Your Husband or Your Kids? Dr. Ruth Weighs In

In a recent article I read in the New York Times called "Modern Love; Truly, Madly, Guiltily," a writer named Ayelet Waldman labels herself a bad mother. She says she isn't "infatuated" with her children in the same way the other mothers she's met in play groups seem to be. While these other mothers appear to live their lives for their children, her life revolves around her husband '- in the same way it did before they had their four children. Waldman's theory is that the other mothers' "passion has been refocused" away from their husbands to "an all-consuming maternal desire." Unlike these other mothers who allegedly have no interest at all in having sex, Waldman says she and her husband have fabulous sex on a frequent basis.

She says she doesn't feel smug about this difference, but rather she feels like she stands out as the one mother with out-of-whack priorities. She suggests that there must be something wrong with her. She says, "If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children."

Pardon me, but from my point of view she has the situation backwards. Not fitting the mold of these other mothers means she is actually doing everything right. In fact, not only isn't she a bad mother, but if her theory about the other women is true, I guess I have no choice but to label them not only bad mothers, but also bad wives.

Here's the problem: While their libidos may be lacking due to this newly refocused fervor, I would guess that does not hold true for the sexual urges of their husbands. And if these men aren't finding satisfaction at home, they'll eventually turn elsewhere. I'm not saying that sex is the be all and end all of marriage, but it is without question an essential element of the glue that keeps couples together '- and the absence of sex will seriously weaken the bond. If there really are so many women who never transfer their energy from their children to their husbands to keep their sex lives strong, then it's no wonder that the divorce rate hovers around 50 percent.

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