In the balancing act of motherhood I often feel the role I sacrifice the most is that of wife. I do "wife" things, but I feel that I'm so emotionally overcharged with all the other obligations of life at times that I neglect to put in the emotional connection that I should to my marriage. Marriage after kids is a different relationship than it was before the kids. I look at my husband and me in our crazy hectic lives with three kids, a dog, a cat, homeownership, two careers, side pet projects, and grad school and will occasionally wonder are we normal? Is this the way our relationship is suppose to be at this point? We're here together a decade later; we're a team working together to manage this crazy life we love but drown in sometimes.
Sometimes, I miss the him and I that we use to be. I think almost every mother I know has at some point proudly posted on Facebook how she traded her party nights in for her wonderful children and her thin, younger, sexier body for warrior stretch marks she now wears proudly. Maybe I agree with that most days, but I’m not going to lie. I willingly gave up my party nights for our three beautiful children I love more than anything, but every once in awhile I’d trade those comfy mom panties in to dig sexy out of the back of the underwear drawer for a fun night out on the town with my husband before crawling back into my old body in bed next to my five year old. I'm pretty sure there are days my husband misses that girl too. I wish for my younger, thinner body many more days than I care to admit. The muffin top look and stretch marks don't exactly shout sexy.
We all moved forward in this journey called life to the next chapter of parenthood, but why do we pretend that every once in awhile we don’t miss the girl we were before motherhood? Don’t get me wrong; I love the who we are as mommy and daddy that we’ve become. We are different and better people than we were then. But again as the fairy tale that we all envision as young girls slips further and further away and reality settles in, the everyday life of parenthood and all the balance that it entails, I hate the widening gap of who we use to be to who we are. We're so busy, we're so tired, and we're so overwhelmed. We love each other but don't know how to make time for just each other sometimes.
We know our marriage should be on the higher end of a woman’s priority list; however,
sometimes what we envision and what happens isn’t always the same. Unfortunately, when all that
stress builds up sometimes our poor husbands are the scapegoat or target of all that built up mom
frustration. That can also be because as much as we love our husbands and as much as they help and
support us sometimes they just don't get it.
This is maybe when they ask those questions they should have just kept to themselves such as the times when they ask, "Ewww, are you going to shave your legs? Aren't you going to fix your hair or something? You're wearing that out in public?" Or the better ones after a LONG day, "You wanna have sex?" or "Why do you seem so angry? Haven't you already had your period this month?"
So here are my answers to those wonder husband questions that we all encounter at different points. First, if I get a moment, A MOMENT, to myself today, maybe even this week, shaving my legs is NOT at the top of the me list. My shirt? Sorry, it's covered in baby snot, tears, blood from those bloody knees, and whatever else comes out of these adorable little things we call our children, but I either didn't have the time to change it or I haven't had a chance to do laundry. But again what the public thinks of me is the least of my worries right now. Sex? Hmmm, I am so tired right now I feel like I'm running a race to a finish line I can’t see in sight. I haven't had a chance to shower, I probably haven't shaved my legs in weeks, my hair is literally standing on end, the kids are crying, the dog is barking, I just ate a half a pan of brownies for comfort and feel bloated, and I haven't had five minutes to sit down without someone needing or demanding something from me and you want to have sex! Last, just realize I have my period every Wednesday night through Friday because everything irritates and makes me mad at this point. At this point I don't want anything looking at me, touching me, pointing at me, or anything! So, yes, come the end of the week, I may be a little grouchy, tired, undesirable, filthy, and maybe a little overwhelmed, but I love you and will be better Saturday. Saturdays are a good day for sex but Wednesdays are not!
Sometimes it’s a hard decision to make between sex or sleep! As every parent has probably discovered sleep becomes a rare commodity at certain points in parenthood. Sleep and let's be honest I’m sure we all have sex less than we used to. If our children are not zapping every last drop of our energy some of them are even set on invading every private moment in our lives. My eight year old once informed us she was "always going to sleep with Mommy and Daddy. Forever, Mommy!" I’m sure I’m not the only mother that is wondering how long it’s going to be until I have a childless bed again. I’ve decided the reason science says women have their peak in their sex drive in their 40s is because they probably have more energy than they’ve had in the last twenty raising children. I’m sure one day it won’t feel so crazy that we have to set aside a special day for sex or feel like we’re sneaking around our house again like teenagers to do the deed. It’s just when we’re living in the craziness of those early child rearing years, it seems so far away.
We all became women before we had children, but with the birth of our children we become a different woman. In the beginning sometimes it’s hard to find and identify with who this new woman is that now must balance motherhood with wife, employee, and whatever other roles we hold. We all hope to move the to do list of the bedroom higher up, and I’m sure our husbands no matter how high on the list we put it wish it were higher.
Our spouses and our marriages need to be a priority though. This is something I am constantly working on as I continue my journey through motherhood. I don’t want to be strangers when our children are grown and leave home. Even though I do look forward to using that time to rekindle some romance hopefully, I know it’s also important to find ways to rekindle it now while we’re lost in the chaotic years of parenthood. It’s so easy to take each other for granted and fall into the daily routines that result from years of being so comfortable with one another, but as a child of parents that have been married for over 35 years I also know a good solid marriage is a wonderful gift to give to our children. So, moms, put daddy up closer to the top of the to do list and don’t feel guilty for those much needed date nights or even getaway trips for rekindling your relationship and love for one another.
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