I’m going to get extremely personal with this, ladies. If you don’t want to know “love life” stuff about me, you might want to stop reading now. Just giving you fair warning.
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I read this article; “Why a Mother Doesn’t Want To Be Touched” and I was struck by the similarities. This… is my life. Truly. Like, we literally had this conversation like 2 hours ago, yesterday, 2 days before that and a week ago, too. It’s a constant struggle and the ever-present elephant in the room when we don’t address it.
To fully understand anything I say here, you need to read this article first.  Go do that and then come back.
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I feel “pawed at” all day by two nursing toddlers.  There are days I can’t even stand to be within a foot of another human by the time he gets home, let alone touched by someone who says he *ahem* “needs my attention”.I LOVE nursing. I adore tandem nursing. I absolutely feel it’s my calling to be doing it and everything in my life and all that I have become as a person, a mother and all my ambitions not only stem from this fact, but are a continuous motivation to continue doing what I do here on the mom page and, well, everywhere else. The plan is and has always been to continue it as long as I am capable or they want to- whichever comes first, and my husband wants that, too. But for as much as I love it, that doesn’t fix the feeling of utter exhaustion and sensory overload I feel at the end of the day after being groped all day by two small children and being pulled into a thousand different directions while I’m simultaneously trying to write, teach them, play with them, feed them, take care of the house, teach voice lessons, maintain my obligations to the various people and organizations I’m committed to, co-sleep, night nurse and never leave the house because we only have one car… and the last thing I want is one more person trying to pull my focus, draw my attention and suck up my energy once the kids are finally NOT doing it and I could get a few moments to myself to just breathe, stretch out and be quiet.

It’s not his fault. He knows it isn’t… he doesn’t make me feel guilty on purpose. He tries really hard not to. But I feel it anyway and I do what I can to meet him half way when I can, when it doesn’t make me cringe to feel someone else, for the 10 thousanth time that day, trying to suck more energy and attention out of me.
It’s not that I don’t want to, I’m sure I do… somewhere in there… and it’s not him or a lack of love or lack of desire to show him that I love him, but I can not and will not pretend to feel something that I don’t feel. I refuse to be guilted into “performing” for his ego’s sake. So sometimes he has to deal sometimes with the reality that my days are hard, my body is tired, my skin is on edge and I just need to be quiet and alone in a space that, for once and the first time in the entire day, I can actually control.
And just like this dad… he doesn’t like it, but he realizes this is an impasse we can’t break through, not right now. He talks instead about how wonderful it is that we are able to give so much to the kids right now and that I’m amazing for being willing to give so much of myself to them right now. He talks about how they’re growing so fast and reenforces the reality that soon, neither of them will need us the way they do now. Soon, even if I wanted them to, they wouldn’t crawl into bed and snuggle with me, find comfort in nursing and cling to me the way they do. He reenforces how we need to both cherish this time and that our time came and will come again and right now, we just need to focus on the magic of these years. These are all things I’ve said to him when he’s needed to hear it, too. It’s how we cope with these times- the times when he needs what I cannot give him and we both feel a little despair over it.
(Have I mentioned how amazing my husband is? I rarely talk about that, but man, believe me when I say I’m aware how lucky I am every day)
I’ve talked to several mamas who feel this way, we’ve talked about all of this with SUCH relief when we realize we are not the only ones and then we get frustrated when we realized how normal this is, yet no one likes to openly discuss it.
It’s SO IMPORTANT to discuss it! To know that no, you’re not alone. No, you are NOT doing anything wrong. No, you are NOT selfish to ask that a grown man be the one person in your house who has the maturity to restrain himself and not try to openly guilt you or coerce you into pretending to feel something so he can feel better about himself.
It’s okay to need to say no. It’s okay. Really. But you can’t leave him hanging without any explanation or understanding that he IS still that valuable to you. Men are funny creatures. They crave attention and affection and they NEED it like breath and it nourishes them like a home cooked meal, in their souls and in their spirits, they crave it and it’s not always just an “ego thing”, but if you never talk about it and just push him away, it will manifest like that and it will feel like that to you and really awful things can happen because of it.  He won’t feel loved and maybe he will feel like you don’t want him anymore, that you don’t love him anymore.  Maybe he will think you are better off alone.  Maybe he will feel like he might be better off with someone else.  Maybe YOU will soon begin to believe that, too.  You never know what horrors lie deep within the silence, deep between these moments of one reaching out to someone begging for just a few moments of peace.
So, talk about it. Don’t be afraid. Tell him you love him. Tell him you need him, appreciate him, adore him… and your body… well, it needs him too, just… maybe after you’ve had a nap, a bath and some time to yourself.

 

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