Why I Want a Sister Wife

A live-in bestie who could help out with my big kid (not to mention my hubs) while I'm on boob lockdown? Yes, please.A live-in bestie who could help out with my big kid (not to mention my hubs) while I'm on boob lockdown? Yes,  …I'm rocking the 6-week-old baby scene over here, which is to say little Otto is glued to the boob 24/7, growth-spurt style. I'm a full-service breastaurant, doing hard time on the sofa in the first part of the day before picking up my 3-year-old from preschool and then juggling my way through to bedtime. I've never multitasked so much in my life. And, oddly enough, I've never watched so much TV. I'm "chain smoking"--as a friend of mine has dubbed it (watch the next episode? Sure!)--Sister Wives on Netflix, because that's about all my brain can handle at the moment. (I also watched the Katy Perry documentary.) I'm fascinated… and, maybe, just a little bit jealous.

Granted, it's a known fact, at least in my marriage, that I have terrible taste in television. And Sister Wives is, at first glance, a pretty terrible show. It's boring-but that's what makes it so interesting to me. The Brown family--one husband, four wives and 17 kids between them--is, except for the whole polygamy thing, as vanilla-middle-American as a family can get. Within the context of their everyday family-life challenges and triumphs, the whole polygamy thing even seems… kind of normal. In fact, lately it's struck me as kind of genius. I'd love to have a live-in bestie who could help out with my big kid (not to mention my hubs) while I'm on boob lockdown. This might be the sleep deprivation talking, but… I want a sister wife!

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I'm pretty sure my husband thinks I'm crazy. He doesn't want another wife, and he assures me I don't, either. (Yes, I've brought this up with him!) Really, he's right; relationships take enough work with only two people involved. That work would be multiplied with extra spouses, and ultimately, I feel like the intimacy that makes marriage worth it-and I'm not even talking about sex here-would be compromised, at least for me.

I've brought this up with my friends and discovered that what I--and most moms--find so appealing in the sister wife concept is the company, community and collaboration of women in this endeavor-of-a-lifetime that is raising a family. A built-in female support network has been present in most cultures but is lacking in ours. Having a family structure that innately creates that support makes a good deal of sense, and also exists in a variety of different cultures--polygamy is not unique to fundamental Mormonism. There's a reason for that: it can actually work. But as much as there are moments when I think it might work for me (moments like the other day, after a simple walk around the neighborhood, when Otto cluster fed in the Ergo as I attempted to clean dog poop off of Kaspar's bare hands), I don't actually want a sister wife.

What about you? Do you ever want a sister wife, too?

- By Taylor Hengen Newman

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