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.
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.