will you still love me tomorrow?

In ALL, MARRIAGE by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

bwrsvp
 

Can you sit down?
Do I have to?
Please, it’s important.

I just… would you still love me, respect me, and feel proud of me if I weren’t a writer? If I was just their mother for a while?
Well, I’d love you. I guess I’d respect you, but…
Way to show unconditional love.
I said I’d still love you!
But why can’t you love, respect, and still be proud of me, no matter what I do?
I’d be proud of your past accomplishments!
That’s not cool! My dad loves, respects, and is proud of me no matter what. You should be too.
Well, I wouldn’t be cool with it, because deep down, I know you’re not cool with it.

What if I lost all my limbs and I couldn’t write anymore? Then would you still love, respect, and be proud of me?
Are we really going there?

Come on, Steven Hawking has written tons of things with just his eyes.

I hate you.

Okay, just to explain… I would love you, I just would feel like you’re giving up, and that’s not the person I know.

I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t be proud that I was this amazing mother. Why isn’t that enough?

Because it’s not you. You’re more.

But I want to know that no matter what I do, I’m enough. That you’d be proud of me no matter what.

So, you’d be proud of me if I chose to quit my job and just be a father?

No.

Well then, there’s your answer. Would you respect me if I didn’t want to work but just wanted to be the best father I could be? Don’t answer, I know what you’d say… "I married a dead beat."

It makes me a hypocrite, for sure. An honest hypocrite married to an honest man who doesn’t want to be married to someone who just wants to be a mother.

*And of course I’m not saying "just a mother" as in ONLY, as in how insignificant. I meant just focus on being a mom. If all I wanted to do in the whole world is be their mother and make it my full-time job to do so, even if only for a few years, he’d never be okay with that choice. I think it comes down to what we "know," what we grew up with and took away from that experience.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: BOOK TOUR WHO’RE

FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY: RECONCILIATION SONGS

Comments

  1. Ouch. I'm not married, but have been going through something different but similar with my live-in boyfriend. I've been sick and out of sorts for the past few weeks, which means I haven't been buying all the groceries and making dinner every night. Normally, I'm happy to do these things because my job has me either working from home a few days every couple weeks or going away for work, and I wasn't home for over 3 weeks straight a little while ago.

    He made some snarky comment about how, "Now you see how it is for the rest of us," meaning since I actually worked a long stretch of time and… well, not nice. Not nice at all. Particularly since I work this job because I make more money in 2 days then I would in an entire week, and because it lets me set my own schedule, thus allowing me to arrange my life & vacations around when HE has time. Then he snarked about how he doesn't want to have to take care of everything all the time ("all the time" apparently equals a few weeks.)

    In any case, I felt the same – why can't you love and respect and support me regardless. I'm sick, why can't you shoulder some burden, unconditionally and without snark, for a couple weeks? And why do I get zero respect because I'm considerably lucky to have a job that doesn't require I work 9-5 every day?

    I never really thought about it before, but "feeling respected and supported" has probably moved up to #1 on the list.

  2. Wow, really? You wouldn't respect him if he stayed home to be "the best father he could be" –while that freed you up to work with the comfort of knowing your kids were in excellent care?! That strikes me as really sad. And hypocritical.

  3. I'm not sure if this is a real conversation or not, but that is quite a double standard if you wouldn't be proud of him no matter what he chose to do, I'm surprised if you would really feel that way?
    Anyway I hope things are ok and you're not thinking of stopping writing!

  4. that´s a very sad relationship you´re in. i´ve had a similar conversation with my boyfriend recently, because i feel like a perpetual underachiever… i´m good in academics, but unable/unwilling to succeed in the corporate world; not very driven either… still, i lack that certain sense of personal achievement, and as i was whining about it to my man he just said he´d love me always, and be proud to be with me no matter what i do or how much or how little money i make… because i am supposedly smart, funny, beautiful and kind. his words! damn stephanie, reading your blog made me realize once more just how lucky i am. how terrible must it be if your relationship doesn´t provide refuge from the pressure of the outside world.

