Monday, January 23, 2012

Not a Post About Being a 1950s Housewife (Not Not Not)

PSST: Don't forget this Friday's writing prompt & link-up of stupendous wonder and global significance


. . . but I'm afraid you're going to think this of me anyways once I ask my question . . .

So, as I've mentioned a few bazillion times, I adore my current job as a stay-at-home-mom, so much so that I do obnoxious cutesy things like refer to it as a "job" & my child as the "wee CEO". 

The thing is, though I love this gig with the fire of a thousand Birkin bags, at the end of the day I am tired in a way I just never was with that deeply prestigious, deeply dull lawyer thang. No, tired isn't the right word - "spent" is what I am now, in thought, word and bank account (ahem).

With many out-of-the-house jobs, once you leave the office there's often a built in break - whether it be a commute, a gym visit, or time alone at house before your significant other arrives. By "break" I of course mean, "Time to lip-sync to truly terrible music while calculating how soon you can get into your Secret Sweatpants of Shame."

Here is what my post-"job" day looks like now: greet Anonymous Husband, who usually arrives home just after I've put Master P to bed; start dinner; switch laundry loads; eat dinner; attempt to have normal adult conversation; attempt to recall what a normal adult conversation is; catch up on bills / email / boring adult requirements. I usually don't sit down, mentally or physically, until 9 pm or so.

Here is what I secretly want to do post-job: collapse into the warm embrace of my DVR and/or laptop and/or the Secret Sweatpants of Shame, preferably all three at once, shifting my mental gears into zoned-out Neutral for at least 30 minutes. Yes, I know - #firstworldproblems to be sure.

This is not - NOT, not, you can't make me! - to say that I'm not entirely delighted to see the AH at the end of the day, nor am I wondering whether I've erred in not offering him a 1950s style cocktail and invitation to trample all over my women's rights as soon as he's arrived home. Not not not!

It's just that I struggle between the desire to be a supportive spouse at the end of the day and the desire to have some time to myself (read: be supportive of the Bravo TV lineup). Both vitally imporant things, obvs. 

I know what the obvious answer is here. Roofies. 

No, no - it's putting on those proverbial Big Girl Panties and just dealing with it, blah blah blah. I know it is. But . . .

Moms, how do you make that end-of-the-day transition from the mothering thing to the coherent & semi-awake spouse thing? Working parents, I'm guessing this changing of hats is a tricky thing for you beyond what I can possibly imagine - how do you deal? 

Off to prepare that rohypnol cocktail while I await your advice . . .


The English Preppy said...

Oh my oh my Melissa! You have really struck a cord here. Sometimes I don't even feel like SPEAKING at the end of the day. I greet husband at door with mascara smeared down my harrassed looking face, while the smell of burned processed food wafts out the door. Other times I can muster more. One of my New Year's resolutions was to try harder - as my husband feels neglected most of the time - bless his cotton socks!

Belle on Heels said...

Oh darn, I seem to be a very bad wife. I seem to think that MY topics of conversation are the most important. And I would be terrified to take off his shoes.

AEOT said...

We all arrive home around 5:30, entertain SYT while getting dinner on the table (and hopefully avoid meltdowns during this process)(from all of us), and, depending on the night, eat as a family or get the babe fed, bathed, and down before we settle in for an adult dinner. Most of the time during dinner we zone over Jeopardy (we try to catch up on the day during meal prep). After dinner, if it's a bad/exhausting night, we'll often veg on the couch, but a lot of nights, it's laundry, putting away laundry, cleaning up one room of the house, getting a minor project done, etc. We literally have zero downtime on the weekends b/c that's when we get ALL the other crap done that we aren't able to get done during the few hours we have on the weeknight. It's definitely busy (and going to get worse in May!!).

[darci @ the good life] said...

It's a crazy thing we battle, isn't it? While [most...not all...okay maybe just some] working moms are out of the house working, they're wishing they were at home with their little ones enjoying "downtime" and "freedom". And the stay-at-home mommas camp that we're in is missing the glimpse of real, grown up life.

I have it figured out though....DON'T YOU WORRY.

