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Alexandra lives in Switzerland, she is married to Tommaso since 2003 and have a small girl of 2 years. She is the owner and director of a small but prosperous company that produces stationary for big corporations and loves her job. When she became a mother, she took the statutory maternity leave and was then back to work to run her company. After discussing the childcare issue with her husband, they decided that it was better for the little girl to stay at home with one parent and Tommaso made some adjustements to his freelancing design job ( he is a web designer..) to start working from home.
Alex and Tommy are a professional couple with a child.
Back in 2000 they met in Rome, Tommy's hometown, where Alexandra, originally from Holland, was holidaying with friends. They started dating shortly afterwards, overcoming the distance between them with frequent trips taken in turn, backwards and forwards between Amsterdam and Rome.
They got married just outside Rome in 2003, lovely ceremony.
They did the whole lot: awesome honeymoon in Bora-Bora, then for the subsequent 6 years, have spent their time between work, travelling, holidaying, romancing. In short, they've lived the life of a young couple with no children.
Alex and Tommy have made projects, have succeeded in realizing some of them: Alex now owns a small company, Tommy is still working as a web designer and they ended up moving in neutral grounds, in between her hometown and his.
Having a baby has been very much a joint decision, motivated by the fact that Alex is now 42 years old and Tommy is 41.
They have been lucky enough to get pregnant without having to try too hard.
Alex delivered baby Giulia in march 2009, she could have had a C-section, but opted out in favour of a 'natural' birth. She does admit today of having succumbed to the 'mild brainwashing' worked by her italian mother-in-law and went through the birth with the help of an undisclosed amount of pain-relieving drugs. The most horrifying experience of her life.
She also admits that, apart from the age factor, what prevented her from having another baby is in fact the whole 'natural birth' experience. She says that after having enjoyed such an amazing experience with pregnancy, the trauma of birth invalidated all the good memories related to being pregnant.
Poor Alex. And poor Tommy. He really would've liked one more child. They've stopped arguing over it once Alex turned 42. For once, the dreaded biological clock offers shelter against an unwanted second pregnancy.
Tommy is fairly happy being a stay-at-home dad. Obviously, the amount of work he thought he could do is totally unrealistic, as baby Giulia totally takes over every moment.
So he ends up staying up until very late at night to catch up with his stuff.
Alex's life is a mixture of meetings, early morning short-haul flights and goodnight kisses to her daughter, interspersed with family weekends. Tommy's life is a mixture of pending deadlines, teething problems, nappies, feeding time schedules, toddler classes and the stress of not being able to do it all. He knows he will have to give up his job or hire a full time nanny. He is still unsure about it.
One latest cause for complaint from Tommy is the fact that he and Alex have not had sex in 6 months.
They love each other very much and are not looking for thrills outside the marital bed, but they simply do not seem to have time anymore for a bit of hanky-panky.
Giulia is everywhere, especially between them in bed.
Usually, the 'Giulia-free' times Tommy has, are spent trying to catch up on every pending deadline and trying to sort out his workload, this happens generally in the evenings, when Alex is back from work and takes over in the parenting game.
Trying to fit some sex in the evening goes to clash with Tommaso's work-related schedule, his tiredness and the fact that he cannot get 'ready' on command (as he puts it, rather diplomatically...). I admire Tommy a lot, because he can say without fear 'I cannot manage an erection on command, especially when I am tired'.
WELL DONE TOMMY! Let it out!
It's not a surprise the fact that physiologically, a woman can fake excitement, even an orgasm, but a man cannot because 'Mr. Flabby' tends to give away the scam....
Tommy did confess that once in a while he ends up 'spanking the monkey', usually very very late at night, when both his wife and his daughter are fast asleep.
He is even re-discovered online porn. I told him that he is playing a dangerous game by creating for himself a sexual life outside his married life. He shrugged my warning off by saying that it's only a phase. As soon as Giulia grows up a little more, she'll go to school, she'll go back to her bed and they'll go back to having sex at least once a week.
Alex seems understanding, especially considering that for her having sex has lost some of its appeal ever since she decided to push Giulia through her 'hooha' that ended up like a kangaroo-pouch (her words, not mine).
"They tell you that everything it's going to shrink back to its original size, but it's a load of bullshit. I used to have a rosebud, now I have a Kangaroo-Pouch, with a baby kangaroo's head sticking out!!" she once told me, making me laugh hysterically.
Alex is an awesome woman.
Alex and Tommy are a great couple that know what's important in their lives.
They do try when they can to make room for romance and sex, like that time when they were at his mum's house in Rome. They sent Giulia out for a walk with her granny and managed a full-on session in the guest's bedroom.
That was almost a year ago.
From then on it's been one quickie after the next, leading to feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration and fear (Are we ok? Are we still a couple? What's going to happen now? Will he/she start to cheat to survive the dry spell?). I leave these thoughts within the privacy of their four walls in Switzerland.
Overall though, Giulia is growing up within a united family that gives her love and protection. She might not see mummy as often as her other little friends do, but she gets to see daddy much more often than any of her little friends. She loves her daddy and copies him in everything he does. The last thing she did was smearing her own face with shaving cream and ask Tommaso to shave it off " daddy!". She is a very smart, sweet girl that with every smile, makes her parents forget all the things they are sacrificing for her.
How does this 'set up' compares to ours?
Let's see.
