Hello and a HUGE thank you to 23 Review Street for hosting what is the fifteenth stop on my ‘This Family Life Blog Tour’. If you missed the last blog you can see it here http://www.novelkicks.co.uk/
If you haven’t read ‘This Family Life’ or it’s prequel ‘This Thirtysomething Life’ it’s about Harry Spencer, a ‘typical’ thirty-something man going through having his first baby, having an early midlife crisis, being a father, a teacher, and trying and failing at a lot of it. It’s written in a diary form and although a lot of the book is just about ordinary life, at the heart of the books there is also a love story...it just isn’t your typical love story.
I class these books as ‘romantic comedies’ but in reality they’re about what happens after the romantic comedy is done. Whenever I watch a rom-com film, as much as I enjoy them and love watching the couple fall in love, I always think to myself...but what happens after? My ‘This Life’ series (‘This Twentysomething Life’, ‘This Thirtysomething Life’, and ‘This Family Life’) follow Harry and Emily through getting married, being pregnant, to finally having a baby. It is romantic though. Their love story is definitely a bumpy one, but it’s very really and I hope just as romantic as a traditional rom-com.
At the end of ‘This Thirtysomething Life’ we see new parents Harry and Emily happy and looking forward to the future with baby William, but very quickly in ‘This Family Life’ we see the strains of parenthood beginning to take their toll. Being new parents is hard on a relationship and it requires a lot of work to stop parenting taking over the relationship. Emily doesn’t feel very attractive and is still trying to get her body back, Harry is tired and has seemingly lost his mojo, and before long they’re struggling to recapture the romantic magic.
Surviving the first year can be difficult and often it’s about just that...survival, and the idea of being romantic is the last thing on your mind. However, as the year goes on and Harry and Emily adapt and start realising that they have to pay some much needed care and attention to their marriage, we see their relationship change and maybe it’s a whole new sort of romantic comedy...the romance of a married couple discovering each other again.
Below is an excerpt taken from Valentine’s Day and Harry and Emily are trying to put the spark back in their marriage.
Thursday 14 February 12.15 p.m.
Over breakfast this morning Emily said we needed to talk. She thinks we’re drifting apart and we need to have a proper chat about it. I admit that things haven’t been great between Emily and me recently. I mean they’re fine. They’re average. It isn’t like we’re on the verge of divorce, but we’ve definitely lost the spark. The thing is, whereas I’m quite happy to plod along until things pick up (which they inevitably will), Emily needs to talk about it, dissect it, and understand why.
‘I’ll get William down early and make something special.’
‘Maybe we could have our once per month takeaway?’ I said hopefully.
‘Let me look at the Jamie Oliver cookbook. There’s a Thai curry in there I’ve been dying to try.’
‘Can I have real portions though?’
‘Harry, it’s going to be romantic,’ she said, which didn’t really placate my worry about starving to death on the most romantic day of the year.
She also snuck a Valentine’s card into my lunch, which meant I would have to stop on the way home and get something - I was going to be the cliché bloke at the garage picking up a crappy, but expensive bouquet of petrol tinged roses. Brilliant.
I got home (minus forgotten petrol roses) and spent an hour with William before I put him to bed. When I came downstairs, Emily had the dinner table set with a lovely looking curry, a bottle of wine and some romantic music. Emily had slipped into something much less comfortable, but infinitely more sexy.
‘Wow, it looks -you look - wonderful,’ I said sitting down.
‘Do you like it?’ Emily said after we’d had a few bites. I was absolutely ravenous and was scoffing it down in the most unromantic way possible.
‘It’s like Jamie Oliver popped over and made it himself. It’s sensational.’
We reminisced about past Valentine’s gone by and how things were so different, which apparently segued perfectly into the main debate of the night. What was happening with our sex life?
‘I think it’s why I feel so distant from you,’ said Emily. ‘We barely touch and if we do it just feels awkward.’
‘It’s tough with William. I’m tired, you’re tired. I think we just need to see it out and we’ll be fine.’
‘You think we just need to see it out? You don’t think anything’s wrong?’
‘I’m sure loads of first time parents go through the same sort of thing. It’s perfectly natural,’ I said semi-confidently.
‘Then let’s make an effort,’ said Emily. ‘Let’s agree to go on at least one date a month and have sex once a week.’
‘You don’t think that’s a bit too clinical?’
‘Harry, right now we haven’t been on a date since we had William and I can’t remember the last time we had sex, can you?’
‘There was that time just before we had William -’
‘That doesn’t count. Before that?’
‘A while I suppose. OK, let’s do it.’
‘Starting tonight,’ said Emily with a mischievous smile.
Don't forget to check out the next stop on This Family Life -http://tracybloom.com/