Isobel is 16 days old today and despite the joy of welcoming a new baby into the family there have been quite a few instances of experiencing the not-so-great flip side of life.
I should have known it when, a couple of hours after my arrival home from hospital Ben mentioned that his bedroom ceiling was leaking. Mike went off to investigate and discovered a broken ball-cock in the upstairs bathroom. The nine month old tumble drier we had fixed for the second time only the week before had developed another fault, and the washing machine packed up. Then the following day, the independent midwife we had hired for our ante and post natal care dumped us by text.
To top it all I have found myself really not enjoying filming this time around. At first it was okay, but in the last couple of weeks I have noticed more and more odd lines of questioning occurring, and requests to say things to the camera that I wouldn’t normally say.
Yesterday, for example, I was asked to say the line, ‘I am a disciplinarian’. The original question was something along the lines of who is stricter or something like that, to which Mike answered that he was the fun parent and with which I agreed. I do tend to do most of the telling off and nagging. You can imagine how they would cut me saying ‘I am a disciplinarian’ into the programme and given the last ’15 Kids and Counting’ debacle, I am already extremely wary and worried.
Another line of questioning they have been throwing out is regarding Mike’s ‘return to work’ next week. Now in reality, Mike had finished off the job he was on the week before Isobel was born. Knowing that I would be going into hospital in a few days he scheduled his next job to begin a couple of weeks after her birth – wanting to have some kind of ‘paternity leave’ and get to know his new daughter. The flexibility of working around family and events and to our own schedule was one of the reasons we’ve worked to create self-employed incomes for ourselves, so why not use that flexibility?
The line of questioning was repeatedly along the lines of how I was going to cope when Mike ‘returned to work’ – the repeated implication being that I was pretty darned useless at looking after us without his help. Let’s remember that two weeks ago I had a c-section. I had two 13 month old twins that I couldn’t lift. The first couple of weeks would have been terribly difficult without Mike’s help to lift and carry them, as well as the help he provided in general.
Mike is great. He does help out and one of the main reasons our family life works so well is down to our ‘tag-team’ parenting where one or the other of us can pick up whatever needs doing in respect of lessons/baby/kids/home and get on with it whilst the other gets on with whatever work comes in. Being self-employed we need to work when the work is there!
Let’s also remember that not only do I look after my family but I also run this site and write for other sites/clients for a living. I work from home. I’m at home but I work. I have done so for several years whilst simultaneously looking after my family and running my home… all whilst Mike was working outside of the home. By no means do I consider myself useless. Yet it seems that is the impression that they were after.
I worry about meltdowns occurring when mealtimes are later than the children’s body clocks can take. Our routine is such that we normally avoid such times but when the crew are filming I find myself having to stand firm at times, and coming across as seemingly unreasonable, I’m sure. But I am all too aware that meltdowns are what they’re wanting to film. Editing can portray a far different story to the one that is actually happening. Remember the home-educating scene from the last show where it was a case of ‘cut to Oliver having a tantrum, cut to Cait looking bored, cut to someone else seemingly not paying attention…’? Yep, editing tells a different story entirely. And when you are asked to say certain things in a certain way – well, that just adds to the mistrust and suspicion, you know?
I’m feeling rather low.
We’ve taken a gamble and given them a second chance. My gut feeling is that maybe we shouldn’t have. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.
So I am wary and worried and, truth be told, having second thoughts about agreeing to it all.
We’ll find out soon enough, I guess.