Do you remember when you first got together with your partner?
Racy conversations via text message, email or MSN Messenger (depending on your vintage). Staying up all night lost in each other’s eyes, overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings. Lazy days in bed caught up in a tangle of blankets and emotions – not wanting the outside world to intrude upon the sanctity of your insular new-couple world. Lazily meandering around places like Ikea planning your dream home together, reassuring yourselves you’ll never be that fighting couple or that mother desperately trying to pull her child’s head out of a planting pot. Going out for dinner at 8 o’clock at night. Waking up ‘early’ on a Sunday at 730 to go and try that new breakfast place with your other couple friends.
How does that time compare to now?
Conversations held over the productivity app as you furiously battle to change the shopping list. Staying up all night lost in a tidal wave of toddler vomit and Baby Nurofen, overwhelmed by the intensity of gastro. Days feeling like the walls are closing in around you as you desperately long for someone, anyone, to talk to who you didn’t marry or give birth to. Freaking out trying to get your kid’s head out of a stupid pot in Ikea while smug, twenty-something couples shrug past you barely concealing condescending smirks. Staying in for dinner at 5 o’clock at night. Waking up ‘early’ on a Sunday at 2am to go and try that new emergency room with ten other exhausted families.
When you’re waiting to be seen by the doctor you’ll inevitably come across glossy magazines that will helpfully explain for you, in glaring colour and detail, exactly how you are failing as a mother, wife and all-round human being. You’ll flick through pages while your child demonstrates how vomit can come out of his nose and mouth at the same time and your husband plays stupid “Clash of Clans” on his phone when he thinks you’re not watching. You’ll see celebrity families at the beach or swanning around Paris having a lovely time in matching clothes and compare that to the bedraggled state of your little crew and think…
“Where has the spark gone?” (Your version may have more expletives than that but I’m trying to control of the F-bombs at the moment)
So you don’t have to keep touching these germ-ridden magazines in public (seriously, what are you doing, don’t touch those, so gross) I’ve decided to compile some celebrity advice about keeping the spark alive! Celebrities! They’re just like us! They’re so relatable! So wise and noble! Let’s see what they have to say…
Jada Pinkett-Smith suggests we, “(Go for) a drive – and then pull over on the side of the road! Think of all the places that are comfortable to have sex.” I’m not sure that a twisted ankle and a fine for public indecency are going to put the oomph back into anyone’s marriage. The chance of possibly mooning a passing motorist is pretty high, however, so I am tempted. Toot toot!
Cindy Crawford reveals that pole-dancing classes have added that little something extra (syphilis, perhaps?) to her marriage. “After having kids it’s great to re-tap into that sexuality and sensuality”, she smirks. Seriously? AFTER having kids? I know she’s a supermodel but surely she also gets that very mum urge to do a little wee every time she bends over. If the mums I know went for a pole dancing class it’s very likely we’d have an accidental slip and slide situation on our hands. So sexy.
I think I’m reading really old magazines at my doctor’s office but here we go – Tom Cruise says that he and Katie Holmes used to spend some ‘special time’ engaged in conversation. “Every night before we go to sleep, Katie and I look at each other and it’s like, How’d we do today?”. I’m guessing the answer to that was, “Not too well, Weird Alien Husband” considering she’s long since jumped the fence to the compound and made her escape. Still, I guess that’s potentially better than the “Guess how many farts I did today?” conversation that we’ve been having for the last couple of nights.
Alright, I think I’m going to have to put down the magazine after this next one. Bloody Heidi Klum is banging on saying that, “For my part, I always try to be attractive to my husband. I tossed the baggy sweatpants in the bin a long time ago so that I can’t even be tempted to put them on again”. Does that mean our husbands have to get rid of them too? I’ll happily go back to doing the housework in short shots and high heels if it means he doesn’t get to slide around in tracksuit pants and that disgusting checked shirt of his with ducks on it. I know you’re reading this, babe. Bin that shit. I hate it.
I guess we’re at an impasse. These celebrities don’t seem to have too much to offer in the way of practical, rational advice that doesn’t make me want to throw copies of “The Second Sex” at their dumb heads. I think I do have some cute ideas, though.
Maybe try to find time in the day to ask each other questions, not just give instructions. Appreciate the cool stuff that your partner can do and help them out with the stuff they’re not so good at. Give heaps of hugs to everyone in your family. When you can, if you can, try to give yourselves a night out and go see a crappy movie and eat fish and chips next to the beach and talk about cool stuff, like what you would do if a shark jumped out of the water. Watch a series on Netflix together without your phones when the kids are asleep. Take the dogs for a walk. If your dogs are dumb like mine carry the dogs while you walk. There are heaps of reasonable, simple things that I think we can all have a go at to keep appreciating the amazing person we fell in love with who might be currently not feeling exactly amazing.
Except just don’t go to bloody Ikea. No relationship can survive Ikea.