Now I fully understand why my all my parents, step-parents, and parents' parents have divorced so many times: They had kids. It's the story older than time, "Where did our passion go?" It went to your kids, that's where. Every magazine loves telling you how to "rekindle" the passion. (please spare me of that word) But every confidential mommy conversation will confirm that we don't give a damn about sex after a baby's been sucking us dry all day nursing, pooping, demanding, whining and crying.
My husband and I have become a tag-team, baton-passing, relay-race, working partnership. "Here, you take this one, I'll take that one." We look at each other in disbelief most of the time as I exhaustedly shove a whining baby on my boob while he tends to an irrational toddler tantrumming about god knows what. How can we possibly survive getting so little of our own needs met by one another? We both crave each others' touch but are usually too spent to do anything about it. After our boys are safely tucked away we usually end up lying on top of our duvet facing each other curled in fetal positions. He puts a hand on my leg. I put a hand on his head. We close our eyes trying to erase the days challenges. And then I immediately start twitching to sleep. He gets up to go read the news on his computer... and night falls on our family.
Even though I may not want sex and am not willing to wear my enticing strappy red salsa dress without underwear like in the beginning, I want my husband to do all the beginning things for me: rub my feet endlessly, bring me flowers daily, stare dreamily into my eyes, leave his blackberry turned off for hours at a time. Without these things I've developed a stubborn ego ache. Three years ago my identity changed from single temptress to married mommy so fast, my ego had no time to downsize itself and adjust to its lack of daily hits. Lately it's an alley cat singing the Billy Holiday blues, "Well, my man, he don't treat me like he used to. He say he love me, but he don't bring me flowers no mo'." My achy, breaky ego shows up in my dreams at night, spinning tales of old boyfriends wooing me and handsome strangers sweeping me off my feet on the dance floor. It so bad wants to feel the rush of our courtship again - to be reminded that I am still that woman that he wanted so bad. I know I am not nearly the first wife to feel this, nor will I be the last. It's the stuff that keeps romance novels selling and advice columns thriving.
But then (thank god) to save me from myself comes a crystalline moment of family bliss, so pure, so strong that it banishes all this nonsense into vapor. The other morning the boys and I were reading in our newly fashioned "clubhouse" - Gabriel's walk-in closet decked from floor to ceiling in cozy blankets, pillows and stuffed animals - when daddy paid us a surprise visit. He's usually snoozing away and our clubhouse reading is my way to keep us all quiet to let Daddy get his zzzzz's. So all four of us snuggled up cozily and read books and I had a brilliant aha moment: Rachel, dear girl, you have a loving, healthy family. All of this sacrifice might become worth it. The scales might, just might begin to tip in your favor so that the enjoyment of one another outweighs the hard labor. The bliss I felt was so creamy rich. Time stopped for a moment while I internally sighed in happiness and loved my husband and boys like crazy. We warmed up the cubby with our loving embraces, me holding Gabriel and daddy holding Noah, and I felt whole as a woman, mother and wife.
Two minutes later my husband picked up his crackberry and whooshed into provider/worker/corporate slave mode that lasted until that night's inverted-spoon, twitching-to-sleep scenario. But I love this man, my husband man. I love him for all he does for us and all his quirks, I really do. As I type this he is away on a business trip, working hard for us, and I'm reading the book for women only ~ what you need to know about the inner lives of men. It's telling me in no uncertain terms that I need to give it up to my husband or else. So I'm psyching myself to stay awake tonight for him when he arrives home. Easy for me to say now in the morning. But come nighttime, it will be a sacrifice of some tempting pillow time. But my man, he deserves a little something more than just living kids as evidence of his wife's duties completed. Maybe the boys and I will swing by Victoria's Secret on our way home from Playwerx today and they can help me pick out some spicy new lingerie to motivate me for daddy tonight.
I'll let you know how it goes....