To the mom who doesn’t want to be touched,
I feel you, Mama (but not literally because I know that’s the last thing you want). You’ve been poked and prodded all day. Your little people put their paws on you constantly, and you love loving them, but what’s left of you after the lights go out? Likely nothing.
You may be reading this in bed, next to your spouse who’s on his device too. There may be two feet between you but it feels like two hundred. You’re coasting. Co-existing. A complimentary left and right hand just working together to get stuff done. You are parents, and partners, but the passion? That was gone as quickly as the freedom to pee alone was.
There used to be a time you left sticky notes on the fridge professing your love. Remember those days? And the cutesy pet names? It was all fun and games (and late night romps around the bedroom) until co-sleepers and sleepless nights hit.
But this was the goal, wasn’t it? A family of your own. I get it. I was that teenager who put a pillow under her shirt and pretended to be pregnant. My first love was fairytales, and it was a glorious day when I met a man who was along for the ride. He gave life to my dreams — and now I worry that very dream is pulling us apart. Maybe we’ll reengage after the preschool purgatory passes, but then comes [sports] practices, and hormones, and college prep, and an empty nest. I worry what we’ll be then if this is who we are now. I wonder how many times I can grimace when he touches my arm or roll away from him in bed before he quits trying altogether.
You see, I’m trapped here. Trapped between a woman who loves love and a woman who is worn out. I don’t think about my fairytales anymore; I just read them on repeat to my children. I’m in survival mode. [There are] snacks to be fed, hands to be wiped, bullies to be kept at bay — and let’s not even start on my body. It’s soft and sags where it shouldn’t. Often I can barely look at myself in the mirror; letting anyone explore such a sight is out of the question.
Maybe it’s unrealistic to believe I’ll ever return. Every bone in my body has changed since I had a baby, of course, intimacy would change too. We don’t have time to swing from the chandeliers; we barely have time to date. Besides, dating requires money, and time, and conversation, and all we’re good at is scrolling through pictures of the kids.