Friday I found myself staring at the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine on the shelf as I was being herded like cattle through the narrow aisle at ShopRite with Sydney strapped to my chest in her carrier blissfully snoozing away. I absolutely loved reading Cosmo in my 20s. Fast forward to my 30s and I haven’t so much as glanced at a copy in a good – oh seven years. That’s how old Hannah just turned, coincidence? Probably not.

 

The Uncomplicated 20s

The cover was plastered with headlines like “Best. Sex. Ever.” and “It’s Sex O’clock! The Time He Wants You The Most.” I almost laughed out loud. These are the articles I used to read back when I thought the answers were complicated. These are the equivalent of romanticizing the wedding day and then leaving out the fact that the “ending” is really just the “prologue” to life as a grown married adult with children. Yes children – those messy, loud, and amazing little people that are the product of all these articles. So I was thinking as I’m reading them, what would the real titles be like for someone with kids. How about, “It’s Sex O’clock: How To Get In The Mood Before The Kids Kill It.” It’s a little long, I admit, but it’s an article I’d probably read.

Men Decoded

Men aren’t the complicated ones; women are. It made me laugh to see full racks of magazines trying to decode men. Sex O’clock is every second a man is breathing and not eating, sleeping or watching sports – BOOM, pretty simple, but I guess decoding men is very lucrative business that would come crashing down if we actually told women that men are actually uncomplicated. Then you have parenting magazines, that leave the sex headlines to the 20 something mags like Cosmo. There are virtually no articles that tell you about navigating sex and marriage as a mom. The word mom seems to repel the word sex, despite the reality that we in fact became moms because of it.

Wall-Carty pic
(left to right) Mr. Persten, Hannah’s Kindergarten
teacher,
Sean, Allison and their daughter Jordyn.
I met them
while interviewing them for an article for
Hudson Valley
Parent.

The Post Children Booty Call

Now that I have sufficiently covered that rant, on to the “post children booty call.” Two years ago while writing an article for Hudson Valley Parent, I interviewed a mom at my daughter’s Kindergarten Open house. Little did I know that this mom, Allison, along with her husband Sean and two kids Jordyn and Avery would become our very closest friends. It turned out our kids were the same age and we lived in the same neighborhood. We started having “play dates” at each others houses pretty often. It’s very rare that a whole family gets along so well that we literally vow never to move out of the neighborhood without the other family. That’s about as close to a marriage vow as a family can make.

So one day Sean invites us over for a “booty call” as he began calling our regular Friday night get-togethers. It has been in every combination from just moms and kids, dads and kids, both whole families, just one couple and all the kids to one glorious night we hired a baby sitter to watch all of our kids together and went to a restaurant where no parents had to request crayons, cut up anyone’s meat besides our own, and didn’t have to use the word Fudge instead of the F-bomb if we were so inclined.

From “Friends” To “Family”

This past Friday was no exception. We had our friends over for a campfire “booty call” complete with smores. While waiting for them, Hannah and Jay were really getting rowdy. I wish I had a bat signal I could send up like a flair in the sky to let them know we really needed them to come quickly. I have found great strength of sanity in numbers. Allison told me that her daughter Jordyn had asked her if she and Hannah were like sisters and she told her that they had different parents to which Jordyn replied, “Well, like cousins then?” Jordyn’s rationale was that she sees my kids more often then her own cousins. So the new status of honorary cousins was granted.

Gender Reveal
Sharing important life events – Hannah and Jay
with Avery and Jordyn at our “gender reveal booty call.”
All the kids learned we were expecting a baby girl (Sydney)
when they bit into the pink icing at the same time.

These are the relationships you aren’t likely to read about on magazine covers. The ones where you quietly adopt an entire family and agree to make them as important to you as your own flesh and blood. Yet, these are probably the most important ones If you are lucky enough to find them. They are more than mere playdates where our kids play together. I see ways in which our family is rubbing off on theirs and vice versa. We’re not just planning our next “booty call” every Friday; we’re planning our lives with each other.

So the next time you read one of these 20 something magazines trying to get you to complicate your ideas of what men want, know this – men are simple and relationships are a choice. Relationships are work that starts with one person saying “I choose you” and meaning it. Then you keep saying it over and over again even when life gets hard. Marriage is what comes after the I Do. Children are what come after sex. And Booty Calls, my friend, are what happens if you just so happen to be as lucky as we are. If you’re lucky you find great friends, parenting tag team partners, and adopted family that only require a simple “you free?” for the next visit; no fancy clothes, no clean houses and no perfect people required.

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