  5. I totally understand where you were going with that convo. I think as a wife and mother, you want to hear how "just mother" ranks up there in "respectable career paths" vs having some kind of physical job that comes with a paycheck. Not everyone thinks about it. But, when my mom stopped working (when she had me), that's when my parents relationship went downhill because my father was of the school of thought that it's less of a job to be home with your kids. HE made the money, so it was HIS money, and my mother became totally subserviant money-wise for the next 30+ years (and two more kids).

    After seeing this situation with my parents my whole life, it was important for me to find a guy who values mothering as a job…but there's always that little part of me that worries that I will lose respect for staying home, if that's what I feel I need to do- which I can't see happening, but it's just the POINT. You want to know that it IS something your husband respects as a "real job". It's not about actually quitting writing, it's about how he'd view you and your contribution to the marriage if you did.

  6. What an honest moment. I've spent a lot of time dating men who are less financially successful than I am, so I always end up in the reverse conversation, trying to convince them that if we had kids it would make more sense financially if they stayed home with them. So far, I've yet to find any takers. Meanwhile, were the situation flipped, I would give up work in a heartbeat to stay home if it made financial sense. Which makes me wonder why I bothered with years of college and law school after all.

  7. I think it is wonderful that he is proud of your passion…that he knows you well. That is a man who will always be the rod in your spine when you are not sure of the "what if's" in life. To be proud of you as a mother is a given…to be proud of you as an accomplished woman is a blessing – especially when so many men overlook….

    Happy Friday to you and the family!!

    xoxo,
    Bug

  8. Are you freaking kidding me? Stephanie, at any given time, you can and WILL be replaced in a heartbeat by another writer out in this world, quite probably by someone who is much better than you. But you will NEVER be able to replace the position of being THEIR mother.

    It’s the most important job in the world and I can’t believe the BOTH of you minimize the role of “just being a mother” or “just being a father”. If that’s what’s important, then who the hell cares who does it! Stephanie, you’ve worked damn hard for such a long time, take a break girl and be a mommie for a while. Not that you haven’t, but again you’ve been straddling the fence for a long time.

    Evaluate your finances and see if you can pull it for a while. Phil, allow Stephanie to relax a little and stop being so judgmental. You both might be surprised that you like it.

  9. See I didn't read this in a bad way like it appears some others took it.

    To me Phil isn't trying to say that being "just a mom," is dishonorable. It's that he knows and understands that you have a drive and ambition that keeps you from being "just a mom." You're also a writer, blogger, photographer, foodie, etc.

    I understand his words because when it comes down to it, I wouldn't be content in life being "just a mom," either. No matter what career path I choose once I become a mom, whether it be doctor or stay at home mom, there's still always going to be so much more to what I am.

  10. I find this pretty humorous. He knows you wouldn't be happy, and you know you wouldn't be happy. We live in a world where we can't dedicate 100% of ourselves to the things we love 100% of the time.

    If you gave up writing I think you'd resent yourself, your kids, and eventually him for not pushing you to keep doing the things you love.

    You two are good together.

  11. Wow, I can't believe that. Being a mother is the most respectable, important job there is. You are investing in the future, and it is the truest way you can leave a legacy. Years from now, no one is going to remember your books – your mark will be left through your offspring. I am shocked that he would respond that way. And I disagree with him that you wouldn't be happy. You've been writing about this for quite some time, and it's clear that you want to pour your heart and time into your kids, not have an obligation to write. You should write for pure pleasure, not work. It's not like you'd never write a book again. The vast majority of men were created with a desire to be a provider, and many women, if not most, are nurturers. I would expect that he would respect you more for investing your time in relationships, rather than something that will one day fade away. Love is a choice anyway, and I hope he would always make the decision to love you and express that love. I think it's beautiful that you're wanting to just devote your time to those precious kids. :)

  12. Not sure if my last comment went through, so here I go again. :)
    There is nothing more important and beautiful than devoting yourself to being a mother. What does that even mean? More than a mother. It makes it sound as though being a mother isn't valuable and doesn't require any brains. Being a mother is the one true way to leave a legacy. Of course you will still write, but it won't be under the pressure of deadlines. Love is a choice, and I hope that your husband will always choose to love you and express that love. If a woman truly feels loved, she will feel respected – the opposite is true of a man. I think it is wonderful that you want to devote your time to those precious kids. I love your writing, but relationships are more important, and I encourage you to invest yourself there.

