by Paula Neal Mooney
Sometimes the truth hits you like a ton of bricks. Sometimes, like an express-mailed pack of books. You may remember my previous post, "You never know who could be reading your blog," wherein I clued-in readers that mine was chosen as the 10th blog on a 10-blog tour for the new book Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More, Argue Less, and Communicate Better as Your Family Grows.
Sure as shootin' a few days later I received a big pack of books from a HarperCollins publicist, or, as I'm thinking of it today, manna from heaven.
Hello, my name is Paula...
...and I'm a truth-aholic. So here goes: Aside from one scary night spent in the emergency room together, my husband and I haven't spent a night alone without our kids in nearly six years. Whew. That's a load off.
The reasons vary, part of it due to being corporate nomads with no family nearby, part of it parent paranoia, part of it the vicissitudes of life that keep us hustling daily to earn enough almighty dollars to stay afloat.
But Oprah says that God gives us a whisper before a punch before a wall of bricks falls on our heads. Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More, Argue Less, and Communicate Better as Your Family Grows was that punch I needed to hasten change.
"The truth just sounds different..."
Okay, I stole that line from one of my favorite writers, Cameron Crowe, from one of his best movies, Almost Famous. And Babyproofing Your Marriage authors Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O'Neill and Julia Stone reference another line that beautiful Ethan Hawke says in Before Sunset to describe the major transition couples can experience when baby combs out the womb and romance goes out the window, and we're left feeling "like we are running a small nursery with someone we used to date."
Give a little bit...
Wives, take care of yourselves and give your men more of the sex they crave, or at least the "five-minute fix" (you'll have to read it for yourself) detailed in the book to keep your marriage -- um, humming along.
Hubbies, help more around the house so that wives have the time and energy to give you the sex you've been missing and searching around for on the net or from "Gina in Accounts Payable." And remember the romantic thrill of the chase while you guys were dating? Reenact that and say goodbye to the "Ten O'Clock Shoulder Tap" -- again, check the book.
Real Parents, a Real Trip
What I ended up eventually loving most about Babyproofing Your Marriage, which I was afraid at first would be one of those breezy tomes that would leave me aching for a little Sylvia Plath or some other deep depressive -- after all, I am kind of a melancholy baby -- were the real-life quotes from parents that spilled the beans about how far south a marriage can dive after having kids:
"Basically, my first marriage failed because my first wife made it pretty clear that the kids were my replacement. She said that the kids needed her love more than I needed her." -- John remarried 20 years, 3 kids, 4 grandkids.
What Men Really Think
I remember most the scary excerpt in the book of men on a message board describing their desperation with wives who only copulate quarterly or less frequently since the kids came. And the dad who confessed to taking a fake business trip to Chicago (he actually flew there and booked a hotel room and everything) and left his wife alone with the kids just so he could get some much-needed sleep.
I'm Loving the Swag!
Mostly, I know the lessons learned in Babyproofing Your Marriage will resonate and stay with me for days to come. And they can stay with you, too, thanks to those blessed folks at HarperCollins who're not only sponsoring this post, but who also sent me an extra three free copies of the books for my readers.
So, blessed reader, if you're one of the first three to leave a comment at the end of this post -- just write "I'm #1," "I'm #2" and "I'm #3," respectively, then shoot me your snail mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org -- and your copy of Babyproofing Your Marriage will be on its way!
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Tags: babyproofing ,your ,marriage ,stacie cockrell ,cathy oneill ,julia stone