I’m all about fairness. Which is why I feel for my wife. Simply put, her life isn’t fair – being her is waaaaaay harder than being me. Don’t believe me? Read on. I think I make a fairly compelling case in her favor.
- When I wanted a baby, I got to make a baby. When Sam wanted a baby, she got to make a baby, grow a baby, push out a baby, and feed a baby.
- When I go to work, I get a chance to recharge my parenting batteries away from the kids. When Sam stays at home, her parenting batteries are depleted by 10:00 am. On a good day.
- When I ask my kids to unload the dishwasher, there’s a good chance they’ll listen. When Sam asks them to unload the dishwasher, there’s a .00000001 percent chance they’ll listen. In their eyes, Dad’s the dominate alpha-man authority figure and Mom’s that crazy lady they’ve spent the whole day tuning out.
- When I go to work, people frequently tell me what a good job I’m doing. When Sam stays at home, our children frequently tell her they hate what she’s made them for lunch (despite the fact that it’s leftovers from last night’s dinner, which they loved).
- When I walk in the house after getting home from work, my kids jump and yell in excitement as they race to give me hugs. When Sam walks into the room after me, the kids give her a, “You again?” look.
- When I go out of town for business, I drive a nice, new rental car. Sam drives the same old car as always. I get a plush hotel room all to myself. Sam shares a bed with two kids who can’t sleep because Daddy’s gone. I eat like a king because of a generous per diem. Sam eats at Burger King because the kids don’t want anything else.
- When I’m sick, I get the day off work. When Sam’s sick, she still has to take care of the kids, who are most likely sick as well.
- When I go to work, I have multiple intelligent adult conversations about highly technical and interesting topics every day. When Sam stays at home, she spends the day begging Junior to please, for the love of all that’s holy, stop touching his sister.
- When I need spousal support during the day, I know Sam’s always available to talk. When Sam’s in the same situation, she knows I’m most likely not available to talk because I often have to be away from my phone at work.
- When I bring a paycheck home, my job is done. When Sam sees that paycheck, her job is just beginning. She carries the weight of fiscal responsibility around here, which, as far as I’m concerned, is a much heavier burden to carry than generating the money in the first place.
- When my coworkers experience professional difficulties, they buckle down and solve the problem at hand. When Junior and Addy face difficulties, they whine. A lot. In very high pitched tones.
- When I want to be alone during the day, I go in my lab and close the door. This strategy always works. When Sam wants to be alone she spends half an hour trying to convince Junior and Addy that it’s quiet time. This strategy works less than a third of the time.
- When I’m at work, I only clean up messes that I make. When Sam’s at home, she cleans up messes made by two children and a puppy, each of whom possesses the destructive potential of a class five hurricane.
- When I go to work, I have years of schooling and technical training to rely on. When Sam’s at home, she has a stack of “How to Raise Good Kids” books from her baby shower, a “Don’t Shake Your Baby” video we were forced to watch in the hospital, and Pinterest to rely on.
- When I want to slim down, I kind of, sort of, not really watch what I eat and I lose weight. When Sam wants to slim down, she meticulously watches her diet for weeks and she doesn’t lose a pound.
- When I shave, I remove hair from a small portion of my face. When Sam shaves, she removes hair from almost half her body.
- When I get dressed up for a special occasion, society tells me I can put on slacks, a dress shirt, and a tie and I’m good. When Sam gets dressed up for the same occasion, society tells her she has to cover up any facial imperfections by painting her face, make her hair look spectacular, and wear a stunning dress. Oh, and it can’t be the same stunning dress as last time. That would be tacky.
- When I wake up in the morning, I get myself ready for the day. Society tells me I can wear jeans and a button up shirt to work and that doing my hair is optional. When Sam wakes up, she gets herself, two small children, and a dog ready for the day. Society tells Sam that she and the kids need to look like a family from a GAP ad. Or, if it’s an off day, an Old Navy ad will suffice.
- When I’m at work, using the bathroom is typically a very private experience. When Sam’s at home, using the bathroom involves either talking with children or having children pound on a locked bathroom door.
While I’m sure my list is incomplete, I think you get the point. Being a mom, being a woman, is tough. Really, really tough.
So, dads out there, please be sure to support your spouse. Sit down with her today and ask “What could I do for you that would make your job as a mom a little easier?”
Because even though it’s humanly impossible to make motherhood fair, there are concrete, tangible things you can do today to make life a little more manageable for the woman you love.