It’s Sunday night and I have the blues. For so many reasons other than the typical “tomorrow is Monday.” I’ve been back at work for a little over a month now, right in time for climax of the Pandemic. In some ways I feel blessed because I am able to work remotely, and because I still have a job. I feel grateful that I won’t be putting Jo in daycare until she’s a couple months older, and that I know she’s at home and safe with me. But in many ways I felt guilt.
I washed her bottles tonight and boiled the nipples like I did every day, multiple times a day when I was on maternity leave. Such a simple task had me reminiscing about being home with her every day and taking her to the zoo- just her and me. I thought about how Billy has been spending more time with her, and how blessed I am to have him and how their bond has grown while we are both home. Nobody can make her laugh like her daddy.
Then I suddenly felt envy.
I felt strangely envious that this role I had known since she was born was suddenly shared with him. While I feel beyond grateful every day to not only have such an amazing partner, I feel beyond grateful that he takes his duties as a father so seriously. So why was I feeling like this? Why was I feeling like she could slip right out of my fingers and down the drain of the kitchen sink?
I’m actually really good at my job. I love it, and I work alongside an amazing team. The company I work for is really progressive, and for that I am thankful. I always knew I wanted to be a working mom. I never had the dream of being a Stay at Home Parent. While I award those who do it (really… between Maternity Leave and working remote I praise you) it was just never part of my plan. I wanted my own money, my own career, and my independence.
Through this Pandemic, Billy and I have been attached at the hip. He’s understood what it takes to stay home with her all day. How it feels at 5:00pm when you start to count down the minutes until bedtime. He’s really understood the struggle of being home all day with an infant. He’s even been getting up to feed her and letting me snooze at 4am. I know. I’m beyond blessed. So why the heck am I writing this?
All of these factors combined together in this unhealthy stew of emotions tonight. Me working, Billy understanding the SAH role, and me having less one-on-one time with her made me stupidly believe I wasn’t needed. Why?
Maybe a lot of those feelings come from my own experiences. Maybe some of those are extrinsic influences saying that I’m supposed to be ever so grateful for having a partner who is involved, as so many other mothers don’t have that. That I should be at the forefront of Josephine’s life. That because I’m the mom it’s my duty to take on this role as Alpha parent. But is having a partner who is involved a privilege? Or is it that he’s just doing what he’s supposed to be doing. Being involved.
In no way am I negating what he does as a dad. He impresses me every day. I suppose I’m just feeling as though I’m supposed to be indebted to him and other moms who maybe aren’t in the same circumstances as I am. I realize this makes me sound like a spoiled brat.
But am I spoiled? Am I a princess for having a partner who does what he is supposed to do? Billy isn’t a babysitter, he’s not an au pair, he’s a dad. A damn good one. We parent as a unit, and while this thinking may be seem to be far from progressive and traditional, I wanted to use this blog to exercise my voice as a parent. I wanted to use this blog to talk about things throughout parenthood that maybe aren’t being discussed.
I guess, in a not-so round about way what I’m so desperately trying to express is this: Do I feel as though I’m supposed to be the more important parent because I’m the mother? Is my envy stemming from some belief that I’m the boo-boo-kisser and he’s not? Is it from my own experience? Why am I supposed to feel gratitude for a role that is expected of me, but not of him?How does that thought process mold other dads mindsets, and lead them to believe they don’t have to be as involved? Why am I feeling envious of their relationship? How much of these feelings are socially constructed?
As I write this, I fear my words will sound harsh and unappreciative. That people will assume I’m someone who takes things for granted. But that’s exactly why I wanted to write it. Because maybe it’s an unpopular opinion, and an opinion that can be discussed and reshape the way we think about our parenting styles. A touchy subject that may “stir the pot” but bring to light some emotions we weren’t quite aware we felt.
Maybe I just need a good nights sleep.