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    « Another possible future "Career" for Me | Main | A general taking account of things »

    October 29, 2012

    Some really super excellent news

    AS YOU ARE WELL AWARE, I have a hard time feeling like what I do is Valuable. Insert the regular qualifiers, defensive statements, blah blah blah. You know I like being a stay at home mom, I just have a hard time feeling like it MATTERS. 

    But! I have been rethinking this.

    See, Phillip has done some pretty impressive stuff since his forgetting-what-day-his-final-is-on college era. He worked for himself. He survived layoffs. He went after raises and promotions. He got his masters degree. He found himself in charge of a Fancy Shmantzy Project requiring heaps of business travel. And this whole time I've felt like because he works so hard, because he's so aggressive, because he keeps pushing himself, I get to stay home with our three perfect children and spend my days going to parks and Target and libraries and checking my email and planning blog conferences in far away cities and hanging out with my friends whenever I feel like it. BELIEVE ME, I am WELL AWARE what a drag it is being a SAHM some days, but that's honestly how I look at it 95% of the time. Like I'm getting away with something. Like if Phillip found out what I really do all day, he'd want to trade. (WE CAN'T HAVE THAT HAPPEN!!!)

    It's this weird thing where I simultaneously LOVE and JEALOUSLY GUARD my position in our family, but it butts up against my desire to Look Like I'm Doing Something Impressive (aka: THREENESS, GAH.) Do I want to do anything else? NOPE! Do I hate it when people ask me what I Do? YEP!

    Some of this has to do, I'm sure, with the fact that I wanted kids sooner than Phillip did. Although, let's be honest, if it weren't for me, Phillip might STILL be deciding whether it's a good time to have a baby. (Note to anxious men: THERE IS NEVER A GOOD TIME. GET OVER IT.) So yeah, there are ways that I feel like I insisted on this life and forced him to provide it. eek!

    Then this year happened. Including December of 2011, Phillip has traveled every single month this year except for June. He made up for June with two trips in September, two in October, and another two planned for November. 

    But after that? PHILLIP STARTS A NEW JOB. 

    I've known for weeks now, but I couldn't tell you. I KNOW! I don't want to say too much about the process, but it's been a lot of work, a lot of waiting around, a lot of wondering, a lot of frustration, and a lot of conversations about what he's worth. The week after Thanksgiving he starts work at an entirely new company with a more relaxed vibe and minimal, if any, business travel. There is seriously only one negative thing I can think of about Phillip's new job and it's that he'll have a longer commute. But hey, that beats a monthly week-long trip to the East Coast, right? 

    As we've figured all this out and hashed out every possible scenario, it's dawned on me that... well, because I do what I do, Phillip has been able to do what he does. 

    I have no doubt that if I were working full time in the sort of job I imagined I'd have way back when, Phillip would still be reaching his career goals. But he'd be negotiating with me every time he had to work late or travel or take a phone call or study or meet his group to work on the project or go out to dinner with muckety mucks or ANYTHING. I mean, this whole time it's just been a given - one we are both happy with - that I can watch the kids and take care of things at home. I started paying the bills and managing the budget years ago. I do most of the cooking and nearly all of the shopping. He can make choices about last minute travel and working late and other work emergencies without ever worrying about childcare. He is free to focus on his career and all the ways he wants to grow professionally because I am taking care of everything else. 

    I hope that doesn't sound like I'm resentful or jealous, or like Phillip doesn't do anything at home. I wouldn't choose to do anything else and Phillip is an awesome dad and holds up his end of housekeeping. Seriously, I'm always wondering when he's going to realize how great it is to stay home and fight me for the honor. 

    I've always been AWARE of this, but I really don't think it was until we got the job offer news that I started to feel like it was TRUE. I wasn't just managing all this stuff that he didn't want to deal with in the first place. I wasn't just hanging around while he did all the hard work. I wasn't getting away with something, I wasn't burdening him with a family. Because I do what I do, he's been able to do so much. I feel so awesome about this, you guys! I GENUINELY FEEL like of COURSE what I've been doing is worthwhile, because look what its made possible! That's a huge huge thing for me. 

    Although, really, who cares about that - PHILLIP HAS A NEW JOB! You might never have to read a whiny blog post about solo parenting again! Well, after Thanksgiving that is. And I guarantee nothing. But you should be pretty happy about this turn of events. Really, there should be a definite decrease in angst around these parts. 

    (Thanks for making it possible for ME to get through those weeks.)

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    Comments

    HOORAY HOORAY HOORAY FOR BOTH OF YOU!!!

    That is so exciting! Yay for Phillip! And for YOU.

