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A Book Review For Mom’s Like Me — Behind Closed Doors

editor’s note: I wrote this post simply because I appreciate a good book and a recommendation from someone I trust. But this post also contains affiliate links. Meaning if you decide to by this book off of Amazon by clicking on the link in the post, I will receive a (very small) commission. That helps me keep up with costs for this site.

But I got my copy of the book from the public library 🙂

It’s time for another book review!

First, a disclaimer.

I was not an English literature major or anything in college. So don’t be expecting anything professional.

As a busy and exhausted mom who still does not have large amounts of uninterrupted time to read anything, my criteria for a good book are as follows:

1) Degree of Difficulty — I like to read for entertainment. To escape. And I don’t want to have to think too hard. My attention span and level of energy are better than they used to be, but they still kind of suck. So… it needs to be a fairly easy read.

2) Narcolepsy Factor — I need to be able to read more than two paragraphs before I fall asleep.

3) FWOFF (First Week of Facebook Factor) — Obviously, if I find myself not being able to put the book down, and if I want to ignore my kids as much as I did those first few days I discovered Facebook and Pinterest, then that’s good.

4) Vacuum Factor — It can’t take like 100 or 50 or even 25 pages to suck me in. It kind of has to be immediate.

5) PTBD (Post Traumatic Book Disorder) — When I finish the book, I want to be missing the protagonist. Like to the degree of depression I felt when I watched the final episode of Breaking Bad.

6) The Goldilocks Factor — Too much sex, too little sex, or just the right amount of sex. A little bit of a naughty factor is good. But massive amounts of smut don’t really appeal to me.

7) Zoloft Factor — It can’t be depressing.

8)  Do Over Factor (DOF) — I don’t have to go back and reread pages, paragraphs or sentences multiple times because I can’t remember what the hell I just read.

9) Potty potential — If the chapters are short enough for me to read while I’m going to the bathroom, that’s a major bonus, because sometimes that’s the only time I have alone to read.

10)Neat Package Factor —  If the ending sucks, that’s not good. I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Or at least an ending where everything is resolved and wrapped up with a bow and I’m not left wondering why I spent all that time trying to get to the end of the book when I still have no idea how the hell the story finishes.

Now onto the book:  Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris.

In a nutshell, this book is about a a couple who appears to have the perfect marriage. It’s like peoples’ Facebook and Instagram posts. But we all know those aren’t a true depiction of reality.

If you like a twisted story, or if you want to be reassured that your marriage isn’t as fucked up as it could be, then this is for you. (I told you this wasn’t a professional review).

Now for the scores:

1) DD (10 = easy read, 1 = whoah, I have to think way too hard to follow this shit): 10 

2) Narcolepsy Factor (10 = I can’t believe I’m still awake, 1 = I’ve been on the first page for four weeks now): 15

3) FWOFF (10 = I haven’t checked on the kids in 90 minutes and I cannot put this book down, 1 = I think I’ll go check Facebook because this book kind of blows): 20

4) Vacuum Factor (10 = I’m sucked in before the end of the first page, 1 = why the fuck am I reading this?): 10

5) Post Traumatic Book Disorder (10 = What will I do without the main character in my life?, 1 = Wait, who was the main character again?): 10

6) Goldilocks Factor ( 10 = just the right amount of naughtiness, 5 = no naughtiness at all, 1 = I should have just watched a porno): 1

7) Zoloft Factor (10 = it’s all good — no drugs necessary, 1 = I think I need a stronger antidepressant): 8

8) DOF (10 = no do overs necessary, 1 = I think I’ve read that sentence seventeen times): 10

9) Potty Potential (10 = I can finish a whole chapter by the time I have to flush, 1 = does this book even have chapters?) 6

10) Neat Package Factor (10 = All situations resolved, 1 = WTF?) 10

Final Score: 100/100

I loved this book. LOVED it.

If   Sleeping With the Enemy and Silence of The Lambs had a baby book, it would be this one.

There was just the right mix of fucked up crap in it, and when I was done reading it, I was left really missing it. (But if you like some serious sex scenes, you’ll be disappointed. Actually, if you like any sex scenes, you’ll be disappointed).

I wasn’t, though. I read it in a weekend. (It’s a great book to read if you are at the beach on vacation.)

