Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Invisible Life

"I like hugs and I like kisses,
But what I really love is help with the dishes!" ~Anonymous

Last night I got into one of those fights with my husband. You know, the one they wrote that joke about where the husband comes home to find the house trashed, the kids gone wild and when he asks his stay-at-home wife (who is in the bed reading) 'What happened today?' his wife replies 'You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day? Well, today I didn't do it!'

Yeah. That type of fight.

I love my husband. I really do. And I know he has an actual legitimate issue that makes him forgetful and absent-minded. But it doesn't mean I have to like it. And it certainly doesn't mean he gets a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card for being expected to act like an adult. Especially when I'm feeling petulant and undervalued. Which I am was. Still undergoing this adjustment period to being a SAHM on little to no sleep will do that to a person. Not that it gives me any passes for being bitchy, but it is what it is. So last night, he made the mistake of needing guidance for something I thought he should be able to figure out himself, and instead of said help he got an earful.

What I laid in bed thinking about this morning while Little Bear had me up 2 hours before the alarm went off (no sleep, remember?) is how much he probably doesn't know or doesn't see about my life at home. My invisible life. The one I share with countless other moms and dads and caretakers who are at home meting by the hours in invisible increments of diapers and tickle wars and wiping jam off the countertops, instead of having projects or deadlines or production to show for their labor all day. A good day at my house is when everyone is alive and intact by the time Daddy comes home for dinner. I'm not even striving for alive and happy - that is a whole post in itself for a different day. But it makes me wonder what he sees when he comes in through the door. Maybe it looks like the house is the same level of messy, but what he fails to realize is that is still a little messy because I cleaned up all day so the mess didn't get worse. The dog is alive because I watched the kids to make sure they didn't abuse her, or unlock the front door and let her run out into the street (Thanks, Scootch!). When he gets interrupted at work by text messages from me with the kids height and weight stats, that's because I made them appointments and dragged them to the doctors. When he gets exasperated over me stressing out about bringing food to parties we have planned on the weekends, its because I made those plans to make sure we still see other people, and want to make sure that all the kids (Scootch) have something they can eat. And when he grumbles about me asking for money to buy the kids clothes, its because I sorted through all the kids things (which are organized in meticulously labeled bins in the attic) to make sure they have stuff that fits and still came up lacking. I don't even want to get started on how the clean underwear and socks magically replenishes in everyone's drawers.

I have this feeling that if our brains were projected on the wall for viewing, my screen would resemble CNN - with news stories going on between the opinions of newscasters and correspondents and the status of my kids and my schedule speeding along the bottom like a NASDAQ ticker - and his playing out like cartoon network - a mildly amusing main show always on with limited commercial interruptions. Sometimes I wonder if he finds himself at parties or the occasional doctors visit and wonders where he is or how he got there. Many times I feel as if I'm living a role out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Like the last time we went to Scootch's allergist appointment, he was standing right there as I scheduled the next visit where we would get the blood test results. I asked him if the date and time were alright with him and he said yes. And then this afternoon he's asking me what day Scootch's next appointment was because he scheduled an appointment for himself the same day (and near the same time.) Does he even remember being at the previous visit? Or was I there with his pod person?

Its these types of things that make me feel like we are the commercial interruptions in his life, instead of the scheduled programming. And the resentment grows when he comes home from a day of work and gets to relax in front of the television with a drink after the kids are put to bed, while I have to transition to the next leg of housework; i.e. laundry or dishes, that was impossible to do while running after the kids all day. Ignoring my invisible life is indirectly ignoring me. And that hurts.

(I'm still sorry I yelled at you last night, babe.)

What does your invisible life look like?

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