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Has Reluctant Mother Relenquished Her Independence?

This morning I decided to get a shower.  Typically, I don’t shower until Mac’s afternoon nap because well, the mornings can be messy.  But today, I decided to throw caution to the wind and get a shower.

Since Mac was sleeping in his room, I decided to use the downstairs bathroom.  I turned on the shower but no water was coming out.  Although I could hear water running?

Ahhh.  It was coming out of the hand-held shower attachment I demanded we install so it would be easier to give the dogs a bath or spray off plants, etc. – which we seldom use. (Insert Husband’s snarky comment here).  HOWEVER, apparently Chris did use it for something yesterday after my shower (maybe after his haircut?)

Regardless. . .

I step gingerly into the shower and pick up the hand-held attachment.  I twist it.  I turn it.  I push the little buttons on the side.

Humph.  Water is still coming out of it. 

Well. . .Perhaps I need to do something to the actual shower head?  Twisting.  Turning.  The hand-held attachment flips sideways and sprays my face at an awkward angle.

Gah!  Fuck.  What a hassle.

I finally gave up.

And as I was standing there spraying myself off like some kinda’ vegetable in the kitchen sink, I wondered once again what the hell happened to me?

There was a time when I was fiercely independent.  I could do ANYTHING.  I used to travel alone for work, arriving in some strange city, grabbing a map and a rental car and navigating my way around without so much as a second thought.  I used to tackle bizarre projects with positively no hesitation.  A pipe in the shit-hole place I rented when I first moved to Baltimore, needs soldering?  No problem.  I’m on it.  Computer on the fritz?  I’ve got this.

And now, after almost 6 years of marriage and about 12 years together?  I. CAN’T. EVEN. SYNC. MY. OWN. IPHONE.

It’s true.  

When we go somewhere, Chris almost always drives.  It just feels more comfortable that way.

I just recently learned how to operate the little touch screen thermostat we have.  Although, I’m certain my Husband is sorry I learned that trick.

I do not empty the vacuum cleaner.  And I seldom take out the trash.

I do not trouble-shoot our wireless printer problems.

I don’t know where the main shut-off for the water in our home is located.  Nor do I know which breaker to flip should the hard-wired smoke detectors start going bonkers when I burn a casserole.

I can plunge a toilet.  But I don’t.

I have a legal education but if there’s negotiating to be done, I’d rather my husband handle it.

I do 99% of the cooking and probably 85% of the cleaning.  My Husband goes to work every morning with a lunch I packed for him.

I sew now forchrissakes!!

Where did I go?!

Until I started reflecting on it this morning, I hadn’t been too concerned about it.  I’m happy with my life.  Otherwise, it wouldn’t be this way.  And I hope my Husband is happy too.  And most importantly, I think our child is happy.

Although, I’m wondering if as Mac grows older perhaps these stereotypical gender roles are acceptable?  Will he be proud of me for housework and hot meals and running the carpool?  Will I just be an afterthought when his very cool Father shows him how to use power tools?  Will he grow up thinking he as a male, will have to be the primary wage-earner?  Will that influence his career path?

I don’t know.  I don’t have any answers. . .

But it probably can’t hurt for me to change a lightbulb one in a while.

No Responses to “Has Reluctant Mother Relenquished Her Independence?”

  1. Pattie Cruikshank says:

    Isn’t it amazing how we slip into roles. I think when we have children, we start to divide up responsibiities as we no longer have the time to take care of everything. Before you know it, you have lost your skills to manage alone. Don’t worry, once the children are older, you re-engage in managing all facets of your life.

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Thank you! It’s amazing. This has been creeping up on my since we shacked up together. I shouldn’t be surprised. Ha! And as I mentioned to Katie, perhaps the lesson for our children isn’t so much WHAT we are doing but rather HOW we are doing it. That you should do your best, no matter the task. That you should be living your life with purpose and passion and joy – even the more mundane aspects of said life. 🙂 I’m off to wage war with the shower-head. Chris explained what I have to do. Wish me luck!

  2. I am right there with you ~ and I even have a degree in women’s studies! Just make sure Mac understands that you m!ade a choice and not to take you for granted. He and his future partner will have to make a similar choice one day. And then teach him to clean the bathroom ~ he won’t take you for granted after that

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Thank you! I suppose just like every other aspect of parenting, it’s all about the “spin” and the example you set. And certainly as he gets older I’ll have plenty of opportunities to show him Mom just doesn’t cook and clean. . .we can have adventures while his Father’s at work. . .We can tackle volunteer projects together. And maybe I’ll find some work I’m really passionate about when he’s older. I want to make sure my children understand being passionate and doing the best you can are important. Maybe it’s not so much WHAT we’re doing, but rather HOW we’re doing it? 🙂

  3. I can totally relate! My husband and I have been together for 11.5 years, married for 1.5. I was this insanely independent woman.. I’d like to think I still am, but have given some of that up. I agree with Pattie, once you have a baby you can’t take on all that anymore. Caring for a child takes up so much of your time!

    I’d like to think we can hold onto our “old” selves and continue to be independent, hard-working women. Just because we’ve changed up our roles a bit.. it doesn’t mean it’s permanent.

