Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

More Choices Than I Thought

I need to respond to some of the comments on yesterday's post, but first, I need everyone to sing along:

Happy pub-date day to you,
Happy pub-date day to you,
Happy pub-date day dear TC's book,
Happy pub-date day to you!

Oh, and also? Everyone needs to wish me a Happy Chanukah. This is the time to stop lurking and let me know you're reading. Besides, I don't want to jinx it yet, but there is a small, small chance that I'm going to get through this holiday season without blowing a gasket over some real or imagined holiday-related slight. I'm doing Chanukah at Em's school tomorrow, and had a wonderful talk with her teacher about it. N's preschool has a Chanukah display up this year, before even doing their Christmas stuff. My boss just put up a menorah in our office. I hate to admit it, but I'm feeling awfully suffused with holiday spirit. Heck, I even wrote a note to my local supermarket, thanking them for putting up such a nice (if small) Chanukah display. I know! Who the hell is this girl? And what did she do with TC?

OK. Enough Miss Nice Gal. Back to complaining about my life.

Half of the people who responded have argued this point with me in real life, but it seems unfair to let it go unaddressed just because they know how I feel about it. What I should have said in yesterday's post and didn't, both for the sake of brevity and because I wasn't sure it was relevant, is that I think that a lot of people's reactions to Baroy not working--including my reaction to Baroy not working--is hypocritical in the sense that they would not have that reaction to my not working. Very few people would question a stay-at-home mom's right to stay at home, even if her husband was semi-miserable (and that's really all I am; in fact, that's probably stretching it) at his job. I even said as much to my therapist, and she did agree. The only/main difference is that both of us, Baroy and I, are miserable with the situation as it is. He WANTS to be the breadwinner; I want to be at home. He resents the fact that the money we have is mostly 'mine,' and that I can reasonably question his spending of it. I resent the fact that he spends my money. ;-)

Oh, I hear you screaming, I know he's not a stay-at-home dad by any stretch of the imagination, so the whole you-wouldn't-say-that-if-the-tables-were-turned argument is a little bit forced. But the main reason he isn't a stay-at-home dad is my choice. I'll own up to that one. Yes, we put N in preschool/daycare five days a week, from 8 until 6. But Baroy would watch N all day every day if I told him he had to. However, then he would bring in no money at all, because his current consulting gig requires him to basically be able to run down at a moment's notice to attend script meetings, rehearsals, etc. And, besides, he's a loving father, and a very good man, but he doesn't really want to be a full-time caregiver. So I choose to spend the extra $600 a month to put N in daycare. We have it right now. When we don't, we'll cut him back to three days a week, or take him out altogether.

And, yes, Em is in aftercare at school twice a week. That's about $100 a month. Again, we can afford it, and it lessens the load on me; Baroy tries to schedule meetings for those days so that I don't have to worry about making alternate plans for her when he has to go to work. Again, my choice. Although the truth is, she's not so crazy about it, so I'm actually thinking of pulling her. But that's another post. And Baroy will have no problem with it, because she's easy to care for after school, and since nowadays finding people to take her home for a playdate is really quite easy if he has a meeting. (My girl is a social butterfly; she puts her mom to serious shame.)

OK, so I guess that, yes, I made a lot of choices to get to where I am. But right now, right this minute, I believe my choices are limited. You all have made me realize that I'm not without choices altogether; as Susanna said, I could just tell him to get a job or I'm out of here. Except I don't want to be out of here. And he's bringing in enough money these days to keep us out of trouble. Just not enough to get me out of my office. And, to me, that's not worth divorcing over.

Susan asked if I could get him to defer his dream for a few years. Baroy will turn 50 in October. His career choices are extremely limited. There is simply no way he could make what we need him to make to keep us in our house, much less put food on the table, by just taking 'any old job.' Not to mention that he's had just enough intermittent success, and is constantly being told that if he hangs on there's more to come, that he's been positively reinforced to just keep going and trying to be who and what he wants to be. Me? Well, I don't like my job, but that's because it keeps me from being a stay-at-home mom. It's close enough to what I love to do, and my boss gives me time to do that stuff I really want to do, like write a book. I guess in a way it's true that I'm just a big whiny baby. It's not like I'm living in a torture chamber.

So I guess it comes down to this: I'm resentful of a situation I don't necessarily have a "right" to be resentful of. OK. That still leaves me with the resentment, just laden with a nice dollop of guilt for having the resentment. That's not necessarily useful, if you know what I mean. Which is why I need to learn how to deal with the resentment of not having the life I want, whether or not it's logical, whether or not I have the right to be resentful. And that's part of what I need the therapist for. And, of course, you guys. Because you've already taken me halfway there, I think, by getting me to type this all out and realize that I do have choices, I just don't like them. So carry on. I find all this talk about me just fascinating...it's this closet egomaniac's idea of heaven.

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