  13. You know what he said yet you choose to twist his words in a most negative way. If he truly believed that you would be at your happiest being 'just a mom' then nothing you've presented here goes against him being supportive of the profession of motherhood. Because he didn't back up your latest thought/whim/idea, you think he is critical of motherhood as a profession – that's unfair.

  14. I think the problem I read in this is his being "proud" of you versus his being "cool" with your decision (if you decide) to stay home with the beans. Not being cool with it because you each know that the other would be unfulfilled and unhappy – good. Not being proud of each other if you make that decision, though.. ouch.

    I don't know.. I guess I see pride in your significant other as being proud of the person they are, and in turn being proud of or concerned about the things they do out of the person they are. The definition of "pride" in each other I'm reading here seems a bit narrow and conditional. So for either of you to throw around the threat of "not-proud-of-you" just sounds too harsh. To me, anyway. You might see it differently than I do, though.

  15. It doesn't sound like he was degrading being 'just a mom', rather, he's heading you off at the pass because you are passionate about more.

    I LOVE what bestmansgrl said. Probably because I'm 'just a mom' now and have never, EVER felt more unappreciated in my entire life.

    delete, delete, delete…

    ^^ I just deleted all I wrote because it was too long, too whiny, too windy and my life is of my own making anyway.

    Point is, I had NO idea parenthood was so utterly, totally, completely, heart-and-soul, consuming. I had NO idea that when people would tell me 'having kids changes you', that it was at the DNA level. Even being in my late 30's as a first time mom, with a degree and an independent life under my belt, I was so unprepared and short-sighted.

    What a fool I was.

    Now I'm too much of a spaas to balance the two effectively.

    Sighh… maybe someday. Because the years are going so fast.

    My kids go through so many changes every second of every day of their lives. People, places, things, ideas, teachers, friends, stories, doctors, dentists, holidays, sleet/snow/rain/sunshine, seasons, clothes, beliefs, laughter, tears, monsters in the closet…

    Thank you bestmansgrl. Sometimes I forget that I AM the ONLY mother my kids will have.

  16. Wow, I am officially done with this blog. Stephanie, you have no idea what it is to really be a mother if you can even write the sentence "just a mother." I tried to validate my time reading your nonsense because I acually like your writing despite the content. I am done.

  17. Firstly; I'm glad that you both were able to be honest, upfront and understand each other. Secondly, I think Phil was nicer than your comment to him regarding 'him being a father only'. For, to him he just believes in you that much more.

    But, there is no such thing as 'just a parent'. Almost anyone can have a child, its totally different to be a mom or a dad. There is no 'just' to it. There is no better achievement in the world than knowing you loved your children.

    It is the one thing in life you will never stop being. Do YOU love, respect and hold pride in yourself for being a mother? The only thing he has to promise (than to love you) is to support you in whatever YOU do. Otherwise; you're what matters.

  18. Count me in as another reader that did not see this in a negative way. As an outsider looking in, I see that Phil knows you VERY well, and knows that you are the best mumma when you have something just for you – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    No one is "just" a mother, or "just" a father. Once you have babies, no one is a "just" anything anymore, ever.

    And, for what it's worth, I'm "just" a mother, and if my husband stayed home, I'd think he was a deadbeat too. Double standard yes, but totally true.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Exactly! That's it. Right there. I want the option of "just" being a mother. Obviously there's no "just" about it. When I write "just" I mean… just FOCUS on that one thing by choice. It's a double standard, sure. It's the traditional roles I know and am familiar with.

  19. kellye – that is how I read this as well. Sure he could have come out and said that he'd be proud no matter what but he's only thinking of her happiness. But if you read between the lines, I would guess that is what he's trying to say.

