It is so easy for me to focus on the things that don’t get done. All the things that I do in comparison to the things that other people do or don’t do. Consider it one of my many character flaws. I’m a work in progress and I promise, I am trying to be better about this. But, sometimes, I autopilot to it.
I am a stay at home, working mama. I wake up, work until Addison decides I can’t anymore, mom until she goes down for a nap, resume work, mom once she is awake again, and then focus on the things that make me happy (i.e. staring at a wall, scrolling through my phone, maaaaybe getting a little writing done) from the time she goes down at night until I go down myself. I am quite literally, always doing something.
In my house, I am mostly responsible for the cooking, the cleaning, taking the lead role with parenting, keeping a schedule, meal planning, grocery shopping, the dog care, keeping track of everyone’s needs… I mean the list alone could be long enough for an entire blog post by itself.
When I lay it all out, I am overwhelmed by how much I do. But I love it. I love this life. I love being a homemaker. I love being a caretaker. I. LOVE. It.
But I also sometimes feel like I pull the weight of the world in my house. And I spend a lot of time focusing on the things that I do in comparison to what I presume is a lack of what other people do. And by other people, I mean my husband.
When he gets home from work, exhausted, my first thought is not, “oh, poor thing, worked so hard all day.” My first thought is, “we’re not done here so whip it in shape. You don’t get to be tired from JUST working.”
That’s not fair.
I am a terrible person you guys. I know it. I feel it every time I have these thoughts.
But tonight, was different. Tonight, Michael had after-hour duty with his job. He is an elevator serviceman so if an elevator goes down or has a problem after his company’s normal working hours, someone has to go deal with it. The service guys all rotate duty and tonight, Michael was up.
He took the duty from someone else who needed the break. When he told me he was thinking about taking on the extra duty I thought, “no bother, I basically do everything anyway, so it won’t change much.” Again, insert TERRIBLE PERSON here.
Well, he got a call alerting him that he needed to go take a look at an elevator just as he was about to be home for dinner. As soon as he told me, I knew I was solo for dinner, bath and bedtime snuggles. And I have done this before with no issue. I just assumed that we would be just fine. And we were, we did it all and lived through it. The last time I did this all solo, Addison was not as mobile as she is now. And my god, it was EXHAUSTING.
Allow me to elaborate because you know I will.
I realized tonight just how lucky I am. And just how much Michael does. And I can’t promise that I won’t have those ugly, ungrateful thoughts again, but I am hoping that I will think back to this moment or reread this blog post to remind myself of just how much I lucked out.
Michael and I have fallen into a bedtime routine that really works for us. From the moment we had Addison, I knew that I wanted him to carry some weight with the bedtime routine. I have seen situations where one parent handles the wind down and if, for whatever reason the other person has to take over, all hell breaks loose. I knew I didn’t want that, so we switch off nightly duties on the off-chance one of us ever has or decides to be somewhere else around her bedtime.
We do family dinner together where we all sit down to eat. We both do bath time together. (Addison LOVES bath time and we both genuinely like to be a part of that.) And then after her bath, we take turns doing stories, milk and snuggles. While one of us is doing that, the other one cleans up dinner dishes so that when she’s down, we can just be. Then we both go in to kiss her little head goodnight and turn the lights off.
I didn’t realize how much Michael does that I don’t pick up on immediately.
He always gets her out of her chair and changed for her bath. He always gets her out of the bath to brush her hair and get her jammies on. He does what someone else might view as small things, perhaps, but not having him there tonight to do them I feeeeelt it. Like really felt it.
I rushed around, got the bath ready, got the dogs fed, got her room bedtime ready, got her changed, bathed then “jammied,” read a story, gave her milk, put laundry away I didn’t get to earlier (which took three times as long with Addison undoing everything I was trying to put away), brushed her teeth, snuggled her (extra, for dada too), kissed her and turned out the lights.
By the time I made it back out to the kitchen to start tackling the pile of dishes left behind from the dinner I ate alone, I felt like it was already 9 o’clock. And my god, it was only 7:04.
I finished cleaning everything, put myself in the shower and thought about going to bed right then and there. Doing it alone was exhausting. Doing a toddler all day is a lot. But I never realized how much I looked forward to having my team member come home and do the nighttime portion with me.
You ever want to know how much your partner actually does? Do everything without them. Never again will I take having him around to help me carry the load for granted again.
*cover image credit: Justin Yoder Studios*