Updated to bring this comic to your attention. Enjoy.
I agree with Valentina.
To summarize, the husband wants more time with his wife. Valentina, the wife, says "they'll have time together when the kids are older and for now this is the way things have to be. She says she loves being a mother and feels it's her duty to nurture them." Which I wholeheartedly agree with. A woman's life has seasons. The season when her children are small is intense and relatively short.
Quoting the Blogging Baby post "What are James's demands? He wants their bedroom to be a sanctuary for the two of them. As it is, his wife and the baby sleep in their bed and James sleeps on the sofa. He wants to go on dates with his wife, she insists the children come with them on their nights out. James wants his son to have an earlier bedtime, but Valentina likes the later bedtime so she can spend more time with the little boy after she gets home from work."
It's clear to me that he is asking her to compromise her parenting values for the sake of their marriage. The pressure is on the mother to make the marriage work. She, and her parenting choices, get the blame if romantic love vacates the premises. Maybe she doesn't feel comfortable with a stranger watching her kids. Maybe she feels like the time away is too much, since she already takes time away from her kids by going to work. Maybe her feelings on that matter are completely valid.
The bedroom a sanctuary for the both of them? As a person who takes her kids' nighttime needs seriously, as it seems like Valentina does as well, I chafe at that "demand". Why should she have to choose between her children's needs and her husband's "demands"? At what point does the husband become just another spoiled child for her to placate? Maybe instead of James playing the marital martyr on the sofa, he should get himself a bed and shut up. Sleeping alone is what he's asking his children to do. Can't be that much of a hardship.
When you honor the mother, you honor the children as well. A happy mother makes happy children. We use this all the time to justify mothers taking time for themselves, for their husbands, for their work, and not having to feel guilty about it. But when a mother wants to sleep with her kids, if being with her kids makes her feel fufilled and happy, for some reason those same justifications don't apply. All of a sudden, her choices are damaging her marriage, threatening her stability, and thereby hurting her kids.
One of the main arguments people make against cosleeping is the "what about the husband" argument. Maybe it's time we stopped blaming a practice that is common, natural and often easier than the alternative, and question the instituation that it supposedly undermines. If cosleeping destroys marriages, maybe it's marriage that's the problem, not the age-old practice of cosleeping.
Waking up with a child on either side of me is one of the happiest, sweetest times of my day, and I'm sure they are happier for having the comfort of human touch for a good part of the night. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I would much rather wake up next to my sweet girls than my smelly husband. As Ayelet Waldman has every right to prefer her husband, I have every right to put my kids first.
I wonder how many women would compromise their parenting values for their marriage if there was a viable alternative to the nuclear family? It's easy to keep a mother in line; smack her around a bit with the specter of single motherhood, and she'll sit back down in her place. She'll put up with all kinds of unhappiness short of physical abuse. How many women simply say "Well, it's better than being alone"?
Which brings me to the title of this post. I want a wife. No, I want two or three wives. We could each work a little, stay home a little, do a little housework and childcare. We could have relationships with men if we wanted to, or swear off penises forever without our children being the worse for it. Our lives would not be tied to men. We could enjoy or ignore men as much as we saw fit.
The current institution of marriage leaves no room for a mother to love and devote herself to mothering, if that's what she wants to do. If she "neglects" her husband, she threatens the stability of her family. Why are we basing the well-being of our future generations on something so fickle as romantic love? When do we start questioning the institution instead of blaming the woman?