    A lot of the readers/commenters on this blog are just so convinced that Stephanie and Phil are *so bad for each other* that they take every normal argument, misunderstanding, or fight as proof that they should just get a divorce. Sheesh. It's normal for people to not agree on every single thing. When did we become a culture of people that run the moment we disagree? And why are people so quick to push that idea on someone else who is obviously trying to make a marriage work, even through the hard times?

  20. You can keep writing just not have any official projects on the table. Sure you won't have the time to be as prolific but writing just for you and not a deadline perhaps could have a positive effect on your work, who knows. Real writers can't just 'stop' writing. They might hate what they write sometimes (or all of the time) but they keep at it as it's sustenance to them. You'd probably find a balance and be able to produce just not at the same Perhaps you are feeling your babies' childhood flying by and panicking. That's to be expected. The nice thing is you have choices. We all do.

    Scale back and not just work wise if that's what you need. Staying at home with the beans for a bit doesn't have to be purgatory. It can be restorative. I suspect you could get restless but you could always decided when it's time to get back to the full writing/meeting/etc. workload.

    It seems like you are at least financially comfortable but if money is a concern I'm sure you both could sit down and find ways to downsize at least temporarily.

    You'll always have your writing and creativity but your babies won't always be young; just make sure you be authentic and do what you feel is best. Even if it's a short trial run you won't look back and feel any regrets. You can't go wrong if you listen to your instincts.

  21. I agree with Kellye, and I think that Phil's answer indicates a profound understanding of who you are and what it is that makes you tick.

    Someone commented that you could be replaced in a heartbeat by another writer. That's not the point. For writers and, I assume, artists of any kind, a genuine passion for what you do (and you need the passion, because it's not always a picnic to sit down and try to create, on demand) means that you do it for you, first, regardless of whether or not you ever make a single penny as a reult.

    Artists create because they have to. My husband knows to give me a break from my responsibilities as a work-from-home mom to write — he can see the crazy in my eyes when I haven't had the space to get what's in my head down onto the page.

    You've mentioned in the past that you write three pages of long hand daily. You blog. You've cranked out two books, and are on deadline for a television pilot. There's a lot on your plate, and that's not even considering the role you fill as mom and wife, and all of your other pursuits. It's easy to lose sight of the real you under these circumstances, but Phil is exactly right.

    You are more than "just a mom." If you can find a way to strike a balance between all that you are and can do, just think of the example you will set for your children. (And who knows what talents the both of you have passed on to them?)

    Best,
    Pamela

  22. Colleen- go easy on yourself. It IS hard and a thankless job..until much later when the kids are older. I just read an article the other day that stated children do not appreciate their parents until they are 22. Yep. Then again did we need an article/study on that to confirm this? I dare say it's not until those children become parents themselves that they grasp the sacrifice that was made by their own parents.

    And I really like Phil. Maybe I'm just used to alpha males and 'get' them but I really think he knows you well, Stephanie. He knows you being the adorably fickle Libra you can be would vacillate between extremes and he knows you need to have a lot of things going on at once? Maybe this is his way of preventing an unhappy Stephanie? That's how I took it.
    By the way I am 'just a mother' and have been for just a year. In the beginning I used to feel sensitive/defensive about it, like if I told people they would secretly judge me as being lazy and one dimensional but I love it so much even if they did I would be impervious to that kind of reaction. I didn't think this piece here was putting that choice down.. maybe it the phrasing of 'just a mother' came across wrong to some people but it seems you meant 'focusing solely' on the kids. Anyway I liked this dialogue- it's thought provoking. And yes, as much as my husband loves me caring for the baby and enjoys the peace of mind knowing he is on good hands he still has his 'off' days. Sometimes when he comes home from work he will snipe at me and make a comment 'well I've been at work all day" as if to say I have not been working. That sets me off but it doesn't happen often. Still.. you wonder if there isn't some tiny bit of resentment there on some level. My mother just tells me "Come visit us for a week, we'll let you do nothing.. relax.. and let him see what it's like. I assure you he'll never make a comment again".

