This morning, I was changing Ladybug's ritual after-breakfast poopy diaper while Sweet Pea played tornado. He was pretending that a huge pile of couch cushions was his house and was running around yelling, "Mommy, Mommy, a tornado is coming. Come in my house!"
Note to self: turn off the news. You think they aren't paying attention, but apparently they are.
Back to the story, the smell coming from Ladybug was so bad that I swear I could see those little squiggly lines over her bottom, like in the old Pepi le Pue cartoons.
As I was turning blue in the face from holding my breath and attempting to keep a death grip on Ladybug's flailing legs, which threatened fling poop across the living room, Sweet Pea came over to us, leaned down, and yelled in Ladybug's face.
"Ladybug! Tornado coming! Tornado coming to blow your poop away!"
Ah, if only that were true.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
This morning I was reminded of one reason I can't wait to go back to work.
I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past 3.5 years. When I got pregnant with Sweet Pea, I took a year's maternity leave from teaching, expecting to go back at some point, but not really sure when. We knew I would try to get pregnant again a year or so after Sweet Pea was born and it didn't make sense to try to go back to work in the interim.
While I have enjoyed life at home, I have not been totally happy doing it. Some women are great at it, and others are not. I am not. There are many reasons why I don't love it. I miss teaching and my students. I get bored and lonely at home (the reason I started blogging). I miss adult interaction and the children try my patience, even on the best of days. The biggest reason I don't like it though, is that I don't like the box it puts me in.
I don't like that as a stay-at-home mom, I have taken on the mantle of housewife with all the things that the term implies. It's not the being with the kids all day that I dislike. It's the rest of it.
I don't like that I feel responsible for all the housework. I don't like that, in my mind and to some degree my husband's, my worth is now tied up in how clean my kitchen is or how nicely my laundry is folded.
It's not that I think housework is beneath me. It's more that I resent having it feel like my sole responsibility. And I resent that, despite all my other talents and accomplishments, my role now ultimately boils down to scrubbing floors.
My husband does do a lot to help around the house, but I really think that someplace in the depths of his mind, when he sees the floor in need of a mopping, he gets irritated at me for not doing it. I hear it in his voice when he makes some comment about the house. He'll swear up and down that this is not so, but I really think it is.
When I was in therapy last year after Ladybug was born, my therapist urged me to go back to work. Not only would I be happier, she said, but she thought my husband would be happier. She thought that some men, perhaps my husband, lose some respect for their wives when they see them in the role of housewife every day. Their wife moves down a notch or so in their mind. It makes sense to me.
For men who are attracted to their wives for their intelligence, accomplishments, and independence, as I think my husband was initially attracted to me, it makes sense that when the wives are thrust into a role where their most difficult decision of the day is whether to play Chutes and Ladders or Candyland, the husbands' lose a little bit of the appreciation they had for their wives. They begin to feel a little superior.
This morning I made a comment about how one of Ladybug's push toys has scratched the hardwood floor. Big B replied that he thought the floors looked 100 years old, they looked so bad. It wasn't so much the words, as the tone that bugged me. This was also right after I was queuing up Diego in the Media Center and he came over, unasked, and took over although I am perfectly capable of doing it myself. It just irritated me.
These might not seem like big transgressions. It's not a big transgression when he closes doors behind me that I left open because I am about to turn around and go right back out or when he turns out lights after me that I left on because I am about to go back into the room. Or when he turns down stove top temps or turns on the fan over the stove. Or when he says he is going to vacuum after the kids go to bed. It all just seems a little condescending to me.
I am not faulting him for my feelings on this. I think my feelings are a combination my feeling a a bit degraded in my role and his slight loss of respect for what I do everyday. I am hoping that these feelings disappear when I go back to work and I think they will. I think he will see me in a different light and I will feel better about myself.
If not, we may just have to hire a housecleaner!