My husband typically works from an office, but like almost everything else, the coronavirus put an end to that. He’s been working entirely from home since March.
My husband is the sole income-earner in our house and his job is stable. I should be grateful, AND I AM.
But also… I’m jealous.
I try to stuff the jealousy down underneath my feelings of gratitude. Still, it keeps popping back up again like a monster I just can’t tame. Sometimes the monster stays low and out of sight for days, even weeks. I’ll think I’ve finally got a handle on it, but then, like a Phoenix from the ashes, it reemerges.
Since I became a stay at home mom, there’s always been a tension between gratitude for my husband’s career and jealousy of it. After all, I gave up a job I loved to stay home. It was the right move for our family and we are fortunate to even be able to make that choice, but it was (and still is) a major adjustment for me.
Being in quarantine with three kids and a newborn has highlighted this tension like a juggling monkey riding a unicycle –impossible to ignore.
I know it’s not pretty to admit, but it’s the truth:
I am basically seething with jealousy as I watch my husband disappear into his basement office each day.
I’m jealous that he’s exempt from 95% of butt-wiping.
I’m jealous that he’s allowed to pick a task, focus on it, and see it through to completion.
I’m jealous that he can use the bathroom without holding an infant on his lap because the toddler might accidentally (or intentionally…) kill it.
I’m jealous that, by the time he serves his first snack, I’ve already served two meals, 47 snacks, and am prepping dinner.
I’m jealous that he’s taking conference calls in relative peace. Meanwhile, I’m exchanging endless phone calls with our insurance company in the midst of a WWE Sibling Smackdown.
I’m jealous that he doesn’t have to fill all this time. I don’t believe it’s a parent’s job to entertain their kids. Still, it’s a little harder (and unfair) to tell the kids to occupy themselves independently at home with no school or friends for months on end. As such, I’ve become the household’s part-time Fun Coordinator, and I stink at it.
Honestly, I love my kids more than life itself, but the thing I’m most jealous of is that he gets away from them. (Yes, I said it. Go ahead, Karens, grab your pitchforks!)
I’m a great mom, to a point. I’m a fun mom, to a point.
I love spending time with my kids, TO A POINT.
However, being on call 24-7 for three months and counting, with no schools, no grandparents, no babysitters, no playdates, and no end in sight… has pushed me well beyond “that point.” Now, when I see my husband preparing to head to the basement to start his work day, I am thiiiiiiiiiiiis close to grabbing his leg and screaming like a toddler, “PLEASE, TAKE ME WITH YOU!”
Sure, my husband pops back up during the day to help occasionally. He’ll try to wrangle chaos while he eats his lunch. He’ll come upstairs if he hears death-shrieks continuing too loudly for too long (partly to be helpful and partly, I’m sure, because it’s hard to focus while four people are wailing at the top of their lungs — five, if I join in).
But for the most part, it’s all on me.
To be clear, I KNOW this isn’t his fault. It just is what it is.
I also KNOW there are people who are really struggling to make ends meet and I’m so grateful that isn’t us. My husband’s job is essential to our family and we are lucky that the work continues despite this pandemic.
In fact, working from home has even made some things easier. My husband no longer has a horrible commute, so we have more time together. We’re also saving a lot of money on gas and vehicle wear-and-tear.
His ability to work from home is a true blessing.
I just wish someone could explain that to my Green-Eyed Monster.