I'm going to find this job:
- only needed to work 1 day per week, never more.
- the pay is ridiculous[LY] awesome. comparable to what we made working 40 hrs a week but for a mere 8 hours.
- people (i guess you'd call them co-workers although you see them only 8 hours a week) leave you the eff alone.
- you get to dress super cute and professional. no yoga pants. makeup obviously required.
- an hour or two lunch is also required.
- your hubby has parenting duties after your long (single) day at work.

sign me up.

it would be the answer to everything, no? for me it would! but really, i'd love to work ONE or maybe TWO days a week. but then, the pay would have to be good to cover the cost of childcare for those 2 days. oddly, i don't know of many employers offering that type of gig. but i'm still looking. if you hear of anything like this in ATX, hit me up!


ps - i'm still wearing pjs and so need to wash my hair. not okay!

Rachel said...

Shawn and I both work outside the house, so our day is a little different. However, we (okay, I) face the same problem.

I get up at 5:30 every morning to get ready, Connor wakes up at 6:30 right as I'm finishing. I feed him and get him ready - we leave our house at 7:15. We drive 25 minutes to 'town' and I drop him off at daycare. I drive about 3 minutes on to work. I work until 5:00, pick him up about 3 minutes after that, and we make the 25 minute commute home. We typically arrive home at 5:40ish.

My husband goes to the gym every evening so I attempt to cook dinner with a toddler hanging onto my pants. Dinner is (sometimes, hopefully, by the Grace of God) on the table around 6:30 when Shawn arrives home. I've usually had to feed Connor an entirely separate meal because he is too hungry to wait to eat dinner with us.

After we scarf down our food, we play for a bit, then around 7:15 we give Connor a bath and I put him to bed.

Once I'm 'finished' with Connor for the day - I then proceed to do laundry, clean up from dinner, clean the house, etc.

I have zero designated 'me' time. It's hard. I'm not complaining, but this is just where I am in life right now. The LAST thing I want to do is have a conversation with anyone at the end of the day. Haha! I know that's awful, but it's the truth. I am so physically and mentally drained by then that I'm just done with it all!

I think that no matter whether we work in the home or out of the's just a hard season of life. I know it is for us.

PS - excited to see your link up on Friday!

Emily said...

The end of the day is such a hard thing. When I come home from work, mommy guilt (plus love for my baby, of course!) has me rightnexttoJack until he goes to bed (8:30). By then, I've been up since 4:30 am, so I am spent. Fortunately, we have a couple of shows that we watch together, so that comprises our week day"quality time" once the boy is in bed.

Working or not...we're going to be moving that laundry from one machine to the next until they carry us to the nursing home. Ugh.

Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey said...

I wrote a description of our evenings, and then erased it, because I sound kind of...grumpy. Let just say there is not much relaxing here in the evening. And yes, by the time I get to sit on the sofa by myself, I have very little left over for anything.

Francis said...

Right now my days start anywhere from 5:30 and on. Im constantly moving as I also have a 9 yr old who is in school. My 9 month old is a terrible sleeper so I spend a lot of time trying to get her to take a nap, or holding her because she is fussy. My husband gets home about 7:00 so by then I have dinner on the table and the house is usually picked up. My 9 yr old is a huge help so she can help me keep the baby entertained usually if im cooking. After dinner, its

Francis said...

Oops my comment cut off..after dinner I put the baby to bed and then get my 9 yr old daughter for bed. Once she's in bed at 8:30, my husband and I have time to watch some TV and hang out. We really need to get out by ourselves once in awhile though. We've only been out once just us since the baby was born.

Carly Anne said...

I love my Secret Sweatpants of Shame more than life. We bond nightly while watching Downton Abbey and enjoying some nondescript alcoholic beverage. These are the days I will miss when there are littles in the picture...

Happiness Is... said...

So I don't know if it's different whether you work out of the home or not...I work from home during the day, but as soon as I get my son from school at 3:30pm I have to try to cram everything mentioned (laundry, bottle washing, dishwasher unloading, bath, dinner, etc) into those few hours. And by 7? I am spent and uninterested in talking, too! I don't have a good answer, but I think it's just the lifestyle with kids either way - they are hard work, and one day we'll probably miss it! Doesn't make it easier or less frantic/tiring in the moment.

Elz said...

I'm lucky in that my husband works from home, so he has dinner waiting (usually) for us when I get home. That gives me enough time to change (not sweatpants of shame, usually yoga pants;) ), help with homework, etc. before dinner. We see no harm in retreating to separate rooms at the end of the day. Sometimes we'll have wine and adult conversation after the girls go to bed. And sometimes I do laundry, crafts, or blog reading by myself. Everybody needs time to decompress. Everybody.

