Monday, August 4, 2008

The Christmas Tree and the Toilet

Now that I’m not working, I’m watching some daytime TV. Not a lot, because I actually have a lot of work to do. A few weeks ago I was watching the Rachael Ray show while I was doing some of my work for the IABC. I figure the TV is nice background noise, and maybe I’ll be inspired to cook something new for dinner!

One of the guests on the show was a stay at home mother who felt left out. She quit her job to stay home with her child, but she found that it’s not all that she expected. She didn't think that she was connecting with her son and felt like a third wheel when her husband gets home because her son is overjoyed at seeing him. She said she "feels like the furniture."

Aha! I’ve been saying this to my husband for years—maybe a bit more crudely, though, to get my point across. Even when I worked—full time or part time, it didn’t matter—I was the primary caregiver. I was the one who managed most of the daycare issues, handled the meals, did the grocery shopping, dressed the kids, made sure the house was clean. Essentially, after working a full day, I came home to another full time job. And I’m not alone—many of my working mother friends say the same thing (and this study backs it up).

And the kids never thanked me for it. My husband just expected it.

I told him that I felt like the toilet—literally crapped on all the time. I was useful and necessary—in fact the house would collapse if I were not working (just think what would happen if your toilet stopped working)! The worst thing, though, was that the kids treated him like a Christmas Tree! YAY, Daddy’s here!

But the show did provide some helpful hints to battle “third wheel syndrome”. I’ve paraphrased them here but you can also go to the episode and check out the whole segment.
· Look at your sleep and ask if you feel rested.
· Make sure you are eating healthily, as a family unit.
· Is your work fulfilling? If not, find something that can make you happy
· Are your intimate relationships where you want them to be?

So, being the action-oriented person I always told everyone at the office I was, I have to bottom line it: Bottom line, you need to take care of yourself if you’re going to take care of others. You have to acknowledge the issue(s), then address it, so you can take responsibility for your own actions.

Now, back to cleaning the toilets!

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