16 October 2012

The Price of Freedom (Or At Least 30 Minutes Of Freedom)

Long story short my day kicked off with histrionics at 5:30am thanks to Liz wetting the bed.  Now she wet the bed because she had no diaper on.  She had no diaper on because Chris did not put one on her when he put her to bed.  Chris was handling bedtime because I was on the treadmill.  You can see where this is going.

Sure a wet bed and the occasional early-morning wake-up are not the end of the world, but this could have not happened at all had Chris just put the diaper on the kid.  You know, like I do.  Needless to say I was a bit snappish when he offered to help ("nope, you have helped enough thank you.") and now I am the bad guy here. 

The thing is that I am sorry I was mean to him, but I am not even a little sorry for feeling this way.  You will have to excuse me if right now it feels like I am being punished for taking 30 minutes to work out.  I can draw a direct line between my choice to run last night and the fact that I am elbow deep in urine-soaked sheets with a screaming meanie long before the sun comes up.  End result: I chose to run instead of doing bedtime and the universe made sure I paid for it. 

Of course I am not really mad at Chris.  I am mad at the fact that right now he represents everything that is wrong with how we treat parenting/homemaking/SAH-dom in our culture.  What I do is silly "women's' work" that must be easy because it is not like it is "Man Work."  This is work that no one notices or values day-to-day.  No one walks in my house and exclaims "wow, you did those like 13 loads of laundry like a total boss," but they sure do mention when it is not done. There is this huge rift between the idea that all the details I handle as a SAHM are just piffle (I mean, it is not like I "work" or something) yet no one else can seem to manage.  All these men-folk with their endless intelligence and general biological superiority are surely too good to be wasted on silly stuff like keeping the house clean, yet culturally we support the idea that learning how to change a diaper or get a dish in the sink is way beyond them.  Well which is it then?

I know that a SAHM who blogs having an existential crisis over how hard and thankless life can be is hardly new territory, but this is my current funk.  I am mad that I am tired and overworked today due to last night.  I am mad that today and last night represent a larger theme that I can never, ever, put my wants first without paying the price somehow.  I am mad that what I do all day is not valued, yet it is vital to our existence* and Chris having the career he wants.  I am mad that I handle all the endless details of our lives to the point where I am now so indispensable it is nearly crippling.  I am mad that I always have to put his work first including his game night with his future co-workers, his nights at the Dive because the Admiral is doing a shin-dig, his evenings out shopping/getting his suits tailored, his lunch/dinner dates with co-workers and colleagues so he can network, his Sunday night games because, you know, he works hard and needs a break...yeah, you get the idea**.   I don't begrudge Chris his career goals, or my children a new set of sheets at night when accidents happen.  I don't even regret my choice to stay home, it is still right for us, but some days man...

...some days I just feel like I am being punished for trying to make good choices.

*Linda at All&Sundry explained this phenomenon way better than I can.

**Full disclaimer: Chris does a wonderful job of encouraging me to have some time each week.  He gets me out the door to knit-night, he send me out with my friends on weekends, he lets me sleep in whenever he can and he gladly comes home after 9 hours at the office and does dinner/bath/bed so I can have some down-time.  What I am feeling is completely irrational, but I am feeling it.  OK.

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