  23. Hm, but there is a difference in 'being a writer'- meaning actually writing books for living (which you may or may not continue to do), and being a person who sees the world, people, their relations in such a specific and creative way that you could put it into writing. Whatever you actually do, you will be the latter, and this is what is part of you as a person. Being writer is just one of the options, and I don't see how someone can make connection between love and practicing or not certain work

  24. OMG, seriously, everytime I read comments, they crack me the hell up. People who get so Personally offended or make judgements about Stephanie or her family based on a few sentences or paragraphs in a blog. I love your writing, I relate to it alot and if not, generally still feel it was worth the few minutes I spent reading it.
    Gosh, I feel I am a great mom and I am proud to be one, but there are ALOT of moments I don't WANT to be defined that way, and alot I do. I would hate to be judged for a fleeting moment when I was pissed at my husband or tired of parenting or wanted to say f u to the world.
    I don't know why Stephanie should be judged for NOT mentioning the new president (I mean what? is that antiamerican to not devote a whole blog to it?) or for any random emotion expressed. I thought blogs were like online diaries, people willing to share their zaniness…
    I for one appreciate it…. good days and bad

  25. this just seems like you needed a certain kind of reassurance, and because phil knows you and is tough on you, he won't give it. "if this thing happened that would be totally different from how i've built i life and really what i want 95% of the time, but forget all that, IF that thing happened, would it be okay?". the man is kinda in a no win situation, but i don't think what he said denigrates being a mom or is meant to say that he doesn't love you enough.

    ***i do think that this is a normal argument-discussion-whatever, but people that are interpreting this negatively are not pulling that out of thin air–there have been posts that have shown really distressing, terribly hurtful, and to me, even shocking arguments and not knowing SK you read the posts based on what you know. i do think this is a good example though of how his strong personality allows him to stand up for what he thinks even in a murky emotional conversation like this.

  26. Why don't you take some time off and consider it "research". I was thinking last night that I hope your next book is about motherhood, since we've now heard about your teen years and 20's.
    I'm sure that spending time with the kids and other moms will inspire MANY words that your readers will find touching/amusing/truthful. Write them down when they come to you, little notes and stories. Then, in a few years, when the kids are a bit older and starting school, you can organize it all and turn it into the bones of a book?? Please don't give up writing!! I'm reading Moose right now and loving every word. Sometimes my 5 month old is crying in his crib for me to come get him and I sneak in another paragraph or two before going to get him :)

    BTW – To those people who are judging your relationship ("I realize how great my life is compared to yours!" – I'm talking to you Ali E) – Shut the F up. Everyone has ups and downs, and at least Stephanie is honest about it and has the nerve to share it with the world. No one believes that your life is as perfect as you like to pretend…

  27. I think if you have a career you're passionate about, you're luckier than 99% of the working stiffs out there. You also have a lot of flexibility and you're in your prime earning years. It sounds like you're facing some frustration and stress about your career at the moment, and you want to fantasize about an "out." Everyone does that, and I'm sure you just wanted your husband to give you the out. You probably wouldn't have taken it, though. I think that's a typical male/female thing. You know, female: discuss every thought and every possible outcome. Male: solve the immediate problem.

    Of course I expected your comments to turn into the mommy wars and they have. I personally have done both – working mom and SAHM and I found the SAHMs so defensive about their roles and snarky about working moms that it was really hard for me to hang out with them when I was home.

    Also, my husband was a SAHD for a few years after I went back to work, and it was a really difficult time for our relationship. NOT because I didn't respect him, but because he spent so much time complaining about how hard it was and that I didn't understand (um, hello?) I think really he didn't respect himself during that time, and felt much better once he returned to his career.

  28. It also comes down to things like "money". For some of us, staying home with our kids and putting our writing career on hold (or scaling it back considerably) is our only viable option. And although you claim you aren't saying "just a mother", you said "just a mother" several times in your post.

    Putting yourself after your kids while they are small isn't always easy, but for some of us, it's worth it. Apparently it isn't for you, but don't expect to get a bunch of respect for posting something that implies that prioritizing your kids over your career is a weak choice. If Phil thinks so, he can go fuck himself.

