Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

“The Game: Why My Job is Harder than Your Job” 

TheGameHeader

My friend calls it The Game.  It’s a game she played with her husband, and decided wasn’t fun anymore. They’ve decided it’s not worth it.   They quit playing because neither of them ever win the game. Ever.

You’ve played it too.
Maybe not intentionally, but… you have.
The silly thing is, as wives, we play this Game by ourselves about 98.7% of the time. (Sometimes (rarely) we include our husbands in the Game with a verbal sneak attack.)
It’s the “My job as a mom is harder than your job as a dad/career man, and let me prove it to you/show you/tell you about it” Game.
When my husband asks how my day was, I feel the need to tell my husband the hard parts of my day, as if that proves that I worked hard and that I have a hard(er) job, and that I’m not goofing off playing play dough all day.
And that because my job is hard, it’s valuable, and in turn, I’m valuable. (ouch)
“Look!  Look at the spit up and boogers and food and dog hair on my shirt. Just notice it!  Notice how much I did today!”
Your daughter had a streak of teenage emotions today! (age 8) Just hours of pouting.”
“He didn’t take a nap all day so he fussed all afternoon, and I could hardly make dinner. He’s been hanging on my leg since 3pm.”
“They were fighting over a piece of string today. String!  Crying, hitting, yelling, the whole bit.”
“Look at me. Isn’t my job hard? Don’t you want to praise me for what a good job I did? Isn’t it much harder than sitting at your desk or sending emails or dealing with co-workers? (Say yes, say yes…)”
I feel like, if I tell him we went to the library and read books, and painted with finger paints and ate macaroni and went to the park, it doesn’t count as a “real job”… That it’s not a valuable contribution to society. That he’ll think, “Wow, what DID she actually get done today? Play dough?”
And it’s so wrong. He would never say that. I’d bet he’s actually jealous that he doesn’t get to have that kind of day. (Sometimes, anyway. There ARE days with drama, you know)
And I know I could never do his job. I’m not built for it. I’m not gifted for it. I know in my job I never have to worry about getting fired or replaced, or worry about how much I’m getting paid or if I’ll get the bonus/contract/deal I worked so hard for, or what my boss will say in my year-end evaluation…
In addition to that, he comes home from his “real” job and still has the full-time job of Dad.
Before I had kids, I babysat for a friend that had 3 kids and homeschooled the 2 older ones. She is one of the sweetest people I know. She is generous, hospitable, loves her kids more than anything… and her house is usually a mess.  I like things organized. Org-a-nized. So I would clean her house while I babysat, and empty trashes or wipe down cabinets or whatever. Then one thing she said (not in response to my cleaning, but just in general) stuck with me, and still does 10 years later:
“I know it doesn’t matter to my husband. I mean, it matters if we have space to walk around in our home, but he doesn’t mind the mess. If he knows the kids are fed, they played and had fun today, I dealt with a crying child, they learned something new in their lessons, and they were loved, it doesn’t matter how clean the house is.”
This pressure that I’ve had to make my job as a mom valuable by debating and justifying in my head how hard it is, and that somehow having a hard day with kids makes it “better” than his job (can we say backwards and messed up?)… it’s just ridiculous.
So even though internally, The Game makes me feel better sometimes (temporarily), in the long run it hurts the whole family. We’re not a team when I’m thinking “Gosh, don’t you see how hard I work?  Look at me over here. I’m really awesome at dealing with poopy-diaper-filled days.”

 

Let’s make a commitment to throw this Game in the trash. It’s no fun. Nobody wins. Nobody gets a prize. Nobody even likes playing it, really.

 

I will enjoy the playground and snow cones and play dough and messes and (not really enjoy, but understand) the fussing and pouting and fights and cranky.

 

It’s what I signed up for when I said yes to “mommy.”

 

And I will throw that Game in the trash, because it’s also what he signed up for it when he said yes to “daddy” plus his “real” job.

 

Saying yes to being a team: now that’s a game I can play.

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