A few weeks ago, I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner while my husband wrangled the children into baths before bedtime. (Side note: does anyone else hate giving their kids a bath as much as I do??)
As I wiped down the countertops, my husband’s phone started ringing from the little box I use to stash the daily junk that accumulates in a family. Glancing over at it, I saw the phone light up with a number from the bordering state of Indiana. Probably just a telemarketer, I thought, hitting “accept” as I tucked the phone under my ear.
“Hello?” I answered. “Hello?”
From the other end, there was no reply, just the slight sound of light breathing. “Helloooo?” I said again. Still no answer, so I hung up. Shaking my head a little over the interruption, it suddenly occurred to me how funny it would have been if a woman had answered.
I recounted the story over dinner the next night to my husband. “All I heard was breathing,” I told him. “It could have been your mistress! Indiana is only four hours away from us and you work almost every weekend — I would never know.”
He looked at me with narrowed eyes for the briefest of seconds. I held his gaze, my eyebrows raised in a challenge.
And then we both burst out laughing.
Because, come on. An affair? Us? There’s no way — we’re both way too tired for that.
When I hear stories of people who have affairs, I have to admit that my first thought (after perhaps a respectable amount of sympathy for any grieved/hurting/wounded parties and any children that may have a challenging time as a result of said affair) is a pretty simple one:
How on earth do they find the time?
Guys, I’m not even kidding you when I say that I barely manage to make it to the grocery store every week. It feels like an accomplishment worthy of the drive-thru coffee I always treat myself to for the occasion. There are literally days of my life when my husband and I ask each other permission to go to the bathroom.
I know, I know it’s pathetic, but that’s how demanding life feels right now.
I understand, deep down in my bones or my heart or probably more likely from all the new research, my intestines, that the season of raising little people can be really trying on a marriage. And I’m starting to see that perhaps I have been doing things wrong, in always putting my kids first. Because our marriage does need more attention than it gets and when it doesn’t get that time, everything — included our abilities as parents — suffers.
But I’m still realistic that this time in our life won’t be forever and I hope that we come out to the other side unscathed. And in the meantime, I can guarantee you that the last thing I would ever even contemplate is having an affair to “fix” anything or seek out anything that may be lacking in my own marriage. (Not that anything’s currently lacking.)
In fact, here is a short list of things I would rather do than have an affair:
- Take a nap.
- Take a shower.
- Get a pedicure.
- Read an actual book that I can hold in my own two hands and maybe even smell, even though I know how weird that sounds.
- Just lay on my floor and do absolutely nothing without someone crawling on me.
- Clean my house. Like, really clean it, and not just clean up some random dirt spots with wet wipes like I currently do.
- Watch a movie. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve watched a movie without also doing something else? It’s like I can’t stop multi-tasking.
- Sleep at night.
- Go grocery shopping alone.
- Go the dentist alone.
- Eat chocolate from behind my cupboard like I do to fool my children.
In short, there are about 101 things that I could do in my life right now that have nothing to do with sneaking around and having an affair. I just can’t fathom how anyone could ever 1) find the time 2) find the energy 3) find the opportunity to have and carry out an affair. Heck, my husband is already dealing with four women in our house and the thought of him managing another does let me go to sleep with a peaceful smile on my face.
Until the baby wakes me up in an hour, of course.