I never understood polygamy. What, exactly, is the appeal? Why would a man want to have to answer to so many women, when in most marriages, he can’t even listen to one? Maybe for the hanky-panky but really, that is a pretty high premium to pay for a few extra rolls in the hay. And, why on God’s green earth would any woman want to share a husband with other women? I mean, grody.
But then, about a month ago, my friend Carrie and I found ourselves spending a long afternoon together with my oldest and her two girls. We had taken our older girls to their ski lesson and were enjoying an after class snack at a yogurt spot. What was so nice about this outing, other than passing the time with a very fun girlfriend, was that we instinctively knew how to take care of our kids together. While she helped the older girls pick out their toppings, I had the younger one with me and helped her. I pre-paid for the yogurts, while Carrie got her own. As we sat down to eat, we each wordlessly took turns wiping the faces, fingers, and noses of our children. It was like a loosely synchronized but very graceful (or as graceful as we can be with 2 6-year olds and a 3-year old in a public space while stuffing our faces with fro-yo) ballet.
It was very different from a typical outing with my girls and my husband. I love my husband and he is a wonderful father. (Yes, I added the bold font in a shameless attempt to keep the peace in our house). But what he is not is a wonderful mother. I often have to prompt him to do certain tasks, things that are to me as a mother, so obviously in need of doing that they should’t require verbalization. On good days, I can ask him very sweetly and make it more of a suggestion, “Sweetie, could you maybe perhaps wipe that big booger that is hanging off Katie’s face?” But on most days, I am not quite so charming, “Helloooo…do you not have eyes or can you get that booger before it annexes her nose and starts its own colony?” (I should note that this example is purely illustrative…Chris is actually very good at getting Katie’s boogers without me nagging him but you know what I mean.) But with another mom, you don’t have to point out the blatantly obvious. You are not forced into a position of acting like a harpy wife by ordering your husband around. It simply gets done, just as if you were doing it yourself. Ahhhh.
After the yogurt, while we were driving home, our bellies full of yummy frozen goodness, Carrie made an offhanded comment about how she could see how the whole “sister wives” thing might be sort of attractive. You get to hang out with another woman during the day, have adult conversation, but also, can divide and conquer the child-caring duties. And while I don’t think she was proposing building a compound and merging our respective families together, it did get me thinking…
You’d have built in play dates between your sets of children. One person could entertain the kids while the other cooked dinner. You could switch off having childcare duties while the other mom ran all the errands, or better yet, got caught up on the most recent episode of Downton Abbey. Your husband would always be outnumbered in household decisions. And, you’d never have to drink alone during the day again. Hmmmmm…very intriguing, indeed. Oh. My. Gosh. You could double….triple….or QUADRUPLE your wardrobe!!!!
If we could figure out the sex thing, I might have to sign myself up. But then again, I don’t think I could bring myself to wear those frumpy clothes. Can polygamists wear Gucci?