No, the title of this post is not a reference to the frantic posturings of our beloved politicians as they square up for the imminent election, but the infinitely more complex negotiations that surround the explosive question of the weekend lie in. Back when we only had one or two children, my husband and I used to be kind to each and operated a rotating system, whereby we each got at least one laze in bed of a weekend.
Since the arrival of the twins, this luxury is long lost in the mists of time. Now, while we very occasionally allow our other half a wallow beneath the sheets, more typically we will be joined at some ungodly hour by a wriggling child or two, who will proceed to fill the dawn hours with whines for Ben 10 to be switched on on our bedroom TV interspersed with and requests for reassurance after some trumped up bad dream, water, medicine, back rubs, cuddles.....
To be fair to my husband he is much more generous than I am, and I am often to be found nestled under the duvet while he wrestles with dressing four boys and shovelling cereal down their throats. But breakfast chez FDMTG really is a two-parent job so I don't really think it is fair to leave him to cope single handed too often.
Of course there are the weekends when we are fully signed up members of the bad parent club, and we send our big boys down to watch television on their own, and block our ears to the plaintive wails that waft upstairs, ever louder, from the twins' room. We snuggle under the duvet and indulge our wildest fantasies - that we don't have four children who will inevitably require our attention sooner rather than later, and that we can stay in bed, all day, venturing no further than the kitchen for necessary sustenance. Oh what very heaven that would be.
I think that couples who with no children don't realise just what a precious commodity they possess. I know I wasn't aware of the value of time to myself, or time as a couple, when both were in plentiful supply. I remember squandering mornings that we could have spent luxuriating in bed surrounded by a mess of weekend papers and scratchy croissant crumbs, by foolishly getting up and going out.
If only I had realised how these precious opportunities would be snatched away from me as soon as babies arrived, I think I might have spent all my spare time pre-children in bed, just appreciating the delight of it. Wallowing in the sensation of being able to stretch out on the sheets without hitting variously a freezing cold pair of feet, a soggy sucked cuddly toy or the sharp edge of some cartoon sci fi toy that had been abandoned during a night time raid on the parental bed.
It is a rare night that we aren't joined by a nocturnal guest or two, and this is while two of our brood are still locked into cots at night. I dread to think what it will be like when there are four little boys free to rampage after dark. I am crossing my fingers that by the time the twins are able to negotiate the stairs the older boys will be too grown up to want to snuggle into my bed. Fat chance I suspect, but as in most matters parental, I live in hope.