The Odd Wife

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Touching Nerves

Well, you can't expect everyone to agree with you all the time, can you?

A comment I left on Jay's Flying Solo blog apparently struck a nerve with a fellow blogger and resulted in an entire post devoted to how wrong I was.

My comment was this:

"It must be nice to be Kitti is all I can say. She's a SAHM, which essentially means she has made a career of being home with the children and running your household. I think you were perfectly right to expect her to clean up. The few years that I worked from home, I understood that it was my job to maintain our home. (Of course, if you're a rotten slob just throwing dirty socks where you please, she has a right to be ticked!)

Let me tell you...if EH could keep me as a SAHM, not only would my child smile, my house sparkle - but I'd greet my handsome breadwinner at the door with a martini and a lacivious smile every night.

I'm sorry, I continue to find her behavior selfish and spoiled. You might remind Kitti of all the women who would LOVE to be SAHM's but are forced to work full-time jobs and still try to maintain a family and a decent household."

Now, I'm sorry for those who don't agree, but this remains my opinion. Try to see it from my side...

My house is a constant mess. Apparently, to do dishes and laundry you actually have to be home and I'm working long days and late nights. I hate coming home to a messy house that isn't fit for company but I'm working non-stop and constantly functioning within my work social circle to maintain my position and future. I hate having to cram a loan of wash into the tiny stackable washer/dryer to try to come up with a pair of clean underwear for the next day, or having to wash a spoon to be able to wolf down a reheated meal.

I hate living on fast food because we're never home to shop. I hate that my daughter spends 10 hours a day in school and aftercare when she should be home, playing outside in the sunshine.

I hate the my daughter couldn't be a cheerleader this year because I can't be sure I'll be able to leave work in time to get her there.

I hate that I always have to refuse memberships with the PTA or that I can't chaperone a field trip.

I hate that I can't have more children. I took a damned pregnancy test two days ago with a heart full of hope since I have skipped my last period and came up with a definite negative.

I hate that I can't take the time to cook a nice dinner. Hell, I can't even get to the grocery store.

I hate that my life revolves around hard work outside the home just to try to keep decent clothes on my child's back, a car in the driveway and a roof over our heads.

I hate that I am existing on 4-5 hours of sleep a night.

I hate that I have no time to take care of myself.

A co-worker of mine is extremely successful. He must average $20,000+ a month. His wife stays home with their 3 children. They have a nanny and a maid. I admit that I wonder what the hell she does with her time and resent that she treats her husband like crap.

I'm going to avoid explaining my comments about how I think Jay's wife is behaving selfishly because they don't really apply here. It has nothing to do with her role as a SAHM, but rather with her mistreatment of Jay that I find so awful.

I hate that most women have a choice and I don't. I'm the primary salary and I have to accept that I will never get to be a full-time Mom.

Yes, I admit that women who get to live my dream and don't appreciate it annoy me. It's like a starving, poor person sitting beside someone who complains that counting all of their money can be so tiring.

I never said that ALL women who are housewifes should make their child smile, their house sparkle - and greet their handsome breadwinner at the door with a martini and a lacivious smile every night. I only said that I would. And I damned sure would. Don't believe me? Give me the chance to prove it. I'd love to put my money where my mouth is (or my mouth where my money is...? Heh.)

It's a shame that women who can't or don't choose that lifestyle feel forced into it. Even more of a shame that women who would give anything for that lifestyle live knowing that their children are growing up every day and they'll never get the chance to do it.

I've only gotten to enjoy brief stints as a housewife and I loved them. I loved cooking. I loved a clean house. I loved seeing my child directly after school with a snack and her homework. I miss it more than you could know.

But, for the ones who are "SAHMs", isn't it a choice? If they wanted to have a career instead of a housewife life, couldn't they work outside the home and apply the income towards aftercare, daycare and babysitters? Surely not in every case, but in many instances? Yet, that's not even a remote option in my life. Yeah, I'm envious. Yeah, I think the women who CAN be home should be appreciative of the husband who supports that life financially.

SAHM's rewards are in their home, their children, their family. You know what my rewards are? A weekly paycheck that covers my bills while a nagging sense of guilt reminds me that my child is being hurried through her day because I have to work 10-14 hours a day. She'll be grown in no time at all and I'll have missed most of it all because I had an obligation to keep our family housed, fed and clothed. You don't think it hits a nerve with me to hear someone complain that they spent all day with their children trying to keep the house nice? It sure as hell does. Sorry, but between office politics, hard as heck daily career challenges and managing a department - I'd MUCH rather work at my own life then to spend my day putting other families in their dream homes all day. I'd love to meet my families needs around the house FIRST instead of living in a messy house, eating rapid-ready foods and trying to find a clean outfit for all 3 of us. I wish my challenges were picking up my house and caring for my child. I wish my focus could be solely there.

You don't think I'd rather sweep, mop and shine my kitchen floor instead of underwrite a mortgage? You think I leave my bed unmade because I'm lazy? Not quite. I wake after a possible 4-5 hours sleep and race to get us all dressed and on the road to fight the day again. There's no time or energy left to put into my home.

I'm sorry that my opinion doesn't sit well with all, but it is in fact MY opinion. I may have hit a nerve, but this hits a nerve right back.

I don't think I can do a "better job" than someone else - I just know I'd sure enjoy the chance to TRY.

My daughter's summer camp ended 2 weeks before school started and she spent every day in my office. There were days she'd show up at my desk whimpering how hungry she was, lunchtime had passed us by - a fact I had overlooked since I hardly get a chance to take a lunch break. You don't think THAT didn't hurt my heart?

I reserve the right to feel annoyed when someone living MY dream life complains about it or shows zero appreciation for it and they're welcome to think I'm deluding myself when I dream of having the opportunities that they seem to feel so oppressed by.

And...I've rambled. As much of a nerve as I touched, this touched one in me right back. So, some of us will just have to disagree. And we can disagree without it meaning that one of us is "full of shit", can't we?

After all, have you tried on MY shoes lately? I bet 14 hours a day in my heels working under the insane pressure I function in would bite and pinch a bit more than you might imagine.

Posted by Red :: 11:49 PM :: |
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