Me and Steven met in 2000, I was working in Gucci and I thought he was an asshole. Obviously we started dating shortly after this rather crude realization.
It was romance in the grandest scale. I'm talking theatre nights and late restaurant dinners every week. I'm talking big, HUGE bouquets of roses sent to my workplace every friday afternoon. I'm talking mini-breaks in Paris or in the country every month.
I was a bona fide Pretty Woman. Only I was never a hooker. I was a fashion sales assistant. Close enough.
We got engaged in Paris in 2002, our rings blessed at the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre.
We got married in 2004 and started living the life of the young married gay couple without children. We travelled.... A lot! We've been to Bali 4 times, to Mauritius twice and several times to Paris and, of course, to Rome, my hometown.
We started discussing the possibility of having a child as early as 2003. Yes! Even before we were married.
We did not have any biological clock ticking against us, but were vexed more by the feeling of 'something missing' in an otherwise perfectly happy relationship. We wanted a family, we wanted to become parents, we wanted to give our child the love that was given to us as children.
In 2006 we started gathering up information on surrogate maternity and egg donation in the US.
In 2009 our dream became reality and we became the proud parents of our son Gabriel, born through surrogacy in California.
Since then, I have given up my job to become a stay-at-home dad. This decision was motivated by two factors: Steven was the main bread-winner of the house and, with some sacrifice, could manage to keep us all honest with only his salary; I was adamant that I did not want a perfect stranger to raise my son, be it a nanny or a nursery.
It felt good to say "I'm going to raise my son!". Obviously, from previous posts, the hardships within the bargain were not known then, so I embraced full-time parenthood with enthusiasm.
Two years down the line, an un-specifiable number of nappies and lost hours of sleep later, I am still holding on to my role, however, I would be a perfect hypocrite if I didn't admit that things have changed.
First, I don't exist anymore, I mean, everything I do during the day revolves around either Gabriel's schedule or Steven's ( and don't be shocked by the notion that YES! I DO IRON ALL HIS SHIRTS!!!). Everything that is about me, what I would like to do, things I would like to see, gets postponed indefinitely almost every time. I have willingly annihilated myself between cooking, cleaning, cuddling, playing and feeding. I have become a true housewife. Not one of those that spend every morning at the hairdressers, I am the traditional housewife that in the morning starts cooking dinner to get a head-start!
Basically I have morphed into my mother.
But I also have this blog, I have this new laptop that has become my confidante during the small hours of the night and when I write, I feel like I am doing something for myself and find it enough for now.
Second, I am trying my best to cope with my husband's never ending travelling schedule and the ensuing loneliness of being stranded at home in London when all the people I know are at work and my family is in a different country. I find myself forced to befriend total strangers with kids in the hope of expanding my social circle.
I also joined this toddler class to create a diversion (more for me really than for Gabriel.... He really isn't bothered...). So I find myself surrounded by yummy mummies and philippino-nannies singing nursery rhymes and clapping their hands,when in fact all I would like to do is having an adult conversation.... Politics? Fashion? Incumbent world nuclear armageddon anyone?
Anyway, it does help to see other parents looking as dishevelled as me. Mind you, I always look polished, and my 'dishevelled' look is way better than most other bitches'.
As far as our intimacy as a couple goes, well, let's say that our dry spell is not as long as Alex's and Tommy's, but it's definitely long enough to become a point of discussion.
It's always the same problem, having to schedule something that for very long time has been 'on tap' for the both of us.
If I look at my life, it's been "I" when I was single, to turn into "WE" as a couple and now "HIM" as a father of a very demanding little boy.
I guess that as a couple we had to give up no more, no less than any other couple that decides to have a child, and the family mechanics are pretty much the same.
So, why on earth did I write all this gospel? What is the point I wanted to make by comparing a straight couple with us?
Isn't it evident?
We're all the same! If we leave the sexuality-related differences in the bedroom, we are all humans trying to do our best to hold it together, to make it work, to stay together and to love one another.
We are all parents concerned with the welfare of our children, with their education, their health, willing to sacrifice our lives and aspirations to raise this new humanity.
I was shocked and saddened by an italian article written by a certain Nicholas Farrell (an englishman transplanted to Italy...) published on the newspaper "Libero", where he simply pours venom all over Elton John's family and his new role as a father, dismissing the whole thing as a case of 'VIPs doing whatever they want...'.
He wrote that famous people behaving in such way (...wanting to become parents...?) send the wrong message to all normal people out there.
I know, I know..... It's a joke, but I really felt my stomach churning while reading.
You see, I did promise myself I wouldn't become a militant gay-rights activist, I promised myself I wouldn't fly the rainbow flag in the face of bigotry and ignorance, but HOW CAN I KEEP THIS PROMISE?
In spite of all the sacrifices we are making as a couple, of all the hardships we had to endure to become parents, there is still people that see us as a couple of egoistic faggots that wanted it all.
How can I shut my mouth in front of such insolence?
So, as this is my blog and I can say whatever I want, I say it: Nicholas Farrell, your brain is the size of your dick, and I don't mean it as a compliment as they are both barely enough to ensure you are classified as a human male.
If you could see the happiness and the love that fills this house and the sheer joy my son is bringing to us, not only you would feel ashamed of what you wrote, but you would realize you could learn something from a father like me. Or Elton.

