Monday, January 25, 2016


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.


  1. I'm sorry you're feeling down. It's hard, very hard, to be home with children. It's hard to be a working parent too but I don't think there's any question that being home is harder, and more draining. I know I need those hours to myself at night and I think they would be even more necessary if I had a kid or two home all day with me.

  2. She may not get time to herself in terms of getting to do what she wants but she does get time away from children and it does make all the difference. I find myself refreshed after work because I get to think and do stuff without kids. I even get to eat lunch without children! So there is a big difference. The other thing that can be different is everyone enjoys different parts of the day. I am a night person so I find it hard to go to bed when I want to enjoy the quiet alone time at night, even if I'm exhausted.

    Marriage and couplehood can be so hard at times too but it does get better and more normal. I find our life has returned to some of what we used to be like as our kids have gotten older.

  3. It's so hard to find any sort of balance in parenting. The other day, I found myself resentful of the two hours a day my wife spends sitting in traffic. She was complaining about not having any down time, and two hours in the car alone sounds totally idyllic to me! I could listen to so many audiobooks! I could call my mom and have a real conversation with her! I spend her commute time trying to get ready for work with a baby on my hip or trying to make dinner with a baby on my hip. In my eyes, she has quality alone time. In her eyes, I get quality time with the baby that she doesn't have. No one ever wins these battles. And if you were working, you would spend all weekend doing laundry instead of having time for the park or a family activity. It would get done, yes, but you would pay the price in other ways.

  4. Stacy and I have had an identical conversation. I stay up really REALLY late some nights just because I revel in having time to myself to do what I want and not having three people hanging off me, demanding stuff, or whinging etc...
    So, I hear you!
    I also feel a bit jealous of Stacy sometimes, and I do enjoy my days at work (as a break from the children) and I like the extra money. I do hope you find a balance that feels right. Do they do intervention teaching over there? My Mum does that for 3 hours a day. Would be perfect for you x

  5. Parenting is SO HARD on a marriage. Honestly, I am shocked that as many couples make it to the teenage years still coupled, haha! I know it is difficult for you to not work. I confided in Kris a few nights ago that I am scared for the day Boo starts Kindergarten and the feeling of "not contributing" sets in. When it is all said and done, I will be out of the workforce for a decade in lieu of stay at home parenting. I feel so out of touch with the "real world" (read adult world) and, yes, so very very tired. Hang in there, Mama. You are amazing and the time you are spending with your children is priceless. Yes you are lucky to have Jen, but remember she is just as lucky to have you.

  6. I count work as my 'me' time so much of the time because at least it is kid-free! You don't get that unless they're tucked away in bed for the night. That is very hard! I am also guilty of staying up far later than I should because I need that night/quiet time too.

    Sometimes I wonder if it's even possible to have a healthy balance when children are so small and dependent on us.