Check this one out from the library asap!

(or you can get it on Amazon here):

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Sexless in Seattle

A while back a woman who referred to herself as Sexless in Seattle wrote to me and asked me a question about sex.

Or more specifically, the absence of it in her marriage.

She is a mom, has a young kid, has been dealing with depressions and taking antidepressants for a while now, and over the last few years has completely lost her six drive.

She feels like it’s mostly her fault and thinks her husband has completely given up on even suggesting sex at this point.

While she feels other areas of her marriage are pretty healthy, the absence of sex has her feeling like a failure and also unwanted and undesired.

She explained that she and her husband have sex 2 or 3 times a year, and that she spoke with her gynecologist about her lack of desire in the bedroom.

Her doctor told her that was “normal for any woman with kids.”

Sexless thinks the doctor may be wrong, and she wondered if I had any thoughts on this issue.

I’m not a doctor or a psychiatrist, but I definitely do have some thoughts.

I think intimacy is very important in a marriage.

I think  physical contact,  holding hands, hugging, kissing, snuggling, and yes, fucking, are all necessary components for a really healthy marriage.

Because I don’t think you can have true intimacy without physical contact.

I also know very well what happens for women who have children.

From  2005 through 2011 I was either pregnant or breastfeeding.

For over six straight years I either had a child growing inside of me or latched onto the outside of me.

And now, five years later, while I’m not knocked up or nursing, there are still kids touching some part of me almost every moment they are home.

For the last eleven years, I have had a kid in me or on me.

That makes wanting my husband in me or on me a little bit challenging at times. Often times, actually.

That being said, I have not even remotely lost all desire to have sex.

Especially not with him.

I love married sex. It’s not old or boring. He knows what I like and I know what he likes. We are a couple that has been dancing together for years, and when that happens, you move fluidly and effortlessly together.

That’s my experience anyway. Even with our relationship that has been full of ups and downs (way more downs than ups), my husband and I don’t need so much work in the between-the-sheets department.

The communication department is a different story, though.

So we may not have to work so hard on the sex thing, but there are other areas we need to try much, much harder.

Other people don’t have the communication issues we have, but the sex thing is more of a problem.

Still, whatever issues couples face,  even if you still possess any sort of sex drive, getting your partner on the dance floor is definitely a challenge a lot of the time.

When you have young kids, it’s going to be more difficult, especially for most moms.

Because they are always touching you. They are watching you pee and poop and shower and get dressed and do everything. They are pointing at your boobs and asking you why are those so big? or even better, in my case, saying Ew, Mom! Your boobs are disgusting!

That doesn’t exactly nudge you in the direction of wanting to get naked in front of anyone. Because of this, sometimes you just don’t want anyone even looking at you. You just want a little personal space. Or a lot of it. And you don’t want anyone invading it.

So having kids, especially young ones, presents a challenge. And I think you need to cut yourself some slack for the first couple of years.

Yes, years.

You can tell your husband this. You can tell him that you are struggling with anyone even touching you.

You can tell him you still love him and you find him attractive, but that you’ve lost your mojo a little bit.

(We all lose our mojo to varying degrees. It’s just a bigger degree for some of us than it is for others).

And then you can tell him that you really want to change the status or your sex life. You can tell him you want it to happen more often. You can tell him you need help. You can tell him it would really make a big difference if he romanced you. You could tell him that you feel unwanted and unattractive, and that it would really help if maybe he could try to woo you the way he did when you were first dating.

And hopefully your husband understands and gets it.

If he doesn’t, you can let him read this.

All that being said, then there is work to be done on your end, too.

Just like any other area of a marriage that needs work, both people on both ends have to be willing to work to change it.

I have to work really, really hard on the communication end if I want to improve the health of my marriage and my happiness in it.

Working on communication fucking sucks.

It’s hard and it’s boring and it’s monotonous and it’s really tiring and I’d rather just sit on the couch and not try hard and mindlessly stare at the television for a couple hours.

But that wouldn’t be healthy for my marriage, and that will not get me to that truly happy and harmonious place I ultimately want to get to in my marriage.

So what are my thoughts on what you can do?

First, hug your husband every day.

And not like a two second hug. a long, lingering one.

