An innocent brief conversation with my good friend Lisa led to another brief conversation with my Mom and then they worked their way through my heart.
After having dinner with our families Lisa and I were cleaning up the dishes (meaning rinsing them and putting them into the automated dish washer). I made a comment, which I now find embarrassing, "Can you believe I lived in an apartment for five years without a dishwasher?" Terribly rough life. Then Lisa said her Mom with four kids never had a dishwasher. I asked her if she ever complained and Lisa said No. Hmmm, we both paused slightly.
A few days later my Mom was with us for the day and we got on a similar subject. We were talking about husbands helping out with the kids. To sum it up, it would appear that many husbands are helping out at home with the kids and housework more today than ever before and yet I often feel unsatisfied. And I know I'm not alone in this. Stay at Home Moms are the worst culprits. It's almost like we want our husbands to pay because clearly we are paying for it (dang it!).
The truth is I couldn't ask for more from Eric. He walks in the door, rushes upstairs to change his clothes and engage with the family. Many times he takes Simon upstairs with him to help give me the chance to finish up dinner or to take care of Walker. Typically after we eat, he engages the kid(s) while I clean up so that we can do something as a family before bedtime. Some of our dearest friends shared with us long before we we became parents that the Dad took on the bedtime routine. We chose to do that as well, particularly to allow some good time with Simon and Eric when he was a baby since I was the one who did 95% of the feedings. It gave them a chance to have "their" time.
Why do I throw myself a pity party when I don't get to drink hot coffee? Why do I huff and puff as I clean up the dishes for the third time in the day? Why do I feel a sense of pride and desire acknowledgement for doing my daily tasks as a Mom? Upon further reflection, I believe I've bought into the entitlement bug. I spoke about this in a previous post without realizing that I am not out of the woods on this struggle myself. While being a Mom is hard work, it is my primary role right now and yes, most days it is anything but glamorous. Since I am in newborn land again I am feeling the pull even more as I'm trying to find a new routine with our new addition and struggling to even get a shower.
Many of us Moms tell each other we deserve our "ME" time and we deserve a break. Our husbands should help. We don't get a break, so why should they? While breaks are very healthy and often necessary, feeling entitled to certain things seems to cause destructive thinking. Oh dear, I guess I should just be completely honest. Why do I get upset when Simon won't nap? Because I DESERVE A BREAK!" I've got to find a way to embrace my role as a Mom, with the good, bad and the ugly because when I become overwhelmed I typically become resentful and that is not helpful for anyone, including me. And I don't want my kids to remember me huffing and puffing while I do the dishes. And I don't want to model entitlement by claiming my own time or my own special things. And just because I have hard days, doesn't mean I need to project my frustration onto my husband. (He's going to enjoy reading this admission!)
I want to be done with the entitlement. If you are with me and hear me start talking like this, please shut me up! No, I'm serious. (Even you Mom and Eric!)