About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.
Monday, June 22, 2009
This post is what’s known as a mental vomit
Chuck is really freaking me out lately. If he were a superhero, I would call him Wipe Man. No, not because of this. Because every fricken time Junior has schmootz on his face and I reach for a wipe, Chuck beats me to it.
See, now, I thought it was the mom’s job to be the wipe master.
Before you get on your “You’re a sexist ass for calling mothers the sole proprietors of wipes” kick, let me tell you something: Chuck’s dad already beat you to it.
We were at his house over the weekend when Chuck pulled his Wipe Man stunt and I yelled, “What the heck? Mr. Mom keeps beating me to the wipes!”
Chuck’s dad started laughing; I thought because he found me so comical, endearing, sympathetic, lovely, etc., ad nauseam. Do you know what he said?
“Women. They’ll never be happy.”
Excuse me what? ^*)#&*)%#&*@G&*#T@@E^&%@!#^&E %@!#^&(E%@#^(!&E#@)!ETE%!@^E%@!^&@#%!^%(^&(R!E^&@RE@%^R@#%^&R%(RE@#%!*!E&!_(&*# Come again? ^*^%@^&%@^&E%@(#&^E^%@#(%E^(&%E#^&&%E^(&@#ER
After I pieced back together my exploded head, I politely encouraged him to expound.
“If Chuck wasn’t being attentive to Junior," he said, "you’d be on him. And when he is being attentive, he still hears about it.”
I looked over at Chuck, who was suddenly aloft in an ethereal cloud of smugness.
But dammitall, Chuck’s dad was right. Could I really be angry that my husband was so in tune with our child’s needs that he anticipated them before I, the woman who had given our child life? Twenty-eight hours of excruciating, I-want-to-die, life bearing goodness?
But not angry. Just…fumbling.
It’s been a huge transition having Chuck be a stay-at-home dad. I mean, there was that phase when I worried about growing facial hair. Chuck grocery shops and has his own “man” diaper bag. He goes on play-dates and has joined a parents' meet-up group. Recently, after a play-date he had with another dad—during which the dad asked Chuck how much sunscreen he should put on his daughter—Chuck gently mocked the father for still stumbling with the “basics.”
I shouldn’t be surprised; I knew this was in him. He diapered Junior the first few weeks because I was still in shock that the hospital had actually sent us home without a chaperone. He was a better lactation expert than the one the doctors sent. I was fine with all that. But lately, when I see stay-at-home moms, it hits me that my husband has more in common with them than I do.
And I’m not sure how that makes me feel. A little sad, maybe, because I always pictured myself drunk on a playground with other moms commiserating about what a thankless job being a stay-at-home mom was. Oops, did I say drunk? And maybe a little threatened because Chuck is doing a good job at mothering and fathering and I don’t always know what my role is. I know I’m Junior’s mom, for Pete’s sake, but if Chuck is Mr. Mom does that make me Mrs. Dad?
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I know we’re lucky that I got a year home with Junior and now Chuck gets to stay home. I know I’m lucky that Chuck is an attentive, nurturing father who is doing a fabulous job.
But shit. Right now, Chuck is who I thought I’d be. And some days that throws me for a loop. It’s a turf war between the Wipes and the Wanna Wipes. It’s a smackdown!
Anyway, if you’ve made it this far, thank you. I feel somewhat better.*
*I’d feel a lot better if you told me that if you saw me across a crowded room and I was standing there with a wipe in my hand, you’d bring me your crumbly face and let me go to town. I’d buy you a drink afterward. Promise.