I am fortunate enough to have a Husband who knows that being a Stay-at-Home Mom is not all Unicorn farts and Fairy burps. It may have helped that I, "primed" him, long before we had a baby, by stating that being the care provider for a child 24-7 is not easy.
I'd like to cite examples from the Michael Keaton gem, "Mr. Mom" but in an era, (that does a female heart proud and glad) where a Dad can make it just as well, if not better than a Mom at staying at home, I can't rightly do so. However, it is a pretty good example of just how flustered and stressed a person can get when they're tasked with caring for young children all day. Maybe Mr. Mom was thrown into the mix when all three children were under the age of six, but I think it's still a pretty good example of how the chaos of rearing children can affect any parent. I have not personally had to hold my child's bum under an airblower in a public restroom, but I have been at a friend's house after changing my baby's diaper, at a loss as to what to do with the used diaper because I forgot to pack any baggies to tie it up in. Which goes to show, even the most confident parent can find themselves in a situation that leaves them flustered and apologetic.
While my Hubby may be understanding of my, "job", it is only to a point. This was made plain to me one day, when Colin was quite cranky and he said, "I thought that he was just easy all day for you. I had no idea that it could be like this". HA! HA! Take that Mister, "I get to leave the house at the same time every day with ease, the most annoying thing being managing morning traffic, and then dealing with ADULT customers who can articulate their discontent and needs with complex sentences, having tasks that you can check off a list before coming home to a hot dinner, smiling wife and baby happy to see you!"
Sometimes I miss being paid cold, hard cash for my troubles and toil. I miss clocking in for eight hours a day, knowing that when I punched out, I got to leave my workplace behind until the next morning, or even a two day break! My work was appraised and evaluated. I was given comment on what I was doing wrong, or sometimes well. I got to leave the office for training sessions, sessions that would involve discussion on what I could do, what I needed to know, to do my job better. The working world was clear cut, concise. Being a Mother is far more complicated and convuluted than your average job.
In all fairness, taking care of a baby, while stressful, is far more pleasant most days than dealing with any adult who whines about lack of whatever, and gives you the stink eye for it, while threatening to null and void your lively hood because you aren't appeasing their tantrum. Still, caring for a baby IS challenging, not something that is always easy, or always something you can take lightly.
Sometimes, I wish I could be the one who had to get up for work, while he got to stay home with the baby. I'm sure that sometimes he wishes this too. I think, at the end of that fantasy day, we would both find that we were grateful for our roles, and better appreciate what we do for our Son, for each other. It is easy to see the grass as greener on the other side when you're in the midst of some rather unpleasant moments, stress pinching the muscles in your shoulders and brow. Taking a moment to step into the shoes of the other person, most always a great idea. I know I could do with more appreciation, and I know he could too. I'm just grateful we have each other, and that we enjoy and support the roles we both play in our marriage, and in the rearing of our Son.
I feel, as I think he does, that when you create a Human life, you dedicate yourself to that life. For me, it is something I always looked forward to doing. For him, it is something that he feels is a duty, an honor, a commitment he is willing to keep.
I may still harbor dreams of working, going to school, providing, but for me, those dreams take a back burner to what my Son needs now. He won't always be so little, so demanding and vunerable. One day, he'll be going to school, but right now, he needs me. Both me and my Husband are willing and capable of making the sacrafices needed to make that happen, thankfully. Not everyone has this opportunity, and I truly feel for those who cannot. We all make choices, but sometimes those choices don't give us options. You make the best of them, as much as you can with the hope that everything will turn out right.
For me and Mark, we knew we didn't want a child until we had a home of our own, income that would provide, and the maturity we needed to raise our child right. We provided ourselves with that opportunity. We made choices that led us to this point in our lives. We are fortunate enough to have had the ability to do so. We may not have as much as others do, but we have what we deem enough. It is enough for us both to put our dreams on hold, with the knowledge that sometime in the future, we can unleash them once again if we so wish. I don't think it's absolutely necessary to put your dreams forever on hold, because I think it may also be a discredit to your child, to a degree, to not fully extend yourself. As long as you're not selfishly pursuing without any regard to your child, I see it as a positive aspect, showing them what can be done with enough hope and determination. I certainly don't want to lose my child, to steal away his joy, comfort and security in childhood, to pursue what I had ample time to do before he was born, yet I have a difficult time thinking that all of my days are to be spent at home, cleaning, cooking and waiting for my family to get home. I have potential, promise, determination and a mind that wants to be flexed with challenge. Just because I am the proud owner of a womb, it doesn't mean I do not have room in my heart and mind to allow for more than just nurturing and caring for my Husband and Son. I exsisted as a vivacious, inquisitve and forward girl prior to becoming a wife, and have ambition, determination, maturity and intelligence that wants to stretch and flex with challenges not presented in caring for two males, (though it should be enough...men complain about females...). I may not be a Betty Crocker, but I do a pretty darn decent job, I say so myself!
Maybe one day where Mark and I change places would be great, but we're happy, because we know how hard it is. We may not be in the thick of each other's challenges, but we know, we appreciate and we are grateful that each one of us loves the places we're in, right now.
4 months ago