Thursday, 5 February 2015

Lesson 45: Your Day vs His Day - Why Nobody Is Winning

When Monday morning arrives, I sometimes look at the week stretching out in front of me and think, 'Oh GOD.' 

My husband's alarm goes off, he gets up, has a shower and gets ready for work. My alarm these days is The Toddler, who sneaks into our bed and loudly asks 'Are you awake Mummy? My pyjama bottoms are wet. I can't find my fire engine. Can I have some Weetos?' If I'm really lucky a series of recorded minion farts will be the first thing I hear when I wake up, as the Fart Blaster from Despicable Me 2 is activated next to my head. Waking the baby up. FML.

And the morning circus begins...

'Have a good day' I sneer at said husband as he leaves the house. On time. Without juggling a car seat and pram base combo to the car. Without worrying if he's got enough baby wipes. Sometimes listening to actual music on an iPod. Bastard.

Back in the land of the living room, at least one half of my offspring is kicking off and I am left wondering whether 08:35 is too early for Toy Story 3, or whether I should wait to see what's coming up on Lorraine instead...and more to the point, I'm left pondering the same daily conundrum. What the actual fuck am I going to do with them all day?
Yep. Monday again. 
Currently on maternity leave, at least once a day I declare 'I wish I was going to work.' Whilst most days this is not untrue (you'll have gathered by now I have neither the patience nor the all-round maternal vibe required to be a Stay At Home Mum), I have also come to realise that an ongoing 'my day is harder than your day' debate doesn't actually make either of you feel any better....

Jealousy towards his freedom to leave the house each day is somewhat misguided by the memory of what the working day is like before children. Work may well be like a holiday at times (see Lesson 41) but it is still work. Which he now has to undergo on significantly less sleep. And when his shift is finished he no longer comes back to a quiet house, puts Sky Sports News on and has a cold beer. He comes home to you. Crying. Telling him you hate being at home. You hate your life. Telling him you're at breaking point and no you don't know what's for fucking tea because you HAVEN'T EVEN HAD A SHOWER.

Sure he gets to 'escape' at 08.25. And yes you are bored to tears by 09.25. But how good does he truly have it? Does he even like his job? He might be bored at work. He might wake up on Monday morning, look at the week stretching out in front of him and think 'I wish I was staying at home.' You have NO IDEA, you'll tell him. Well, no, he doesn't have any idea what being at home all day every day is like. But you don't really know what working full time and coming home to Hurricane Wife is like either.

I moan about being at home quite a bit. Okay I moan about it A LOT. But even for die-hard work fans there is something undeniably liberating about being master of your own schedule. If you choose to, you can simply decide at 2pm on a Tuesday that you fancy a trip to the library. And go. Admittedly you won't get there until 4pm because it is impossible to leave the sodding house with kids in less than 90 minutes... but the point is, to a certain extent, you decide what you do with your time. It's the children who roll the behaviour dice and decide how successful that trip is. So you both answer to somebody, but the boss breathing down his neck is much bigger. And can't be bribed with raisins. 

So maybe the grass really isn't always greener on the work side. Some days it is. Some days it isn't. Some days one of you has a distinct advantage. Some days you both lose. The only certainty is that unless you are genuinely considering addressing the work/home divide (and re-allocating roles), the constant 'my day is worse than yours' debate will roll on forever, which doesn't help anyone. What is more helpful is to crack open a bottle of wine on Friday night and agree you have both had a rough week. 

Important notes for the worker:
- If the baby is teething or if anybody at home is poorly, you definitely have the better deal being at work. 
- Don't pretend you have any idea what it is like to take a crying baby to the doctors for his injections accompanied by a toddler who has switched to arsehole mode. Truly, she has lived through hell that day. 
- If she is having a Mumzilla day, cut her some slack. She doesn't really hate you. Or the kids. Or the house. Or her life. But she is at (temporary) breaking point. Those abusive sweary texts messages aren't her new hobby but sometimes she can't stop herself. Don't tell her you have had a hard day. Or sigh. In fact, on those days, it's best not to breathe near her. It's nothing personal, but she might want to smack you in the face. 
- Finally, never ever ask what she has been doing all day. Or if your work shirts have been washed. She hasn't even washed herself. You know where the washing machine is.

And for those holding the fort at home...
I know it's bloody annoying when he says 'but I've been at work all day' but he has been at work. All day. And he never ever gets to sunbathe during toddler nap time. Or watch Judge Rinder in his PJs on a Thursday. Just admit that there are some small perks. 

Though if my husband is reading this, your youngest son shat through three layers of clothes this morning, and your wife cried in the shower and is at her wits' end with Star Wars toddler role play because she is always sodding Yoda. So a cup of tea is the least you can do. 

