The other week my husband was packing for his business trip. He was leaving for 2.5 weeks. As he packed in our bedroom, I hid reading a novel in my son’s bedroom, pretending to put him to sleep. My husband travels fairly often and I hate it. I have become used to it. I have figured out how to handle it and the kids are used to it too. But I still hate it so I don’t help him pack. It is my passive-aggressiveness way of letting him know that I think the whole thing sucks.
Eventually though, I made my way to the bedroom and told him I was going to the other room to sleep since he wasn’t done packing. He asked me to stay with him. As it got later, he began to get frustrated and I asked him why he had left packing to the night before his trip. He looked at me and said, “You are a rarity”. And I thought, “Yes, he finally sees how great I am”. But that was not the case. He then went on to say that most wives married to men at his level didn’t work and so they had time to pack their husband’s suitcases for them. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed.
But my husband isn’t a chauvinist. He doesn’t think women are lesser. He doesn’t think women shouldn’t work. He just doesn’t want me to work and truth be told, I kind of get it. I know our lives would be easier if I didn’t work but I also know that I would be miserable.
We live in a time when women can have it all. But the problem with women being able to have it all is that we want it all. I want to work. I love my clinic. I get joy and fulfillment from my patients. I also love my children and I don’t want to miss a single bedtime or soccer game. And I want to make dinner and help my husband pack. And I want to run a half marathon and do hot yoga and make jam and maybe preserve some garlic. I really want it all.
But just because you can have it all, doesn’t mean you should. I am starting to realize that something is going to have to give. As my clinic continues to thrive and my children continue to grow, I am realizing that I need to lay down some boundaries. I am struggling with this. Giving up my clinic means giving up an enormous part of who I am. Not giving it up means that my family will have to make sacrifices that aren’t exactly necessary but that will enable me to continue to do what I love.
I am working through all of this, hoping that some divine intervention will point me in the right direction. I know it will take time and eventually, I will figure it all out. Until I do though, I think I will go and preserve that garlic.