Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Mr. Peacock's fault. In the conservatory. With the pink t-shirt

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.”

And this:

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.

Imagine that!

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:

Oh, snap! Did I mix up the colors? Mrs. Mullet, you are a real piece of work...

*Slight exaggeration.


blognut said...

Hang in there - I'm sure this is tough. Look at the bright side though - if you have to go outside the home to work, who better to be caring for your child than his father?

Suzi said...

Love the shirts.

Having Daddy at home is WAY better than some child my opinion. This coming from someone who worked in child care (shhhhh, don't tell).

Jenni said...

he is right - being a SAHP is work, hard work. but you are also right. the first year is shit. he's totally getting the good stuff.

Anonymous said...

well, i'm working and my husband is looking for a job. i work at home. he's watching the 11 and 7 year old and repairing the house. oh wait, i mean, he's playing wii games with the 11 and 7 year old while i'm working.

can i borrow that shirt?

Kate said...

I think that you should slap him for being right (well, mostly right, infant care is far from fun.) He needs to apologize for making you feel guilty. And buy you flowers.

I often have negative feelings about my husband because he is so incredibly awesome. It's not fair! How come he gets to be so great?? Why do I have to be the shit one in the relationship? Sometimes I wonder why he married me.

Chuck is obviously an amazing man. I would imagine that the majority of fathers out there would not be able to handle staying at home and not feeling emasculated because their wives are the breadwinners.

Lisa said...

Bah. Semantics my ass, the sleep deprivation is the WORST.

Hang in there.

On a side note, you have the best post titles ever.

Keely said...

Yeah, that's not entirely semantics. The first year DOES suck. They're way more fun as toddlers. I still feel jealous of hubby for getting to hang out with X during the afternoons, even though I get him most mornings (when he's actually AWAKE and not napping) and evenings. I think we're hardwired.

Liz Wilkey (a.k.a. A Mom on Spin) said...

I'm absolutely sure I'd be all jealous too!

I might just save the T-shirts. You'll need them someday.

Lindy said...

The shirts don't have to be solely for the "at home dad" and "working mom" relationships, correct?

erin said...

I feel like you everyday, but the opposite. I have four kids, three daughters with my ex husband and one son with my boyfriend, Jeremiah. Jeremiah works and I stay home with all the kids four days a week and the girls go with their dad three.

Jeremiah calls me from work and tells me funny stories about some customer and I politely laugh and pretend like I'm delighted with the most interesting conversation I've had all day: trying to figure out what the baby was yelling into my face about (BABABABABABABABABBAAAB WAAAHHHAAHHHH).
Then he'll call me and tell me about some new pizza shop he stopped at for lunch and I'll politely pretend that I'm not super jealous because I've had soggy waffles and a half eaten banana so far.
Then he'll be complaining about the drive home from work and I'll be imagining being all alone in the car, wind blowing through my hair....
okay...I've gone on long enough.
The grass is always greener on the other side.

Anne said...

I can totally relate, I have been in the same position (also during a long layoff). It sounds like Chuck is doing an amazing job and it is so great for Junior to have this extended one-on-one time with his dad. So few kids actually get that. As far as potential jobs, I will certainly keep my eyes open. I don't hear much about ghostbusting positions, but I do hear about some of the others.

Anonymous said...

Yep. That's tough. At least you guys are able to talk/discuss/scream about it.

Our first year of marriage was H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E. since I made my husband quit his 2nd job but ALL of his income went towards paying off debt. Even though he worked just as hard as me (if not harder) it was ME paying for everything. It was quite the struggle I had with myself and totally took it out on him for the entire year. Here he was trying to be a 'MAN' and pay off the debt so we could get a house, and all I could focus on was that *I* had to pay for the F'ing phone bill. I know, I was a hag....but you are already on the right path to lay it out on the table and your husband was right in telling you to knock it off. It's hard to focus on the big picture until someone slaps you back to reality.

