3 years on
Back in 2015, I wrote my first blog for Cityparents. It centred on my ambitions for a random weekend which, like for most, had a focus on seeing more of my partner and my then 2 year old daughter, recuperating from a busy work week, and doing some exercise.
I now look back at that blog (and our lives then) in the same way parents often look at their parentless friends with enviable free-time; with thoughts of “they really have no idea how easy they have it”.
Fast forward 3 years and; our 2 year old daughter is now a defiant, hard of hearing, super-hero loving 5 year old, we have 1 year old identical twin girls whose love of ransacking the house on a daily basis and climbing into the strangest of places, shows no signs of abating - I found one of them fully inside the dishwasher the other day, parked on the bottom rack like they were a plate to be washed. Oh and having decided to try and get myself onto my firms promotion ‘pipeline’ (although given the career hungry candidates and competitive nature of the process, it’s more akin to the career equivalent of a Ninja warrior gauntlet than a promotion pipeline), for me, like for countless others, work continues to take its pound of flesh. I did get married somewhere in those 3 years though!
In the 2015 blog, I asked the question of whether I would have my life any other way given my fatigue levels back then (which ignorantly I recall thinking could not get worse) and general lack of time for other things. Apparently, back then I said I would not change a thing.
So given the whirlwind of the past 3 years I decided to re-test that same question, taking the run-up to last weekend as a comparator…..
A busy work week involving various offsite meetings means evening catch up work and so by Thursday I’m spent and agree to stop working by 9pm to spend some valuable TV time with my wife and get an early night; asleep by 11pm was the aim. My wife is equally shattered given she has spent the week pulling twins from dishwashers, doing school runs and being an activity chauffeur for our 5yr old.
Inevitably, at 11pm, I decide that rather than sleep like my wife, I will spend 2mins (which turns into 45mins) on the ipad wasting time looking at nothing (which I justify to myself by thinking scouring skysports.com and imdb is valuable “me time” which sleep cannot replace).
At 11:45pm I hear footsteps coming from down the hallway and brace for the standard zombie-esq 5yr old to stealthily slip into the middle of our bed and assume the star fish position (such that we get minimal sleep until either my wife or I can be bothered to carry her back to her room). This doesn’t happen. Instead the child clambers to my wife’s side of the bed, looks up and projectile vomits; I put the ipad down.
My wife provides motherly comfort to my daughter (“oh darling, poor thing”, in tandem with back rubs) as I protest shouting, “get her over the toilet she’s not stopped vomming!” I grab her and place her over the toilet as she proceeds to throw up what looks like her entire body weight; the back rubbing and comfort comments can resume.
The next hour is spent cleaning carpets, washing duvets etc. The child assumes my side of the bed and I’m off to sleep in the spare room, although not before finding out that our daughter had actually thrown up in her room prior to coming to ours; more carpet washing and duvet changes required.
I am awoken the next morning by a call on my mobile from my wife who is in our bed, she has been up most the night with the child who continued to vomit after I went to sleep, she is naturally knackered. I agree to work from home and proceed to scan my work diary for the day to see what meetings can be changed to calls etc. By this time it’s 6am and the twins early morning babbling has turned to frustrated grunts as they await retrieval and their morning milk.
I get the twins ready and we rush off to get medicine to help my daughter’s stomach. On my return, the twins have breakfast and then proceed on their mission to destroy the inside of the house. Needless to say that the 5yr old is not well enough to go to school, so a small win here as the struggle to get her to give herself anything resembling a proper morning wash and get her out the door on time is not required today.
Once I have settled our daughter on a makeshift sick bay on our sofa, equipped with bucket, towels and TV remote. My wife takes over twin watch and I go up to the office to start work.
Turns out my work day gets away with me, as do my conference calls and I am of little to no help at home during the day, aside from the occasional drink making and putting a quick wash on.
I finish working at 9:30pm and my warrior wife, who has managed all 3 children for most the day, without the luxury of being able to take them out of the house, is laid in bed. I jump into bed and we both sigh and laugh. My wife rightly demands the right to choose what we watch and we then proceed to discuss whether our daughter may be well enough for her weekend activities - she also had a friend planning to come over which may have to be canned. We fall asleep half way through Have I got News for You; the ipad stays firmly closed.
Needless to say, a manic but not completely uncommon 36hours. However, certain little things make our continuing parenthood challenges all worthwhile, such as my daughter she comments that in her current state, she may struggle to beat Thanos (a Marvel baddie for the uninitiated) but she would “give it a good go to try and protect the earth”. Or when on Friday evening, she stumbles into my office to say good night, but not before asking how much work I still have to do (the question in 5yr old speak actually being “do you have 159 million more works to do before you can come downstairs?”). When I answer, “Yes madam, lots to do”, she replies, “Daddy, just don’t do it and hide so your bosses can’t find you, I’ll help you find somewhere good to hide!”. These little moments make you forget that you spent some of the night on puke patrol.
So, the challenges have evolved somewhat since 2015, but when I ask myself again now would I have it any other way…...the answer remains a firm “no”. Yes, it has become less ‘living for the weekend’ and more ‘surviving until the weekend’ but what’s a little extra tiredness and overwork when you have three little women to help keep you on your toes.