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A friend and I were having coffee recently, and nearby was a young mom with a baby who looked to be about four months old. He was scrumptiously adorable, I must admit.
Like a lot of moms at that stage, this mom had what appeared to be half her house with her.
My friend and I glanced at the little tyke... and then back at each other.
If there had been thought bubbles above our heads, I'm sure they would have said something like, "I remember those days... when you had take half the house with you. Would not have the energy for them now. But I remember them."
My friend and I are well beyond parenting littles. We are in the stage of pre-teens, teens and rarely-home young adults.
Parenting for me at this stage seems to break down roughly like this:
45% recognizance missions (most of which I fail)
25% doing nothing but keeping the fridge stocked
15% "No, honey. I still don't understand how Minecraft works."
10% "Please don't get arrested, pregnant or kicked out of school."
5% "Yes, I will help you with math homework. Let me get a glass of wine first."
I say it all in jest. I know there are joys and challenges at every stage, and that certainly has been true in my parenting journey thus far.
Yes, I know that newborns don't sleep in long stretches, but eventually you get to the point where 8 pm is bedtime! And you ride that 8 pm bedtime for a LONG time, like until the kid is about 9 or 10. And even then, you just creep the bedtime up incrementally.
When your kids go to bed at a reasonable time, you as the adult still have time for other stuff before the night is through. Sure, those aren't completely "free" hours, because a fair amount of life maintenance has to get done.
BUT the upside is if you wanted to, you could be having sex by 9:30.
In a house that is quiet.
While kids are sound asleep.
But when they become teenagers? It's like they never sleep at normal hours. Never. And the predictability of the schedule you had when they were little has vanished.
Throw in practices and homework and friends and social events and part-time jobs and teenage drama. It's easy to see how their lack of schedule predictability has simultaneously obliterated yours.
My friend shared that for her and her husband, waiting till the house was quiet (like at 1 am) was not an option. "I'm too tired even by 11 pm," she said. True that, sister! Planning their sexual intimacy around when their kids were finally asleep just wasn't going to work.
Their solution on some evenings is to simply go to their bedroom long before bedtime, shut and lock the door, and spend a half hour catching up on the day and making love while they still have energy.
They don't announce that they are going to have sex. The kids are still awake doing their own thing (watching TV, studying, texting with friends, playing video games).
One time one of their kids snickered and implied that they can hear mom and dad.
Oh the irony that a 15-year-old can't manage to raise her head from her phone screen and "hear" mom ask her to take out the trash, yet somehow has the awareness to "hear" mom and dad quietly having sex three bedrooms down the hall.
Teenagers sure have raised selective hearing to an art form, haven't they?
My friend and I agreed it's totally fine that their teens can hear her and her husband having sex. You know why? Couple of reasons. First, those kids wouldn't have to hear them.
"Go do something else, youngster."
"Go put your earbuds in. You know, the earbuds that are in your ears 8 hours a day."
Second, it's totally normal and healthy that a husband and wife have sex behind a closed door. In their own home. At 8 pm in the evening.
Who cares that their kids snicker or say or imply, "We know what you are doing. We hear you."
"Well, kiddos, it's perfectly fine you can hear us having sex. Now you know that mom and dad love you. Because if we don't get some alone time having sex, we may just lose our sanity. And who is going to take you to soccer practice if that happens?"
Mic drop. Boom.
Copyright 2018, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.