Go to hell!



jon said...

Nice post. I think what you're going through is normal for most of us, straight, gay, whatever. Have you considered perhaps returning to work part-time or taking an assignment for a few months, just to get a feel of the "real world" again? (honey, you ain't missing much!! LOL) I have returned to work myself after 10 months with the twins and while having others take care of your children gives you a physical and mental break, it also has its trade-offs as you are at the complete mercy of others raising them and not knowing how they will turn out or what they are being taught at such a formative age, etc. We seem to have lucked out with our caregiver, but we always wonder what is going on in their pure little minds.

Still, you might consider a small break to reassess things, if nothing else for the intellectual stimulation someone like you requires...

Much hugs

Alessandra said...

Rassegnati: ognuno trae ispirazione dal mondo che conosce meglio.
fregatene e scrivi tutto quello che ti gira nella testa che tra le altre cose a me piace tanto!!!!
La vita di coppia e la propria, personale, quando nasce un bimbo si devono abbandonare i panni di giovane uomo ,donna,per mettere quelli di padre,genitore, adulto,persone responsabili...E' il cerchio della vita...tutti passano questi momenti come tu ben sai io ancora no....però poi diciamo che, tra qualche tempo, ritornerai padrone di te stesso anche se ormai lo sai, non sara' più come prima. A questo servono i figli..con loro si diventa grandi..però avrai più tempo per dedicarti alle cose che più ti piacciono..anche in camera da letto!! Stringi i denti, resisti..siete una famiglia meravigliosa..e se hai voglia di parlare di moda, di politica, di cinema teatro, poesia, gossip, sronzate varie io per te ci sono sempre.....

Sara said...

darling, spot-on as usual.
This complete taking over when a child is small is one of the reasons why I am not (and may never be) ready to have a child... maybe I am still a child myself or i fought too hard to get to the life I want that I am not ready to give it up... even just for a few years.

On the Elton John thing, i'd like to say that one thing that did bother me, as it would and has with straight couples too, is the issue of age. I personally don't think that anyone should have kids that late in life (Elton is 63, my father's age) for a variety of reasons, and of course no one can ensure that any parent will be there for their child for 30-40 or more years, it's just that starting off from that seems very selfish indeed.

But hey, live and let live



Silvia said...

vorrei far notale che quell'imbecille era lo stesso che diceva di educare i figli picchiandoli e di essere una persona normale in quanto "Fumo, bevo, bestemmio, e sono (secondo la sinistra*) un fascista, e sono un uomo assente"

quindi scazzati che non ne vale la pena fartela andare in acido... come quando parla Ratzy...:D

*anche secondo me che sono di destra [ma non voto berlusconi!] è un fascista,anzi lo sarebbe se non fosse che i fascisti erano gente più onorevole di lui...