A lot of Stay-At-Home Mothers like to say that their husbands don't appreciate how much work they do every day. They say these men don't understand how difficult it is to keep one, two, three-plus children working as a functioning unit on a day-to-day basis. I was one of those mothers. I successfully played that card for four years. Today I was forced to show my hand.
I left the children with The Partner in the morning and headed out for a conference held by the mom's group to which I belong. I was gone for roughly seven hours. There was much professed joy among the conference-goers about having a few hours away from the children. We ate chicken Caesar salad and chocolate cake. We discussed organizational structure and playgroup etiquette. There was much discussion of the Swine Flu. We went home.
I came back to The Partner's declaration that he'd discovered my ruse.
"What ruse?" I asked.
"The one where you tell me it's impossible to clean the house with two kids running around."
"Oh," I said.
"Yeah. I cleaned the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher, hand washed the plastic, vacuumed the entire first floor, and am now working on the basement. And The Boss didn't watch any TV while I did it."
"Oh." I repeated. What else was I supposed to say? The jig is up. I'm a bad parent. I live in a cesspool of my own creation and my children watch too much TV.
It's unfortunate that not only am I worthless as a mother, but I have no quantifiable value as a professional, either. If I did, I could go out and bring home the bacon while The Partner stayed home and did his sterling job raising the kids.
"Oh, yeah, and it's a good thing I didn't have any plans to leave the house today," The Partner added. "I couldn't find any socks for Number Two. If I'm going to have to dress the kids, it would be nice if I could find their clothes in the middle of all the different piles of laundry laying around here."
I looked at him with huge, cornered, round saucer eyes. Gulp. "Yeah, well, actually he's out of clean socks. I forgot about that."
The Partner's eyes, on other hand, were slits. He shook his head disgustedly.
I shook mine too. I'm so sick of always being wrong. But I'm even sicker of him always being right.