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Thank you! Nothing is permanent for sure. People keep asking me “when are you going back to work? What will you do?” But I really just want to focus on my kid. . .And if that means I can’t figure out how to properly disengage a hand held shower attachment, then so be it. 🙂

  4. Oh, good – I’m not the only one who has totally lost her identity in the last year or so! I used to be so capable. Now my day revolves around cooking and cleaning and doing laundry and running to the grocery store (oh, and taking care of a toddler, of course!). And given the struggles I have with mealtimes with Bubby, I feel like I can’t even do THAT right. On the weekend I caught myself marveling at my husband and saying, “I have gotten dressed everyday for the last 2 weeks!” The look he gave me was priceless. But OMG, that is a big accomplishment for me these days!

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Isn’t it amazing the small things that give you such satisfaction these days? I’m like over the moon if I can get one hot cup of coffee before the kid gets awake or 4 bites of dinner before I have to jump up.

      You are doing great! My grooming goals are only met 50% of the time at best!

  5. Oh, and I hear you about what this teaches our kids. Since I have a girl, I worry that she will grow up with less drive than she should as it relates to being independent and making a career for herself. But then I realize that I grew up in a very traditional home with a mostly stay-at-home-mom, and I still had a career and traveled for work and owned my own place before I got married. Then again, here I am – a complete carbon copy of my mother!

    • Deni Lyn says:

      As I had mentioned to hnMom, I was especially thinking about daughters when I drafted this post. And it sounds as if you and I had a similar “traditional” up-bringing. And I almost rebelled against it sometimes – I was so career minded. . .And now? Just like you. . .Almost like my own mom! But I can think of worse examples to set for our kids (which I’m probably doing when I’m not acting like my Mother)! Ha.

      • It’s funny…I have a couple of friends who always ask me if I’m going back to work, if I’m going to work from home, etc. I always feel like I’ve totally given up when I talk to them – like I should be looking for something to do at home so I can keep my brain active and still enjoy my time with my kid. I was telling my husband about this one day, and he said, “Dani, stop trying to justify it. All of the women that give you a hard time are just jealous because they don’t want to work either. Isn’t that EVERYONE’S dream? So just OWN it. You don’t have to work and it’s awesome.” That helped put things into perspective, but I still feel guilty and like I’ve given up when I speak to some people! 🙂

        • Deni Lyn says:

          I’m glad your Husband said that. I get the old “So are you ready to go back to work yet? Have you thought about when you’re going back? What are you going to do?” a decent amount too.

          And I’m not sure how to answer. I don’t want to sound like a lazy freeloader but the truth is, I just want to enjoy my damned kid right now.

          I can’t think much past lunch time on any given day, let along think about a career.

          Your brain will stay as active as you want it to. Just think, you can be creative or learn or try almost anything you want to do now – you don’t have the constraints of a supervisor or a corporation dictating how you spend your time or what projects you should be working on.

          Once Bubb’s is a tad older and more independent, you’ll have time to volunteer or teach yourself all kinds of new stuff. . .IF you want to. Or maybe just catch up on sleep and reality TV for 6 months. And that’s ok too. You earned it.

          I’m going to Own it too! As soon as I shower and watch What Not to Wear! 🙂

  6. hnMom says:

    Wow, these are some deep thoughts. I am in the exact same position, so now you’ve got me thinking…
    Especially since I have a little girl. Do I need to do something else to be a good role model for her? Will she think staying at home is the only option for her because that’s what I’m doing?

    • Deni Lyn says:

      I was especially thinking about little girls when I was writing the post. It seems as if it’s even more important for girls. . .but maybe that’s just what society has been telling us for years? My Mom didn’t return to work until I was in 6th or 7th grade and only then a couple of days a week and she apparently managed to show her three daughters how to be strong, savvy, independent and well educated. I probably should stop thinking about it and write more snark. Ha!

      • hnMom says:

        Hearing about your mom is very encouraging. I guess in the end all that matters is that you teach your kids well and not how you do it or what you do for a living while you do it. And yes, so far society does still treat boys and girls differently, but maybe our kids’ generation will change that, with our help!
        I think it’s good to think about these things as long as we don’t worry endlessly.
        And yes, I always love your snark, so please keep it coming. 🙂

  7. Don’t worry. I promise that by the time Mac is older, and you can shower whenever your little heart desires, you’ll become the strong, independent you’ve always been. That gal is hiding out – waiting for all the diaper duty to end.

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Thanks! I’m certain of that. . .And then I’ll be writing posts about “why can’t he just be a little guy again?” Ha! PS My Husband texted me that morning to let me know I was supposed to pull out a little nob on the main part of the shower. I’m going to check it out shortly. Hopefully it works. 🙂

  8. Meghan says:

    Love your candidness, as always. I don’t take out the trash and if i touched our security system buttons I’d set the alarm off. There are just some things hubby does well and some things I do well. We do fall into these rolls, most revolving around the house and kiddo(s)…but it’ll change. It won’t be like this forever. …. at least that’s what I try to tell myself to get through the next batch of laundry or bottles to wash or hours of screaming because Avery doesn’t want to sleep tonight… 🙂

    • Deni Lyn says:

      No doubt it will change. I hope Avery slept well. Mac has been a bit of a challenge at bedtime too lately. I’ve been working diligently to get him back on track but it’s not been the great overnight success I had hoped for. Oh well. Parenting definitely teaches patience. 🙂