As the fingers of one hand press the squares to key the words on the screen, the other hand is wiping a gooey substance that might be nugget sauce or could be half eaten popsicle goo from my yoga pant leg. You know, the yoga pants who have never actually seen the inside of a yoga studio. I walk to the microwave to heat up the dinner I never got around to eating only to find the cup of coffee I must have forgotten earlier this morning.
After logging a few work hours so I can mask the mundane of motherhood with some form of productivity, I take some semblance of a shower, top knot my wet hair because that is all I have left to give the world, and I make my way to bed.
Thank you, Jesus, I say to myself as I sink into my pillow where I know I will only lay awake, entertaining my anxiety for the next two hours.
“Hey!” says my husband excitedly as he rolls over and puts his arm around me.
I know what that means. Ladies, we all know what that means.
This is a good place to tell you that, while I have honestly never faked the thing that so many of us regularly admit to having given Oscar nomination worthy performances for, I have put on quite the show playing the part of Sleeping Mother Number 1. If this was a full-time gig on a soap opera, I would be overqualified.
Cue my ‘pretend to be asleep’ face. He rolls back over in defeat. Now I know what my anxiety audio loop will be playing tonight.
So, it is with that I must write this open letter.
Dear Husband, I’m sorry I choose sleep over intimacy.
I am so grateful for the hours you put in working hard at a job where you can use your skills to provide for our family. I acknowledge that you may have had a stressful day with customers or your supervisor. It is no surprise that something might have been frustrating for you.
This is not a game of who has the worse job.
However, it is important to note that today, before noon, I had been spit on, had my body parts used as a jungle gym without my permission more times than I could count, had a bucket of blocks exploded in the floor after a tantrum, cleaned up nail polish from our toddler, our floor, our couch, and our carpet, scrubbed marker off of a door and two walls, and made friends with Karen at Poison Control after our then two-year-old daughter ninjaed her way into an adult bottle of Tylenol, swallowing half a pill before I caught her.
I am legitimately tired just from typing that and you didn’t come home from work until five hours later.
On any given day, my clothes are a collecting ground for our tiny humans’ bodily fluids. One or both of them absolutely have to be hanging off of me at all times or I am pretty sure one of them will spontaneously combust. Oh, and I am averaging two showers a week when I ‘have it together’.
But you know what I look forward to every single day? You.
I look forward to your smile when you come in the door and the kids detach themselves from whatever of my limbs they’d been previously suctioned to and run to you, excitedly hugging you and climbing to your arms. I look forward to your kiss in the kitchen and to you complimenting whatever hilarious conglomerate of foods I threw together and labeled “dinner”.
I look forward to you telling me that you love me and truly believing it, even though I am certain I smell like spit up and have toddler snot still on my shoulder from yesterday.
I am so sorry that I am exhausted. But I am not sorry for wanting to work after you get home because that is something that is mine. And I am so thankful that you encourage me to fulfill this dream I’m chasing, even at the expense of further exhaustion.
I know one day we will look back on the sleepless nights and toddler tornado who sleeps between us most days and miss it. I am sure that I will eventually wish that our son would insist on watching movies while he lays directly over a part of my face, but right now, I am tired.
My body chooses sleep over intimacy because I am just plain worn out. My mind is tired from all of the, “No,” “Please get down from there,” and “That’s dangerous” that I’ve said today. My body feels like a collection of deflated long balloons after childbirth. The last thing I am thinking about at the end of my day is wanting to be touched or thinking of my body in a sensual way.
For that, I am sorry. Please try and love me through this time. Know that I am working on it and that I love you beyond measure. The way you father our kids and the way you continue to love the messy bun and stained t-shirt version of me is something to be prized. I am grateful for you.
So, husband, I am tired, but I am working on it. Sleep is my body’s choice sometimes because it falls into a category of physical needs for me, just like sex is for you. I promise I am not trying to reject you. I love you deeply.
Remember, I look forward to YOU.