Someone asked me recently if Gabriella and I ever wanted our set up to be any different – other than having Gabriella work full time while I stayed home and played house frau. No, I said. It just sort of worked out this way. But then I thought about it. It does seem that our set up is flawed.
Gabriella is Mommy, and I am Mom for good reason. A mommy is someone who has endless patience and empathy and who never runs out of hugs. She never wishes that her children would stay out of her personal space and stop touching her, and she never resents her sick children for staying home and ruining her day, and she hasn’t started an overnight camp fund – fantasizing about sending them off far away for weeks at a time with every deposit.
Gabriella loves to cook, and she cleans without complaint. She’s that person whose desk at work is never cluttered. Nary a pen nor paperclip nor even a daily calendar of words you should know to sound smart defiles the uninterrupted, unsmudged glass surface of her workspace. If she were at home, our house would be spotless.
Instead, there are piles of crap everywhere. I can’t seem to find the right home for all the miscellaneous papers. It’s a problem, really, because I love the idea of being organized and I love all the organizational systems and containers and accessories that promote organization.
My qualifications lend themselves to running some corporate company somewhere because I am not a Mommy. I am an ENTJ in Meyers Briggs speak which means I have no heart but I do have the ability to lead and make practical and objective decisions without getting tripped up by mawkish sentiments. I have little tolerance for people who cannot or will not find solutions to their own problems.
So how did it come to be that the Italian peasant from the hills of Sicily with a nurturing heart and a soothing tone and a comforting bosom found herself working full time? (For some reason, Gabriella asked that I not include a photo of her comforting bosom.) And how did it come to be that the heartless manager who despises all things housework ended up in the house managing small cretins who cannot and will not find solutions to their own problems?
Furthermore, how is it that neither Gabriella nor I would prefer to walk in the other’s moccasins? I owned a pair of moccasins in college. They offered no support and haunt me to this day as one of my more misguided fashion choices.
The simple answer is that this arrangement made sense once, and we’ve bought into that justifiable logic over time. I was unemployed when I got pregnant with Asher, and Gabriella was on a solid career path. I loved my job when I was there, but I wasn’t gagging to go back. We both liked the idea of having a parent at home if we could manage it. And if I’m going to be really honest, I’ll confess that I didn’t like the idea of having anyone else minding our kids. I mind them just fine…
By the end of the week, however, I’m cranky from the monotony of preparing meals, doing laundry and schlepping here & there. And I’m frazzled from all the meltdowns and behavioral transgressions. A single dish left in the sink for me to wash by my hard-working partner sends me into a rage. By the end of the week, I scroll through want ads and imagine myself getting a job – any job – just so I can say that I simply don’t have time to pack one more lunch.
I know if I get closer to that green grass over there, I’ll find weeds and bugs and a pile of dog poo. I know I’d miss the wonderful aspects of being at home – being my own boss and not worrying about job security and finding time to write this blog. And I am grateful to go to school and participate in Levi’s preschool Seder and hear Asher read a book to his classmates.
I’m lucky. I know. I just wish this job came with a paycheck and vacation time.