I think I’ve Committed Adultery

…but perhaps all mothers – to some extent – do.

Recently, my younger sister sent me a couple of articles about the changing landscape of marriage once kids enter the picture.  The pictures, as told by these two writers, aren’t pretty.  The idea is simple: when kids are introduced to a home, a mother falls in love with them and forgets about her husband. One article comes at the issue from a mother who refuses to love her kids more.  She loves her kids, she says.  But she is IN LOVE WITH her husband.  The other article comes from a sad dad perspective (I can’t get a link to it online…it’s from Redbook’s column Whys Guy, February 2011).  This husband says he wants his wife back.  He wants to be the one she snuggles with.

The articles call for a sort of binary that pits love for husband against love for kids.  And I so badly want to resist that dividing line.  I mean, can’t I love my husband and my kids?  Doesn’t love just grow and grow the more we enhance it with life forms?

But the more I think about it, the more it seems I am cheating on my husband.  I am having an affair.  With my kids.  It’s been going on for a while, and I don’t plan on ending it anytime soon.

Here is the proof:

1.  I don’t let my husband anywhere near my chest right now.  I live in a nursing bra and even have two nursing pads tucked  in for an extra layer of protection/concealment.  But Sidney has an all-access pass.  Anytime day or night.  She starts to root and out they come!

2.  I haven’t cuddled with my husband in weeks (except for one night when we just had Sidney).  Sometimes, Riley asks me to hold her, and I fall asleep with my arm draped over her.  Sometimes, Adrian crawls on top of me and drifts off to sleep there.  All the time, I have a little person next to me in the night.  We cuddle.  We spoon.  I breathe in their hair.  I kiss their soft, round cheeks.  This, I think, is intimacy.  This is love.

3.  I woo my kids with “special surprises” and “little treats.”

4.  When I splurge, it’s on them.

5.  When I do talk to my husband, I’m distracted, sometimes even distant.  I want to know how Riley’s day was, what Adrian is up to.

6.  I can’t even make eye contact with Shawn.  I’m too busy smiling at Sidney.

7.  I melt when Adrian asks me to hold him.  My heart swells when Riley tells me she loves me to ten Plutos and back.  And even when she tells me she loves me to snot and back.

8.  My perfect date night now: milk shakes at Chic-fil-a.

9. I don’t smell like myself any more.  My clothes, my skin no doubt carry unmistakable aromas of otherness: breastmilk, chocolate, and dirt.

10. I notice differently now.  When Shawn shaves, his face feels just like it did when he was weekend scruffy.  He has to point out changes in his facial hair to me.

And if not with my kids, then something funny is definitely going on with my coursework…


5 thoughts on “I think I’ve Committed Adultery

  1. It’s so easy to get caught up in the beauty of our children. Their sweet smells and cuter laughs! But remember always, it was your love for him that brought them into this world, so bring him into that circle! My mother once told me to never go shopping again without bringing home something for my hubby. (I am terribly happy whenever I’m out shopping for the kids!) I didn’t understand her point at first, but she made me promise, even if I just grabbed him a new pair of boxers, to always do some small thing for him. Many years later, he told me it makes him feel like I’m thinking of him when I do that. Thanks MOM! By keeping a smile on his face, my love affair with my babies has only grown and grown! 🙂

    • I really like your mom’s idea. I am definitely a big-time gift giver, so I think that idea could totally work! And your last sentiment is a really good one, one I will definitely keep in mind. Thanks, Tiffany.

  2. I’ve noticed similiar things in my home life too…I love being a mom and find it so rewarding and it’s easy to forget about my husband and just chalk the baby bonding up to the demands of being a new parent. But I know I need to spend more time with my husband and paying attention to him too.

  3. Good post. I had this issue too, but I ended up setting aside 15 minutes a day, no matter what to make a real connection with my husband. He deserved it…In the end, when the babies are all gone from home, you don’t want to have absolutely nothing in common anymore.

  4. Bit late commenting on this but only just found you through you finding me! Wanted to say here – I was totally guilty of adultery too! But my dear partner just seemed to understand, support and fell in love with the babies too! Tuesday we celebrated our 23rd year together so I can’t have been too horrendous. Of course children change you – everything changes you not just children. Motherhood changes you most of all. But this time with your small children will also change itself and they will be like my children one day;18 and 21 – we home educated them and they’re grown and going now and we face new changes.
    The best thing you can do is not worry, enjoy your children, keep as balanced as you can – in all senses of the word and know that you don’t have this precious time again! Best wishes. x

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