This Beautiful Inheritance: The Stay-At-Home Conundrum

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Stay-At-Home Conundrum

July includes a lot of downtime for my part-time job. Lately I haven’t had much “work” to do so I’ve been spending long days with my girls. I’m there when they wake up. I fix them breakfast, lunch and dinner. I break up fights, kiss boo boos, teach memory verses, and tuck them in bed. And I relish every second of it.

There are a few things in life I’m wildly passionate about, and right up at the top is pouring into and investing in my kids. I LOVE that I get to be the one who knows what kind of day they had, if they skipped nap, and what they ate for lunch.

This full-time job is hard but it’s oh so worth it. 
 
But right when I start to revel in my role as stay-at-home mom and think to myself “This is the life,” I remember that while we’re thriving…he’s dying.

The reason I’m able to stay at home and the reason we enjoy the set-up we have is because my husband is working himself to a slow death at that firehouse. And at that one. And at that one.

He works at two departments, and as I type this, he’s on the last leg of a 72-hour shift. He’s beyond exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. Sometimes I think we’ll cheer him up by driving the 35 miles to visit him. It’s funny that it usually doesn’t work. It just makes him more frustrated and aware of what he’s missing.

There’s a constant tension in our family about who should work how much and how far the pendulum should swing. Sometimes I feel so guilty, but then my heart screams “MOTHERHOOD!” and how could I possibly be doing anything else?! It’s almost as if the choice is between the health of my children and that of my husband. And, no matter what, somebody loses.

I know there’s no easy solution. For those of us without high paying careers, this is life’s dilemma. It’s the stay-at-home conundrum. And it stinks.

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