Love in the Time of Dirty Diapers

Six months ago we were holidaying in Chile. We had few fixed plans, and fewer responsibilities. No jobs. No emails. No meetings. When baby woke up in the middle of the night, no worries—we could nap. Date nights were abundant. Adventure was around every corner.

Romance was easy.

In February we arrived home after six months of traveling. Back to our budget. Back to work. Back to reality. After bouncing from hotel to hotel, it was sort-of nice to have a proper fridge and well-stocked cabinets. I read enough Buzzfeed Parenting articles during the break to be pretty confident in my #dadskills. Thus, the first weekend we were back, I pre-made 8 crock pot dinners in heavy-duty freezer bags. Hell yes I can provide for my family!

A week later, the fridge broke. My hard work (and our grocery budget) thawed, leaked, and spoiled.

Then the dishwasher died.

Then the sliding door broke.

Now the landlord is selling our unit, so we’re moving apartments. Once again, we’re packing up and packing out.

Suffice to say things this week are a little not-so-fun.

Dirty Dishes
Dirty dishes are dirty.

Richenda and I do a week-on, week-off wakeup schedule, so one of us wakes up at dawn with baby while the other can nab extra sleep. It’s a strategic approach to equal parenting, and it helps. We know who’s on point. But this week baby is sick and normal wakeup time is two hours before dawn. Having a small child means you never-ever-again need to set an alarm to get to work on time. You’ll be up.

I’m strongly considering wearing a special t-shirt every-other-Monday as a signal to my colleagues: WARNING: It’s “my week”. Sorry for the things I said when I was tired.

It’s not like life is bad. We’re fine. We’ve got great jobs, comfortable lives, and a full refrigerator (now that it’s working again), and lots of love from family and friends. I’ve seen enough of the world to know how lucky we are.

But sometimes when I’m exhausted… at the end of a long week… when the dishwasher is broken and we’re moving again… sometimes marriage feels like the last thing on a very long to-do list. Things that used to be easy—quality time together, going on dates, lazy afternoons—are distant. It’s more effort than it’s ever been.

It’s not that we’re less in love. We just don’t have as much time together to show it.

Babies are reeeeeeally good at demanding love and attention. If I go 30 seconds without giving my daughter my attention, it’s entirely possible she will attempt to climb into the toilet. Richenda can go much longer without my attention. She’s nowhere near as demanding.

In a card Richenda wrote to me just yesterday, she put into words what exactly what I was feeling about her.

As each day goes by I think of how lucky I am to have you by my side. You are the most beautiful loving, supportive husband. I honestly never dreamed of having!

Life now seems like it has less opportunities to tell you how much you mean to me, this is a reminder that I appreciate everything you do for me and Ashna

My eyes started going blurry from tears as I read through the card. (I am so lucky.)

My girls
I am the luckiest

So we need a date night, and a weekend getaway, and some time for the two of us to sleep in. We’re starting to plan more “us” time. And this week, just for now, I’m trying to treasure the little moments.

… Like when I come in the front door and Richenda says “Daddy’s home!” and I’m welcomed by a 9-month old kid who acts like a puppy. She bounces instead of wagging a tail, and giggles with excitement.

… And how she’s just learned to say “MOMOMOMOM” and “Ba-ba” (

… After dinner me and Ash hide under blankets and she can’t stop laughing.  She gives the best slobbery kisses.

It’s those moments I’m not worried, or stressed, but just joyful that I have this beautiful little giggling soul in my life, and the most incredible woman by my side.

Yes, I’m tired. But I’m happy, and very much in love.

And “my week” is almost over.

Kyle Vermeulen

I love good stories and hot sauce. I'm a Product Manager at SitePoint, and spend my days trying to help people learn tech skills online. Right now, I'm probably looking for my keys, phone and/or wallet.

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