    I like to think you didn't mean it to come across like it did, but it sounded like a smug conversation between two people for whom all possible options were available, congratulating each other on how they weren't "just" parenting because they are somehow BETTER than that, so busy working, too. I very much doubt anyone on their deathbed looks back and says, "I should have spent more time at work!" The things you regret always have to do with people and time spent with them.

    Anyway, the phrase "Just a mom" is insulting, no matter how you slice it. Most stay at home mum's are simply taking a sabbatical from their work and their other passions to put their kids' needs first out of either necessity or a belief that it is better for the kids. We're talking about a period of only 4.5 years here, then they are in school and time balances itself out differently. I will always believe that it's better for my kids to be raised by me than by a nanny. The years in which they are at home and need me are few, and I'll have many years ahead to write when they are in school. But we all make our choices, don't we? For you (and it sounds like for Phil), maybe, a TV show RIGHT NOW is more important than what your kids need or want right now, which is probably YOU and not you on a book jacket.

    On another note, Phil doesn't seem like he's giving you much room there to make any different choices than the ones you've already made. What if you decide to go back to school? Do something completely different? It's pretty sanctimonious for him to say that he knows what you want and need, without listening to what you're TELLING him you want and need.

  29. another comment, because this is something i think about a lot in my own relationship. phil obvs knows you and seems to feel that if you made the choice to be a full time SAHM it would not be for the best reason and you somehow not be realizing your true desires, so i understand his reply. i do think in general (this may or may not apply to him) that part of the feeling the working parent may have can be influenced by how they feel about their work. i know a lot of folks in the financial industry like their work because of the money and they do feel pride at being good at what they do, but it's really different than the passionate soul connection others may feel about being a doctor or a school teacher, an artist, whatever–something where they would love to work in their field all the time, and if it pays well that's just a bonus. i'm getting my phd and i feel that way, and my future career really requires a lot of dedication and time, and so i wonder how things will play out. if i make more money than the husband and he does not feel as strongly about his work, the best thing would be for him to stay home with the kid and me to work. i know i'd feel a loss there, but it would also be such a gift to have my family and my work in my life, all time knowing that while mommy is away from home the critter would be getting tons of daddy time. a tricky modern life problem!

  30. I have to agree with khr. Having just returned to work full time as a physician after the birth of my third child, I feel incredibly blessed to be married to a man who is able and willing to stay home with our children. I couldn't respect him more.

  31. Aaahh it's always a tricky topic. I haven't had kids yet, but at different points in my childhood I had "just a mom" and "just a father." They each had advanced degrees, independent minds, and thriving careers, but took time off for a year or so during a couple points to be home with us. As a result I had my dad making my lunch for a couple years and coming to most of my softball games and I had my mom bringing my lunch to school if I forgot it and helping me bake cookies for parties. There were also times I had nobody in the stands and I made my own turkey sandwich. It all turned out just fine :)

  32. How could anyone not understand what she meant by "just a mother"?? Obviously it meant her focus…

    My husband and I went through something similar. He also thought that I wouldn't be fulfilled staying at home because I had so many other areas of my life and career that I was passionate about. Now I am back to doing a job that I love now that my son is in school.

    Every time we go to a parent-teacher conference or a sports practice and the teacher/coach compliments us on how our son is excelling my husband always thanks me for staying at home and giving up certain areas of my life to help our son flourish the way he has. Those compliments and thanks from him and knowing how much he appreciates me for being “just a mom” make it all worth it.

    I would say go for it :-)

  33. Options. I don't ever want to stop writing, but I want to know that if I did, he'd support that choice. But would I support his choice to have absolutely zero "career" path? No. And there's the double standard.

  34. I think there's some confusion around Stephanie's terms "only" a mother or "just" a mother. I think she wonders what he would think if she were "exclusively" a mother.

    Only and Just have additional connotations that diminish the work of stay-at-home moms.

