A few days ago my wife, Mel, asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I couldn’t think of anything tangible. Or at least anything tangible that I really wanted. I need a new pair of jeans and sport coat, but none of that was much to get excited about. The more I thought about that, the more I got depressed. As a parent of three children under 9, most of the things I want can’t be bought on Amazon.
Here are the things parents want for Christmas.
When I say sex, I don’t mean with anyone. I mean with my wife. And this isn’t to say that we don’t have sex. We do. I should be more specific. I would like to have sex without being rushed. Without cramming it in (pardon the pun) during nap time, or in that magical window of time when the kids get to bed early, and actually asleep (nothing ruins the passion like a 6-year-old little girl knocking on the door and asking for a cup of water) that we can do it before 10 p.m. Because the fact is, sex after 10 p.m. isn’t worth it anymore because our toddler gets up far too early. I’d like to do it without my wife worrying about getting this or that done, and without me wondering if she’s still into me, when in fact she is, but she’s just can’t stop thinking about the kids’ homework and our family budget. A time when she isn’t “touched out” from having a toddler tug at her body all day. Basically, I want uninterrupted sexual free time, where we can focus on how much we love each other, (and yes, we do) without all the distractions that just happen when being the parents of young children.
Netflix and Pizza
This is not a play on Netflix and chill. I already talked about sex (although, I admit, a good pizza can almost be sexual). And I must say, I’m in my early 30s. I grew up in the Blockbuster and relax era. We invented movies and sex. What I want is time with the TV to myself, along with a pizza. As a parent, there is a hierarchy of movies in our home. If Pixar or Dreamworks made it, if it has an animal protagonist, if it stars a puppet with a hand up it’s poor ass, then I have seen it. If Mel and I watch a movie together, it has to be something we agree on, which is almost always a romantic comedy. This means I get to watch about two movies that I actually want to see each year. I want to watch the Expendables. I want to watch something with explosions and sweat and gasoline. And I want to do it alone with a pizza. I don’t want to keep a toddler from stomping on my crotch while I sit on the sofa, and I don’t want to worry about explaining to my children that it’s not okay to punch a man. I am just going to assume that my wife would like something similar, pizza and all, just cross out action film and add something like The Notebook.
This Christmas, give me a nap. Give me uninterrupted sleep that I can have until I wake up with a grumpy disoriented feeling that only comes when you get TOO MUCH sleep. I’ve been getting up too early and too often for far too long. I’ve been up late stressing about money, or kids homework, or whatever, only to then be woken in the wee hours by a sweet gummy grinned little person asking for toast. All I ask is that it’s quiet and cool. At this point, I don’t even know if I need a bed. Just a spot on the floor free of toys and Cheerios.
One day that is like a Norman Rockwell Painting
I always assumed parenting would be a lot like Leave It To Beaver, but it’s mostly been poop. Lot’s of poop. And fits. This isn’t to say parenting isn’t rewarding. It totally is. But just once, I’d like a full day where my children are little angels. I’d like them to have clean noses and clean bums, and to come to me with problems I know the answer to. And when I give them that answer, I want them to nod their little heads and say, “Yeah… Dad. You’re right. That makes a lot of sense. I’m going to stop eating my boogers.” I want a day where the house is clean, and stays clean. A day with no dishes. A dining room floor I don’t have to sweep time and time again. No fits and no fights, where my children hug each other and help each other, and don’t argue about having to wipe their own butts. I want a day where my kids are dry-eyed and rosy-cheeked, and excited about picking up their own crap.
Is all this too much to ask? Probably…
Clint Edwards’s work has been featured on Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. He’s the author of the new book This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.