Hi, I am Nataly and I am the co-founder of Work It, Mom!
I write the daily Work It, Mom! Blog where I talk about issues affecting working moms, goings on in our Work It, Mom! community, new site features, updates,and contests. I also share my own juggle between work and family and love to see members jump in with comments. Come and visit often!
Nataly's profile on Work It, Mom!
I love my husband very much. We’ve been married for seven years and have been together for twelve, having met back in college. We were an unlikely pair but when people meet us now they like to tell us how we fit together.
OK, now that the basics are out of the way…
In the car yesterday I heard a bit of the NPR interview with Diahann Caroll. The radio host must have asked her something about her personal life because just as I’d tuned in she said that while her career was great and she achieved a lot, she could have been much better as a wife. “I guess I needed my work a lot more than I needed a good marriage,” she said.
This struck me and stayed with me for most of the day. I work a lot. I’ve always worked a lot, but for the past year and a half I’ve worked A LOT and my work has taken up not only most of my time but also a huge part of my mental energy and what I think of as emotional capacity. Most of what’s been left I’ve devoted to being a mom to our daughter, which means that my marriage and my husband have been getting the short end of the stick for a while now. And while my husband knows (hopes?) that this is temporary and is a really patient and laid back guy by nature, I know that I am not being a very good wife.
My grandma likes to call and ask what I am making for dinner for my husband. She is old-school, you know, from the era where it’s the wife’s responsibility to work, take care of the kids, and make a nice meal for her husband when he gets home. She knows I work hard and she doesn’t mean anything by what she says other than what the heck is your poor husband going to eat when he gets home. Do I sometimes feel guilty for not making us dinner as I used to do much more often? Yes, however unfeminist it is of me, I do think taking care of each other — which I often used to do with cooking — is important in a marriage.
But while Ina Garten said once in her show that the reason she cooks for her husband is because if she didn’t he would find someone who does, I worry more about my emotional non-availability than things like cleaning up or cooking or not being able to continue our long-lived tradition of making something for each other’s birthday in addition to a regular present.
There are days when we don’t have a more than 2-minute logistics conversation (Are you taking our daughter to school tomorrow? Who is going to call the dentist? Is the lawn guy coming?) Many other conversations we do have happen over my laptop, which is semi-permanently attached to me these days. I think we even argue less because we simply don’t have the time or energy. I know my husband isn’t talking to me as much about his work and his “stuff” because he knows how much is going on in my head already. He is being kind and I am getting worried. Because in all this juggling, I know I do a great job in my work and a pretty good job as a mom, however much guilt I feel for not being there with my daughter more.
But I am pretty certain that I am not being a very good wife.
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