My wife starts a new job today thus enabling the kids and I to continue to stalk Dora the Explorer on every channel she might ever appear on. I am living the dream it’s just that no one told me that this particular dream would come with oatmeal being thrown at my face because I forgot the sprinkle of brown sugar from time to time. But every man’s got to have a dream and this one is mine, dodging oatmeal. A word to the wise: cold oatmeal gets very, very hard. I suggust you spend your spare time practicing dodging wrenches before you serve it to your unhappy toddler. This is the big league’s boys, no time for amateurs.
However, after the oatmeal is dodged I’m trying to get my wife ready for her first day of work. I am fussing over her like a mother hen. I have packed her lunch, got her purse ready, packed her computer bag, got her a little mug of pick me up, have her car keys in my hand and topped it off with a little bagle breakfast. Then I checked to make sure that I still have balls.
I’m very supportive of my wife, as I think we all have to be. But even now there is a slight twinge of jealousy going through me. I’ll admit it. I’ll man up and say it.
She has taken a job that has such a title that I no longer am able to accuratley describe exactly what she does anymore because I’m not sure of it myself. The term “Director” is in there somewhere and I believe that she has to do a lot of “strategic” things. It’s just enough business jargon to make someone nod their head like they know what it means when they actually have no idea what it means. I just know it’s strategic. Like the game Risk or at least that is what I’m assuming. I have told her not to get into a land war in Asia as that is a very bad idea.
Here’s the reason I am somewhat jealous though. My wife and I graduated college at roughly the same time. We got jobs at roughly the same time. And we moved up the chain of command in roughly the same time. We both started at the bottom, then we rose up until we both started supervising people. Eventually that lead to make company wide policy things and so on and so fourth. And our titles somewhat matched. I have since develeoped a theory that all mid-level management titles are the same thing and come from the same place: Itunes.
But then everything changed a little bit. I quit my middle management job and decided to stay home with the kids. I was ready to rock it. She continued to work and then she got this new job. And this new title. I got cold oatmeal
Now don’t get me wrong, we all know that I got way more than cold oatmeal. Occasionally they also throw toast at me if it’s not vegan butter. But I also get to live the good side of life that many dad’s don’t get. I get to teach my children every second of the day. I get to teach my son the right way to flex infront of a mirror. I get to show my daughter that guys in bands are horrible, horrible boyfriends and she should never even consider talking to them.
And I get to the center of thier universe. I get to be their hero. I get to have a closer relationship with my children than most father’s get. And that’s the tradeoff and it’s a tradeoff that is very much worth it.
But I don’t get promoted and I don’t get the new fancy job titles. I have always been a little bit competitive, ok, maybe more than that. And I didn’t realize that I did feel in somewhat competition with my wife about our careers until the moment I started rolling the lint brush over her. I am being left behind professionally and although I wouldn’t change what I do for all the tea in China (I hear it’s really good tea too), there is a part of me that is jealous of the adventure that she is going on. The big decisions that she gets to make, the directions she gets to set and the satisfaction from getting your team into a cohesive unit. I do miss those things and I think that I’m probably not alone.
And now I actually feel a bit like a housewife with all the fussing over her before she goes off to work. I enjoy my wife’s success even to the point that sometimes I wish it were mine. I’m very proud of her and the things that she has been able to accomplish. Now where a housewife may end the fussing with a kiss, I remind myself that I am still a man. So instead of sending her off with a kiss I give her a speech I memorized from Vince Lombardi that still hangs in my study. It’s one of the things I used to use as a manager myself. And then I give her a slap on the ass because that is what guys do.
That’s my contribution. Well, that and taking oatmeal shrapnel in the back so she doesn’t show up on her first day with an embarrassing stain.