I want to be the second wife

I need one of those it's-worth-it moments. You know, when the kids are being cute and I can look directly into the camera with my steaming mug of smug and say, "THIS is happiness!" I don't feel that right now. Today it feels like I might have made a big ole huge mistake with my life choices. Staying home? What the eff, man? I was up every single hour last night, twice to feed the baby, three times with a toddler who has pneumonia and once just to pace around the house checking humidifiers (those warning labels that everything can burst into flames at any moment are scary). I also took a moment to stub my broken toe on the same evil bouncy seat that broke it in the first place. I'll spare you a picture of the injury. Just picture a bloated, purple slug snoozing between my other toes. The jerk. (I have paused eight times while typing this paragraph: to adjust the volume on the baby swing, pry the preschooler off the toddler and listen to a story about a bee named Jesus.) THIS IS NOT CAKE.

About a year ago, someone childless and gainfully employed pointed out to me that I am not paying into Social Security since I don't work. I do have a 401k, but it was abandoned when 27-year-old me quit to stay home with baybays. You can imagine the infinite financial security I accrued between college graduation and turning 27. Why, I plan to retire at 40 with a fine cigar in my hand as I spit my gold coins into the air like a statue in a fountain. When I can access my 401k in the year 2044, I think it will be enough to cover the cost of a single pair of orthopedic shoes. Good, because I'll need them with those toes I keep breaking on damn baby junk laying around. My feet are starting to look like to-go orders of curly fries.

The other thing I forgot to mention is I'm fat. Niko helpfully suggested I play a boxing game on Wii as he turned to a picture of me on the wall from two summers ago and said "hubba hubba". Yeah, I get it, bro. You want me to morph back into the creature I was before the 3rd kid. It's not like he's asking for much. He's not asking for 2007 me or 2003 Britney Spears. He just wants a woman who doesn't look 6 months pregnant and puts in her contacts every once in a while.

This is how I figured I want to be the second wife. Are you ready?

I'm the first wife. I'm the one he wants to raise his kids, who wears clothes from Target while scrimping for college funds. I'm the wife who gets up with babies twelve times a night for six years straight. I lived through the starter house, the remodeling of two kitchens, the gory births of the children. I'm the wife who carries a diaper bag as a purse. I'm the wife who sits at home, alone, six nights a week through the part of his career that takes the biggest toll on his time. I never let him spend his money because there's always tuition to pay or a retirement to think about. I'm the first wife. The Sacificer. Sanctimony! Also, truth.

I told my husband I want to be the second wife. She'll have Gucci bags and go on vacation to places that don't have a kitchen. She'll live in a fully remodeled house or, after selling this one when the kids move out, in a condo in the city where you never have to shovel or mow anything. The second wife doesn't have to save money - I did all that! She'll step in on the cusp of my husband's retirement and ride the wave of my prudence all the way to date night every night of the week.

She'll be able to, too, because by then our husband will work fewer hours and have the time to enjoy stuff like the tickets to the gospel brunch I bought on auction but could not find one free Sunday morning in all of 2013 to go. I was either pregnant or bedridden or saddled with fatigue and family obligations. But not second wife! She and her weekly manicures will have lots of fun in the paid-off car. She'll get eight hours of sleep every night and never wear ponytails, unless it's to yoga class, which she will be able to attend because she won't have entire months of the winter on the house arrest of chronically sick children. Maybe she won't even grocery shop. Second Wife will have little sliced pears delivered to her toy-free home that she will nibble on between sessions with the personal trainer. Gotta be hot or Third Wife will be redecorating that place before you know it!

Things are easy in the beginning of a marriage and I suspect they are great later on, but in the middle, where I am, with three needy bodies between us, it's hard to see the joy. I imagine lots of marriages don't make it through this patch. This morning, I sobbed to Niko that I wanted to be the second wife. I sobbed harder when he agreed.

"I can't wait for you to be my second wife."

I love that man so much I'm going to brush my teeth today.

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Filed under: Daddy issues, Hitched

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