I know you want to kiss me as soon as you walk through the door. I know you want to wrap your arms around me and ask me how my day went. I know that when you go to change out of your work clothes, you wouldn’t mind if I got the kids distracted and then joined you in our bedroom for a quickie. I know and appreciate all this, so don’t take what I’m about to say the wrong way:
I love you, but please don’t touch me.
This has nothing to do with the romance level in our marriage. After 6 years together, I still find you finer than the varicose veins these pregnancies bestowed upon my inner thighs. This has to do with the level of tolerance my body can physically take in one day. Unfortunately for you, by the time you get home from work, I’m pretty much touched out.
Our toddler rules the house and as much as I don’t want to admit it, she basically owns me, too. Of course I love her kisses (even, reluctantly, the slobbery ones) and I love that she still wants to sit on my lap for a million stories, even though she weighs close to 40 pounds and has the boniest butt ever. I don’t take these moments for granted. But all of her touching and needing me adds up. I’m not keeping count but…well, actually, I kind of am. From the toddler alone, my touch-o-meter is filled about 70% by the end of the day.
Then there’s the baby. He needs all my help for changing his poopy diapers, keeping him safe, and getting him food. He needs me to save him when he gets stuck between the couch and the ottoman, and then he needs me to rock him back into a sense of security. And even when he doesn’t actually want me, he’s just so dang cute that I need to snuggle him any chance I get because he won’t stay small forever. Since he has stopped breastfeeding during the day, that has helped his contribution to my touch limit lessen a bit, but even still, he adds at least 22% to my daily threshold.
So that leaves 8%—eight measly percent for you to work with, my dear Husband. Some days you get lucky and the kids only take 80% of my physical attention. Those are the days I’m sillier and I tease you with unexpected butt slaps or crotch grabs. Those are the days I initiate the lovin’ and I know you welcome that. I crave those days. But we have kids now and I stay home with them 24/7, so things have inevitably changed. Because no matter how hard I try to remain patient with my human jungle gym status, some days, there’s just nothing left in my reserves.
All I’m asking is that you try to understand. Can you imagine if your coworkers wanted to sit on your lap as you peed, or if your clients grabbed your face with sticky, mystery hands? When you enter the workforce to have adult interactions, you don’t deal with demands for piggyback rides and you don’t have to hold anyone’s tissue as they blow their nose. You don’t achieve touch-overload.
So since we can accept that, for the time being, this is our life and you’ll only get around 8% of me until I’m completely exhausted, I just ask that you stay patient. Still give me a peck when you get home, but make it quick. Still ask how my day went, but do so from across the kitchen island. Use your words and your service to convey your love until we’ve got the kids in bed and I can unwind a bit on my own. If you try to touch me before then, I might bite your finger off (unless if it’s to rub my shoulders. In which case, always proceed! But do so with caution; I don’t want to feel any drifting hands.)
Then, and only then, my depleted reserves might start regenerating and I’ll have maybe 15% to give to you in the bedroom before sleep!
Your permanently exhausted, but still in love,