The time is 10:23pm. It is still summer and all five kids just fell asleep.
“I want to have sex tonight,” hubby asserts, feeling sexy and full of confidence.
“Okay, my love,” says the weary wife (me).
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“Just don’t wake me up when you do.”
(Excerpt taken from actual conversation between husband and wife after concluding with typical late-night routine consisting of: begging/bribing kids to go to sleep, tidying up ransacked kitchen-zone, kicking miscellaneous toys out of walkway and folding lingering load of laundry.)
I am all eyes for one thing and one thing only: my bed. Nothing in the world short of an impending nuclear explosion will steer me off course. I am ready and my mind is set. In. Stone. I am going to finally do it, sleep 8 consecutive, uninterrupted hours.
Then I reminisce…
At what point in my life did sex become a chore? Or rather, when did sleep become the priority? Pre-motherhood me used to get by on 5-6 hours a night. Like butter. And even if I were tired, sex was never forsaken.
Years later, things have changed. I know, I know; I’ve read countless articles that suggest squeezing in a little lovin’ during those ten minutes the kids are distracted watching a movie, or at dawn before they awake, or perhaps during an afternoon lull. Heck, I’ve even heard people recommend spontaneous acts of love-making in the middle of the night---waking up just to do it.
And, I don’t disagree. Intellectually, I get the rationale. Emotionally, I feel the importance of intimacy for the couple’s well-being---of staying connected.
But, really, do these writer-people have kids? Because I do, and lots of them that consume my every last shred of patience and strength.
I mean, who doesn’t love a good roll in the hay? The problem lies on a continuum somewhere between actually “doing it” and the road leading there, in mustering up the energy, the time, and the will.
The greatest challenge, I believe, is to detach from the sticky tentacles of the day’s stressors, turn off the brain and relax. And for many of us undergoing recession-related stress or other perpetual pressures that zap our energy and create anxiety, it is even more of a challenge.
As women, we need to “shift gears” and empty the mind of the worries occupying space inside. We need to get ourselves in the mood. We ought not to focus on our children’s belongings scattered throughout our “erotic zone” that represent the antithesis of romance. And certainly, we shouldn’t concentrate on the shrinking number of hours of sleep that remain before our dawn wake-up call.
Yes, getting-to-sex requires work. And sleep doesn’t. But it doesn’t have to be a competition.
Because in all fairness, don’t the things we value most require the greatest amount of effort to attain and maintain? Marriage is work. Keeping our kids healthy and in-line does, too. There are no shortcuts.
What do you think?