Tonight Jen and I were lying in bed talking. She commented on me yawning, and I said that I didn't lie down this afternoon and that I was a little tired. She sort of chuckled and said something about not understanding why I stayed up so late, so I replied that it's the only time I get to myself. She said that she doesn't get time to herself either, but that she rather sleep. And while I understood her comment, it still got to me.
Jen works very hard to support our family. She wakes up early and helps get the kids ready for the day, while she gets herself ready for work. She rides her bike to work most days, works at the office all day, and then rides home before coming in to help with dinner, bath, bedtime and all the other evening routines/chores. Most nights the two of us watch a show and chat a little bit before she heads in to read before bed and I veg on the couch, playing around on the computer, crocheting or reading.
That two or three hours in the evening, before I go to sleep, I need it. I need it to have a break from thinking about what needs to get done. I need it to connect with other people (via email or Facebook or reading and commenting on blogs). I often need it to feel like there's something tangible I've accomplished that day. A blog post written. A few pages in a photo book completed. An arm of a sweater finished. A chapter of a book read. Because what I've discovered, and probably one of my biggest hurdles of being a stay at home mom, is that there is very little to show for my days. I may have washed three sink fulls of dishes, but there will still be dishes in the sink. I may have done all the laundry, but that night there will be dirty clothes in the hamper. Floors will always need to be cleaned. Groceries will always have to be shopped for.
I know (I know) that this is a privilege. To get to be home with our kids. To watch them learn and grow. To have the chance to connect with them. But I feel like it's viewed as doing nothing. And sometimes it does feel to me like I am doing nothing. This year will be another hole on my resume. This year, again, will see our savings remain stagnant.
I like working. Even when I am burnt out from it, I like it. I love the kids. I like planning and teaching and assessing and communicating. I miss having coworkers to talk to. I am interested in best practices and improving my teaching.
I feel like if I were working all the stuff I am doing currently would still get done. The dishes. The laundry and cleaning and groceries. The kids would still be learning and growing. I'd still have a strong relationship with them.
So what is the benefit of me being home right now? In all honesty the only reason I am home is because I haven't got a job. It's not a strategic decision we made to support our kids while they were young. It's because I can't get work. And I'll tell you what: That feels pretty shitty. And it feels pretty shitty to resent the fact that my wife gets to go pee by herself. My wife, who I love very much, but having been doing a pretty crap job of showing that to. My wife, who I've known for 15 years (as of tomorrow) and been married to for ten years (as of Thursday) and parenting with for five years (as of two weeks ago).
I'm just not sure what to do about any of this. Or how.