    But maybe, deep down, she would feel diminished if she were "only" a mother. Is there something wrong with that? Why is it so horrible to want to mother and to work?

  35. Long time reader….first time poster.

    I totally get this..I just told my husband the same thing. I work from home with a 3 year old and a almost 4 year old. I spend most of my days imagining that I am in an office all day away from my children( feel guilty about that option) or that I quit my job and am a mom full time (feel guilty about that option) After talking with a lot of my friends, we all feel like we are dealing with the same overwhelming pressure from either side. The best thing is, kids will grow, times will change, stress will come and go but no matter what you are the BEST mom for your children no matter what the circumstances.

    Peace.

  36. I got the whole "just a mother" thing, and it didn't bother me.

    So, effectively, Stephanie, you are not willing to let him do what you want to do.

    The thing is, no one knows where life is going to take you. Not that I'd ever wish this in a million years–but what if Phil loses his job? You have to be work with what life hands you.

    I am not saying that you shouldn't be just a mother, by any means. In fact, that seems to be what you want to do at the moment and it is certainly worthwhile, so I say why not, if it is financially feasible. The thing the say about this mommy war business is that you never know how you will feel until you get there, so it is pointless for a woman to judge another woman for being a stay-at-mommy/or a working mom. Oh, and most women don't have a "choice"–the ability to stay at home is a privilege indeed.

    But it is unfair to expect your partner to be flexible or accomodate a change in career path (or how you fill your days) when you will not do the same. The whole "what you grew up with"/"tradition" seems to be a smokescreen for an inability to compromise.

  37. I have to say, I'm on Phil's side for once. And not the "I just know you wouldn't be happy doing it" position he took once he started backpedaling to avoid an argument. Would he be proud of you? What do you want him to do? Brag to his friends and colleagues about how you wait on his children hand and foot and keep a really super clean house and always have dinner on the table? The thought of it turns my stomach. Haven't you always said you wanted to marry a man who would stand up to you when you needed it? Well, guess what? You needed it. Phil works in finance – given the current state of the industry, it's probably not a good time for you to suggest that he takeover the sole responsibility for keeping a roof over your head and putting food on the table. And honestly, aside from travel requirements, don't you work from home as it is?

  38. Does he still question some of your parenting methods and techniques? I remember you posting a while back about disagreements you had about monitoring sharing between your children and stuff like that. Maybe that's part of it — he doesn't want to cede parental authority to you. For better or worse, that's what happens when one parent spends a lot more time with the kids than the other: it becomes "this is how I do it," or "this is my rule" as opposed to "our" rule. Same goes for housework, most husband no matter how much they try, don't get it "right".
    Does Phil have the same work/life balancing issues? It seems like this should be something you work on together, since you're both in the same boat. I think if you feel estranged in what your expected responsibilities each are NOW, it would only be much much worse if you were focusing solely on parenting.

  39. Stop overthinking and overtalking and just Do and Be. Be who you are, do what you need to do – whatever that is. Overanalysis never helps anyone.

    I've been thinking about my own overanalysis issues recently with "meaning of life" and "writer or day-job career person" but then I rediscovered Stephanie Nielson's blog. The Arizona Mormon blogger and mother of 4 who nearly died and is in major PT and pain now as a very-much-changed survivor.

    And I decided that I have NOTHING to overanalyze and fret about. If someone with problems like that can push on into the future then I just need to shut up, be thankful for what I have, and give value with my life. Value, which can be anything (mothering or writing – though your kids won't be remaindered and pulped when your 15 minutes are up).

    Most of us (self included and Stephanie and Phil included too) are SO fortunate and we fret about such worthless crap.

  40. Hmmm… I'm "just a mom" right now and my husband is the breadwinner. I'd trade places with him in a heartbeat. Motherhood is a grind, gets no respect, long hours, pay sucks, etc… Unfortunately, his earning power is dramatically higher than mine. He would never go for it anyway. We have the same level of education, but he has technical skills that companies are willing to pay for.

    I take the entire conversation to mean that neither of you would want your partner to give up what makes them who they are. If either of you became a stay at home parent by choice or due to the economic downturn, you would still deserve the respect and love of your partner.

