Maybe it's this sinus headache, but I feel the need to bitch some more.
I once said that Love is cleaning the side of the toilet you never pee on. Then I said Love is pulling poop out of someone's asshole. Nowadays Love is cleaning feces out of Hot Wheels underpants and out of a toilet that my ass never even touches.
But my friends, this apparently is not considered housework.
When the troops are down, what suffers is my writing. My career. Which makes my blood boil at the unfairness. Because the Dog is walking around the house saying, "I can't wait until you go back to work and have some structure to your day." AND "I can't wait until your work is set to specific hours."
Meaning, "I can't wait until your free time is spent focusing on us instead of your laptop." AND "I can't wait until your free time is spent doing the dishes."
Oh, he's quite the equal partner in so many ways, but let's face it -- no matter how forward thinking your man is, no matter how much he helps out, there is a teeny part of him that fancies being Ward Cleaver. He wants to come home to the smell of pot roast. He wants to have slippers laid at his feet and a single malt poured when he gets in the door. He wants you to have a brain and interests too, just not on his time. He wants you to look at him, not the monitor, when you ask, "How was your day?" Worse! He actually wants you to give a shit.
All you are thinking when he walks in that door is, "Hey! Great you're here. I can't look at you right now because I may have 7.35 minutes before somebody REALLY needs me and I'd like to clear my brain by reading about toy recalls and Daniellynn's fortunes -- before I end up spanking someone. And don't get that look because I don't mean you."
Today I read something on ParentDish that said men who do more housework have more sex. I thought, hey, that's pretty cool. Granted, my husband does a LOT of housework -- the bulk of the tidying up, the dishes (a task we share), the garbage, the shoveling, and the floors maybe once every two weeks. The hilarious part is that he thinks I do NOTHING. Like Zero.
I don't need to get into how off that is. Because if you look at that list and you have even the most minimal knowledge of what it takes to run a house, you know. My house is not the cleanest house, but I'm not horribly embarrassed to have people over, so you know -- clearly I'm contributing.
So I mention this whole "do more housework, get more sex thing" and his response is, "But I already do ALL the housework, so I can't possibly do more. The roles are kinda reversed." I let him have this because I don't really feel like arguing and respond, "Well, if I did more housework would it make you actually want to have more sex with me? Because that can be arranged."
"But you don't WANT to do more housework. That's just not you." Oh, so now I have to WANT to do the housework? He wants service with a smile? Oh dear Lord, there is no winning.
All of this is coming to a head because I'm more than halfway through my maternity leave. Granted I've been trying to work through my mat leave, taking on great big writing projects. The issue with this is that I am also taking care of a... oh... what's that called again? Oh yes, a BABY! A bonafied eating machine who expects to be entertained and have her diaper changed at the slightest drop of moisture. So the only time I can actually work is when my children are sleeping or being supervised by someone else.
Which means when my husband is home, my face is buried in the laptop. So he wants me to go back to full-time employment and kind of actually give up all this side writing. He will not blatantly come out and say that. But this is the general impression I get. (see Ward Cleaver above) What he doesn't get is that full-time office work means I have less time in the day to get done what I have 24 hours a day to get done now. It also means I have to farm out much of that work to other women.
I'm truly conflicted. I know it would mean a major pay cut for me to try to work from home. I know I would need some level of childcare in order to make it work, regardless. I also know we're in some line of credit debt, that we need a new car and would like to have the basement renovated so the kids could have a playroom. (Our house is tight at about 850 sq feet, the basement reno would take us to almost 1200 sq feet.) I know that the US economy seems to be tanking and that we should basically get out of debt. I know that a good enough paycheque could cover the gaps and allow me to make the decision to work from home from a better place.
But the guilt is inescapable. I bore these children, I should find a way to take care of them myself, no? At least for the majority of the week. My husband seems to think getting out of the house will be good for me. But when I add up the sick days of two kids, the stress of getting them to two different places everyday -- while still trying to make it to the office by 8:30 am -- well it freaks me out. What will we be left with?
On the other hand, I love the office. I love getting dressed up and talking shop and shooting the shit by the water cooler. I definitely love the surfing time I get on my lunch hour. I love that my clothes are clean, that I wear heels and that no one needs my body for 8 hours. I love listening to the CBC on the drive in. I love the free books. I love my coworkers. I even have a really soft spot in my heart for my boss. That's a rare thing. I love the feeling I get when I contribute to projects and am valued. And I do love getting a decent paycheque without worrying when the next one is coming. How can I turn that down if they'd have me back?
So I find myself at the crossroads of whom I must be for my family and whom I'd like to be for myself, my sanity. There are pros and cons to both and each offers its own path to self-fulfillment. I still don't know where I stand and I'm certainly making my husband crazy debating this every day. (that and the "should we move to Scarborough or tough it out in the tight city" debate are plaguing us daily.)
I'm enjoying being off work, so I should really just focus on that for now and cross other bridges when I get to them. And maybe I need to itemize my tasks and the hours they take on a spreadsheet for the Dog so he'll shut up already. What do you think?
ETA: Fark, sorry, that was riduculously long and needed a proper edit before I hit publish. New rule should be Never Blog When Really P.O.ed.