    I also feel like this is a huge breakthrough for you and am so so happy. Love, Meghan

    So crazy happy for you and yours, my friend. We'll raise a glass in New Orleans!

    Dude!! You don't sound resentful in the slightest, you sound PROUD. Proud of Phillip, and proud of yourself, which you have every right to be. So happy for y'all!

    This is WONDERFUL =)!!! I am so happy for you!!!

    Yay! Go Phillip! And I love your thinking here- am adopting this myself now.

    Congratulations to Phillip!! And YOU, too!!

    I'm emailing you tomorrow and don't let me chicken out.

    I loved this post! Big smiles over here for new jobs and new perspectives and magnificent blessings! :)

    Super YAY! Congrats to both of you...working so well together to make this possible. I knew one day there'd be a silver lining to all those horrid solo parenting weeks!

    That is definitely extremely excellent news! Congratulations to you and to Phillip!

    Congratulations, that is fantastic news! Not that you were not managing just great with the kids on your own, but this is so well deserved! I think of you every time I have a night alone with the kids, and in my case it's really only one or two nights a month. Wait, my husband will be spending a week in London at the end of November, I'll have to keep thinking of all that British candy he'll bring back to get through the week.

    Hooray! I am super happy for you. Although I was secretly hoping that you guys would decide to made more sense to move to the East Coast, since that's where Philip has been spending so much time... ;)

    Hooray! I'm so happy for you guys!

    And I love this post. Matt and I have a pretty similar work/home situation so this made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

    Congratulations, Phillip! Sounds like everybody wins; I love that!

    Congratulations! I am so happy for you both. Phillip, of course, but especially for you because you realized one of the most important truths about being a stay-at-home mom. What you do is incredibly valuable, and you're good at it.

    Congrats Phillip! Overjoyed for your family!!!

    Congratulations on Phillip's new job! I think you're definitely right - you are empowering and enabling him to focus on his career and it is creating opportunities for him and your whole family. I tried staying home with our three kids for about 8 months, and hated it. The only thing that made it feel good to me was knowing that my husband could really focus on his job. But now that I am working full-time again (sometimes more than full-time - we are both lawyers), my husband and I are back to the constant negotiation about who's going to pick up the kids, stay home with the kids if they are sick, take care of things around the house etc. I think you're so smart to focus on what you're empowering/enabling, because it is so true in our experience. If either my husband or I were able to be happy staying home, we would each be better focused at work. You're doing a really good thing, and it's so wonderful that you truly enjoy it and that you feel like you've got the better side of the deal.

    Congrats to Phillip- and to you for realizing how vital you are to your family!!

    Congratulations! Bill has said to me (upon getting a raise or bonus or whatever) that he is able to be successful at what he does because I am home doing what I do. It is nice to hear every once in awhile, especially on the days when my day is more at-home-with-a-barfing-grumpy-kid and less target-shopping-spree-and-lunch-out-with-healthy-cheerful-kid.

    Wow-I can't tell you how much I needed to read this today. I'm a stay-at-home wife, and I go through the exact same thought process you just described. Thank you so much for the reminder that what we do does matter.

    And congratulations on the new job!

    Yay! Great news!!

    This is lovely news! So glad for all of you!

    Oh, this is so great! I'm so relieved for you that he'll be home more often!

    (And my first instinct was, "She's such a better person than me!" I get bitter when we have to revolve around Mike's schedule and what MIKE needs to do, which is part of the reason why I've continued to work, even just 20 hours a week because *I* need to feel like *my* time matters, too, darn it! But then I told myself "Ashley. That doesn't make Maggie a BETTER person. You are just DIFFERENT. Your feelings and needs are valid, TOO." You lead by example in accepting and acknowledging who you are. So, THANK YOU.)

    Congratulations to Phillip and you!!! What wonderful news! And oh Maggie I could just HUG you for this revelation you've had. That must be such a great feeling. So happy for you both.

    Congrats!! That is awesome news. To me the not-traveling thing is a HUGE benefit and worth so much. Hubby's new job is supposed to be non-travel, but lo and behold, suddenly he's managing a team on the east coast and one in Utah. Again. GRR. And while I do try to manage everything, the kids' current school bus schedule makes it physically impossible for me to do the mornings all on my own. So thus far I've just flat out said, "NO. You can not go on a business trip. You CAN'T GO." But I'm pretty sure that's not going to work forever. And upon reading your post, I'm feeling just a squidge bad about it too. But only just a squidge. Because I really really hate single parenting. Which is why I am so happy for YOU!! Congrats!!! Seriously. :)

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