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Are you jealous of your spouse's career?

As a stay-at-home mom I’ve struggled with seeing my husband flourish in his career.

I’m happy for him and I love to see him find fulfillment in his work, but I have to admit a part of me is a bit jealous. Maybe some of you understand how I feel.

This week, Joe is in New York City for a graduate-level business seminar his company his paying him to attend. He left early Sunday morning, and all day Saturday he was just giddy talking about the material he’ll be learning, how it will help him take on more responsibilities at work, and how he’ll have free time in the evenings to prowl around the city, dining on the company’s dollar.

I was initially excited about his trip, but as the day crept closer I started dealing with feelings of bitterness. The night before he boarded his plan, I even picked a fight with him and tried to make him feel guilty for leaving me and the baby for a week when we are still in the middle of moving house.

Confused, Joe said he said he was sad to leave, but thought that I was supportive of the trip. He said it was unfair that I give him a guilt trip the night before he leaves. I continued my mopey thing for another hour before I realized where these feelings were really coming from. I wasn’t mad he was leaving us, even if the timing is not ideal. I wasn’t even mad that I’d be alone all week. I have family to lean on, and I actually was looking forward to some quiet time alone in the evenings.

No, I was upset because it was him going and not me. 

I would kill for a week in NYC, where my only responsibility would be to absorb knowledge in a topic I’m fascinated with. To sit with peers who are like-minded, to dress up in a pea coat in the chilly east coast fall, warm coffee in one hand and a notebook in the other. To have evenings free to explore Manhattan and try out restaurants I vetted on Yelp and Urban Spoon. To sleep in a hotel room by myself, with no interruptions, no housework or errands to run.

I was jealous. After admitting that, I was able to put things in perspective.

I never dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom, but that doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with my choice. I’m grateful to be able to do so, and I’m thankful I have a husband who can support us. But I understand there are trade-offs. Like kissing your husband goodbye when he’s off to experience a wonderful opportunity in his career, especially knowing that your week will involve a lot of diaper changes and dishes.

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It’s great to see Joe so happy at work. Better than him being unemployed, or bored in a dead-end job, right? I get that, and I know we’re blessed. In fact, sometimes, his accomplishments and his joys become mine – the cool thing about marriage is we weep and rejoice together as one person. But every once in awhile, it’s a struggle for me – knowing that I’ve put my career aside for an undetermined amount of time to be home with Baby G.

Andrea from Hand and the Heart writes honestly about what it’s like to stay home after making the choice to step down from her career as a teacher.  I appreciate her honesty – sometimes I feel like as a stay-at-home mom we’re supposed to always delight in our choice and show it off by posting a bunch of stuff on Pinterest. It’s not that I regret my choice to stay home, it’s just that there is this other life I surrendered in order to do so.

It’s a little more in-my-face thinking about Joe’s view of Times Square from his hotel room this week. I’m happy for him. Really, I am.

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12 Comments

  1. Rebecca on November 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Hey Carly, I’m totally the same. My husband is in Shanghai right now….
    Hang in there and enjoy YOUR time as much as possible.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Rebecca with baby Leo

  2. creatingmom on November 4, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Rebecca! I appreciate the encouragement. Our husbands might get to travel but we get to kiss those baby thighs whenever we please. Tradeoffs. 🙂

  3. Lacey on November 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Hey Carly,
    First of all your picture made me laugh because LO climbed all the way up on the dishwasher today and tried to climb into it.
    Secondly, I can very much relate to what your saying. It feels like sometimes our hardworking husbands get the more exciting end of the bargain. John travels almost weekly and it is hard holding down the fort with two kids while he’s gone. The funny thing is he would rather be home doing “boring” stuff with us which is nice to know. 🙂
    Love your blog…keep up the good work!

    • creatingmom on November 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks, Lace. And when it comes down to it, I would rather do the “boring” stuff too. We have GOT to get our girls together someday…

  4. Andrea on November 4, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out, lady! I love this post! It’s funny because I sometimes pick weird fights and get mopey and I have a hard time figuring out why, but I think you nailed it. He is having stimulating conversations with other adults, doing work he loves, eating lunch out if he feels like it, and knows his son is in the trusting hands of his wife. I think sometimes I glorify what his days are like though, because I know he misses us and appreciates the sacrifices I have made. Anyway, I’m rambling here… 🙂 -Andrea

  5. Paula W on November 5, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Thanks for sharing Carly, we all deal with those feelings from time to time. I do the same thing with Jay’s work sometimes, or even other girl friends who don’t have kids and have fabulous careers and travel and all that. I think talking about it with our mommy girl pals helps a lot, to get all those yucky feelings out when your heart is hurting or weary with your lot in life and look for perspective. We don’t judge because we have all been there. I try to tell myself, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” So whatever the alternative is, when I imagine myself in that alternate universe its probably without baby or at least a lot less time with her. And then I think out of the two options, which do I REALLY want. And then I feel like I’ve won. Thanks again for sharing — its a great reminder that I am not alone in having these thoughts. X0

    • creatingmom on November 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      It’s so easy to pine for what we don’t have instead of being grateful for what we do. Great thoughts, Paula. Perhaps the topic for an upcoming post for you?

  6. Stacey Gannett on November 5, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    What a great post! I can’t say that I am so much jealous of hubby’s career, because I had my own up until about a year ago. My biggest issue comes from the amount of time that hubby has to focus on his, by having to work 7 days a week, which leaves little time for family. I even understand why it has to be this way and know that it won’t be like that forever, but I would still like to be a priority once in a while. Sadly even when he is home, he spends as much time thinking about the job, when he could be focusing more on family time. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • creatingmom on November 5, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      Thanks! Sounds like a bit of a work-a-holic. Which is a great thing, to an extent. Seven days a week must be hard on you though. Hang in there, hopefully it is just a season.

  7. Michele on November 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Carly, the night she gives you a kiss for the last time before she goes to bed, and you know it’s her last sleep at home, you will have a million regrets. (I did.) But, I promise you, one of them will not be that you stayed home to raise her.

    • creatingmom on November 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      Gag, Michele, don’t make me cry. It doesn’t help right now because my girl is sicky and it kills me to watch. I’m so glad I get to be the one to take care of her.

  8. Lanaya | Raising Reagan on November 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I absolutely understand where this post is coming from. I never dreamed of being a SAHM either and then it happened. But, as I sit here waiting on the call to see if the company I want to be employed with is going to hire me I have a tinge of guilt for changing my SAHM ways and wanting to go back to work.
    It’s a choice we all make and thankfully we both get to say that we have had the privilege of staying home with our daughters and raising them.

    ¤´¨)
    ¸.•*´
    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    http://raising-reagan.com

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