Brandy@YDK said...

real life is just too dang hard.

brokenteepee said...

It is not easy. But just think, maybe Chuck will get to deal with
THE TEENAGE YEARS and then karma will reign.

Anonymous said...

Hate it for you that you're having rough times w/ work vs. staying home. If it's any consolation Chuck probably yanks out handfuls of his own hair at various times of day when Junior pulls some wacky, tantrum-induced fun. I know I am tugging mine out in clumps while I stay home and conduct "summer-play-fun-day" every day. And lots of times, it's not so fun.
Stay strong, girl...and wear those shirts. The colors are just great!!!

Revel said...

One Question: Have you ever gotten lost in Deep Space 9? I remember that ship being impressively ginormous. o_o

Another Question: Ghostbusting...Do you need any special kind of schooling for that or what?

Nanc Twop said...

Just: “went for a hike then got some lunch.”? (That 'got lunch' - means they went out?.. it is tough to be him.)

Hm. Does he:

make you a lunch
put trash out & take cans in
get the mail and
do the bills
do the laundry & ironing
cook dinner
do the dishes
grocery shopping
bathe & dress jr and
pick up after jr
clean the kitchen, plus:
clean bathrooms &
scrub the toilets
mop the floor
clean the fridge
wash the car
do a vege garden
mow the yard
pick up any pet poop
& do pet maintenance
change sheets & make beds

Hey. he's had 6 months to learn to really be the the homemaker now; he's got to walk the walk or STFU.

Jeanne Estridge said...

Old Dog gets 1 week more vacation than I do, and I'm jealous all 5 days. It's not the most attractive side of our personalities, but it's real.

Stacy Uncorked said...

OK, ditto what Nanc Twop said... :)

One of my best friends is in the same predicament you are in - her hubby 'works' from home (using the term 'work' lightly, mind you) and she works full time outside the home. They have 3 kids, 10, 6 and 9 months. The 9 month old gets dropped off at daycare because he said he can't handle the responsibility. So during the school year he's home alone. She works full time AND does all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, yada yada yada, including helping with homework during the school year while her hubby does... whatever.

Wait...what's my point again? Oh yeah - the infant year you stayed home? Definitely not semantics. :) But your hubby is still a keeper! ;)

Frogs in my formula said...

To respond, I have never EVER gotten lost in Deep Space 9. As for the ghostbusting, this post is about me, dammit.

T-shirts are available in S,M,L. They are $174.99 (hey, hubs is out of work, what do you expect?)

Mrsbear said...

I've done both and staying home totally kicks working's ass. If that makes any sense? Maybe Chuck deserves the teeniest bit of guilt, I get the occasional twinge when we don't have enough disposable income or when I'm taking the kids to the waterpark while my husband is putting in his hours away from home. But it's still a good thing that your little one is home with a parent instead of at day care. Chuck sounds swell and you sound like you know it, so try not to suffer too much. And who knows, when that break-out Ghostbusting show becomes a huge hit, it can be your turn to stay home with Junior again. ;)

One Creative Queen said...

As a single mom, I have no real words of "wisdom"...except to say that it sucks. At least making great t-shirts out of it helps.

I'm not going to tell you that having Dad stay home is better than childcare (which it is, but that's so passe)...I'll just revel with you in the crappiness of it all. I'm still ticked that my no-good, dirty, rotten, ________ (fill in the blank) ex has it so good. No child stuff comes up when making plans. No teenage stunts to deal with. No child support to dampen his financial outlook. I can't even imagine what that would be like!

But then again, once in a great, great while...when the moon is full, the heavens are bloated with gaity, it's the third Tuesday of an even month, and the tides are just childebeasts do something to make me proud. Then it's all worth it.

So hang in there sistah...maybe Junior will hork on him after lunch tomorrow. ;) xx

Dto3 said...

Real Men Wear Pink!

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