Collin County Moms Blog is thrilled to present “Honest Moms,” a series on authentic, vulnerable looks at motherhood, and life in general: the good, the bad, and the ugly—what we love, what we struggle with, and what we are working through, all as a way to connect with YOU. We want to know what you’re going through, what encourages you, what helps in the times of confusion, chaos, and solitude. We are all in this together, and our community is a strong one that seeks to lift others up. Check back each Thursday for a new Honest Moms post.I’m jealous of my husband. There. I said it. I’m sure the title of this post made some of you raise an eyebrow, but let’s be real, we’ve all felt this way at some point. But stick with me till the end, because there are two sides to this coin. So in the spirit of authenticity, let me confess some of the reasons WHY I’m jealous of my husband:
I’m jealous of his unchanged body. My husband looks exactly the same as he did when I met him 13 years ago. In fact, I’m pretty sure the shorts he had on last night were from junior college. If he DID wanna lose a few pounds, he could just like, walk around the block a few times, or stop drinking Coke. But aside from a few gray hairs (which apparently is sexy and “seasoned” for a man), he has no “postpartum body.” His body has never been a food source for another human being that constantly gets plugged, clogged, and leaky. Meanwhile, I’m left with thinning hair, varicose veins, unbalanced hormones, a thyroid disorder, and a muffin top.
I’m jealous of his unchanged routine. Even after two kids, his routine has essentially stayed the same. He still gets to shower first thing in the morning, leave the house, pick up Starbucks, and head to the office where he has peaceful quiet time and starts tackling the items of the day. And while many of them are working lunches (I’ll address that later), he typically gets a lunch break and even the luxury of going to the bathroom without an audience. His solitary commute does not include an impatient mini-person in the back asking for a snack or a drink or if he has a toy in his bag. He goes to bed knowing he will wake up to his alarm and start his routine all over again. Which brings me to my next one….
I’m jealous of his full night’s sleep. Regardless of whether your kid sleeps consistently through the night or not, YOU NEVER DO. Moms always sleep with one eye and one ear open. I am still in the newborn/night feeding stage. And even though I totally feel like my husband NEEDS a full night’s sleep to successfully operate his company, I’m so jealous when I come back to bed wide awake at some absurd hour, and he’s peacefully snoozing away. And even if the baby DOES decide to sleep through the night, there’s some sort of catastrophe with the toddler: a lost lovie. A potty break. A nosebleed. A nightmare. That time that my husband and I BOTH gave him a dose of Claritin and didn’t know it, so I was worried about him overdosing. It’s always something keeping me from a full night’s rest.
I’m jealous of his lunch breaks. My husband typically checks in on us during his lunch break (which is super sweet). But he recently called from Uncle Julio’s while he and his business partner caught up on the College World Series over delicious quesadillas. (Gah, my mouth is watering as I type this.) All I could think about was 1) the Chocolate Piñata and 2) how nice it must be to eat a decent meal with two hands in the middle of the day. What would that even be like? To take your time looking at the menu (that did NOT include chicken nuggets), and watch a game while you wait for your food? Having a real, un-interrupted conversation with your friend? No mid-meal diaper changing, no monster trucks, no negotiating that the food must be eaten before the “prize” comes out of the bag. That very day, I found myself nursing, reading a book to my toddler, and randomly wearing a construction hat all while I scarfed down my own lunch. In this category, I’m also going to include work dinners. The last one my husband attended was at a restaurant overlooking THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE. That’s right. Which actually leads me to the topic of business trips. Don’t even get me started on that. I’d give my last bag of breastmilk to spend the night BY MYSELF in a hotel.
I’m jealous of his measurable success. Sometimes I feel like my framed degree on the wall is LAUGHING AT ME. (Especially because that wall now houses a playroom that was formerly the home office.) All that hard work, budding career, and large portfolio traded for poopy diapers and chore charts. Sometimes I actually feel like I am losing the intellectual side of my brain. My husband’s hard work is reflected in growing numbers, successful reports; his efforts are applauded and affirmed by the business community. Meanwhile, I can work my TAIL off all day and still be left with an unsatisfied toddler throwing a tantrum on the floor because I didn’t have his favorite fig bar flavor. I wish someone could show me a projected path of success for all the hard work I put into these children. But I know that is not even promised, despite all the life lessons I attempt to instill. The fruit of a mother’s labor is likely DECADES away. I am 34 years old and just now starting to realize all the effort, sacrifices, and MONEY my mother put into raising me. (BTW…THANKS MOM.)
Can I get an Amen? Did that sound like a lot of complaining? Yes, yes it did. Sometimes you just have to vent and get it out. BUT, a very wise mentor mom once told me: “Honey, quit trying to get him to understand what you go through as a mother. Because he never will. But you’ll also NEVER understand some of the pressures he faces as a father and provider.” And that comment forever changed me. So let’s flip this and turn the tables a bit, shall we?
I would guess that my husband is equally jealous of me as well.
“What would it be like?” he must wonder, “to not be controlled by an alarm clock? To be able to sleep until the kids wake up or NOT to have to race to the shower? To be able to spend the day in pajamas if I wanted to?” If he DID take the luxury of going into work late he would be bombarded, overwhelmed, and overloaded. And then if business doesn’t go well, it’s all on him, right? There are three living, breathing humans totally dependent on his success. I imagine he must sometimes long for his bachelor life before the weight of the world was on his shoulders.
“What would it be like?”, he must think, “to have all the days open to whatever new adventure you desired? A trip to the zoo…a ride on the trolley…visiting a museum?” While I know he appreciates that we stay busy with new experiences, I can tell by the look on his face that he’s sad he missed it. Lunch breaks? That’s a joke. In reality, there is the occasional outing, but mostly it’s scarfing something down in between conference calls or ordering in for a lunch meeting. And those business trips? Let’s be real…the novelty of that ship sailed a long time ago. He would much rather be home eating dinner with his family and cringes when he has to tell the kids goodnight over Facetime.
“What’s a better measure of success?”, he would ask, “than carrying and delivering two beautiful babies, and spending the days being their Mama?” This question reminds me that nothing can replace the gift of motherhood. And while he may not be plagued with the physical “repercussions” of the prenatal and postpartum body, he’ll also never experience the thrill of a baby kicking inside his tummy, or the indescribable joy of actually delivering a child.
See Mamas? I told you I’d bring it full circle. Just putting these feelings into words is a release, and actually makes me see how petty and ungrateful I can be sometimes. Truth be told, I am living my dream and wouldn’t change trade my life for the world. The grass is ALWAYS greener, isn’t it, my friends?