Having just experienced a celebrity sighting of Julianne Moore at Disneyland (and recovered only slightly from the fact that she’s infinitely more beautiful than I could ever aspire to be), I went back through my magazines to see if I could find interviews with her. I wanted to get an idea of how she managed to look so fetching in a baseball cap and capris while I, in a similar outfit, am wearing what my younger son calls my “mom uniform.” While I didn’t exactly find her secret, I did find one tidbit that resonated. It was an interview in InStyle in which she was quoted as saying, "I think [to feel sexy,] you need to be away from your children. Doing the mommy stuff does sort of squash that area of your life.”
Thank God someone finally said it. Someone in the spotlight, no less. Because now, the rest of us schlumps can say, “See! Even famous actresses feel this way.” We can all stop trying to make our food-encrusted sweatpants seem alluring.
Before, I kept reading about celebrities who just couldn’t keep their hands off each other despite the ever-increasing broods they were producing. Like Jada Pinkett-Smith (who apparently isn’t splitting with Will despite the tabloid noise) who went around blabbing that she and Will just jump into the nearest broom closet (full of brooms they never actually use) and have a little 7 Minutes in Heaven no matter how kid-focused their day has been. No matter if they are covered in peanut butter and snot. No matter if they had to listen to the SpongeBob Squarepants theme for the 6,000th time. No matter if they haven’t been able to go to the bathroom today without a small, inquisitive audience. Somehow, Jada and Will were able to jump right into the fray with nary a care for the leftovers burning on the stove.
I’m well aware that there are probably quite a few nannies and au pairs and assistants and house managers plurking around, tending to the children — and perhaps that team of buffers allows for a more fruitful romantic relationship. But let’s hear it for Julianne for finally opening the (broom closet) doors of honesty.
Before I go on, let me make one thing clear. I adore my husband. He still gives me that little jolt of electricity when he walks into the room, just like he did all those years ago on '80s night at Heaven and Hell where we met. (Long story.) But since having children, that little jolt needs quite a few child-less jumper cables to get going.
Is there anything wrong with that? Can’t we just admit that being a parent is hard and all-encompassing and sometimes it’s absolutely impossible to change gears from Where the Wild Things Are to Wild Orchid? Especially when there’s no crib or baby gates to keep the little creatures at bay. Murphy’s Law tends to prove that should any amorousness begin while your children are within a 20-foot radius, they will suddenly need a glass of water, an extra blanket, another hug, one more bedtime story … or, as my husband and I have experienced on more than one occasion, the mid-smooch sound of vomiting from our children’s rooms. Seriously. Are we supposed to clean the barf from the sheets, the rug, the bedside table, the pajamas and the child, whip our hair around alluringly and fall into each others' arms without missing a beat? No way.
We need dates. We need to ride in the car alone. We need to listen to Foreigner and drive a little too fast and not order off the child’s menu. We need to walk slowly without pushing a wheeled vehicle and say all of our words instead of spelling every other one. We need to go to R-rated movies with crazy sex scenes in them and hold hands in the dark, eating Red Vines and Raisinettes with no care for caloric value. We need to make out in a carseat-less automobile. And we need to come back home long after the babysitter has put them to bed, turn on some sort of white noise machine (an air purifier is quite nice … I’m just sayin’) and remember why we couldn’t get enough of each other in the first place.
I believe it’s essential to a couple’s long-term success to still keep those home fires burning. To take the time to reconnect to the people you still are underneath all the laundry and bills and colds and leaky sinks. Because we’re still in there, dancing to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch and those Good Vibrations are hard to locate when the kids are around. It goes without saying that we all adore our kids. We’d do anything for them. Sometimes the best thing we can do for them is call the babysitter and go neck in the backseat, which is infinitely more comfortable than a broom closet any day of the week.