The Unmumsy Mum

[Note: this post contains the sweeping generalisation that the mum of the household is at home on Kids Duty more than the dads is, which might not be the case. You might also, of course, be a single parent. In which case, massive respect. I am writing purely based on the dynamic in our house...] 






















42 comments:

  1. Loved this and so true. Sometimes we all get the rough deal. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes it's just a bit shitty all round isn't it?! Thanks for reading :-)

      Delete
  2. Great post. I am immediately going to copy this to my husband to back up my claim that I NOT the only fruitcake wife that sends mean texts at around about 5.15pm with some regularity. It really isn't personal, I just need to vent sometimes...(Might copy my brother-in-law too..) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha Suzie! The text abuse suffered by my husband is unreal...I know it's not his fault (well, not all the time ha) but I need to shout at someone! Thanks for reading :-)

      Delete
  3. OMG...this is my house and my life, I can totally relate. Thank you for a great post and for making me feel slightly more human x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tee hee thanks Lianne - comments like yours make ME feel more human :-)

      Delete
  4. Am so glad I found your blog. As a mum of a two and four year old boys I can totally relate! As for the Star Wars role play at least you get to be Yoda I have to be sodding Jabba the Hut, or as my four year old calls me mumma the hut!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LMAO at Mama The Hut!! Thanks for reading :-)

      Delete
    2. I cried laughing at "Mama the Hut"!!! My daughter is only 11m so all this fun to come! At the moment, I'm just a jungle gym with hair to pull.

      Delete
  5. "Sometimes listening to actual music on an iPod. Bastard." This made me literally laugh out loud. I'm past the toddler stage etc now as mine are both in full-time school and I have gone back to my freelance work from home. But I remember it soooooooooo well. Love it. Am subscribing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. p.s I'm currently housebound as recuperating from surgery, and in between work I'm chilling out on the sofa watching 'Cold Feet'. When I watched series 1 in the 90's I was child-free. But now I can relate to the first series were Karen pitches up at David's workplace and threatens to chuck him out unless they get a Nanny.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for this post. My children are aged 21 to 12. I wish I had read this post 20 years ago, And realised it wasn't just me!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very good. I've been thinking this a lot recently. Master of your own schedule sums it up and I do like that aspect. I get that work is no picnic and I try to remember that and cut him some slack. Mostly I fail. But the intentions there so that's ok right? (We all know being at home with our kids is harder...)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very enjoyable, balanced and insightful - should be read by all new parents. Worth mentioning also that we may not realise how much dads miss their children during the hours they are at work

    ReplyDelete
  10. Another brilliant piece soooo true to my life!!! Xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. So so true... I hated the long hours when my oldest two were little. I used to meet my sister in law on the school run just for something to do and break up the day. Saddo fact xx

    ReplyDelete
  12. We have the same changing bag, yay! 😁

    ReplyDelete
  13. OMG this is so funny, especially the bit about abusive, sweary texts. Sometimes he really tries to wind me up by asking whether I have to swear so much, which clearly prompts a fresh bout of profanity! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just came across your blog and wish I had found it 9 months ago when I had my second. So many days feeling like I'm in a fog, a big shitty fog. Yes my toddler is the only one who can't seem to play nice at soft play so baby on boob I'm screaming at him across the place to put that kid down. That's just the start of it. Love this post thou and will think more of my husband when he leaves at 5am every morning for work. Feel bad that I once said, go on then f*ucking escape why don't you. Love your refreshing honesty!!! X

    ReplyDelete
  15. Omg this is sooo me!!! Sometimes feel like the worst mother ever... This made me chuckle... Glad I'm not alone. ��

    ReplyDelete
  16. I so wish I had your posts a few years ago when mine were that age. I was surrounded by 'Perfect Mum' who didn't have a hair out of place and looked down their nose at me because I had gone out with odd shoes on or sick down the back of my leg and took hours to leave the house. Just to feel normal would have been great and your frankness is so refreshing! And though mine are both in school now I still send the frantic texts at teatime demanding he return home immediately, it has made me think twice about abandoning him to a glass of wine the minute he returns and instructing him to put the kids to bed cos they have stripped the life from me in the mere 3 hours they have been home! Thank you!!! Becky x

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh sweet lady, how reading this was like going back in time. I was there, it was hell and I can honestly say, I prayed for the time when they went into nursery, just so I could have a hot cup of tea without reheating it 4 times.

    There is hope though. Mind you, the tantrums of a 9 1/2 and 11 year old are spectacular and now include swear words. I have learned to laugh at them (which infuriates them even more).

    Husband still gets abusive texts though.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Absolutely loved this post. I'm a new mum with a three week old, so I've got this all to come. But you did make me laugh on lonely Wednesday morning, so thank you for that!

    ReplyDelete
  19. OMG. I had the same, thoughts, feelings and actions, quite, a lot when I was at home with 2 kids. I don't think you will ever. be the same. again. in a good way. I think?! Mwah x

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have three son's aged 2, 4 and 5 and work five days a week! I used to moan about how hard it was at home with them and now moan about how hard it is before and after work lol!

