Work Life Balance
My Husband Thinks I’m Selfish For Wanting A Post-Baby Career
After watching my daughter grow through her first year of life, I thought it was normal and healthy toÂ want my personhood back. As it turns out, itâ€™s not. Itâ€™s completely selfish.
I used to work full-time from home as an internet content writer before I got pregnant. Then, duringÂ pregnancy, I did a little less writing and a little more commissioned fine artâ€”I probably worked threeÂ to five hours a day. It worked for me; it was true to my ambitions and talents. My husband worked asÂ a line cook. Although there were some things we would have changed if we could (mostly in the salaryÂ department), we were happy. I even felt balanced, like none of my roles took center stage. I was anÂ artist, wife, friend and mother-to-be. I earned money for being creative, I went on dates, I hung out withÂ friends and I sewed curtains for babyâ€™s nursery. Balance.
I am a Type-A Stress Junkie, and I also tend to have excess energy. This suited me well as a new mother because there was suddenly so much to do and adjust to. Laundry? Check. Take baby for a walk in the frontÂ carrier? No problem. Nurse, read, play with, and venture across town with baby? Absolutely. But as I gotÂ used to being a SAHM, these tasks suddenly became second-nature. And when things become second-nature, they tend to get boring.
My husband got a promotion and suddenly had much more to learn and do at work. I watched withÂ an envious eye, meanwhile trying to brainstorm ways to fill my day (ways that didnâ€™t involve watchingÂ sitcom reruns for three hours in the morning and watching talk shows all afternoon). What wasÂ happening to me? I used to be someone who never had time to touch a TV remote. I used to scoff at myÂ husbandâ€™s suggestion to play video games because I hated relaxation. Relaxation frustrates me. I wantÂ to splash paint on canvases and alphabetize my bookshelf and clean the crown moulding, not relax!
My husband’s personality is the exact opposite. If he could sit all day in a darkÂ room and play video games, he would. He didnâ€™t see his promotion as an exciting opportunityâ€”he sawÂ it as a nerve-wracking increase in accountability. Heâ€™s not a fan of taking work calls on his days off andÂ being his employeesâ€™ favorite go-to guy. If it werenâ€™t for the pay, I have no doubt heâ€™d switch back toÂ being a line cook. I canâ€™t fathom wanting to climb down the ladder, but heâ€™d rather not live the AmericanÂ Dream if it means becoming a workaholic.
So when Shaun and I were arguing the other night (while I was in the process of nursing baby downÂ to sleep) and he said, â€œI wish I had your problem. I wish I was good at too many things and didnâ€™t haveÂ time for all of them,â€ I was speechless.
He proceeded to call me â€œselfishâ€ for wanting more time toÂ work. He proclaimed that he had made so many sacrifices by working this stressful job, so why couldnâ€™tÂ I just make a sacrifice too? He also said it seems like â€œno one wants to take care of the baby.â€ No one?Â Really? So what have I been doing for nearly a year, exactly? Locking baby in the bedroom and drinkingÂ martinis?