It’s never been a question of “will you work outside the home?” I always assumed I would. My mother always worked, so I assumed I always would.
What I did not see then, I see so clearly now. For most families, the caregiving is not 50/50. There is almost always someone who is doing the bulk of the caregiving. For some of us, that is on top of our day job. This is my reality. I am the primary caregiver and also an equal wage earner.
And quite frankly, I wasn’t prepared for this.
In my quest to have it all, I realized some hard truths.
This is freaking hard.
This is freaking exhausting.
This is freaking frustrating.
This is freaking worth it.
For our family, the combined income is something that we really need, and if I’m being honest, really like. It allows us to have experiences that we all enjoy. It allows us have and care for the best terrier in the world and the grumpiest cat I’ve ever met. It gives us opportunities that we wouldn’t have if only one of us worked. Not to mention, I love what I do. Being a social worker is a calling that is immensely important to me.
When I start to think about all of the things that are involved in caring for a child, I could start to keep score. But what does that prove? Truth be told, I love bringing my little guy to his Montessori school every morning and picking him up every afternoon. I love cooking his lunch every morning. I even love that I am the one expected to stay home with him when he gets sick. There’s something about those snotty little snuggles …
I stopped keeping score and I encourage you to get rid of your score board too. It will never be 50/50. This reality gives me relief. There isn’t anything wrong with my family. We are normal! That score board only builds resentment and ain’t no one got time for that!
Instead, I choose to focus on the fact that this sweet being needs me. I choose to view my husband as my teammate, not my opponent. If only one of us wins, no one wins.
There will be a time when I’m begging to be needed, a time not to far in the distant future. Now is the time to get rid of the score board and focus on what we have won as family together!