The wife/mommy

February 1, 2011

in Guest Author, Understanding Her

Gentlemen – This is a guest post by Sarah Baron. What follows might not resonate 100% with all women, but the majority of women would identify deeply with this. Read and learn! – Paul

Dear Generous Husbands,

Since Paul and I began discussing what would make a good guest post, my mind has been circling around how best to provide, as Paul requested, insight into the female mind. Now, that’s an easy topic, don’t you think? ;)

Then, while driving carpool today, it hit me. I think we can help by explaining the entire cycle of what happens to women from the beginning of marriage through mid-motherhood. Do a birds’ eye view. Put it in context.

Mommy PTSD © Jason Stitt | Dreamstime.com

Here goes…

We marry idealistically to you, our most generous husbands. We are young, have energy, want to please you, want to work on our marriages, and want to be your partner.

Then we get pregnant, by design, so we can have a family together. All is going according to plan. We are delighted to be starting a family and relieved that we can get pregnant.

And that’s when everything changes. Our body changes. Our hormones change. Our sleep patterns change. We gain 40, 50, 60, 70+ pounds to bear this beautiful child that we both dreamed of. And that child arrives. And our hormones are weird. And we lose sleep. For about a year per child. And the weight is not as easy to lose as it was to gain.

And we spend the next 10-15 years taking care of everyone so much that we often forget to take care of ourselves and most importantly, you. We are tired, we are stressed, we don’t like our bodies. You see, things have shifted around and we don’t like what we see in the mirror. And yes, while it is all worth it, we have had to make sacrifices to bear and raise children.

But all that work and sacrifice are worth it. After all, we have a beautiful family, a wonderful husband…

Now, here’s the interesting part. Once the kids are old enough to go to school, we begin to find ourselves – again. But we are different this time. We have experienced several sleep-deprived years, days on end of screaming and sick children, and all the joys and disappointments that accompany kids. While no one discusses this, we have gone through our own form of basic training (for as long as a decade or more with few breaks or reprieves). We can make dinner, change diapers, do homework, plan a school activity, hit the grocery store (with a list where we always forget something), clean the house, often go to work, and juggle 1,000 different details – all at lightning speed. We have become efficient household machines, and while we have cried, what hasn’t killed us… has made us stronger.

It is this new woman who emerges at the end of basic training who is stronger and more capable. And more interesting. And who feels confident enough to take on the world. And who, in her late 30s or early 40s, will be interested a LOT more in intimacy. (I think this partly has to do with hormones as well.)

So, what are some of the things that come into play during this time?

1. Our bodies. Unless we are an aerobics instructor, we probably will not like our bodies post children for a long time. Actually, they will never be the same (which is why, when we look at lingerie catalogs, we feel resentment and catty disgust). Breastfeeding (which we do for bonding and the health of the baby) has sealed that fate. Your assurances mean all the world to us and we need to hear and feel this.

2. Our emotions. Ask us how we are feeling. All of this constant, unrelenting, hour by hour, day by day stress takes its toll.

3. Your attention and interest. We need it. We crave it. For years, if we are a SAHM, when you come home, ask us about our day and be interested in exploding diapers… because you may have been the only adult we interact with all day.

4. You are our rock, especially when we feel like we are falling apart. Your patience and help are key to our making it through basic training as your true partner.

5. We want to be good wives. Help us here. Pick a few things (a handful) that are really important to you and let the other hundreds of things go. Tell us what you need and enable us to be all we can be. Treat us well, because when you do, we want to give back to you. In spades.

So, thank you, Generous Husband, for your patience and for reading this blog, because just by doing so, you signal that you want to be the best husband you can be. And that effort and dedication make us melt!

Sincerely yours,

Sarah Baron

Anonymous8

Sarah Baron created Anonymous8 (no longer on-line), a site based on the friendship of 8 women. While all of their marriages are vastly different, they noticed one common thread: the healthy marriages all have healthy intimate lives. Who knew? And why had no one ever pointed this out? Sarah started Anonymous8 as an answer to those questions. The goal at A8 is to help women achieve WOMAN and to help men in their relationships with their wives. The site takes taboo topics like sex and intimacy in marriage and builds smart discussions around them. In her offline (and non-anonymous) life, Sarah is a mom, wife, and business strategist. Sarah is soon releasing her first book, which helps husbands get lucky with their wives.

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Image Credit: © Jason Stitt | Dreamstime.com

5 comments
buzzvibe
buzzvibe

Great post! I think a lot of this rings true for most women. At the same time, we're often our own worse enemy. Too many times we get overwhelmed by all the demands placed upon us and neglect our own needs. We must somehow find a way to make having time for ourselves a priority. The more we take care of ourselves, the better we're able to care for others.

Julie Sibert
Julie Sibert

Love this post Sarah! I definitely think a disconnect begins to happen when a husband and a wife go from being kidless lovers to being sleep-deprived parents. Takes a lot more intentional effort to be sympathetic to each other's roles and at the same time to keep the marriage top priority. And certainly babies take a huge toll on a woman's body. Women kind of get a double whammy in this area... our bodies change physically (weight, stretch marks, etc) AND the female body in general is what society holds to an unrealistic standard. The female body is much more critiqued and put on display. It's no wonder we struggle so much with body image. Anyway, I like that the post has a great tone that encourages couples to talk about all the changes that happen in the span of a marriage.

Kathleen
Kathleen

Just wanted to clear something up: It isn't breastfeeding that causes breast changes, it's pregnancy. (Don't want to deter any future parents out there from breastfeeding!) Great post, most of it applies to me! I'm definitely interested in intimacy, though not as much when I was say, 24 or so! Hope my hubby can keep up!

RevMark
RevMark

Yes! During these trying times for you I bend over backwards to assist best I can with stiff painful knees. I jump up out of a dead sleep at 4am after not getting to bed till 2:30 and have to get up for work at 6 when you are crying because your nighty is soaked from sweat again. The only thing I ask is to not criticize me everytime I turn around. I like this shirt. This is the way I have eaten since I was a teenager. This IS the BEST way to load the dishwasher and I dint call Grey's and Private Practice "stupid", so I'd appreciate you not calling Lost stupid.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Kathleen You are correct - there is even a study to back that up. Thanks

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