Housewife Envy

The honeymoon is over and I’m just consumed with so much sadness about going back to work! Aside from the dread of waking up at 4:30 in the morning to rush getting ready and arrive at the office in the dark for an 8.5-hour day of numbing my butt in front of a computer with only a half hour lunch break…I just don’t want to leave my family. I have major, major housewife envy.

It’s not about laziness either. Maybe if my work were something I’m passionate about, I’d feel differently. I don’t dislike my job, but it’s not exactly the type of thing you wake up excited for. If I were a freelance photographer, writer, or baker…maybe!

We hired a string quartet for our wedding ceremony and when my dad and I met with the violinist to go over the music, I felt so jealous of what I imagined her life to be like. She teaches the violin and performs at all kinds of events not only with the quartet (or variation of it), but with a 12-piece band! She sounded so happy and excited talking about her work and my assumption is that her job is literally simply the violin–that she is her own boss, in charge of her schedule, in charge of her work. That would be amazing to me. I just wondered why I couldn’t have mastered something like that and done the same. I can only imagine how much I’d enjoy life as a photographer, but I know so little and am so shy and awkward with zero networking skills, I have no idea how I’d get a job. I also don’t know how we’d be able to afford for me to have that type of career unless I were exceedingly successful, like wedding photographers who make a few thousand a job and are booked every weekend of the year. I wish!

This is all rather beside the point of this entry, though. My career isn’t something that matters so much to me because, at the end of the day, I just want to take care of my family. I don’t want to spend 8.5 hours a day at work while my daughter is being raised by other people, after which I only get to spend the next 5 hours with her and my husband, anyway. And yes, I do mean to use the word “raised.” If your child is spending several hours a day with any given person, that person is raising her. Sure, you are as well, but it’s not solely you and that bothers me.

Of course, I trust the people who my daughter spends her days with, let there be no misunderstanding, but it’s just not the same. I want to be the mom who gets to wake up with her and decide what she’ll have for breakfast and when she’ll have it; who gets to decide when nap time is and what that routine entails; who gets to put together a fresh lunch and decide when and in what manner it’s eaten; who gets to decide whether the TV is going to be left on or what is and isn’t okay to play with; who gets to run around outside or sit and read the same book over and over; who gets to take her child to play dates, recreational activities, and after school events; who gets to have a 100% say in her child’s learning process at home. I make myself sound like I just want absolute control or to have my daughter all to myself, but it’s not about that. It’s about believing that a parent should be the person who makes all those decisions and gets to be around every step of the way, while everyone else gets to play their actual role rather than having the responsibility of sharing mine.

I want to be the absolutely hands-on mom who’s remembered as being there every minute and sharing in every moment, but it’s not possible when you’re away from your child most of the day and have other responsibilities besides her once you’re home. Sure, we’re in the same house for five hours after I get out of work, but we’re not necessarily spending any time together and that makes it worse. I just feel complete envy for any parent who has the privilege to raise their own children…the privilege to be together with their children for so much time every day. To me, that’s what a parent is supposed to be doing and if I had that opportunity I would snatch it up in a minute, even if I were still waking up at 4:30 every morning to start a full and busy day. I would love to get to raise my daughter.

And that’s why vacations such as these make me so sad. To have woken up to her smiling, babbling face every morning…to cook us all breakfast and eating together at the table…to play together and relax together…to get work done or take some “me” time while she naps…and then to see her excited face, again, when she wakes up…to only have to miss her for a few hours while Billy and I go out for some alone time and her grandmother babysits and then get to come home and make us all a great dinner that we share together…to get to cuddle with my husband on the couch, in the evening, watching TV after she’s gone to bed, with no anxiety about getting all of our breakfasts and lunches ready for the next day or making sure we’ve all had a good night’s rest in preparation for work and babysitting the next day or anxiety over how to fit all that in along with cooking a proper dinner and actually spending time with my child…to get to do this all the time would be the most wonderful gift in the world, so when I finally get to have it for just a week, I’m overcome by sadness at its end. And all I have to look forward to is the next time I can take a week off of work and get to play stay-at-home mom, exhausting myself as I run around with the most wonderfully happy, laughing toddler in the world.

I’ll miss you tomorrow, my little moo.

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