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Marriage is not for sissies.

These lovable, amazing, exhausting children and life itself can beat the amour right out of a couple. Everyone is just so tired. By the time you are finished with the bedtime routines, the delay tactics, the tantrums, the good night kisses, the dishes, the laundry, the neatening, the glass of water for the toddler still fighting sleep and then tomorrow’s prep, your energy for each other is greatly diminished. O.K., sometimes nonexistent.

Because of this, my husband Rick and I have put off something for a very long time. No, I’m not talking about that. Well, unfortunately sometimes that too. I’m talking about something completely tedious and annoying – picking out a new faucet for our bathroom sink.

Not only does the goose neck spout shoot off occasionally, spraying water everywhere, but it’s also leaking into the vanity below. FINALLY (and only because all our stuff is getting ruined and I’m pretty sure toxic mold is growing on our stock of shampoo and sun tan lotion), we sat down at the computer at 10 o’clock one night to look at faucets. Hundreds of faucets. Within minutes, we were both irritated. One exchange went like this.

Me: “You’re not even looking at the screen.”

Rick: “I looked away for a second.”

Me: “Well, you missed a bunch of them. I don’t want to do this alone.”

Rick: “I’m paying attention. I looked at the TV for two seconds. Do you want me to tell you every time I briefly turn away?”

Me: “Yes, actually I do.” Even as I’m saying this, I realize how ridiculous it sounds.

We are both tired. We are both bored. Then I see one. A faucet that looks kind of cool and relatively reasonably priced at $129. We have quickly learned, on this grand faucet expedition, that $129 is actually a bargain. But Rick won’t go for it.

faucet.jpgMe: “I like it. It’s cool.”

Rick: “It looks like a penis.”

Me: “No, it doesn’t. I would never think that.”

Rick: “Definitely. It’s a penis faucet.”

Me: “Damn. Maybe, you’re right. We’ll keep looking.” Now, we are both laughing. We have been momentarily saved by the penis faucet.

As a side note, others apparently aren’t so prudish. Rick and I went to the West Village Italian Centro Vinoteca (the latest from the owners of Gusto) over the weekend. I went to the bathroom (which of course was FREEZING – is it really too much money for restaurants to heat their bathrooms?! I’m willing to chip in. I hate shivering and peeing simultaneously). And what did I find? Oh yes, the penis faucet. Then the very next day at a birthday party at a kids’ playspace in Chelsea, the penis faucet AGAIN. This penis really gets around.

Back to marriage. An argument with your spouse can begin over a $5 container of fruit and suddenly you are fighting about the mortgage and your complete lack of a college savings fund. Sometimes one spouse needs more space while the other needs more connecting. One feels cranky. The other is taking it personally. The dreamy, euphoric rush of dating seems 107 years ago, if you can even remember dating at all. Romantic evenings out need advanced planning. Spontaneity goes missing. Responsibilities are plentiful.

But you keep trying. Trying to find moments of connection and laughter. Trying to find a penis faucet in your day. Because I hear that these kids will grow up and there the two of us will be. And we’ll be staring at each other, completely rested, with lots of time to try a new restaurant, check out an art gallery, meander around the city, duck into a movie at the last minute, fly off to London, linger over a coffee and connect. And someday I want to be there. But right now, I want to be here, in all this craziness. With you.

mama bird notes

First, the results of our weekly mama poll. So when the kids are asleep and you are home with your spouse, partner or lover – what is your preferred activity? 52 percent are definitely overachievers, hoping to watch a movie, have sex, eat ice cream and sleep ALL in one evening. 19 percent are content to just watch a flick. 15 percent are sexing it up. 11 percent are downing the low fat ice cream. And just 3 percent are getting some shuteye.

Click on “your mama says what?” under the menu bar to take our latest anonymous survey. This week we want to know about your overall life satisfaction.

If you can’t get no satisfaction and you’re in need of a new direction, maybe it’s time to invest in a life coach. Click on “drooling over this” to meet one of my favorite coaches. Mention the mama bird diaries and you get a free session. Be happy and free!

And remember, comment on the mama bird diaries this week and you are entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Flip Clips. More free stuff!

14 Responses to sissies need not apply

  • Nona says:

    I try to remember, especially on the bad days, that this time, will be a time we will look back on fondly after we've gotten some sleep in 10 or 15 years. And I agree, there is nowhere I want to be more than right here.

    Thank you for this lovely, funny, poignant post!

  • Julie says:

    Kelcey, thank you for making me laugh at the start of my day. Loved this posting. It is all so true and humor is key.

  • Allison Teweles says:

    At some point it may be interesting to see how many Papa Birds are reading this blog…I, too, am sending yet another post to my husband!

  • Kristen says:

    I forwarded it to my husband as well. I also forwarded it to my sister because her kitchen faucet looks very similiar to the penis faucet! You are too much!

  • Jennifer Poma says:

    You said it all sister! Even luxuries like vacations become exhausting. But we keep on going, right?! Never knew I could function on such little sleep until I had kids. Good luck finding the right faucet!

  • Tommy-Tom says:

    This faucet selection thing is an undocumented (until today) source of major stress. When I re-did my kitchen a few years back, I made the mistake of visiting the faucet aisle at my local Home Depot. The sheer number of choices seized my brain right up and I went home with nothing. Eventually I went back and bought you know what design. Thanks for more than a few giggles today.

  • Susan says:

    This is a wonderfully true yet profound reflection on the nature of reality with children, especially young ones, and the small miracles such as laughter that keep the relationship alive during the challenging moments.

  • Ann says:

    Kelcey- Here's another laugh for you. I checked my email at our library and found this post blocked – Pornography! – had to hurry home to see what you were talking about!

kelcey kintner