It was a little bit over one week when I came home with my girl.
To understand what happened next it is necessary to explain out living conditions – at least briefly.
Mr. M and me both worked freelance and we worked as a team. He is a camera operator and I am an editor (the girl with the microphone next to the camera asking stupid questions). We worked in the news business. Meaning you get a phone call and you immediately rush to wherever you are needed and also meaning it was impossible for me to do this with a baby. You cannot have a child and work in a job that is completely unpredictable in every aspect.
We had our own small office only 2 streets (!!) from our apartment. Mr. M continued the job and my part was given to colleagues who had time.
So, yes, being a freelancer always means you never know how much money you`ll make and if you don’t take the job today you might not get a Job tomorrow.
Hmmm…but let me ask you how often in a lifetime do you have to take your wife and new born baby home from hospital? Does anyone really believe it throws you into poverty if you keep that day free and get your daughter home? I thought so.
Or if your absolutely cannot make it to pick her up you could maybe -just maybe- take the next day to get your wife and preemie to the necessary first appointment with the pediatric.
Being freelance also means, there are days with nothing to do at all or days with nothing to do until the afternoon of course you have to work at the weekends – or maybe not. There is absolutely no schedule.
For me, in my brain, that means for someone who just got a little daughter. I can go to my office in the morning and recognize: „Wow, there is nothing to do at the moment. I can just go home (2 streets) and see how my baby girl is doing. I can rush off anytime they call me.“
Guess what. He did not do this ONE SINGLE TIME in 4 years. He went to the office and played World of Warcraft. Ah yes, he did the bills and the organization but please keep in mind: I am talking about years here! Years as a freelancer with a lot of hours playing World of Warcraft without coming home ONCE to see your daughter. Even if you are available 7 days a week there is always one day without a booking, always. I know what I am talking about, I have the exact same job. You can even chose to have breakfast with your child because you worked late or you worked the entire week so I stay at home one hour longer in the morning to see her and leave then, whatever you want.
I still want to cry when I write all this down.
I think that almost every mother knows I am not exaggerating when I tell you, at the beginning (and for quite a while after) you do not sleep very much, you don’t have time to take a shower in peace, you do not even go to the toilet in peace (or on your own most of the time).
When there are two people raising a child there is the very small possibility that your partner – maybe on one Sunday in the month – takes his baby, puts it in the stroller and walks around the block with her, just imagine that! You could once a month take a bath….maybe.
Yes…no, that did not happen.
You know I asked him that once, explained him that it would be so very nice if he could take his daughter for a walk a little while because it would help me very much. So he went outside. Once. The next week I had to ask him again. He told me – I swear to god he said it, it is still ringing in my ears :“I go for a walk with her all the time why can’t you come with us.“ Did I just have a stroke?
That was the last time I ever asked.
Another thing I will never forget in my life. I heard about that one fairy tale that sometimes at the weekends fathers leave their bed and take their child outside a little while with the unthinkable idea in mind that once in a while their wife can sleep a little longer. Their wife who spent the last months getting up every three hours to feed the baby. Well for me that was a fairytale. He stayed in bed -always. I watched him snore while I got up at every unholy hour and took care of the baby’s day and later the toddler`s day.
Again, I asked him once if it would be possible at times to get up and leave the bedroom to let me sleep a little. Well, yes, he did that the next day and never again.
I did not beg him again.
Also very hurtful was the fact that later, when the breastfeeding was done and there came the time I spoon fed her during meals, I once again was left on my own. Most of the time we sat down to eat, I fed the baby and tried to eat my own meal. Very often you end up feeding her, wiping away the mess, check that the food is not to hot etc. and in between you take a mouthful from your own plate. Inevitably the other person, who is not feeding the baby but concentrating on his own food intake, always finishes long before you do. Maybe I don’t have to tell you anymore that he preferred to watch me struggling instead of doing something like: Yeah my plate is empty and your plate is still almost full. Let me go on and feed the baby you can finish your meal.
I could go on like that for pages and pages and I still want to cry and get sick at the same time.
One last thing that got imprinted in my brain: It was another Sunday morning, no work. Mr. M got up late of course, he made himself coffee and sat down to play World of Warcraft. My daughter and I had been already awake for a few hours and she started to get restless so I told him we’d go outside to the playground. He wasn’t interested of course. On the playground I was the only mother, I swear, there were 4 Dads with their little ones. Yes, of course, Sunday morning, I am a father and its Sunday I go out and spend one hour at the playground with my child.
I sat there and cried.
At some point of the 4 years we lived together he once explained to me, that he just does not like going to the playground!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah! I love it!!!!!! It’s my favorite past time as a grown woman, you know. That’s why I go there, because I like it so much!