By Micah Schneider
If you’ve been paying attention to this column since it began last year, there is a new article every month. The exception being when our little Munchkin was born three months ago, but I got a pass for that. Some months, finding something to write about has been really easy. Other months, like this one, are a little more difficult. The reason why is pretty simple. Despite what people might think, or fantasize about in their heads, our lives are pretty normal, and frequently boring to anyone but us.
Let me share some examples. This month, we’ve been having deep and meaningful discussions about breast milk. His bio mom works from home, but she’s a lawyer, and frequently out for long and unpredictable lengths of time. So I get to bottle-feed him a lot. And I mean that sincerely, as I love the bonding time my son and I get when I’m feeding him. We’re trying to maintain a careful balance between breast milk and formula, so we devised a simple system to track his feedings. But we’re also having a supply problem, so we have to make sure that mom gets enough time to use the breast pump, and we also need to track how much supplemental milk he gets, to make sure he continues to gain weight. And all four of us have to be on the same page.
We’ve been having some more serious discussions about family finances. I just finished grad school, and am currently amongst the unemployed. We’ve got enough resources to meet all of the family financial obligations, and having me at home means we don’t have to pay for child care, but in order to make our budget work, we have to carefully examine everything in the budget, and make sure we don’t overspend.
Not quite the fantasy life most people assume we must be leading.
Like every “normal” couple, we also debate, discuss and argue about silly or unimportant things. Just the other day, we actually seriously discussed the pros and cons of plastic versus wooden clothespins. The only difference between us and those normal couples is that there are four of us talking about the minutiae of life instead of two.
But, even in the minutiae, there is a kernel that I can share. And not just that plastic clothespins are a better choice because they are washable and last longer. And, as I frequently find myself saying in this column, the advice I’m about to give applies to anyone in a relationship, romantic or not.
You’ve got to have a “normal” life. Being poly is pretty awesome most of the time, and I’m not going to deny that it can be pretty hot, too. But no romantic relationship can be all sexy and fun all the time. In between your regular tussles between the sheets, you have to go to work, take out the trash, clean the house and all of the normal tasks of daily living. You’ve got to divide the labor fairly between you and your partner(s), so you have to talk about it. You have to talk about what to have for dinner, who’s going to cook it, who’s got the time to shop for it, and who cleans the dishes afterward.
So for those of you out there that have always secretly fantasized about having a big poly family, just started realizing your dream, or are already doing it, remember to keep it real. Don’t let your life become a fantasy from an erotic novel. Fantasies are nice, and a hell of a lot of fun, but may not make the best real-life full-time living arrangements. Don’t get me wrong. Indulge that fantasy as often as you can. But don’t ignore your “normal” life in favor of the one in your head.
If your poly life is as boring as ours to everyone except you, I’d say you’re doing something right.