Monday, November 29, 2010

Greener Grass

This weekend dissolved into a flurry of arguments around marital roles and who's responsibility is what, only to be followed by yet another disagreement Monday morning because the Husband informed me that he had a meeting on Wednesday evening and would not be able to be home to watch the Tot so I could go to work. Which then caused me to try (and fail) to find a sitter and eventually have to reschedule my meeting as well as let my supervisor know that I would be in late. I swallowed my embarrassment at my own unprofessionalism and then spent the rest of the afternoon trying to process my anger and frustration over having to put my own goals on the back burner yet again.

I keep trying to imagine ways that I could feel less like a second class citizen every time a conflict comes up with our schedules. I try to picture how things could be different that I wouldn't feel so irritated when this happens. What if I worked full time and we BOTH had important professional obligations? Or what if I didn't work at all and then there was no conflict to be had because my appointments would be much more flexible?

If I worked full time, I couldn't spend every day with the Tot. I would miss all of the important things that he is learning and doing. I would miss every nap and a majority of his meals. I would be fighting to make it home for bedtimes. And likely, the Husband and I would still be arguing but this time it would be about who is doing the child drop-off/pick-up and who is calling in sick to stay home with the cold/flu/fever that the Tot caught at daycare.

If I quit working altogether, there would certainly be less demand for my time. I would have less stress in my life in general, and there would be a lot few scheduling conflicts with the Husband. But, I don't think I would be any happier. In fact, I would feel even more like I was giving away a part of myself. Like I was letting go of any semblance of an attempt to have any life of my own and fully giving over to being a wife and mother and that's all.

The thing is, neither of those solutions is the answer. The mere thought of not being here with the Tot every day makes my eyes well up. The idea of quitting my job and being home is appealing from the perspective of having less stress but leaves me with the bitter taste of disappointment as well.

I wonder if I am asking too much. I wonder if my expectations are too high. To try to be a stay-at-home mom who works a little on the side and is still able to make it to doctors appointments, swim lessons, and business meetings without having to move heaven and earth to make it happen. To have a husband who says "I know your job is important, too, and I want to help you as much as I can" without me having to stomp my feet, scream, cry and resort to every other tantrum-like behavior. I wonder if it's unrealistic and unfair of me to put my own demands before the demands of the job that actually pays us the money we need to feed and clothe ourselves.

So then I come back to square one. It is what it is. If I was a doctor or a lawyer, maybe I would be the primary breadwinner. In which case, I would be calling the shots when it came to schedules. But I would also not be here with my son every day. What is the answer when none of the other grass is any greener? 

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