Sunday, April 22, 2007

Angst Rant

It is sooooo nice out, but I'm still trying to wake up so I might as well park it for a bit while I finish my latte. I always feel so guilty for sitting, for blogging, as if there are always better things to be doing, even when there aren't (well, I COULD be doing laundry...)

Jacob is playing outside, but Grace is stationed in her usual spot, lounging in a prone position on the couch in front of the TV. Damn! I hate the TV-- always have, always will. To me, it has forever symbolized the bottom of the bucket recreation, as if all possible avenues have been exhausted, and *yes!*, you ARE a loser, and have ab-SO-lute-ly nothing in the world else to do. Like I tell my kids: when you are old and can't get around, or if you become disabled and only have command of your remote finger, THAT is when you can become dedicated TV watchers. But until then, OFF THE COUCH!

Anyhoo, I am a wee bit irritated with my spouse, who from the dawn of our relationship (and once again last evening) has insinuated that anything I can contribute to the marriage, he can replicate with little difficulty, as if I make no useful contribution to the household unless I am working and bringing in a sizeable paycheck.
Gourmet meals? "I can cook", he said last night.
Shopping (which I hate)? "I used to shop."
Clean the house? "I used to clean the house, and I was a lot better at it than you."
Keep track of the kids, making sure they get all their school/house work done, and aren't running the streets at 2 am? "Uhhhhhhhh..." (He would never admit it, but years ago Jake would do nothing but snore when his 16 year old daughter would arrive home at 2 am, after hanging with a none too reputable crowd of kids. Ohwell. )

I always scowl when they release those stupid reports about how much your average stay at home mom would be paid if she charged for her services... especially when I hear heartfelt accounts from husbands who swoon supportively, "oh yes, Mary Jo is worth her weight in gold. Who would watch the kids, tidy the house, and keep the family together?"
My husband could, single handedly, and probably with one arm tied behind his back, says he.

But as I have been telling him since day one, if he thinks I am his "ace in the hole", his younger bride who will support him financially into old age, while he spends lovely afternoons fishing, he will be very disappointed. I am the girl who can be content just about ANYWHERE; the back of a VW bus, an Airstream trailer-- a cheesy apartment in the bad part of town. I really don't care how I live, as long as it's clean, and healthy, and has a kitchen where I can cook (even if it's a camp stove). I can live comfortably on any income, am a long time Goodwill shopper, and will not compromise my standard of living by always working, especially if I am working to fulfill the needs and aspirations of someone else (even if that someone if my spouse).

I went to school long enough to earn up to $40-some an hour, which is more than twice what my husband earns. And if I felt confident that he would sit his ass home and care for it properly, in the manner to which we all have become accustomed, I'd say, "hell yeah! Stay home and cook my organic food, wash and fold our clothes before they grow wrinkly and smelly in the dryer, check the kid's backpacks and sign all the notes, shake your finger at them to get the homework done and chase them off the couch so their chores get done! Woo hoo! I get to be a grown up again and not be interrupted 850 times while I am trying to get stuff done! See ya'll at 5, make sure that dinner's ready!" But, as experience has told me, hubby would be fishing 4 days out of 5 (as he did when he was laid off for 6 months and I was working-- thanks a fucking lot.), and there would be no dinner, no scrubbed toilets, no peace. He has had more than a couple chances to play "Mr Mommy", and he was very, very bad at it (let's not even speak of the chaos of when I worked 2nd shift...).

What is it about guys these days? Do they take no pride in providing for their families anymore? Or are they all still harboring grudges that we had the bad fortune to bear their children and screw up all their fun?
Who knows.

All I *do* know is that I am not too stupid to turn down a good offer when I see one. I would gladly be supportive of my wife, especially if she were dumb enough to put up with my stupid crap, yet wise enough to know what's really important: creating harmony in the home, holding the family together, smoothing the rough spots of life.

Last year, I earned over $30,000 dollars while maintaining a meticulously clean home, helped my daughter bring her grades up (considerably), helped my son make it into the gifted program, dragged their butts to and from after school activities, youth groups, prepared nutritiously well balanced meals, kept the house stocked with all necessry supplies, the laundry washed, folded, and put away-- maintained relationships with distant relatives, remembered and purchased gifts for all holidays, birthdays, family events, threw elaborate parties (while receiving no parties for myself, btw)-- all with very infrequent, yet well appreciated, help from my husband. And all while maintaining my own bank account, asking him for nothing, as I have for 13 glorious years.

It's not like I'm asking for cash, prizes, or a tiara or anything. Just a simple acknowledgement that who I am and what I do has value. That if I were to die today, some part of me would me missed by someone who couldn't just pick up where I left off, as if I were never here. I'm guessing it's what everyone wants, on a basic level.
And why is it so hard for guys to just say "thank you", "I appreciate all you do", instead of making you feel expendible? I'm sure there's some deeply-seated explanation that correlates with their penis somehow, but I'm just too frustrated to speculate at the moment.
Plus, the laundry needs to be switched, something needs to be taken out for dinner, menus and shopping for the week need to be planned, backpacks searched for forgotten homework...
I'd ask my husband for help, but he's off with his friends until this afternoon. And in a couple days, he'll be gone for several days turkey hunting.
Yeesh. It sucks to be a woman some days...

After sharing my rant with my guy, Jake says he never wanted me to feel unappreciated, which is nice. We talked for a while, which we don't always do too very well; Jake is a deep thinker and can take days to fully reflect on things we discuss, and neither one of us can talk about our feelings very easily. Life is good! (Well, it's improving, anyway...)

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