Jessica said...

Oh I hate this! Exact same thing happens here. As much as I dislike being on my own with the babe 24/7, I can't help but also love it when the hubs is out of town. My evenings look so different and I get so much more done. And I do stupid things like deep condition my hair while watching Gossip Girl in my bathrobe. Doesn't that sound divine? I know.

I haven't found the balance yet, and I'm not sure how to. Please work on this and let me know, k?

Ashleigh said...

Oh my! I just read that advertisement out loud to the Hubs and could barely get through it all I was laughing so hard...however, I think he may print it out and plaster it to every door in our home before tomorrow morning! Wow, how times have changed! I feel exactly as you do when "the day is done" - We have our dinner, our adult conversation and BOTH drone out in front of our TV/computer - it's not a bad gig, but trust me, on the nights when the hubs is working late and I know I'll have a good hour or 2 to myself after Mr. L is put down I am ecstatic- sweats are on, cookies are had for dinner and the house is a DISASTER until mere seconds before The Hubs returns. When I worked and was a Mom the end of the day was easier in my opinion - walking in the door to see my little guy recharged me in such a great way - Even if I only saw him for an hour or two, it was enough to keep my spirits high at the end of the day...not to say the little guy doesn't still have the same effect on me, but it's jut drawn out throughout the whole day and it takes all that i have not to just climb into his crib with him and pass out for 12+ hours at the end of the night!

D @ Naptime in Suburbia said...

Oh, I wish I could say that I've struck a wonderful balance between mommy and wife. Unfortunately, I know the spent feeling you describe all too well. When Hubs gets home, it's as though an internal switch flips in Noah that engages the pre-bedtime crankiness.

By the time we've finished bathtime and have the little one in bed, our "romantic" evenings consist of things like channel surfing.

I know that I need a more clearly defined "wife" hat, particularly once Noah's in bed. I just haven't been very successful with the transition so far.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's much difference if you work outside the home or SAH...I've done both as a mom and I can tell you that as a working outside the home mom, I was not able to just come home and relax (post-kids, of course). Both roles leave me exhausted at the end of day but the exhaustion is often a bit different.

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

After reading my day in the life posts you already know that I totally collapse at the end of the day (with ice cream. shhhh)

It is hard. And Mr. is tired too. Props to you for handling bedtime on your own and dinner after MP goes to bed. I had a come to Jesus meeting with Mr. about him going to work earlier so we could do family dinners. I know it's not doable for everyone, but it's been helpful in our house and I'm thankful that it has become the norm. Aside from those times that he locks his keys in the car and I have to go rescue him.

Jen said...

Reading these comments made me feel so much better about my own life! Sounds like everyone is in the same boat.

Our evening schedule varies. My 7 year old and I might arrive home together as early as 4 (or maybe even 3:30 on a Friday), but often
5ish from school, where I teach and she attends. Tues/Thurs hub picks up daughter and I often work late, sometimes really late. : (

I cook dinner when I get home almost every night (unless I'm really late) and that is kind of my unwind time. Daughter has her unwind time watching a coveted tv show, or playing. After dinner, one parent cleans up, while the other one hangs out with daughter, and maybe review schoolwork. We aim for a little family time after that, which could be chatting, playing a game, or often watching House Hunters or similar show (daughter loves this). Then one of us ushers daughter through bedtime routine and reads with her, while the other makes lunches. After that is when we both generally collapse at 8:30. We do very little cleaning on weekday evenings. I do a little puttering cleaning up, and husband might do laundry if he gets a wild hair, but that's it.

Some nights husband and I talk a lot because we are both teachers, and one of us needs to vent. Or once we are off our feet, we are so euphoric that we get a burst of energy to talk. I do find that I DEFINITELY don't want to talk on the phone to anybody, which is too bad, as it leaves me disconnected from other friends/family sometimes.

But you are talking about husband time. I guesss I'd say I'd try to leave less 'work' for nightime. Can you do bills once a week during a naptime or on a weekend morning? Laundry earlier in the day too? That way you are just doing dinner and clean up at night when you are at your most tired and DONE.

Beyond that, I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure you are a great wife!

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