Did you know hugging your spouse for 30 seconds literally causes your body to produce feel good chemicals?

It does.

So start with smaller, regular bits of physical contact.

That can help to get the ball rolling.

Second, if you aren’t already, start exercising.

Ugh. I know. If this isn’t something you are already doing, it’s not fun.

But beside the obvious that your body needs exercise and it’s just something we should all be doing regularly anyway, exercising does two other things.

One, it’s the best natural antidepressant in existence. It causes your brain to produce  chemicals that make you feel better, and it might get you to a place where you don’t need to rely on that Zoloft (more on that in a minute). And two, when you are exercising, you feel better about your body. You feel stronger and healthier. And when you feel stronger and healthier, you feel better about taking off your clothes and hitting the sheets with your husband.

Back to that  Zoloft.

I’m not anti-medication.

I’ve taken an assload of it. I’ve taken Zoloft and Lexapro and Celexa and  Xanax and when depression led to insomnia they gave me Ambien but by that point I was so far gone it didn’t work so then they went to straight to Seroquel which is some pretty strong shit that they give to schizophrenics.

Obviously if it’s the choice between fucking your husband and, um, living, well… stay on the drugs.

But it has been over three years since I’ve taken any medication.

And that’s because I started exercising and I changed my eating habits.

Well, I also had a shit ton of therapy.

But the point is that exercise (just a moderate amount — 30 minutes a day)  improves the quality of your life in so many areas!

Until you get to that point, consider talking to your doctor about switching medications.

I stopped taking Zoloft not because it destroyed my sex drive, but because it made me unable to orgasm.

And that destroyed my sex drive.

I switched to Lexapro after that which worked much better for me.

And eventually, I stopped taking anything at all.

Finally, start taking care of yourself.

Get enough sleep. Make time to take a shower. Put on some make up. Or even just lip gloss. Lip gloss makes everything better. If you can afford it and you’re into that kind of thing, get a mani/pedi on a regular basis.

Get your hair done. Get out of the yoga pants and put some cute clothes on.

You’ve gained weight and you don’t want to buy anything new in that size ?

Tough shit! Buy yourself one cute outfit that you really like in a size that fits you. Trust me. When you get the exercising going, you’ll tighten that body up, and then you can buy yourself another cute thing in a smaller size in a couple months.

(By the way, your husband is not even remotely as critical of your body as you are, and he definitely still wants to have sex with you, regardless of the number on the tag in your pants).

You are much more likely to want to bang the crap out of your husband when you are rested and when you invest in yourself. And it’s okay. Even if you don’t plan on having sex with your husband, YOU TOTALLY DESERVE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

So there are my thoughts.

I think sex is important to a healthy and happy marriage, and I think it’s very often work.

But I also think it’s worth it.

Hang in there, Sexless!

Talk to your husband, hold his hand, give him a hug, talk to your doctor, go for a walk, get out of the yoga pants, take a shower, put on some mascara, and then tell your husband you are ready, willing and able.

Then, do that again. And again. And again.

Even if you aren’t feeling it, keep doing it.

Fake it til you make it.

Eventually, there’s a very good chance your hard work will pay off.

And then you can appreciate his hard work 😉 .

 

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The Talk, Episode 3.

Zones is in Webster, NY (near Rochester) and about 5 1/2 hours from our house.

A blog reader who has taken a couple of my e-courses and become an online friend of mine let me know she lived in Webster, and we arranged to have dinner last night in town.

I had never met her before and she and her daughter who is a little bit younger than Number 4 came to pick us up.

We were going to go to a local hot spot called Dinosaur Barbecue, but the wait was an hour, so we ended up at Red Robin (which was fine by me and Number 4 since we never go out to eat anywhere).

Plus Red Robin has Blue Moon on tap.

And they have a “tall” beer option.

Which I took advantage of.

Twice.

So after the second big ass Blue Moon, my friend (I’ll call her Kathleen) and I ended up on the topic of what we had been watching on Netflix.

She mentioned the show The Fosters, and I told her I had never heard of it.

I asked her what it was about.

On a side note, on the ride up to Webster, since we had a lot of time to kill in the car, Number 4 and I somehow ended up on the topic of being gay and I told her that just like you are born with blond hair or green eyes, some people are born liking girls and some people are born liking boys, and some people are born liking both.

