Monday, January 12, 2009

Momversation Monday: Which is harder, being a wife or a mother?

So the ladies over at Momversation asked the question: Which is harder, being a wife? or being a mom?

I found this question kinda tough to answer. Being married to Brian is very easy. We are low on the drama meter, and we are alot alike in all the right places. Having been in a bad relationship, I know this is a good one.

I love being both wife and mom and I have a feeling that if the only two roles I had to fill were wife and mother maybe it wouldn't be so bad. I have all the right instincts for both jobs. We have added teacher with homeschooling, and then with Brian gone so much I have alot of single mom problems, and with his schedule he relies on me more for his own mundane errands because he doesn't have time..... I think maybe if we had a housekeeper who did all the shopping, cooking and cleaning this would be a non- issue, but we don't, so its the main issue. I just realized... I want an Alice from the Brady Bunch.......

My problem is less with either role and more with the juggling act, trying to get everything done and done right, all at the same time. Its like I am always sacrificing something. Either I sacrifice the housecleaning and management, or the time with the kids, or the couple time, or me time, or school (which isn't even up for debate/sacrifice).

For example, if we have a full school day and then playtime with mom, well, that is an awesome day! But I didn't get the grocery shopping done, so we are going to have to grab something for dinner.... But that isn't what we want to do, we are trying to be more thoughtful with our money, so there is guilt there. Not to mention, Brian needed me to go to the insurance office to pick up paperwork, so I feel guilty about shirking that duty. The house needs attention too, so I feel like that's another craptacular thing I forgot, and I didn't get to the gym for my time... I feel often that I need to clone myself, soon.

I have a problem feeling like I am enough, like what I am doing is enough if it is less than ideal perfection. For some reason, I have a vision of perfection in my head, and when I don't live up to that, I feel guilty and like I am not doing enough. Brian has never made me feel that way, but I make me feel that way. I know its not truth, I know that what I do matters more that what I don't do. But I think that I know that in my head, but I need to believe it in my heart. So in that sense, I feel more guilt over the kids, because they can't do for themselves, whereas if it came down to it, Brian could...... so maybe the mother is the harder job for me just because of the "mommy guilt".


Rob said...

Really good post Jenn. Personally I love it when you write like this.

I identify with you somewhat but I can't and won't pretend to put myself in the Mom shoes. Its a whole different job from being Dad. But as a Dad I struggle with what I perceive as my own shortcomings too and in that I know what you mean.

But if I've learned anything from you since we've been friends is how to accept "me" where I'm at right now. And to live more honestly with myself and those around me.

No we can't get it all done sometimes, heck even a lot of times. But the people in our lives around us love us for as you've said, who we are, not what we do.

The important stuff each day always seems to have a way of getting done. Sometimes you just have to enjoy the moments you have while you have them and remember that everybody else really does think you're pretty awesome after all :)

Clarissa said...

I can totally relate, Jenn! We've talked about this before. What is up with the Mommy Guilt? That's the part that knocks the wind right out of me. I can't help but feel deflated when I start comparing myself with this ideal mom/wife/teacher/cook/housekeeper/daughter/sister/aunt/...etc. I try so hard to catch myself before I start with all that craziness. I really appreciated what you told me one time. "At some point we were lied to." We were told we could have it all... career, marriage, children, etc. without sacrifice. That it was the dream or what we should be striving for. It's not happening that way in my world. Nope, not at all. I will say that I doubt I'll regret not doing the dishes or folding the clothes, but I will feel badly for not giving the boys one more hug, or one more chase, or one more tickle, or one more chance. You know? Am I going on and on? Well, motherhood is my passion. I can't imagine doing anything else!

Jennifer said...


I dunno about this mommy guilt, It seems to be a hazard of the job! Maybe I should just embrace it and move on.... You know, I really do believe we were lied to. Remember that song form the seventies, "i can bring home the bacon.... fry it up in a pan.... and never forget you....blahblahblah" Its total crap. Also, having mused on it for the night, I think that maybe if I changed my "ideal", what I think perfection is, that might really help too.

Jennifer said...

Awww shucks Rob,
I think you are pretty awesome too. I would be interested to know from the daddy side of things, how it goes. Do you guys have Daddy guilt?

Carrie Thompson said...

I love this post! I agree 100% what you said and I am currently really struggleing with this! I think the harder job for me is mommy- I mean I fail at both so much but somehow it feels worse to fail with kids? Does that make sense? I struggle with GUILT too.

Rob said...

We definitely do.

I feel bad for not being there when Heather needs me and is having a bad homeschool day or a bad day at all. If something breaks and I'm not there to fix it, I feel torn, being away at work. If she's sick and I have to go to work, I'd much rather be there helping.

So while I know I'm providing a useful thing for my family, the money to let us live our lifestyle, it seems like the "empty" part of the providing.

Us Dads always want to be there to do our part (change diapers, clean, cook, all that good stuff, maybe just listen to problems).

Marriage is a team sport and when you know your teammate is down and you can't be there to pick them up, it makes a Dad feel helpless. Guys don't like to feel that way :)

Melanie said...

This is a terrific post. I can completely identify with everything you said! I personally have both mommy guilt and I guess you would call it wife guilt. I always feel like I can never do enough on either counts despite the fact that Mike would never complain! I think being a mom is the harder and more guilt provoking role however, because I know everything I do is shaping Kelsie into the person she will become. That is such an awesome and overwhelming responsibility! I think we as moms naturally take on more than we can handle and society today expects us all to live us to the supermom ideal and it is just not possible. That too adds even more pressure!

Jennifer said...

I know exactly what you mean. I mean, they are children, its not like they can go get their needs met somewhere else. That's why I feel the guilt so much more strongly with them.

Terra said...

I've had this conversation many times. We as women put unrealistic expectations on oursleves. There's simply not enough time. Back in the day kids could go outside unsupervised & a drink at 4 in the afternoon was commonplace. I feel more at home in someones messy house because that means they're like me. I have a laundry pile that would shame my mother, dishes in the sink from last night & kids hanging on me right now. The little humans come 1st. I'm guilty of pressuring myself to be more, do more, have more. If I died tom. I'd hope my last moments were spent doing something worthy of my time. The people w/ "perfect" lives are hiding something. It's usually their unhappiness.