A few weeks ago my husband had to go into work on a Saturday. There had been a sudden influx of business and some technical issues. He eagerly accepted, as he does most opportunities for overtime, and let me know that he wouldn’t be home that Saturday.
At first, I was a little putout. As a stay-at-home mom, the weekend means one thing and one thing only, help.
When the weekend finally rolls around, it’s all hands on deck.
I can usually take a shower by myself.
I don’t need to keep the door open while I poop.
It’s the only time I can ever drink my coffee while it’s still reasonably warm, with no microwaving.
On the weekend, I get as much of a break as any parent of a toddler can, which means that sometimes I can sit down and eat my lunch in a single sitting.
It’s the little things.
So I was a little putout and maybe a bit mad, that I was going to lose that little bit of freedom I get each weekend.
I was going to be all alone with my daughter, again.
I would be doing all of the wrangling her in and out of coats and hats and boots on my own. With a case of the hopelessly pregnant’s (I’m nearing week 30), and her in full blown terrible-two mode, that shit is getting hard.
And I wanted help, damn it. I wanted my husband by my side to chase her down the hallway when she decided that she didn’t actually want to wear her hat and coat out into the cold. Or to carry her from the car into the building once she realized that, crap, it’s really cold outside. I wanted my regularly scheduled help with diapers and snacks and putting shoes onto what is basically an eel in a fur coat.
I’m fat, I’m tired, and I deal with this shit-show every day of the week by myself. I deserve some help two days a week!
By the time my husband finally got home from work on Saturday I had come to two conclusions…
First, I can be a little melodramatic… sometimes. And second, my husband has it way worse than I do.
For starters, when he told me that he was going to be going into work on Saturday my first thought was about how much harder that was going to make my day. It was only later on that I thought about what that would mean for him.
It’s not like he was blowing us off to go do something that he wanted to do, he was going into work. The same place he went every other day of the week. Yeah, I wanted a break from my routine, how much of a break do you think he wanted? But he went, without complaint, even saying how great the overtime would be for us. Us, his family.
Secondly, it wasn’t just me losing a helping hand. He was losing his time with us.
On a regular weeknight, he only gets about an hour with our daughter. We usually sit down to dinner as soon as he walks through the door. Once we’re all done he gets her ready for bed while I clear the table and do the dishes, and then it’s bed time. That’s it for daddy daughter time.
Usually I get her to sleep and then I will give him a quick kiss before I head into bed myself and he heads downstairs to shower and unwind.
That’s all the family time he gets during the week, about one hour.
Under normal circumstances we get to make up for that on the weekend in addition to all of our other weekend obligations (like that damn dance class). Instead of viewing it as my time to get help I need to remember that it’s also his time to see his family.
I haven’t set an alarm in two years. That’s because our daughter is my alarm. She wakes me up almost every morning with a smile and some ridiculous statement. Even on those early days, it’s adorable.
My husband’s alarm goes off between 4AM and 5AM every day. I complain about how tired I am because I have to get up and parent. Meanwhile my husband is packing his lunch, getting dressed for work, and making sure he’s put enough coffee into the coffee pot for the both of us before heading out to work in the dark while I’m still snuggled under the covers. Usually he’s already at work before my daughter can even say, “moo milk”.
While I’m watching Doc McStuffins, cleaning, and getting snacks for everyone my husband is at work in the climate of the day. This means sweltering heat in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. I’m usually still in my PJ’s and robe until 9AM and then I only change to get into leggings and a sweat shirt. My toes are always toasty warm in my slippers or nice and cool in flip flops. I never have to worry about heat stroke or frost bite while I’m slinging cheerios or cutting up apples. Yet he does, and again, does it mostly without complaint.
Yeah, I bitch and moan about the never ending days and the toddler that won’t nap but I get to spend all day with my daughter. I’m the first person she sees when she wakes up and the last person she sees when she goes to bed at night.
And I get to be there for almost every moment in between.
I hold her when she cries, I kiss her when she’s hurt, and I am almost always in the front row when she does something new. My husband has to hear about all of it second hand while doing a job that he hates so that I have the privilege of staying home.
To top it all off, he doesn’t even know how much I appreciate him. He doesn’t know that I see everything he does and sacrifices for us, and even worse is that I never tell him. Not because I don’t want him to know, or because I assume that he does, but because I’m usually too busy thinking about something else to actually stop and tell him.
I’m kind of a dick.
But that all stops now, because I do realize that he has it worse than I do. And yeah, he gets to poop whenever he wants to, take leisurely hot showers, and spend hours at night watching whatever he wants to on TV (and he gets to do all of these things by himself), but I get unlimited snuggles. Whenever I want them, whenever I need them.
And my boss may be a tyrant, but she’s cute and easily distracted most days by singing her favorite song or giving her yogurt.
I think sometimes as a stay at home mom I forget that I am privileged, I am #blessed, and although the days are long and the years are short, I get to be in all of it. There are so many people (including, sometimes, my own husband) that would trade everything they have to be in this position.
And I’m usually too busy thinking about how tired I am to realize how much better I actually have it.
Thank you for everything you do, husband.