I know you got home from work and I shoved a screaming clone of you into your arms while rattling off the list of things I need you to do before the kids’ bedtime just as you were reaching for a kiss.
I know you’ve spent more nights than not in recent months squeezed into our toddler’s bed to ward off the monsters, instead of in bed with me.
I know you made an innuendo during dinner, then slyly winked at me, and I said “Gross” without even glancing up from my plate [a bitch gotta eat].
I know your showers take approximately three minutes longer than necessary now, and I know it’s been three months.
I know I used to be ravenous, lascivious, scandalous even, and we skinny dipped in broad daylight and made out on a beach chair while our margaritas melted in the sun.
I know I used to wake you up at 3am just because I missed your touch and that you never once complained or told me you had to be up early in the morning.
I know we swore that those cliché sexless parents would never be us.
I know that even so, they are.
I know all that. Here are some things I want you to know:
I don’t mind my “mom bod” too terribly much, am not haunted by the aesthetic failings of my postpartum self: the flapjack boobies or the flesh fanny pack I carry around my middle. I know you’re not expecting some lingerie-clad, craven smut queen and you’d be just as happy with a greasy mom-bunned zombie with zit cream on her face wearing the same pair of sweatpants with a [conveniently placed, for your purposes] hole in the crotch for the third day in a row and toddler fingerprint-smudged glasses, but I hardly have time to myself to shower [hence the greasy hair and zits], and the thought of taking- make that running enough interference to create- ten spare minutes in my day for sex? Well, I can think of about a million other things I’d like to use that ten minutes for. It’s not that I don’t like it- it’s just that I like pooping without an audience, eating more than one meal a day, or drinking my coffee while it’s still hot more. Maybe I’d go on a run, clear my head, tackle that weird floppy front muffin top? Or finish folding the laundry that’s been sitting in the hamper for a week now? Ah, screw it- at this point I’d better just toss it in the wash again. Let’s face it- I’m not gonna do any of that shit. Really? I’d just rather take a ten minute power nap so I can make it through the virtual horror movie that is bedtime.
I have a newborn hanging off my boob, a toddler clinging to my leg, and you not-so-subtly rubbing my back. It. is. exhausting. I just want affection from someone who doesn’t need anything from me. And yes, you may squeeze my hand, rumple my hair, pat my ass without expectations, per se, but there’s an undercurrent of want that feels taxing. I just want to be held by someone who isn’t asking me for anything, to be given a few moments of the comfort I’ve spent all day doling out like DMV waiting room numbers, servicing one need after another, the line never getting any shorter.
I’ve spent all day nurturing: kissing booboos, cutting crusts, and wiping butts, brushing hair, snuggling to sleep and refereeing that when I climb exhausted into bed and you expect me to rouse the virile, sensual, uninhibited sex goddess of yore from the ashes of the dumpster fire that was my day, it feels like you might as well be asking me to go straight from the gym to the red carpet, still sweating and skin salt-crusted. I mean, yeah, technically I could, but also...gross.
And speaking of gross, with screeching, shitting, back-talking reminders pin-balling around my house, it’s hard to think of my vagina [yes, I said vagina! In a post about sex! That basically makes this porn, right?] as anything other than the locker room tunnel to the big game; a means to an end that delivered my tiny shriveled spawn earthside. I get anxiety just walking into Target through the “out” doors, so you can only imagine the mental discomfort I feel trying to rewire my brain to remember that this particular door used to be marked “enter” long before it was an exit.
I’m still here. That woman who could make anything into a dirty joke, who couldn’t get enough of you in college, who planned sexy Skype dates from across the world just to see you with your shirt off even if it meant waking up at 5am to do it...I’m still here. Somewhere. Buried deep down under the runny noses and sticky fingers and the endless need-fulfilling of this season of our lives. I still hear you, calling “Marco!” into the void, but my answer is drowned out by the My Little Pony theme song and the wailing of a kid who just cannot handle the fact that her juice is “too orange”. I know you miss me. You should know I miss you, too. You should know I’ll wait for you. In the meantime, you should also know, we are absolutely, definitely, 100% not having sex tonight.