Now You Know What It’s Like To Be A Mom

When it comes to marriage, Justin and I have a divide and conquer approach. He handles insurance and managing of funds. I handle most of the kid decisions, spending of funds, and I’m the default domestic person.   Both of us probably feels like the other’s job is easier, which is the key to any long and successful negotiation. Both leaving feeling like they got the raw deal.

To be fair, Justin would be in charge of banking and insurance whether I wanted to do it or not. He likes oversight. He likes details. He may want to delegate. But when he delegates, he manages as well. So by staying out of it, I’m saving him a step.

And for no other reason than because that’s the way it is, I’m the kid decision person. And I’m the domestic responsibility person. Am I better at it than Justin? Maybe. Do I have more time for it? Probably not? Do I know anything more about cooking dinner, doing laundry, or dusting a credenza? Nope. But we’re a divide and conquer couple and this is the way we’ve divided and conquered.

On occasion, we’ll switch areas of responsibility like on our recent summer trip to Europe. Justin is a miraculous travel planner. So for the most part, I stay out of the way. He’s lived around the world and traveled more than I, plus he will take the time to research, talk to ten friends, and research again each and every detail of the trip. It makes sense since he’s a TV producer by trade. So I’m more than happy to let him produce our travel as well.

But a few years ago, I realized that the word vacation was allowed to include me. Just because I was traveling with my children, I thought, didn’t mean I had to come home wiped out, depleted, and in need of a vacation. So I tend to check out a bit on vacation. It’s not to the point of negligence. But if my kids eat breakfast a little later, watch more TV than normal, or have dessert one too many times, but I get to be like a cab driver and put up on off duty sign, so be it.

Our trip to Europe spanned three weeks, four stops, in three countries. Justin planned all of it. He was also the Julie McCoy of the trip, cruise directing us from one location to the next for the entire three weeks.

Our second to last stop was to the Island of Ibiza off the coast of Spain. We had rented a house with another family whose kids are also the same ages as ours. We had already been to London and to Paris before we arrived on the island and found that everything was at least 30 minutes from the house we rented, which meant driving windy mountain roads to get anywhere you’d want to go. That, coupled with a treacherous road of small switchbacks that led in and out of our house, had me unwilling to drive for the entire week in Ibiza.

“You’re really not going to drive at all here?” Justin asked for confirmation. 

“Nope,” I responded with confidence.

“So that means I have to do it all,” he said.

“Yup,” I responded. “That’s exactly what it means.”

I wasn’t trying to dig my heels in, nor was I slacking off. I simply wasn’t comfortable driving the roads, especially at night or with kids in the car. So I didn’t.

I got a severe, yet thinning, stomach flu in Spain, which I generously passed on to Justin as we landed in Madrid. He gutted it out through our last few days of the trip, trying to enjoy the city, while really just wanting to lie down.

When we arrived home, I noted how tired he seemed. Sure the jet lag had gotten the best of Balthazar and me on the way there and the way home, but Justin can sleep anywhere, anytime. The jeg lag hadn’t gotten to him. And yet, he couldn’t get his energy back. He couldn’t shake being tired.

After a few days Justin turned to me and said, “I guess I’m just wiped out. You know I was in charge of everything on the trip. I made all the plans, got everyone where they needed to go, made sure everyone had a good time, and kept everyone safe.” He paused before admitting, “It’s draining.”

I didn’t respond.

I sat in silence for a moment.

I tried not to smile.

I tried not to turn smug.

I didn’t need to. As the words came out of his mouth, Justin shrugged, smiled, and said, “I know. I know. You do this all the time…”

He interrupted himself, allowing me the opportunity to smugly stick it to him.

“Now you know what it’s like to be a mom,” I said.  

He laughed to himself, nodded, and agreed. “Now I know what it’s like to be a mom.”

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August 29, 2017. 2:00 pm. Los Angeles, California. 826 words.

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