This is going to sound like “woe is me!” but that’s not my intention at all. I’ll just have to let you interpret this at your own will.
True Story: I married Aaron knowing full well that he was a workaholic. He comes from a family of very hard working people and the men especially are men who work beyond what is asked of them. They’re great men. From a mans point of view – I’ve learned – this is how they show us they love us. So I know, in my head, that Aaron loves our little family more than I can fathom. However … I’ve been writing in my journals since year one that if I just put in my 5 years, maybe then … maybe after that period of time, maybe I’ll finally matter to him.
It’s harsh and it sounds like I don’t matter at all – which is not true. I already matter more than work, it just doesn’t feel like that lately. You may or may not know that Aaron started 2 more companies this summer and is going through a rigorous schedule of mentoring with the hopes of being successful once the program is complete (end of July). Good news is he’s learning some amazing lessons, making great new relationships within his working world and having a hell of time – both good and bad. Also? We’re a week and half away from the ending.
But it’s really hard to explain to Jessica why daddy won’t be putting her to bed again tonight (for the 3rd night in a row) because he’s working late. I’ve been asked, point blank, if daddy wants us any more.
That’s tough to write.
I know this is sending all kinds of red flags out to the family members who read this site. Moms and in laws and grandma’s and siblings. Yeah, this is fucking hard. And other than the transactional conversation of “how was your day?” and “were the kids good?” the most recent conversation we had was on the phone when Aaron called to say hi and tell me about his meeting – and I cried because he remembered I was alive. At the time he called I was folding his week-old laundry that sat crumpled on the floor. Something he did on his own for years until recently. It’s like he’s a shadow in this house – with small traces of his life scattered around just mocking us to believe that he’ll be back soon.
But the last conversation we had in person? Probably a date we stole a couple weeks ago, and guess what we talked about? Work. More work. And then we talked about how work was going.
It is no secret these days that the mention of work before acknowledging that I have a mind will completely shut me down. I miss my partner. My friend. I miss my husband something terrible. I’m not lonely, actually. For some reason I’m just weepy and tired and really ready to shake someone into believing me that this isn’t what owning your own business is really all about.
Aaron is not a bad husband or father, although I know I’m not making the case for the opposite very well … and he’s more than aware of how hard this has been on our family this summer. Oliver will be this size, this lovable, jovial toddler once. And Jessica will ask questions like “How does rain work?” and “When flowers open … do you think it’s like a song, too?” for so long. Then it’s over. They leave and hopefully find their happiness in life and here we sit in the silence of the memories he doesn’t have.
I guess I needed to write this because when people ask me what we or Aaron does and they hear that we’re a small business – they almost always get aloof. Like, oh, you’re “”business owners”” with a double entendre of air-quotes. And I don’t even know what it means, but it makes me feel like I need to downplay the fact that we are business owners. Like I have to be sensitive to them. AND ALL I WANT TO DO IS SCREAM AT THEM … DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS??? IT MEANS MY CHILDREN GO DAYS WITHOUT MORE THAN A MORNING DIAPER CHANGE FROM THEIR DAD AND IT MEANS THAT THERE ARE OTHER HUMANS WHO GET HIS FULL ATTENTION 100% OF THE GOD-DAMN TIME AND WE GET LEFT OVERS, WHICH IS A FUCKING BULL-SHIT EXCHANGE OF SERVICES.
It means it’s hard and I feel hopeless in this cavern of hopefuls. Because next month, it’ll be better. It’s always going to be better next month – and next month has never, ever come.
This is hard to write and publish for very obvious reasons. I don’t want to put Aaron down as a man or disrespect the work that he does do. Truth is, he’s amazing at what he does. He provides for us in a way I never thought possible. He’s kept his company debt free and hired employees and he’s methodical in his practices and work ethic. And he loves me something terrible and is struggling beyond anything I can see every single day because he’d rather be reading books to Jessica and chasing Oliver. He’d rather be making out with me and holding my hand and walking beside me down the road. And the hope is that after this is all said and done, that he’ll get to do all of those things way more often. But how are we going to get from here to there?
I also have perspective here, my husband is not part of the armed forces and over seas for months or even years at a time. I understand this. I’m not comparing my plight to that of someone who has to live, literally, without their partner. I just want someone to hear me. To understand that this is hard. I want someone else to be honest about it, too. Because I know for a fact that I’m not alone.
And I’m sick of being shoved into the pretty little column of “stay at home mom” or “wife” or “home maker”. I am a fucking warrior for my family. Did you know that the conversation actually stops when I’m asked what I do for a living and I say “I raise our children”? Literally stops. Apparently I’m not worth the sweat equity of the next generation. Of keeping a human being alive. No, I don’t wear polo’s or know how to code in HTML. I don’t answer phones or serve a customer for a paycheck. But my husband, the one you find so sincerely God ordered from work heaven? The one who fixes all your problems with your brand? He wouldn’t be half as amazing if I weren’t standing behind him – holding him up above my shoulders so the whole world could see how proud I am of him.
You’re right. Being a “mom” full time really isn’t that interesting. But then again, neither are you.