The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


The End of the Affair

Last week was spring break at Paul’s elementary school, but not at Eric’s preschool. We considered taking Eric out and going on a trip, but the plans never went past random speculation.

Meaning, I did not make them so they did not get made.

One reason is I am too cheap. I am not about to miss a week of school, which I have already paid for. Any family trips that do not involve going to visit with my family for free cost too much money. Plus, I do not consider any extended trips with my family to be a “vacation.” It's a conundrum.

So there Paul and I were, every day, just the two of us. Bill, my husband, had a ton of work to do and Eric went on with his regular schedule. We dropped Eric off and shared a smile in the rear-view mirror.

Off we went: the happy couple -- to the library and food shopping. We read and drew and wrote stories. The week flew and Paul and I drifted along together. Even the most boring errands felt like dates. I accomplished so much and was confident and happy not drained and irritated like I usually was at the end of each day.

I swear, it was like having a love affair.

Then on Friday, Eric’s school had a staff development day. Back to my regular life with two boys, too small a lap and too big a temper. My boys are competitive for my attention and jealous of one other. Each is convinced that every gesture I make toward the other is yet more evidence of my favoritism. There is no true level of fairness when you have two children. All is most definitely not equal.

Even the amount of chocolate chips in a cookie is viewed as a measure of my love.

Paul turned into the jilted lover when Eric rejoined us that Friday. The energy shift was immediate and we reverted to rushing and arguing. As soon as I could, I sneaked off by myself. Was it really that much harder with the two of them? The truth is that my week with Paul was exhausting. As much as I enjoyed our time together it was difficult to match his level of intensity. Unlike Eric, who plays hard to get, I need to trick him into kissing me, Paul is more like the boyfriend who likes you more than you like him.

I longed to see other people.

I love my two boys but together, I feel torn between two lovers! The incessant need to balance logistics, mood swings and snacks with constant transitions in and out of car seats was draining. Forget the supermarket. I don't go with them. I won't even go to the library wtih them at the same time. When I have the two with me even an allegedly fun excursion can turn into a disaster. We've been asked to leave the local pet store before.

Things have shifted. Our schedules are back to normal. This time, I am determined to keep a balance. I vow to spend more one-on-one time with both. The theory: when each knows he will get some mommy alone time, it will be easier to share me during full-on family time.

Who knew affairs could be so exhausting?

By Cathy Burke


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