Right now I have one enormous boob and one small redundant tit. They are like me and my husband. They make a mockery of the modern myth of fifty/fifty. But which tit am I?
I’m breastfeeding of course. Between us, I’ve been discreetly knocking out babies between Edinburgh shows. And the most obvious thing about them is that they like me best. Maybe it’s because I wake at their merest whimper, or that I smell of milk, or that my jokes are better. But there’s no doubt I’m King Bottom Wiper. I’m sure there are couples out there who work with the symbiotic efficiency of the ant and the aphid: they’re destroying it, with monotonous, homogenous consistency. But round here things aren’t equal. My other half is definitely working more, earning more, sleeping more. I’m frightened he’s peaking. Of course, everyone looks better when they’re standing next to a wailing woman covered in pee and dribble. But are they supposed to look this much better as they walk away?
There is a mythical allure to the man. Every time I look at my husband I remember why I always wanted to be one. He leaves and he returns like a wandering hero. And you can bet your life he’s not peppering his office banter with guiltily stored stock phrases like, ‘I pumped’, and ‘it’s ok I’m here, the baby’s asleep’. Why? Because he learned how to delegate back when we lived in caves. I hate delegating. I’d rather ruin everything myself. Most importantly, men don’t talk as much, which means their bad days can pass as good ones. They’ve been taught to grunt. If they’re ever seriously distressed, they’re encouraged to knock each other out. We’re encouraged to chat; by family, friends, and white wine. It’s unhealthy.
As fatigue kicks in I’ve noticed he’s being called on by our toddler to play monsters, race around the house, hose the garden. Am I grateful? Of course I’m not. Will it be much longer before he is reached for in the night? Will I be able to let go? Of course I won’t. Because I want it all. I was always told you can have it all, but it’s obvious now people meant I could have what he has instead. You can’t be everyone at once. You can’t be in the house and out the house – at the same time. Somewhere along the line you have to make a choice – and choice ruins all the options. Having children proves the point. If you want it all you have to compromise on everything.
We’re told not to cry over spilled milk. But I just knocked an ounce of diligently expressed breastmilk (I won’t delegate to Formula) over my new laptop. Did I race to rescue my computer? No. I watched, frantic, as the milk oozed between the keys. I tried to think of ways to save it without making a mockery of sterilisation. There aren’t any. My Mac is sticky with my failure. Will I keep this failure to myself? No. I’m already sharing my thoughts: Spilled milk? I cried, dear Reader, I cried.
Tania Edwards is taking her new show, Don’t Mention It, to Monkey Barrel 2 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 2nd-25th August (excl 14th) at 4.00pm. More info and tickets available here