This new job of CareerMom’s is just full of surprises for me; not the least of which is a whole lot of self introspection on my part. It’s no secret that I’ve been generally unsatisfied with my career for some time now—a fact that I try not and complain blog about too often. Being a man though, there are few things in life that bring me the kind of satisfaction that work does.
I mean, I love my kids, but after a day of playing “beat up on daddy” or “follow the boys around the park making sure they don’t hurt themselves,” I don’t feel nearly the same level of satisfaction as say, seeing my name published on a nice article I wrote. And without the free time to accomplish manly things around the house, well…work is about all I have to prove that I’m more than just daddy-day-care when CareerMom travels.
In truth, this is not how I imagined grown up life.
Anyway, the other night when CareerMom and I were out celebrating our anniversary, as we sat down at our table to eat, the waiter came by and asked if we’d like anything to drink.
Now, let me stop here and explain something: Neither CareerMom nor I have ever been big social drinkers. This is probably because a glass of wine with dinner is usually so expensive, that we just don’t want to pay the big dollars. As such, I’ve never been terribly comfortable ordering alcohol out. The few times I have, it’s been after I knew what I was going to order, so as to pair it nicely with my meal.
But as we placed our napkins in our laps and after the waiter asked about drinks, CareerMom looked up and flippantly said, “I’d like a glass of Chardonnay.”
I was immediately struck by the casualness of her request. There was no consulting of the wine menu. There was no consideration of price. It was as if she does this every day. And then I realized, she does; or at least she does it far more than I do. That’s when it really hit me that my “plan” has drifted even further from course than I thought. And anyway, when did she become this sophisticated social person, while here I sit in my pleated pants feeling like a hillbilly?
See, CareerMom travels a lot. It comes in spurts throughout the year, but in the past two years, she’s probably traveled at least 20-30 days on average. That’s 20-30 days of staying in nice hotels and generally eating at fine restaurants at night. Now, she’ll tell you that it’s not all fun and games because it’s work and she’s already tired of seeing those people all day, and I completely understand that, but still…while she’s there…I’m here.
I’m in my slob clothes picking the boys up from daycare and keeping them happy till bedtime. I’m either fixing them something simple to eat here, or sitting at Chick-Fil-A watching them play in the plastic germ-factory because it’s nearly impossible to fix a wholesome meal while holding a 20-month old. Instead of leisurely getting up at 6:30 in a quiet hotel room in downtown NY, I’m punching the alarm at 5:30 a.m. so I can get a cup of coffee in me before being ransacked by two whiney, juice-demanding boys who couldn’t care less about daddy’s pounding headache or aching back.
Hell yeah I’m bitter!
*breathe* (good….now slowly) If I look really deep inside, I think I’m jealous. I’m jealous because she has the life…no…the career, that I always thought I’d have, while I’m living the life that I always thought my wife would live.
Sexist? Only if you forget that I grew up in the 70s and 80s before women had careers and when the gender roles still had dad working while mom stayed home with the kids.
Maybe it would be different if I actually had a chance to get out and do some of the things she “gets” to do, but my career doesn’t allow me that luxury. Financially, we can’t afford to travel as a couple, not to mention the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get anyone to watch the kids for a couple of days. And, I don’t have any friends I can go do things with by myself even if money weren’t an issue (which it is).
The few times that I have, half-jokingly, suggested that her busy professional life is glamorous, she’s countered with, “I’d rather be at home.” But see, I don’t really believe that; because if that were true, then she wouldn’t pursue promotions as heartily as she does (four in the last 9 years).
I feel a pity party coming on and I’m not sure I don’t want to just wallow in it for a while. I know it’s not healthy, but I can’t just keep walking around the house with a fake happy face pretending that I don’t care that she’s so busy that she has to leave her laptop on all the time. But that’s another story for another time.
In the grand scheme of things, I realize I’m being very petty, and that I really need to have these conversations with CareerMom rather than perfect strangers, but I think we all know that’s easier said than done. Sometimes it’s good just to say them regardless of who you say them to. Guess that’s why psychiatrists are still around. Blogging…cheaper than therapy!