Dear Husband: Please Don't Say That Again
Annabel Monaghan’s “An Open Letter to My Husband: Don’t Ask Me What I’m Up to Today” has me inspired. Except here’s the working title of my post: “Dear Husband, Don’t Say That Again If You Know What’s Good For You.” The “if you know what’s good for you” is for dramatic effect, of course. Let me give you the back story.
For years, well, ever since children entered our realm of thinking and then actually appeared in our lives, I have wished for what I felt was the perfect scenario; the ideal work/life balance. In short, I would be able to work from home, dividing my time between caring for our daughters and finally being able to do what I love (i.e., writing). So when I was laid off a year ago, it truly was a blessing in disguise. Finally, I was able to make my “dream” a reality.
One year later, I can tell you that in this brave new world, I am now working harder than I ever have in my life, with less sleep. It has its perks, don’t get me wrong. I am writing this in elastic waist pants, for crying out loud. And I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been grateful for being present with my younger daughter, and simultaneously how sad it makes me when I think of what I missed with my older child when I was working full-time. I love that I have these extra moments with them, plain and simple.
But there are challenges. For instance, I’ve started and stopped this post about 15 times to change diapers, play blocks, put the princess castle together, fix lunch and pick up my older daughter from school. I feel constantly pulled in different directions between getting my work done and spending time with my children. The guilt is palpable, so much that I spend most of my writing time at night after they’ve gone to sleep. A year later, I am still trying to find that ideal work/life balance.
So when I casually mention an anecdote from the day to my husband that’s probably along the lines of “Millie whined all the way home from school” or “Vivian threw a colossal fit and then I had to finish a deadline,” he responds with (what I sometimes perceive as) a jovial, “Well, this is what you said you wanted!” That statement, my friends, drives me bonkers. Mind you, this is coming from someone who is generally the more thoughtful and communicative of the two of us. And I know that he has his own professional pressures, I do. I don’t ever want to lose sight of that, but I can’t help but feel like he thinks I’m at home eating bon bons all day with a few meltdowns thrown in for good measure.
YES, this is what I wanted. This IS what I want. But I need to be able to vent a little bit for my own sanity without feeling like I should be questioning my decision to be a work-from-home mom. Every day is not going to be perfect; far from it. So while I work on accepting that, my husband is busy crafting a better response to my daily recap.
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