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I Know I Need to Give My Husband More Attention, But I'm Tired AF

Photograph by Unsplash

Hello, I'm a 10-years-married mom of two kids and I don't give my husband the attention he deserves.

Why so harsh? Blame my emails. Little did I know, my recent effort to purge all those pointless items still hanging around my inbox would open up such a revelation about my marriage.

It all started when I typed "2009" into my search box to see what I could trash from an era of my life that now seems like a million years ago — before marriage, before kids, before "omg I'm so freakin' tired of loading and unloading the dishwasher" mantras took over my life. I expected to find ridiculous and wistful pictures of my husband and me with better hair and perky, ambitious emails I'd sent to producers and contacts, trying to hustle work as a TV reporter back in the day.

What I found was so much worse.

Upon clicking into those old messages, I found excitement, fervor and flirtation from a carefree young woman to her love. Emails I'd sent to my husband while we were dating leading up to our wedding and shortly after that time. They were fun. They were sweet. They were me.

Except, they we also no longer me.

Through reading my cleverly plunked-out notes I crafted for the purposes of rousing my then-new husband, I was smacked over the head into realizing that I don't know where the attentive and energized me who sent all those cutesy teases went. Where is that me now? Maybe she got stuck in the dishwasher?! I'd look, if I wasn't so consumed with #momlife at the moment.

Those notes resurrected memories of when our home was consistently immaculate (cleaning up had nothing to do with dolls and lunchboxes), dinner was always homemade and punctual (with new recipes tried often) and sex was never thought of as something that required energy. I remember telling everyone back then how married life was like Disneyland: always happy and where dreams are made.

And now, I can't keep my eyes open long enough before nodding off. I've turned into a type of mom I used to harshly judge in my early days of motherhood.

Franky, I'm just tired AF these days.

As an experiment, I forwarded one of my newly rediscovered notes to my husband with "Can you believe this was us? Lol!" in the subject line. He replied "Ha!"

Very different from our old emails that boasted witty and playful responses that went back and forth between us a few times before someone wrote "Get back to work" or something. And now? Just "Ha."

Tired AF pretty much means that you stop giving a crap ... which is not healthy.

I listen to the podcasts, I read the blogs, I watch the relationship experts on TV. "Stay connected to each other!" they all shout. "Make time for date night! Plan sex nights in your calendar!" I usually roll my eyes at this kind of advice but after discovering my 2009 emails, I've snapped into thinking it might actually be worth listening to. I mean, is this how the descent of a marriage starts?Being tired AF, leading to not caring, leading to having irreconcilable differences?

Was that stupid argument we had about our new backyard landscaping really a manifestation of me not giving him consistent attention, like I did before kids?

Was his "Ha!" intended to be a call to action to make me realize I might be neglecting what he might need from me too?

Do I feel under-appreciated during my nightly stares at our kitchen wall, after everyone else has left the table because I'm under-appreciating him first?

Maybe I should start making more sandwiches.

Yes, I know that mutual respect requires attention both ways. Name a mom who isn't tired AF these days. This is simply REAL LIFE. Most everyone is exhausted from shifting work obligations, unexpected financial changes, loss of loved ones, caring of aging parents, doing that damn laundry again, wondering why our kids refuse to understand "No, you're not getting your own iPad!" and beyond.

My old messages instantly proved a fully packed mind can indeed fool our bodies into feeling exhausted to the point where some of us forget to even ask our husbands "How was your day?" because we just busted back into the door with kids and are scrambling to feed everyone before mutiny begins.

Tired AF pretty much means that you stop giving a crap ... which is not healthy.

So, in a quick-fix effort to conjure some good medicine, I sent an email in the middle of one afternoon about something funny. Something that I knew would get him if he opened and read it during his day. He responded in a way that made me smile like I was 10 years younger.

That night, let's just say that no one was tired. JUST KIDDING. We were still exhausted as usual and went to sleep at 9 p.m. like senior citizens, but after dinner I didn't find myself alone, staring at our kitchen wall after everyone left the table. He stayed sitting for a while and we talked about our days.

Who says emails don't get (and give) people's attention? That's something even this beyond-exhausted mom can do.

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