When my first kid was about three months old I reached my breaking point. I was downright exhausted and needed my husband, Ross, to pick up some slack. (Let me preface this by saying that Ross is a great guy. This happened during the early days of parenting when 'he just didn't get it.') One time, I remember telling him that all I cared about was stepping on some sort of exercise apparatus, improving my overall hygiene, and getting a few hours of shuteye. At the end of the day, he was no where in sight. Where's Waldo? I called him on his cell and of course he said he was on his way shortly. And what did I hear in the background? I could swear it sounded suspiciously like a combination of Golden Tee and a keg being tapped.
For many of us, it takes having kids to realize that men and women are completely different animals. It comes as a surprise when, post-baby, men and women respond to parenthood in drastically different ways and start to assume different and not always complementary roles. Hardwired instincts nudge women into the role of nurturers and men into the role of providers. Given that we stepped out of the caves about 8,000 years ago, just a nanosecond in terms of evolutionary psychology, it shouldn’t be surprising that when we become parents our most basic instincts rise to the surface. We find ourselves back in the prehistoric suburbs, where women wonder if baby might be allergic to mammoth and if there are enough wild berries in his diet, and where men stalk buffalo and question whether their hunting abilities will be good enough to get the family through the winter.
Bethenny Frankel in her new show Bethenny Ever After opens up about the trials of being married. In the season premier, she talks of how she feels “tortured” in her marriage. At the NBC Universal TCA Press Tour, she stated that, “I just turned 41, and to be perfectly honest, I unintentionally crammed everything in. I got pregnant. I got married eight months pregnant and now I sold my business."
Wow. Bethenny definitely has a lot going on. But we know one thing is clear. She and her husband of two years, Jason Hoppy, just had a baby. They are now learning that parenthood changes...everything. Here are a few gems we heard along the way:
“I expected to add diaper, pacifier, formula to my new motherhood vocabulary—I didn’t think f*!# and s#*# would feature so prominently!”
—Lisa, married 5 years, 1 kid.
“What I get from other women is what I need, and that is help. I don’t even have to ask other women for help, they just volunteer. What do I get from my husband? I get a sink full of dirty plates, a pile of dirty clothes on the stairs, and a child dressed for church in a football jersey.”
—Katherine, married 8 years, 2 kids.
“My wife doesn’t understand how important sex is to me. Everywhere I go, sex is screaming at me. There are hot women in advertisements on billboards, and before I know it I find myself imagining Gina down in Accounts Payable wearing a nurse’s outfit.”
—Thomas, married 11 years, 1 kid.