My husband and I have a constant battle occurring in our house over who is more tired, or rather who deserves be more tired. Neither of us has convinced the other we may be wrong or budged on our views. One thing we do agree on is that the topic of who works harder should not be a competition, as each of our “jobs” and lifestyle present their own unique challenges. Even so, it remains a daily contest. And the winner is…
What is my role?
My view: My role is to make sure the house and everyone in it runs smoothly while my husband travels during the week. That includes making sure the kids get to school on time, have their lunches packed, have clean clothes to wear and are up to date on doctor’s appointments. I need to be in the know about homework assignments, keep up with our family and social calendar, make sure the fridge is stocked and the household supplies are up to date, sit down and pay the bills on time, ensure the house is tidy, brush the dog and make sure she receives her daily and monthly meds, etc. etc. etc…. I am exhausted just writing this. I could go on because the tasks and responsibilities of my role are never ending. There is always something for me to do and because I am not the kind of person to sit, relax and do nothing, it’s a perfect marriage…that is between my role and me. 🙂
All of these duties take time. It is my job to multi-task and figure out how to get it all done. Luckily I am organized and scheduled, so it is not that difficult. Some days, just getting out of the house in the morning with the kids leaves me ready for a nap though. Being busy, having to do multiple things at once and always being on the go is what I do and what I do best.
My husband is well aware of all these tasks I perform and knows I work hard. The argument does not lie in the definition of my role or how I well I perform my responsibilities, but what it takes to accomplish my role and all the roadblocks I encounter along the way. While “staying at home” has the reputation of taking the easy way out, there is nothing easy about what I do. I dare my husband to be me for a day and I guarantee he would pass out before noon! Since we both “agree” we are not competing against each other, I will not take my challenge any further. 🙂
I am often tired, worn out, functioning on little sleep and constantly making sure our three beautiful boys are happy and healthy. I am exhausted when I go to sleep and do not feel that much more rested when I wake up. My perspective sounds negative but trust me when I say I am in no way complaining about the path I chose, as I wouldn’t change my life for anything. I love being a stay-at-home mom and entrepreneur. I actually think about how blessed I am on a daily basis. I know plenty of moms who would love to be home with their children full time but simply cannot afford to. I also know moms who are ready to sell their kids by 9AM most days. I really do enjoy spending so much time with my kids, cleaning up the house (yes, it’s a strange addiction) and making sure everything is in order so my husband can function in his role.
My husband’s view of my role is a bit different than mine.
His view: “My wife’s role is taking care of our children and the household during the day. When all three kids are in school, she gets to do whatever she wants. Some days she gets her nails done, plays tennis or goes shopping. Other days she stays home, cleans up, pays bills and catches up on her television shows while she folds laundry. She gets plenty of opportunities to rest and take naps, so there is no reason she should be tired. When I get home from traveling all week, I offer my help but it’s usually not the way she would do it, so I often get criticized, hence not making me want to help. My wife works her butt off and takes so much pride in being a mom but she doesn’t understand the pressure of bringing home the bacon. Her role is so important for the growth of our children and I know I wouldn’t have half the patience she demonstrates on a daily basis, but if I am not out there working my butt off, we can’t live the lifestyle we are accustomed to. If she can’t fold the laundry one day or doesn’t have the time to make a gourmet meal one night, the consequences are not a big deal. Her role is certainly stressful but I am not sure if she understands the pressure I am under to provide for our family.”
My rebuttal: Yes, I create my own schedule so technically I can do whatever I want but that also includes whatever I have to do. The fridge does not stock itself, the dishes do not wash themselves and the laundry certainly doesn’t have a load, fold and put away cycle. There are doctors appointments for myself and the kids, hair that needs to be cut, dinner that has to be prepared and a house from the morning hurricane that has to be cleaned up. I believe I deserve to exercise and get my nails done…I have earned it. Don’t people who work in an office get a lunch hour? After all is said and done, I rarely get more than 20 minutes to sit down and take a breath. Did I mention I spend two hours, if not three a day on my business? I do tend to criticize (I am working on that) but in my defense, when I am used to doing everything myself all week my way, it’s hard to have someone else step in, even though I do welcome the assistance.
My Husband’s Role:
My View: My husband travels for work, which means he lives out of hotels with daily housekeepers, spends time entertaining clients, whether that means a nice dinner, a night out drinking, a day of golf, or a morning of fishing. He has no one to be responsible for but himself. He does not hear kids whining, yelling, hitting, fighting or being disrespectful. When he gets up, he can take a shower longer than 30 seconds, knowing that no one needs anything. When he is ready to leave his hotel room, he gets up and goes, instead of repeating over and over again, “let’s go” as the kids are constantly in slow motion when we have somewhere to be. He comes home to a clean house, clean clothes, the soap filled to the top, the bills paid and in the mail, and usually a gourmet meal fit for a king.
His View: “I travel for work, which means I rarely get to sleep in my own bed and be in the comfort of my own home. I have to be “on” at all times and entertain on a daily/nightly basis, which gets old very quickly and is exhausting. I am responsible for everyone because if I don’t “work”, we don’t eat, we don’t have a house to live in, we don’t have cars to drive, etc. I often miss out on the kid’s daily life while my wife gets to experience it all. I often feel like an outsider when I come home, as the kids view my wife as the one who does it better. I have to hear jokes from friends and acquaintances about not being around and actually even existing at times. My wife is a supermom, has a great attitude about my work travels and I could not be doing what I do without her.” (I couldn’t help myself but I know he really does feel this way).
Of course I know how hard my husband works but and I absolutely respect the fact he is wiling to spend time away from his family, so he can provide such a wonderful life for us. I think my husband is the smartest, most dedicated, hard working guy I know!
On a recent trip to New York for my 20th high school reunion, the tables were turned for a weekend. I was the one leaving and my husband was in charge. It was definitely weird but felt great having no one else to worry about but myself (and of course hoping my hubby didn’t run out the door leaving three kids to fend for themselves). After a weekend of running around NYC, drinking and reminiscing with old friends on little sleep, I was pooped. When I returned, I couldn’t wait to see my kids but I also couldn’t wait to take a hot bath and get into bed. The last think I wanted to do was pack lunch boxes, build Legos or throw the ball to my dog. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I had traveled like my husband, been out of my own bed for two nights, ran around all day visiting friends and family and spent my nights drinking, laughing and going to bed way too late. Guess what? As fun as it was, it was exhausting. My husband had been super dad all weekend, providing my kids with such a fun time, I was a bit concerned they didn’t miss me at all or wouldn’t want life to go back to the way it always had been. There we were. Both worn out for different reasons. I could tell my husband was done, ready to switch back. He could tell I was hung over, tired and needed a few minutes to unwind and get back into mommy mode.
Our lives are not a competition between two components. We are team mates, both bringing something different to the table in order to succeed at life, raising our kids and building our careers. Sometimes it takes a role reversal to see the other side of the argument. Am I tired every day? Of course. Is he tired every day? Absolutely.
We both agree that what I do allows him to do what he does and what he does allows me to do what I do. We would never want to switch places and are the masters of our own roles. It all comes down to respect. He respects what I do and I respect what he does. So there it is…game over. We both come out winners!
TOGETHER WE CAN MASTER MOTHERHOOD!™