Tell me if you’ve ever been in the midst of a particularly crappy day and you have looked at your husband, aghast in the realization that he may, in fact, be the most annoying person ever, and wondered what alternative realities your life could have had?
Ok, good, me neither.
But there have been times in my six-year marriage, especially considering there was never really a time in our marriage when we didn’t have children, when I wonder what our days — and our relationship — would look like without children.
It’s hard to imagine.
But what doesn’t take any imagination is reflecting on all of the ways having kids affects your relationship. Oh, let me count the ways …
1.) You will bond together in running the risk of therapy for your children when they someday realize why their parents let them watch so much TV on weekends for their “afternoon naps.”
2.) Making love changes as it might start to consist of a series of “Oh my gosh, did you hear footsteps??” and panicked, “Did you lock the door?”
3.) The sight of your husband wearing a baby while cooking dinner will be the sexiest thing you’ve ever seen in your life. (Plus breastfeeding makes you really hungry.)
4.) If you have more than one child, a “night off” will consist of the older kids going out with grandma while you both stay home with the baby. Over dinner that doesn’t consist of whining and begging for grilled cheese, you will look at each and marvel how quiet the house is.
5.) The phrase, “I think they can skip baths tonight, don’t you?” will bring you more happiness than any possible gift you received during dating.
6.) Date nights out of the house will be carefully weighed in terms of cost vs. benefit analysis with factors like babysitter’s wage, cost and tastiness of dinner, if there are any clean “good” jeans in the laundry, and of course, the tiredness factor. In most cases, Chinese takeout and a movie on Netflix will win out.
7.) Your husband might ask you why you’re so dressed up if you happen to put on jeans while you’re on child duty at home, prompting you to feel at once filled with despair and a strange sort of rage.
8.) Your relationship will be filled with moments of profound gratitude for the littlest things in life: hot water left for your own shower, any chance to sit down in quiet, the ability to eat a meal without fetching countless items off of the floor/from the fridge/out of your kid’s hair, a full eight hours worth of blissful, blissful sleep.
9.) Nothing can bring you closer together than a few drinks and the ensuing hysterical laughter when you try to calculate how much money college for all four of your children will cost.
10.) Hearing stories from couples who have no children will be akin to visiting a zoo, so foreign is the concept of how they spend their days. You mean you just came home from work? And did nothing? What’s an art class?
11.) There will be a bizarre moment in each of your lives when you realize that you have managed to produce a human being who is exactly like your significant other, and you will feel a sense of amazement along with a teensy bit of fear for what you have done.
12.) You might forget to shut the bathroom door after your husband has held your hair while you emptied the contents of your stomach into the toilet every day for four months, watched you push a human being out of your body, and placed a warm compress on your leaking, swollen breasts when you had mastitis.
13.) You both get a free pass for any and all insults hurled at each other in 3 o’clock in the morning. If you even remember them …
14.) And finally, no number of romantic dates, or “how well do you know each other?” quizzes, or even the best make-out session of your life will compete with the bond you share when late at night, you sneak in to peak on your beautiful, sleeping children and feel a love so overwhelming it brings tears to your eyes.
… because they’re sleeping.