Chuck and I had a fight last night. I hesitate to use the word fight because there was no punching, screaming or throwing of plates (I know, we’re so boring), but we did want to murder each other while said “discussion” was taking place. Ergo, it was a smackdown.
The thing is, Chuck has been a stay-at-home dad since January, and now that Junior’s talking and blossoming and blah blah hearts and rainbows, he’s a lot of fun to be around. I feel like I’m missing out. During the miserable winter months, there wasn’t much to be jealous about: Chuck and Junior were cooped up inside. But now that summer is here, every day feels like a beach party I can’t attend. To make matters worse, Junior’s been sleeping until 8, so Chuck’s been sleeping until 8. Mrs. Mullet? Up at 6:30.
For the last few months, life has sounded like this:
Me: “I’m leaving for work.”
Chuck: Yawn. “Eight already? He’s still sleeping?”
Me: “Must be nice to be you.”
Me: “What did you and Junior do today?”
Chuck: “We went for a hike then got some lunch.”
Me: “Must be nice to be you.”
Yes, I have turned into Mrs. Must-be-nice-to-be-you.
I know, I know. It’s not Chuck’s fault Junior sleeps late and enjoys being outside. It’s also not Chuck’s fault that he:
a) was laid off
b) hasn’t been able to find a decent job in his field (shameless plug: if you need an event planner/audio visual guru/ business developer/ghostbuster/Viking, Chuck is your man)
c) has risen to the occasion and then some (oh horrors, Mrs. Mullet!)
But I’ve been so consumed with jealousy that I’ve been blaming him for everything. The fact that Chuck is too nice and just takes it has only made it worse.
Until last night. Chuck told me he cannot handle any more snarky, guilt-inducing comments. He reminded me that when I was home with Junior for a year, he didn’t say anything about the fact that he was working 80 hours a week while I was enjoying our son. (Side note: I wouldn’t exactly call getting 3.5 hours of sleep a night and dealing with a newborn enjoyment, but I’ll file that under semantics for now.) Then he told me that caring for Junior is a lot of work—and that I should know that better than anyone because I did it, too.
So shit. I’m an asshole. I should know better. I should also appreciate the fact that Chuck is doing a great job in a nontraditional role. I mean, he gets mad when stores don’t have changing tables in the men’s bathroom. The man is such a Mr. Mom that sometimes I feel like I’m in a same-sex marriage.*
In my own defense, a male friend admitted that he has the same jealousy problems. When his wife calls him at work and tells him about the fun things she is doing with their daughter, unsavory comments sometimes slip out. When she, too, reminds him that caring for their daughter is work, he feels like me: I’d choose her/Chuck’s work (playing with offspring) over his/my work (serving on the laborious Breast Pumping Committee).
All of this leaves me in a sticky, unfamiliar setting. Before I had Junior, I believed I’d have the WOHM/WAHM/SAHM discussion with other women. Never, ever did I imagine that I’d have it with my husband. And naively, I never knew fathers might share the same feelings of jealousy I now harbor.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I need to stop being such a jerk, and this blog entry will serve as a reminder. And Chuck? I’m very, very sorry. As an olive branch, I made t-shirts for us:
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