Original Artwork © Julie Cox, 2008
Lets be frank. Once you have kids, your sex life evaporates like gasoline on concrete. There are a number of factors.
For instance, a woman who is still nursing naturally has zero sex drive because her body is already devoting its extra calories - and there are so very many - to sustaining the baby she already has. Her body shuts down the factory, so to speak. It doesnt WANT to be pregnant. A man, on the other hand, has no hormonal response to nursing, except perhaps "Id like to mess with those too someday."
Then theres fatigue. Getting up a couple of times a night, rising early to cries warbling over the monitor, and a full day of running around after kids can take its toll on anybody, especially a new mom whose calories are, as previously noted, being physically drained away from her. (Note: This is why its important to take vitamins, kids, because if the baby needs something and so does the mom, her body will give it to the baby. Stupid selfless body ... ) So by the time she gets that ten oclock tap on the shoulder, she (meaning I, lets be honest) might be just about ready to cry if she (I) doesnt get some sleep.
And of course, theres finding the time for sex. If the kids get up around 7, and go to bed around 9, it pretty well eliminates the spontaneity that once accompanied weekend encounters. And as with anything involving kids, they have a special sense for when Im otherwise occupied. I think of it as a biological instinct. After all, a child in a primitive world is more likely to survive if its parents are constantly reminded of its presence and needs. Also, there is less chance for competing siblings to be created. There is moderation to this, of course, for a child that took it too far might have been left for the smilodons. (Dont know what that is? Ask my preschooler, the amateur zoologist.)
Being pagan holds particular difficulties with being interrupted. We have the good sense to lock our door, of course, plus we have the monitors for added security. But sometimes I despair of going through the trouble of getting our sex magic stuff together, looking up which incense ought to be appropriate to this (because lets be realistic, I dont have the time to memorize the meaning of herbs when I can turn to Cunningham), lose clothes, draw a circle, start some Real Work only to hear "MOOOOOOMMY! DAAAAAAADDY! The tigers are loose!"
Much cursing follows, which is not conducive to the Work at hand but that hardly matters now. In addition to having to put clothes back on and interrupt the moment by trotting downstairs to placate a nightmare or bring a glass of water, or change a stinky diaper and nurse in the case of the baby, the magic has to be interrupted too. And thats just not good for it. The following conversation is pretty typical.
- Me: "&*#@%!"
- Him: "Agreed. Paper rock scissors you for it."
- Me: "One two three throw - damn."
- Him: "Heres your shirt."
- I put on clothes, then ... "Should we try to leave the circle up or just take it all down and start over?"
- Him: "Do you really want to try to start this over? Were out of hibiscus."
- Me: "Well I dont want to just call it a wash!"
- Him: "Then Ill see if I can keep it up. I hate breaking circles ... "
- Me: "Same here. You know, Im better at circles, maybe you should go ... "
- Him: "No, I won the throw, its sacred."
So I grumble my way downstairs to the child, feeling a cold pit of despair that I will never actually get to finish another spell in my entire life, that someone will always be there waiting to present a need to get in the way. Its a lot like walking through knee-high muck; no matter how easy it looks, it has a way of sucking you down and holding you back until you start to wonder why the hell you came to the swamp in the first place.
Of course, there are other moments to make up for it and remind you why you love the swamp. Like when my preschooler tells me about the smilodon. Or when I switch on the light in the babys room and see his face go from tear-streaked and miserable to lit-up happy, squealing with joy even as the tears are still wet on his face, all from seeing me. Or when my husband hugs me close to him at the end of the day, and tells me how much he loves me. I sigh and snuggle close and say, "You know Im way too exhausted to haul out the athame tonight." So hell kiss my forehead and say "Me too, honey. Me too."
It is both a blessing and curse when I say, it wont be like this for long. And once this time of our lives has passed, I might find myself wishing for a bit less peace.
Or I might just laugh my head off and revel in it.
About the Author: Julie Cox is a new pagan writer and artist who lives with her two young children and husband in Texas. She carries degrees in both Art and Religion. To see more of Julie's artwork go to Shopping and Art gallery on our main menu.