She said, “OH, YOU MEAN LIKE LESBIANS!”

Apparently this wasn’t news to her.

Anyway, Kathleen explained to me that The Fosters is about a lesbian couple who has a biological kid and then adopts a kid (or two I can’t remember) and then takes in a couple foster kids.

Number 4 was listening to what we were talking about.

“What does biological mean?” she asked.

“It means you get pregnant and have the baby out of your own body,” I told her.

If you recall, Number 4 and I had the talk about how sex works and how you get pregnant and couple months ago.

She looked at me with a really puzzled look on her face.

“Wait. But I thought you needed…”

I didn’t know how much Kathleen’s daughter new about this stuff, so I cut Number 4 off.

“You know what? Why don’t we talk about this on the way home from the meet tomorrow? We’ll have plenty of time to talk about all of this stuff.”

We finished up our dinner and went back to the hotel.

I had the perfect amount of a Blue Moon buzz going. We put our pajamas on and I let her watch some TV and fall asleep in bed.

This morning she woke up at the ass crack of dawn, and we were eating breakfast by 7 a.m.

Around 9 we went downstairs. I ran a 5K on the treadmill while I looked through the window from the workout room to the pool and watched her swim.

We came upstairs, relaxed a little, and took a shower.

I told Number 4 to charge up her Kindle and make sure she knew where her books and stuff were for the ride home.

Number 3’s session started at 1:20. I told Number 4 that we’d probably leave shortly after Number 3 swam because we had a long ride home.

And she looked at me and said, “GOOD! THEN WE’LL HAVE PLENTY OF TIME TO TALK ABOUT HOW LESBIANS HAVE SEX!”

Shit. I forgot all about that.

So it’s gonna be an interesting (and eye opening) ride home.

Back at Number 1! Thank you!

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WELL WHAT HAPPENS TO BOYS, THEN???

Our normal routine here is that I get home from swim practice at about 8:00.

I get Number 3 and 4 their dinner, and while they are eating, I put Number 6 and 7, who share a room, into bed. We read a story, then I sing each of them a song, and we do kiss, hug, knuckles, high five, and then they go to sleep.

After Number 3 and 4 finish their dinner, they along with Number 5 who also shares a room with them, will brush their teeth and get their pjs on, and wait for me to finish up with Number 6 and 7. Then I start their routine which entails reading a chapter from a book to them (we are on the fourth Harry Potter book right now). Number 5 is usually sound asleep by the time I get in there.

So tonight after I got Number 6 and 7 to bed, I went into Number 3, 4 and 5’s room. Number 5, as usual, was out cold.

And here was the conversation that took place:

Number 3 (ten years old): Mom, are you wearing a tampon right now?

Me:

Number 3: Are you wearing a tampon right now?

Number 4: (Nine years old): I told him everything, Mom.

Me: You gave your older brother the sex talk?

Number 4: Yep. I told him he’s going to shoot goo out of his penis.

Number 3: MOM! ARE YOU WEARING A TAMPON RIGHT NOW???

Me: Oh. My. God.

Number 3: Is it going to hurt when that happens to me?

Me: When what happens? When you have sex?

Number 3: No, when I pee out blood.

Me: You’re not going to pee out blood.

Number 4: But John (the father of one of Number 4’s friends whose name has been changed and who my husband and I are good friends with) told us he peed out blood because he has a rock in his penis!

Me: He didn’t have a rock in his penis. He had kidney stones. And the only way to get them out is to pee them out. And that definitely hurts. But that doesn’t happen to all guys.

And boys don’t have a period.

Number 3: We don’t?

Me: No.

Number 4: WHAT?

Me: Only girls get their period.

Number 4: WELL WHAT HAPPENS TO BOYS, THEN?

Me: Nothing, really.

Number 4: WHAT??? YOU MEAN WE HAVE TO GET A PERIOD AND WEAR TAMPONS AND  HAVE  BABIES AND ALL BOYS HAVE TO DO IS GROW A BUNCH OF HAIR DOWN THERE???

Me: Pretty much.

Number 3: So Mom, are you wearing a tampon right now???

And that’s when I opened up Harry Potter and just started reading.

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