Sunday, February 1, 2009


A friend of mine sent me this link last week:

The article, from Parenting Magazine, focuses on a survey that found that a majority of women with young children often feel anger towards their husbands. 

As my fourteen year old nephew would say, ‘Shocker’.

Now, let me start by saying that I am married to a truly great guy.  My husband, David, is the kind of person who does nice things when no one's looking.  He’s a man who genuinely seems to delight in making me a bottle of water with a little Crystal Light in it every night before bed just in case I get thirsty.  He’s a man who begins each weekend with a pronouncement that Saturday and Sunday are my “days off”  - he’s on baby duty!

And yet, he is a man whose murder I have plotted at least half a dozen times in the four months since our son was born.

Because, as Parenting Magazine will tell you, I’m angry.

It began almost as soon as our baby arrived, about the time I realized that my reward for successfully completing 9-months of pregnancy with an unmedicated childbirth was, in fact, a baby.  A baby I was now expected to breastfeed every 2.5 hours, day and night, while David snored contentedly by my side. 

I was perturbed.

While David wanted to do more, there was a biological reality at play in those early days.  Even though “we were in this together” the fact is, I was shouldering (boobing?) more than my fair share of the job.  

I was a little peeved.

David then had to return to work almost right away, leaving me at home with a very crabby 5-day-old who would stay pretty darn crabby for the next eight weeks (including, I might add, the several days that David spent in Argentina, at a work conference).  So, I did diapers and bath times in L.A. while David did cocktails and dinners in Buenos Aires.

I was irritated.

Several weeks later, David was leaving for work one morning and he looked over at the Snood in his bassinet and said, “Aw…I don’t want to leave you guys.  I grabbed onto his arm with the desperation of a cornered animal and begged, “Take me with you!  The fact that he had the ability to leave (even if it was to go to his job) seemed insanely unjust to my sleep-addled brain.  At night, after I’d spent 12 full hours trying to get the baby to nap without success, he would complain to me about a tough day at the office and I would respond in a pitched wail, 

Well, at least your boss didn’t THROW UP into your mouth today!  Mine did!”

It got to a point when my base-level emotion was a barely contained rage.

My mom was sympathetic.  After marrying my dad, she left a high-profile career in Government to stay home and raise four children. She knew from the frustration.  

I went from being a woman” she told me, “with dozens of employees scrambling to meet my every need, to someone trapped at home with four children, who I couldn’t even get to stop drinking the dishwashing detergent.”

As the Parenting Magazine article concludes (speaking of our husbands):

"…we're mad that having children has turned our lives upside down much more than theirs.”

Which is true.  I used to write sitting at the local cafĂ©, enjoying a tall chai while listening to soothing music on my headphones for inspiration.  As I write this, there is a baby gnawing on the side of my face and letting out the occasional loud fart.  Soothing it is not.

But it is my new reality.  And while shaking my fists toward the heavens and bemoaning my fate can be fun, let’s face it, it isn’t that productive. 

So instead I’m trying to focus on the positives. 

For example:

  • the fact that I spend so much of my time outside now, enjoying a park that despite being walking distance from my home, I’d entered all of two times before our baby was born
  • the fact that outings to the supermarket that used to involve maneuvering my cart past other disgruntled shoppers are now marked by women crowding around to praise me for producing such a cute baby and men offering to help me to my car
  • the fact that when someone calls to invite me to an event that starts at 10:30pm at an overpriced bar in Hollywood, rather than trying to squeeze into a tight pair of pants and spend an hour looking for parking, I am now fully justified in simply saying "No. 
  • and most of all, the fact that Snoods now looks at me several dozen times a day with an expression that reads (as my sister puts it) “Well, hello there, Mrs. Awesome!

I must say, there are even some days lately when the positives outweigh the negatives so strongly that my anger disappears entirely.

For my husband’s sake, and frankly for his own personal safety, let’s hope the trend continues.