I’ve been thinking about this since last Tuesday night, when I started packing for my trip to Vermont. Because I had to pack for myself and Eli and because I was also taking care of two kids and I was sort of pressed for time, I decided to quit doing all the stuff I normally do during the day. I just gave up on doing that stuff too, and I didn’t worry about picking up toys or wiping off counters or loading and unloading the dishwasher or clearing the table, because I was leaving at 8 in the morning and it was so not my problem anymore. I was not going to be dealing with the aftermath.
It was totally unbelievably wonderfully awesome. I just didn’t care at all about so much of the stuff I normally am thinking about every single minute of every single day. I felt liberated. Liberated, I tell you!
And it made me start thinking that when one of you goes out of the house to work and one of you stays in the house to work, I personally think it is so much harder to be the one who stays at home.
Now, I am not arguing that it’s easier to be a Work Out of the Home Mom than to be a Stay At Home Mom. Especially if both of you are working out of the home. I am just comparing being the one who leaves with the one who stays. If you both leave the house, then that’s something else totally different and quite frankly I am in awe that you ever get any shit done.
Also, I don’t really have any experience with any of the other scenarios here besides the one sample I’m dealing with, but at least for me, I really really think the At Home part of it is the thing that makes being a Stay At Home Mom so hard for me. Because if the dishwasher is running when I make dinner and so it doesn’t get emptied before dinner is over and then all the dinner dishes end up on the counter because unloading the dishwasher would be too loud for the kids, I’m the one who has to deal with it. My husband walks out the door every morning at 7:24 to catch the bus and it doesn’t matter whose job it is to do what, I have to deal with two kids and a dishwasher that needs to be emptied and a counter full of last nights dirty dishes. I deal with the consequences of EVERYONE’S action in my house, all day long, simply because I am the one who is here.
And I think this just naturally makes it hard for me. It makes me resentful because I deal with SO MANY consequences of actions not my own because I am here in the house. Does that make sense? For example my husband likes to bring the dogs food dish into the house every night to feed the dog. Then he forgets to take it back out, and I have yelled and asked nicely and cajoled and made suggestions and he just never remembers to take it back out. Then sometime in the morning, I find Katie throwing left over dog food all over the kitchen, and the RAGE I feel when this happens, man, it is something else. Because I did not leave the dog bowl out but I am dealing with the mess, and the frustration at that moment, it could start a car, it really could.
And I think it means I spend a lot of time unconsciously obsessing over how I am about to get screwed by someone else. Who has left what out that that I will have to deal with at 7:15? What more could be done the night before so I am not left with it the next day? And I didn’t even realize that I was doing this until suddenly I was…not doing it, and it felt so great to just not give a shit about the bowl of cheerios on the couch and the dog food bowl in the kitchen.
I am not the kind of person who can just leave my house all the time and escape from this. It’s too much work and there’s a genuine limit to the amount of free things you can find to do with two kids all day long, and pretty soon the more you leave the house the more money it costs. So I want my house to be a place we can all kind of hang out in while we’re trapped in baby jail and this means that I really don’t want breakfast dishes littering my counter or last night’s beer cans lined up along my windowsill.
I guess what I am actually trying to say is that this is no one’s fault, actually, even though it probably doesn’t sound like I am saying that. Just that sometimes when I think about it, the hardest part of this, for me anyway, isn’t the kids part and it’s not the never ending drudgery or the mountain of laundry and it’s actually not the mom part I struggle with so much as the At Home part.
Filed under: Uncategorized |