    This was a great read!

    The boys want me to have another too so that we can have a full set of "Ninja Turtles" lol! X

    ReplyDelete
  21. Laughed out loud multiple times reading this...so true, totally relate! Thanks for making me feel more normal

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great post. It just made my day , when l was having a melt down with sleepless night with my 7month old baby and having my 7year old not in the mood to get ready for school. The older two children 15 and 12 waking me up at 6am getting for school and one wants me to sign in the planner and one cant find their tie. Daddy just wakes up and gets ready for work xx

    ReplyDelete
  23. Holy shit, this is exactly what I am imagining it will be like and I will only have one at home. I fear the lack of adult conversation! The next person to say well you get a year off work to put your feet up I will punch them.

    ReplyDelete
  24. LOVED this! So so true, though thankfully I get to be a hedgehog with clothes peg spines (2 year old's choice )(???!) rather than Yoda. And yes I do disappear as soon as he walks in the house, though the 2 year old can now open doors to find me, with the 1 year old in hot pirsuit. And yes, how do they manage to shit through quite so many layers of clothes, quite so many times?! I so think of that scene from cold feet.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I have a feeling your blog might just have saved me. As a mum to a 2.5 yr and 5 month old baby i have many a day as a stay at home Mum where i literally feel like i am at breaking point. I took it out on my daughters duffle coat one particularly bad day in a moment of sheer frustration. Husband still doesnt know that that is why the zip broke. It helps so so much to know that we are all feeling the same. Fantastic blog! X

    ReplyDelete
  26. This post took me right back to maternity leave, love it and your blog too. Vx

    ReplyDelete
  27. You know, I have toddler 'work' two days a week and real 'work' to pay the bills, three days. Neither is easy and you end up dealing with arseholes (a lot of the time literally) in both places. The joy of not dealing with a boss, is tempered by dealing with an arsehole toddler who wants to go to the park but won't get dressed for at least an hour after park discussion. The joy of not dealing with toddler - is tempered by dealing with a boss acting like one.
    There are no winners.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Right, I'm really not judging here, as I get that kids can be really rewarding and I don't understand the feeling of having a biological child, but is there anyone on here that would admit to pangs of regret? Besides, the "jokey" ones the blog poster talks about to add humor to her writing. I'm only asking because I don't think doing something that injures your body, makes you give up your financial dependence, makes you cry on a daily basis, and most importantly I feel, start verbally abusing your life partner is that great an idea. Imagine if it was a guy that did all these things. You'd say they were mad for deciding to do the thing that changed their life so much in the first hand. I'm not expecting anyone to agree with me, just shed some light on where you are coming from so I can try and understand it a bit more. For the record as well I think so much more needs to be done for post-natal depression, and encouraging plus celebrating mums and dads so that the work isn't so soul destroying. Also for the record I think the holier-than-thou parenting is such an honour parents tend to be really deep in denial, and think that admitting it's difficult would somehow invalidate the choices and sacrifices they have made.

    ReplyDelete
  29. "If she is having a Mumzilla day, cut her some slack. She doesn't really hate you. Or the kids. Or the house. Or her life. But she is at (temporary) breaking point. Those abusive sweary texts messages aren't her new hobby but sometimes she can't stop herself. Don't tell her you have had a hard day. Or sigh. In fact, on those days, it's best not to breathe near her. It's nothing personal, but she might want to smack you in the face. "

    So true! I actually have like a girl crush on you because you understand my life so well

    ReplyDelete
  30. Huge respect from a husband !

    ReplyDelete
  31. OMG it doesn't get any better as they get older! My son has just turned 17 but in a frenzied fit (because his girlfriend was being he bitch) and i told him he wasn't walking to her house at midnight - he decided he was leaving home, packed his bag and left the house! My hubby (who had been called into work earlier that evening) arrived home 5 minutes later to an hysterical wife, wailing in the street, screaming at him that it was all his fault, if he'd been here then he could have stopped him etc. He went and picked him up round the corner and we all had a good chat and all was sorted but yeah, husbands really do take some shit sometimes. It's give and take. You're in it together. Thanks you so much for writing this blog. I can relate to all of it! Keep going, much more fun to be had in the teenage years! Take care x

    ReplyDelete
  32. So my husband recently asked me whilst on the way to work why I am so angry all the time (after I had got myself and two children ready for work, school and nursery whilst he got up, last, had a shower, in peace, and got himself ready for work) I love that there's is an actual name for the rage I feel EVERY flipping morning!!! He just can't understand it..... #mumrage

    ReplyDelete
  33. Just came across your blog. Love your style and this is refreshingly honest. I have three girls under 5 and, yes I can relate!

    ReplyDelete