As a recently-created stay-at-home mom, I think a lot about gender roles these days. Our household is pretty traditional in some ways--my Husband works to support us all, I stay at home with the baby and take care of all the cooking, cleaning, errand-running, etc. We made the choice to do this and in general I'm happy to be able to do it. I think of myself as still a pretty modern woman and my Husband as an enlightened kind of guy. Then I realized that on some level we're maybe not as enlightened as I assume.
Husband goes out running with his buddies nearly every Saturday and Sunday. These are his long runs and he's usually not home til close to 11:00. (We get up at 6:30'ish, so that's half the day for us.) Plus, he'll often run an errand or 2 while he's already out--maybe he'll pick up a dozen bagels from the bagel shop, or run by Radio Shack to look at fancy new radios to replace our old kitchen model. I'll find out about the extra stop usually after he comes breezing back home.
Contrast this with the following typical conversation:
Me: "Honey, would it be o.k. if I ran out for an hour tomorrow to go get a haircut? Would that give you enough time to get a run in? I could go ahead and give the girls lunch..."
Husband: "Sure, I'll be home at 11:00. Do you want to make an appointment for afterwards?"
Me: "O.k., they could probably do that. And I'll feed the girls."
Me: "Oh, good! I've been needing a trim for a month now! It shouldn't take long." And then when I return home I thank Husband excessively and, still feeling a little guilty, take over watching the girls so he can get on the computer for a couple of hours or maybe leave again to go sock shopping or whatever.
Example #2 (which, pathetically, happens every morning):
Me: "Honey, can you keep an eye on Bean while I go use the bathroom?"
Husband: "Sure. Come here, little Bean!"
Husband: (silence as he walks back to the bathroom)
Me: (playing with the baby)
Now, don't get me wrong. I feel no resentment for Husband not seeking my permission for a visit to the bathroom. Nor do I resent him for going on runs every weekend and having that time with his friends outside of the house. It's something important to him, and I only wish I was that disciplined about getting in some exercise. I DO wish I didn't think twice about seeking free time for myself. I resent maybe just a little that I am the primary caretaker of our girls, even knowing that's how Husband and I chose together to set up our life.
I remember that the first year of a baby's life is the most intense from when Sister was a baby. Bean has just gotten through her first year and it's getting easier, but I'm feeling like I REALLY need a break now. I'm just not even sure what would make it better at this point, but I think it would have to be something big. A good night's sleep only works for the next day, and otherwise my bad attitude is just unfixable. What's a burned-out mama to do?