    So to sum up: Motherhood is real work. Stephanie and Phil want to be married to happy, fulfilled people. And don't let your children major in the Social Sciences.

  41. I personally think Phil's response was ideal. It was sweet in the "I-appreciate-how-talented-my-wife-is-and-want-to-be-her -personal-motivational-speaker-with-a-sarcastic-edge" way. Which really is the most that any of us could ask for.

    To me it seems like a healthy dynamic. He finds her abilities and ambitions sexy. She finds his traditional male role sexy.

    Rock on.

  42. I have counseled my 16 year-old daughter on several occasions to make sure that the man she marries understands that once they have children she will stay home with them and he will be the provider. Why have I counseled her this way? Because I'm a product of the feminist era of the 70's. I was indoctrinated to believe that I needed to get a college education so that I could support myself so that I wouldn't EVER need to be dependent upon anyone, least of all a man. So, being the good feminist, I did it. I earned the college degrees, doctorate degree, law degree and got a great job. When I had a baby, I went back to work 2 weeks after the baby was born because by then we thought we needed two incomes. The baby came to work with me. I was a frazzled mess. Oh, and I breast fed for 2.5 years. Talk about over achievement. Three months after the baby was born, my husband (now ex) quit his job. Did he help with the children? Yes, but it's never 50/50 in that regard. I became the sole breadwinner, breastfeeder, housecleaner and dinner maker. What a great deal! No. Not really. Do I want that for my daughter? Absolutely not. I want her to take care of her babies (for the sake of the babies) and marry a man who accepts, no, wants to be the breadwinner, at least until the children are in school. The problem is, now that men are spoiled with having it ALL–a wife (or squeeze) who works, cooks, cleans, raises the children–why would they settle for one who is "just a mother?" This negotiation, however, should take place before the kids are born, preferably before MARRIAGE, but most women don't realize they can't do it all until they find out the hard way.

  43. Common Stephanie, you don't really need to go there? The subject matter and of which you answer draws me to the conclusion that you are a) mildly bored b) looking for a fight you can win or c)drawing on the best emotional blackmail known to mankind.

    And because you dont need me to spell it out, and as I am a working mum (I've got two boys under the age of two looked after by their dad!) I refuse to take offence.

    Hey, did you read about the Brazilian beauty queen that had her arms and legs amputated because of a bool virus? No? Not what you were after on this particular post?

    Love your blog and your honesty.

    S x

  44. I think in wanting to have it all we may have set ourselves up sometimes. We fight and fight and work to prove we are equal and then when we want to stay home for a bit, not forever, a bit, it's not ok. Why not? Have we shot ourselves in the foot? What is wrong with "just" being a mom for awhile.

    Phil saying he knows you and that's not you? Just because for so long you have worked doesn't mean that you can't change your mind about how much you want to work. Now you don't want to. Why is that "not you?" If it's in your heart, then isn't it you? At least for today. Maybe not forever, but right now?

    It's really not fair. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't.

  45. None of all the lengthy comments to this post hit the nail so squarely on the head as the simple "you both deserve each other". hah!

  46. I haven't ready any of the comments, so I may be repeating things. You see, Phil didn't marry a woman whose sole ambition was to be a mother. Perhaps he feels that if you were to drop everything to run after the beans you'd be a different woman. He wants you to be fulfilled and being a mum, while a true calling for some, might just be settling for you. I think he knows you, knows what you want and will do anything to help you get it, even if it means disagreeing with you.

  47. I read it that you would like the option to take some time off being a writer and be a fulltime mom. I think that's great. But transversely, if your husband could do that – be a fulltime father while you worked fulltime, that would be great too. I read a blogger in Detroit (Sweet Juniper) where that is the case. He stays home with the two children and she works fulltime. Being the primary care giver to children is a huge job and gets less respect in many cases than having an outside job. I'm the primary breadwinner in my family, while my husband works from home (no children) and is on S.S. disability. I wish we had met younger and could have children, but alas it's not so.

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