To The (ANONYMOUS) Dad Who Told His Wife To Get A Job

PS Kids can’t actually raise themselves.

PS Kids can’t actually raise themselves.

To The (ANONYMOUS) Dad Who Told His Wife To Get A Job,

I know why you’re anonymous; it’s because of what is about to happen right now.

You’re going to want to get some ointment for the burn that is forthcoming.

In short: I don’t want to call names, but you’re a prick.

I’m typing this while ⅖ of my children are barely awake, still stretching from their totally sufficient seven hours of sleep (it’s totally fine though, because I got 5.5). My husband just left for his Super Stressful Job in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he does Things I Don’t Understand that are undoubtedly very difficult. His job takes him three hours away from our home, where he lives in a small room (that doesn’t even have a TV) three days a week.

At his Super Stressful Job he has things like a tennis court and a basketball court and a soccer field and a gym and a soda machine with FLAVOR selection (you can make your Coke CHERRY FLAVORED, but he doesn’t drink soda so that is totally wasted on him), and a full cafeteria with food selections that range from Indian to Chinese to Mexican to a turkey sandwich.

This cafeteria also serves breakfast. So while he’s eating potatoes and eggs with salsa, I’m enjoying the crust of a soggy Eggo waffle and a cup of reheated coffee.

Despite the resort that is his job, he works his ass off. He sits in the gross fluorescent light of a giant office building full of other people who devote their very existence to the Silicon Valley and writes code, and also probably does other things (to reiterate, I do not understand). He sometimes does this 14 hours a day.

I’m an RN, as far as my profession goes. I worked in labor & delivery, being choked by women in the throes of labor — and then I left that and went to Hospice, because I like crying.

When our fourth child was born (and the three I have from a previous marriage were 10, 12, and 15), I did not want to go back to Hospice, not because I didn’t love it, but because I didn’t want to leave my baby behind. Two years later, we added another baby, and I continued to stay home.

So while while he does Super Stressful job, I stay here and do The House.

At home I do things like cook and clean and do laundry and get thrown up and shit on. I didn’t sleep for essentially four years because my kids are historically terrible sleepers. I still smell bad, even right now. On the nights he is home, he is happy to do more than his fair share of work, but that really only barely makes up for the days he is away that I am resisting the urge to jump off my roof.  

I also do things like take teenagers to practices and band concerts and football games. I have survived two teenage boys, including an unbelievable surge of testosterone that has turned our house into a sweat/anger/semen factory. I've also lived through a teenage daughter who more than a little bit of the time hated me with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns.

Now I write and edit and run this site. I choose to do this because I wanted to do something that felt even a little meaningful, but I didn’t want to work 12 hour shifts standing on my feet with weekend call, and the stress that comes with watching people die and holding their families while they grieve.

My oldest child is now 20, an adult with a job and a boyfriend who may well become by son-in-law, and a grown-up life. Her brothers are 18 and 16. One is about to start college (which, btw, is expensive), the other one is drum major of his high school marching band.

For the last 20 years, regardless of my employment outside the house, I have raised these children. I have been to the awards ceremonies, the band concerts, the sporting events (and I don’t even understand football). I have nagged about homework and grounded people when they didn’t do it. I have taken people for ice cream after a painful breakup. I have hugged. I have yelled. I have cried when I felt like a shitty mother who didn’t know what she was doing.

In short, I have been there. I have been here. While my husband works at the Super Stressful Job, I am here.

And he has never, not even one time, suggested I get a “job.”

You know why he has never, not even one time, suggested I get a “job"? Because I HAVE ONE.

P.S.: Kids can’t actually raise themselves.

This is my job. These kids are my job. I CAN stay home and I’m very grateful for that. While other moms have to juggle work and a family (because, let’s face it, mostly it’s the moms doing the juggling), I am just sitting around all lazy cooking meals and not having to run for pizza every night because I am too busy all day to think about nutrition. I am hugging my kids and teaching them to read. I am handing out time-outs left and right to teach my kids that yelling/lying/hitting your brother is not OK.

Some people — probably you — will argue that the kids are raised, why do they need a mom anymore? After all, they aren’t babies.

To which I say, have you spent any significant time around teenagers? Are you aware that they actually also need parents? Are you aware that the teenage pregnancy rate in the US is 24.2/1000, that 23.2% of 12th grade teens are using illicit drugs, ILLICIT DRUGS, that teens are having their first drink by age 15. Did you know that 23% of kids who drop out of high school cite lack of parental support as the reason they left, that 31.4% of high school dropouts are using drugs?

Does your wife being at home prevent this from happening? No.

Does it help? Maybe. Either way, the argument that teenagers don't "need" parents is moot. If your wife wants to be there, why shouldn't she?

But the hobbies! Look at her with her hobbies! So incredibly self-absorbed with her wanting to do something for herself after she got shit/vomited on for a decade. And the friends! Who needs support from other mothers while they are knee deep in the parenting trenches? That’s just ridiculous.

How dare you, even for a second, complain that you’re just so stressed because OMG having a job is just soooo haaaaard *sniff sniff.* You’re just over there working yourself to DEATH. I mean, I see you just withering away over there, like a slowly dying orchid. I know, I know, being an attorney is just the hardest job EVAR. But it’s ok, because it’s not like you want a JAGUAR. I mean, that would just be selfish. You just don’t want to “wake up in the middle of the night worrying that [your] career is the only one between [you] and financial ruin.” It’s just SO HARD being the sole source of income.  

Shut up.

Tl;dr: You’re still a prick.  

XO- the lady who is in the TRENCHES

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