When Playgroup Talk Goes 'Sex and the City'
I belong to a weekly playgroup of moms with toddlers. All but one of us has two or three children, with toddlers (all two by this summer) who just recently learned to play with each other. While the kiddos are running around our respective playrooms and basements, sneaking snacks and shoving one another out of the way to get said snacks, we moms sit around and chat. Sure, we keep an eye on the kids, mostly to make sure none of them ends up in harm's way, but let me be clear that playgroup is just as much for us as it is the kids. So we drink our cuppas and jabber on about schools, husbands, jobs old and new, and on the very rare occasion, more, um, intimate issues like fertility, birth control, and sex.
We're a modest bunch that could never be described as wannabe Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlottes, but we somehow stumbled upon an R-rated topic of conversation anyhow. See, I squashed any speculation that my husband and I were sure to conceive baby #4 after admitting what is well known to any one who knows us -- that last fall, at the age of 34, my husband got the big V. Not only that, but unlike many husbands, mine actually went in for his post-procedure follow-up to ensure our family of five stays that way.
At that point, my friend joked: "So do you have a big box of condoms from all those months before the follow up?"
To which I cheekily replied: "Yes, we had just bought some the night before he got the A-OK. Why, do you want some?"
And then she said, seriously: "I have one of my own, and I don't know about you guys, but it's basically unopened. Who has the time?"
Silence followed, until I blurted out something about how "that" tends to "ebb and flow" like everything else in marriage. I believe that, even if that's not the case in my marriage.
There was some more talk, and I can't remember it precisely, because at the time I was too busy feeling like Ayelet Waldman. No, my husband's not a hunky best-selling author; we don't live in a Berkeley bungalow; and I've never waxed poetic about my husband's prowess in the New York Times opinion page. But despite having three kids under 8, more than 14 years of couplehood, and the regular "married with kids" juggling act, we still find time to be together (I would've said come together but that ends up quite the naughty pun, yeah?).
We don't act like childless honeymooners, but even when the laundry is unsorted, the dishes unwashed, the meals NOT homemade, reconnecting seems way more important to our marriage's success. We may not agree on how much to spend on vacations or how often I should order out for dinner, but we absolutely agree that we need to be "married" first, "with kids" second.
Don't misunderstand. I totally get how balancing work, family, school, church, extracurricular activities, friends and finances can cause couples to virtually collapse at the end of the day without so much as a peck on the cheek. We've had many, many exhausting days when one of us falls asleep still wearing our clothes and our glasses.
But when friends (not the ladies in my playgroup, mind you) complain about droughts of weeks and weeks or months and months, I can't help but stare wide-eyed at the floor. Send the kids to grandma's. Put it on your Outlook calendar. Do the "Love Dare," if that's your thing. Channel a little of Ayelet and Michael's hot-and-heaviness and have at it. Oh, and it definitely helps if you're not worried about getting pregnant.
And that's the last I'll probably ever say about "that."
Photo credit: Victoria Peckham under the Creative Commons license