It’s 7 AM Friday.
I was up five times last night with 2.0. He’s teething, runny nose and screaming included, and I collectively slept about four hours last night. CLP woke up with him around 7 this morning, and I woke up to the baby dropping my phone on my face, effectively giving me a fat lip. They left the bedroom so I could wake up in peace, and when I went to our bathroom, discovered that the cats had knocked over cans of food into the litter box, scattered litter across the floor, and somehow covered themselves in their own poop.
It’s 8 AM Friday.
Captain Laser Pants tells me he wanted to wake up earlier to work out, but felt groggy at 7. I remind him he went to sleep at 9. He changes the subject and asks me why I was looking at jobs on LinkedIn last night. I tell him I’m bored and tired of being boring. He reminds me we live too far out in the country to find childcare and that we can’t both commute. For once he doesn’t talk about the financial aspect of me going back to work.
He travels regularly now. This month has only had two trips, thankfully, but the past several months have had 2-4. The hotel he stayed in while in DC was gorgeous, from what I was told. And in September he has a week long trip to California complete with bikini- clad trade show babes and borderline exotic dancers on stage during presentations. Of course I’m unhappy about this trip, largely because I don’t want to be alone with our children and pets in our house for seven days. But as much as he says he hates to travel, and I believe him, it’s not as though he’s going to the armpit of Arkansas and staying in a Motel 6.
It’s 9 AM Friday.
Tonight he has a happy hour for his office at some hip bar close to their building. He doesn’t drink, but the social aspect is important, so he’s going. He looked nice in his blue polo when he said goodbye to me, freshly changed from a skimpy nursing tank and short shorts into lounge clothes. At least I had managed to brush my hair. Mini Gwinn loudly proclaimed he had to pee, 2.0 had just run into a corner, and the cats were on the table as he walked out the door.
And at this moment I asked myself: where is my happy hour? Where is the designated celebratory hour in which I can unwind, watch coworkers drink too much and get handsy with each other, and congratulate myself on a hard worked week?
I’m a stay at home mom. There is no celebration, no break, no promotion, no bonus. There is no glamorous trade show in a beautiful city, there is no male equivalent to a bikini model flirting with me, there is no end of the work day. And there’s no sympathy. One end of the spectrum thinks I’m lazy and stupid, and I’m in my place, and the other end of the spectrum believes I’m living the American dream. But I’m not lazy or stupid, and I don’t feel like I’m living my American dream. One person’s idea of the ideal doesn’t always translate to others.
It’s 10 AM Friday.
Mini Gwinn is taking pictures on his Kindle and turning them into coloring pages. I’ve just changed my 500th poop diaper while 2.0 is standing (yes, he stands for diaper changes. And tries to knock over pictures during the process). He’s going down for a nap now. The dogs are chasing the scent of the cats through the house. While I do my matronly duty and nurse the baby for his nap, I’m mulling over what it is I want to do, career- wise, life- wise. The petty part of me wants CLP to feel the same way I do when he goes on a trip. I want him to know how lonely and isolated I feel. Maybe some of the jealousy that stirs when someone of the opposite sex gets my conversation, my charm and intellect, and waking hours for a change will resonate with him, put him in my shoes. But the not petty part of me wants fulfillment and gratitude for my incessant, tireless efforts. And this poor dead horse is beaten again and again, because my needs still aren’t being met, despite my requests. How many times do I have to say “I don’t feel valued” before something changes?
And I can see the eye rolls through the screens and monitors. “Motherhood is fulfilling, there is gratitude in doing the most important job” blah blah blah. For the record, I believe that it is my most important job to raise my children properly, but I don’t believe it is the most important job worldwide. It’s not nuclear physics. Plenty of stupid people procreate; it’s not the “hardest job in the world”. It just has the longest hours and the worst pay imaginable. I love my boys endlessly. But I don’t believe I am cut out to continue down this path of housekeeper and short order cook for much longer. My brain is bored. And I am boring. And I’m done with both.