My husband, Peter, stepped away from his job last year and we took an uncertain leap, launching our 7-year-old part-time business and my writing career into a full-time gig. And while I am at peace with our decision, what rocked me the most was the guilt that I wouldn’t be the primary caregiver of our children any more. Instead, we would tag team the child-rearing responsibilities.
But once Peter was home every minute of the day, my inner critic showed up and decided to hang out for a while.
“You are a selfish person,” she said. “Your children should be with their mother during the day. They will be scarred for life, you know, so just chalk this up to another way you screwed them up in their lives.”
And that bitch didn’t stop there.
“What about the housecleaning? The laundry? Dinner? Keeping track of allergy medication? Doctor’s appointments? Who is going to make sure homework is getting done? Who is going to drive to soccer practice, piano lessons, mid-day preschool birthday parties???????”
As mommy guilt and panic attacks took over, a tiny voice piped up behind the peanut gallery of negativity:
“But these kids are with their daddy. Their father. Remember him?
Oh, yes! The guy I fell in love with years ago and decided he was a perfect fit for my crazy? The man who didn’t dump me when I got drunk playing poker at my future in-laws house, locked myself in a bathroom, and then fell in some shrubbery on the way out? Yes, that guy!
Peter, who held my hand during childbirth and cried at the sight of our newborn babies. He was right there with me for 2 AM feedings and explosive diaper changes.
I reminded myself that he is patient, kind, fun and so capable. He proved his ability to juggle three kids a long time ago when I experienced the hell of a spinal headache right after our third child was born. Easily taking over, like the confident and experienced dad I’ve always known him to be.
Yes, my kids are in stellar hands.
So why did I feel guilt for partnering up with Peter to take care of the day-to-day duties?
This idea that women should be the primary domestic caretakers has always seemed silly to me, and as an advocate for both partners in a relationship to be responsible for stain removal, diaper changes, grocery shopping and trash disposal, somewhere deep down, my subconscious still subscribed to this old-fashioned thinking.
It’s been almost a year since Peter quit his job and with some minimal adjusting and pride shaking on my part, I find we are at our BEST when we are working together as a team, this husband and me. Quite honestly, we are a force to be reckoned with when we are on the same page. And now that the definition of our roles is smudged and overlaps, I am eager to see what we can accomplish.
My approach to our home making and child-raising is not the only way to make this house thrive.
So, in and out of the ring we go, slapping hands and dominating our opponents, rather, the children. I think we need a tag team name.
Like, “The Reproducting Ragos”.
Or how about “Brood Masters”?