1. Replace swear words with ‘love’
When everyday dialogue between you and your other half is like something out of Pulp Fiction, thanks to sleep-deprivation and the general nerve-battering that comes with having children, it’s easy to become a little desensitised. “Did you make her bottle up?” “Fuck off.” “I told you he’d gone off cheese.” “Shut the fuck up.” “Can you stop swearing please?” “No, I fucking can’t.” Quite rightly, you can each excuse the other’s pissiness as sheer fraught fatigue – and to be fair, it’s a pretty strong couple who can move past such exchanges with a shrug and channel-hop. But if you fancy making a gesture out of not calling each other cunts (who said romance is dead?), you could always try replacing your usual four-lettered words with ‘love’? “Love you, you loving love!” “Love off! And you can forget a love tonight!” You get the gist. And if sounding like a sweary film with bad dubbing gets a little much, lose the PG-rating after the kids-are-in-bed watershed and let rip with eff word like a couple of motherfuckers.
2. Scoff together at other parents more
This is an easy relationship routine to put into practice and maintain. All that judgement you have for each other’s parenting, just needs redirecting. As you open your mouth to criticise the Spaghetti Hoops dished up for the third night in a row, or amount of Sudocrem being slapped on your baby’s arse – stop and think! Is there someone else whose parenting-style you might both enjoy slagging off? The woman round the corner who eats dandelions and has a kid with a name like a shade of Dulux paint? Fair game. Them parents at soft play with the ugly kid who twats everyone? Let it rip! This is vital, bonding stuff – you’re not just enjoying a sneer! You’re bitching in a bid to keep your relationship strong, which if you think about it, is all about the kids really.
3. Put out!
No, it’s not a reference to sex – it’s a cheap gag about putting out the rubbish. A simple effort to sling a bin bag in the black wheelie/ replace the loo roll empty/ unwedge the much-hunted for TV remote from between the sofa cushions – or whatever typical household gripe bandied between you – might show more thought than a bunch of begonias ever could. And if shagging is an issue that needs addressing too, let’s be honest, you could be more inclined to get off with each other if you’re not in a piss about the poo-streaked nappy bags that have been festering on the kitchen floor for days. So remember – get them shit bags shifted and you might get laid. You know, if you both have the energy and there’s nothing on TV…
4. Don’t shit with the door open
True, it’s great that you’re very comfortable with each other, and OK, keeping a little ‘mystique’ in your relationship might be something your nan would advocate. But let’s be frank here, seeing poo-strain in your other half’s face followed by the stench of human sewage, really doesn’t set the mood for romance. Excreting in front of your other half, much like eating the contents of your nose or farting and then sniffing the air, given its intrinsic nature to evoke revulsion, has to be a no-no for showing someone you care, surely? Unless, of course you’re one of those poo-loving celebrities from many-an urban legend and in which case – knock yourself out!
5. Blank each other
Marriage guidance is jam-packed with knackered parents complaining about how loudly the other eats their crisps, or you know, breathes. But in truth it’s not marital problems they’re experiencing – it’s just a touch of cabin fever. It’s unsurprising really, given that leaving the house with kids is so protracted that plans are often abandoned and consequently, by witching hour, everyone is losing their shit like contestants on Big Brother. It’s not expensive counselling you need, or to ram whole packets of crisps down your other half’s throat in a bid to secure a bit of peace. You just need to sit in separate rooms happily blanking each other for a while. For a lifetime, maybe. Sure, you’ll still hate each other, but then at least you can go on game shows together and get a round of applause from the studio audience for managing not to get divorced over the course of 50-odd years?
6. Skin up!
Enjoyed a little reefer before having kids? Maybe you frequented the odd illegal rave together prior to a life full of Nellie the Elephant? Or a perhaps a quick fumble in a public place was more your thing? Whatever your favourite cheeky pastime pre-parent days, you could benefit from revisiting those dark, dirty, delicious days. Slumping next to each other, gawking at your respective phones and swapping the odd bit of information about unpaid bills and what time the Tesco delivery is due, can become all too familiar when kids drain you of your last drop of energy. So, crack open the Rizla, stick on a Prodigy CD and enjoy a little under-the-sweater by an open window – because you’re not just parents. You are a couple of lovely freaks with some weird shit in common.
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