Last night I had a couple of hours to hang out with one of my close friends, Sara. As I have mentioned before, Sara has two young sons, so our time together is limited. Whereas (prior to her having kids) we used to see each other once or twice a week for stretches of several hours, we are now lucky to see each other once every 2-3 weeks for about 2 hours max.
We sat on our couch and chatted for 2 hours and caught up on all the latest. At one point, we were talking about parenthood, and she confessed to me that she misses her husband. She told me that since they have had kids, their entire life revolves around caring for the kids and there is very little time left for she and her husband to be together. She said they talk about this sometimes and tell each other how much they miss each other - how much they miss going on dates, spending time together, talking - just the two of them. She admitted they are no longer first in each other's lives. She lamented that this just the way it is when kids are young and all couples with kids go through it. She expressed optimism for the future when the kids are bigger and don't need so much constant attention.
Although Sara is one of the rare moms I know who truly seems to love being a mom, whenever I am with her I am filled with a renewed gratefulness for being childfree. I wouldn't trade places with her in a million years. I love being #1 in my hubby's life, and making hubby #1 in my life. Nobody comes before him. I love having his undivided attention and I love giving him mine. I love that the level of conflict, stress and chaos in our marriage is minimal and I am keenly aware that this is primarily due to being kid-free. I love that our recreational time belongs almost exclusively to US and we can spend our time doing things that we find enjoyable and fulfilling. I cannot imagine spending my evenings and weekends running kids to soccer games and Chuck E. Cheese, to birthday parties or (gag) "play dates". As someone who enjoys cooking, I love that I can whip up sophisticated dinners that please our adult palates and not have to pander to demands for chicken nuggets and Kraft Mac 'n Cheese.
I don't miss my husband because he's fully present in my life. Isn't that what marriage is supposed to be about? I could never imagine sacrificing that to the alter of childrearing, but to each her own.