07 October 2008

She who blogs crabs twice

Why can't we just smile and wish the gentlemen well when they say they're going to go do something they like this afternoon? This is so obvious. Because we never get to go do something we like.

Men can leave. The perpetually parturitional can't. They are always pregnant, and thus bringing a baby and the associated discomforts and restrictions along, or (more often) nursing, and thus unable to be absent for more than a few hours, and totally unable to be absent without thinking they shouldn't be.

I've been pregnant, nursing, or both since March 2002, which means I'm barely out of my rookie years on a CSPP scale. This is why I have something like absolutely no sympathy for the "I just need some down time" argument. Believe me, I need some down time. But there is no way for me to get it. So it turns out I don't need down time. And you're going to have a really hard time convincing me that anyone else does.

NB, guys: she can't complain as much if your hobbies are edible.

I get it that life isn't fair, so all this isn't to say that a certain man in my life doesn't get his afternoons, days, and weekends away. I try not to resent it, but that really hasn't started working out for me yet. So I try for the next noblest thing, which is not to ruin it for him by crying, screaming, throwing things with the conscious intention of breaking them, and shrieking about how sick I am of all this and how totally unfair it is that he gets to not only occupy himself with employment of his choosing, engage his mind in exercises both practical and academic, socialize with colleagues, and participate in adult life (including interaction with women who would not debase themselves by living as I do), but also casually announce that he'll be gone at these times for this number of days to do things that he enjoys doing. Right now I'm generously ruining it for him only with dark moods and snippy reminders of my endless sacrifices whenever I see opportunity to slot one into a conversation.

I'm sorry to say that I weigh each paternal absence with miserly precision in units of self-determined necessity and reciprocity, and the children suffer under the foul moods that result when the number I come up with is low.


Dakotapam said...

I could have written this a few years ago. Now that I seem to have left the perpetually pregnant and nursing stage, and have entered the equally time consuming perpetual homework, school project and scout event phase, I seem to see more calm days than screaming fit days.

I remember moving to our first congregation, moving into a smelly rental home, still nursing a needy two year old, entertaining a precocious five year old and finding out that I was newly pregnant, and soon to be vomitting endlessly, only to have my husband "escape" for a week on a youth trip. the words that escaped from my lips were most unpleasant.

Now I greet the occasional husband free days as an opportunity to serve microwave popcorn for dinner and a day of skipped bedmaking. Of course, it could help that now my hormones are a bit more level, and most days I get more than four hours of sleep. Or I may have just sighed and accepted things as they are, or, I may have discovered I am a much better school aged boy parent than I am a baby or toddler parent...though I would have always imagined that I was the other way around.

Find some small, cheap, indulgence, and make sure you make the time for it. For some it is a manicure, for others it is decadent ice cream, for me it was a stolen moment in a hot bath tub with a book. Find yours, and indulge, as often as needed!

Joy said...


I would so love to hear one of your tantrums--mostly because they sound like mine!

I often tell my husband that I would appreciate if I were treated like any other parishioner. This means that he'll drop whatever he's doing and make a house call in the midst of my crisis (and for some parishioners, these crises are daily). This means that I can wake him at 1a.m. and expect him to stay awake and politely converse for as long as I "need". And this means that when I say/shout something really asinine and sinful, he merely smiles gently and puts the best construction on it instead of pointing out my immaturity and waywardness.

Heh. Yeah right. If that whole "above reproach" business applies to PWs, where's my paycheck?

Gauntlets said...

Funny, I had a conversation about this with Rev. Gauntlets about five minutes ago. Sadness: He is gone, but not doing things he likes, and his wife is mad at him for being gone. I'm trying to try.

PS - That thing is not edible.

Reb. Mary said...

But WHY can't life be fair? Or at least a little bit fair?

DakotaPam, it's nice to hear that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometime. Maybe :O

Pam said...

Girls, do we need a CSPP retreat? Yes, I am totally serious. All you are saying.... BTDT, still doing it. But there is waaaay more to is that can be discussed here.

And let's see.... (Rebekah, I am NOT competing, but I find it amusing to calculate now and then myself)

I have been married for eleven years and four months.

I have been with child for six years and two months.

I have been nursing for six years and two months.

Oh, and that's not including the first four months after our wedding.

I have not found the indulgence thing to help, because it doesn't make me feel less alone, only moreso. Little things like allowing myself a can of soda or chocolate when I am out shopping with the kids only help in the short term. Bigger things like buying myself stuff from B&B Works or V Secret (only the scents-- the garments are NOT made for my momma figure, and dh doesn't like them anyway)is still only a quick fix, and then the money is gone and I wish I hadn't spent it so selfishly.

Seriouly, can we have a retreat? I would so love to get together with like-minded women. THAT is one thing that does help in the long term! Experience talking here, I have been through that wringer.

Monique said...

I second the retreat idea.

Dakotapam said...

I'd love a retreat, even though I'm past the pregnant years...probably. In 13 years I've spent 5 pregnant, and another 6 nursing. I had 10.5 years of non stop diaper changing. Now it has changed, but is more of the same, reading practice, merit badge counseling, memory work mentoring.

I think moms do need to get together and help each other through, letting go of the mommy wars, and just helping the mommies.

It is a tough job being a wife and mother. Our husbands do not always make it easier, they mean well, but they just think differently.

I often gripe that my lot is more difficult since I'm married to a pastor, but I'm not sure it would be better if I was married to an engineer...which was the Rev's first path. We would have more money...perhaps...but he would have eventually landed in academia...which leaves us where we are now. And he would work even more, and travel more, and we would move even more. I work with Doctor's wives, no picnic there, and let us not get started on the poor stockbroker's wives...around them I currently feel like a rich kid.

It is hard, small indulgences are not a cure, but they ease the pain. The real help is a like minded bosom friend, whom you can pour your heart out to and not feel judged or pitied, just loved.

Rebekah said...

I'm afraid my indulgence is blogging. It's free and I can do it incrementally and whenever. Too bad for everybody!

Pam, I do not begrudge you in the least your incredible record! :D

Gauntlets, I am living proof of the edibility of that dirty cat.

As for the retreat, Dad was pushing pretty strongly for this a while back, but I asked him what facility could possibly work for such an event and who was going to take care of all the kids and then we didn't talk about it much any more . . . .

Dakotapam said...

Rebekah, I'm sure you can outdo me! I for one, was imperfect as best, and complained much of the way. My children, however, are a great blessing to me, and I begrudge them not one day.

The logistics of such a retreat are daunting. Those who need it most lack the support to attend such an event. Our pastors wives retreats in the past were attended by many faithful women well past childbearing age and by a handful of women with husbands not preaching weekend funerals or who had grandparents in town.

Blogging is my current indulgence as well.