I can't even tell you what is taking my extra time except perhaps the kids are more emotionally needy than they were before. They aren't crying on my shoulder all the time, but they need assurance of my presence more than they did before. The kicker is, they don't even realize it.
I'm the one who ties up all the loose threads of their lives. So although they are fairly independent, they need me more than ever. I know this is a hard concept to grasp, it's a hard one for me to explain. They are at vulnerable ages and are trying to figure out more than just the playground politics of life.
So what happens to the marriage? Well, my husband seems to always be at a vulnerable age and is always trying to figure out where he fits in to the politics of all the females in his life, because those change daily.
When we were young and silly and chasing each other naked around the bed, we swore nothing would change after we had kids. So when did it change? Somewhere around the third trimester when I was not only unable to be chased around the bed, but probably too grumpy and fat to feel silly and be naked.
Then after the kid was born, the gravity of what we got ourselves into settled in; it doesn't help that she was attached to my breast every hour and a half. Dad did his best to help out, but now he can't seem to find the wife who wanted to be silly and naked and chased around the bed. Heck, I can't even find the woman who wanted to do that and I still feel too grumpy and fat.
So there are highs and lows in a marriage. Obviously, we have figured out that children change a marriage. I guess we can just hang on to the future and know that eventually they will leave. Then after we settle into being empty nesters, we will figure out how to be old and silly and chase each other naked around the bed.
That is if the kids don't come back. We'll have to change the locks.