On the list of things I like about working (which incidentally, also includes #1: money and #42: discussing last night’s tv shows with co-workers) is the absence of pressure. The kind of pressure I am learning about as a reluctant stay-at-home spouse. Now obviously if you have kids and you stay at home, your only real responsibility is to keep them alive. So if your significant other returns home from the office, after a long day’s work, and sees that the kids are all breathing and accounted for, even if the house is a wreck and dinner consists of freezer burned girl scout cookies, it’s a major accomplishment.
I have no kids. No pets. And only one plant. It’s small, and really only needs to be watered once a week. So when Bryan inevitably asks each night, “what did you do today?” my mind races. The pressure…
Should I tell him the truth? I took my time at the gym, not because I was exercising so much, but because someone had left a magazine out with a good article on Sheryl Crow. Spent 3 hours looking at greeting cards in Selfridges. Went to the grocery store but then couldn’t remember what I really needed or wanted, so I left. Laughed a little bit when Ellen DeGeneres came out and danced with the studio audience. Took a quick cat nap at 11:30am- waking up at 10am is intense!
So invariably I will quickly recount the productive aspects of my day– “Looked for jobs online, went to the post office, went to the dry cleaner, went to the grocery store, dropped off the recycling, went to the gym, got that lightbulb we needed at the hardware store” in an authoritative and somewhat dramatic tone that will sound like I have had a full, stressful day. Even if the sum total of all those activities was two hours.
My real fear though is that I don’t recognize this crazy person I have been replaced with. The other night I made lamb chops. LAMB CHOPS. I am 31, and I don’t even like lamb. Bryan came home from a long day’s work, looked at his smiling stay-at-home spouse, bit into one, considered it, looked up at me and said “You’ve really stepped up your game.”