I used to dream about a time when my small children could run their own showers, cut their own fingernails, compile an outfit that didn’t include gumboots and a Batman cape and, importantly, pour their own cereal when mummy was hungover. I was so naive.
Because now that they’re 13 and 11, and they can do all those things, I spend most of my time wishing they were little again.
Not so I can hold their chubby little hands one more time, cuddle them in my lap while we watch Hook or read them one last Roald Dahl adventure before bed.
Nope. It’s so I can go back to having regular sex with my husband.
If you think it’s hard finding time to have sex when your kids are little, just wait. In 10 years time, you’ll feel like you’re stuck in a bizarre reality television show that has all the desperation of The Hunger Games and all the privacy of Big Brother - with none of the dancing doona.
I’d give anything to be able strap my kids into matching high chairs with plates of chicken nuggets and one of the better episodes of Paw Patrol while I duck into the laundry for a steamy 10 minutes with their father.
I wish to God I could once again sit my daughter (who’s now taller than me) in a playpen with a metre-high pile of soft toys to explore while I get busy exploring my sexy man in the next room (keeping that eternal ear out for trouble, of course).
Because now that they’re teens, they’re inescapable. It’s like living with the housemates from hell - they don’t cook, they rarely clean, they contribute zero cash and they can’t drive so they never leave. They stay up late, they use all the internet data and they act innocent when you come home from work and can’t find your secret Toblerone stash.
But the worst of it is, now that they know what sex is, they’re eternally wary that we’re trying to sneak off and have it (which, of course, we are).
The tables have turned completely: they’re now suspicious when we’re quiet. They call out in a panic if, God forbid, we leave the room at the same time and they can’t hear what we’re doing (no matter how deep into YouTube and Snapchat they were 30 seconds ago).
I can’t trick them into sitting in the same position for 30 minutes despite offering Netflix, Stan and Amazon Video on demand, and making bowls of microwave popcorn. We can’t lock ourselves in the bathroom and go for broke because they know exactly why we’ve locked ourselves in the bathroom.
So I’m taking matters into my own hands this weekend. I’m doing three things to guarantee waaaaay more "quality time" with my husband.
1. I'm going to Bunnings.
To buy locks for our bedroom door of course. Because at the moment the Housemates from Hell waltz in unannounced whenever they like and don’t understand the combination of the words "please", "knock" and "first".
2. I’m going back to the 1950s.
I’m going old school and doing what our grandparents did: locking the kids outside the house after Sunday lunch. I know it’s minus 8 degrees most days in Canberra at the moment but half an hour outside on their bikes in the fresh air won’t hurt them. And their mum will be much happier for it.
3. I’m asking the grandparents for help.
I’ll phrase it to my mum as, "Can you watch the kids Tuesday nights so we can have a regular date night?" What it will really mean is, "We’re ordering butter chicken to the front door via Menulog (we don’t have Ubereats in Queanbeyan) before going to bed and then watching a new episode of Power". I’m sure she’ll be happy to help.