I’ve been wanting to say this for a while, waiting for the right words to formulate but they don’t. I’m worried you’ll get mad at me about it or take it differently to how it’s intended but I need to get it out. The truth is, I’ve got a touch of the green-eyed monster about me these days; I’m jealous of you.
I know you’ll probably laugh it off, claim that it’s the other way round and that you should be the one jealous of me. After all, don’t I get to live the dream? I get to spend half the week doing a job I enjoy before spending the rest of my time playing with our son, popping out for drinks with friends and taking part in all manner of activities. Meanwhile you’re stuck in an office, sometimes getting less than a snatched ten minutes with your boy in the whole day and even then it’s when he’s grumpy, fussy, just plain exhausted. I know that’s how you think of our lives. I know I’m lucky to get that time with him, even if it’s often far from the fun time you imagine but I can’t stop that feeling. I’m still jealous.
I’m jealous that your path is planned out. That there is never a question over your future, your career, your work. There are no hours spent trying to decide if you’ve made the right decision by taking time out to have a child or be part time. No wondering if it would be better if we traded places. No trying to fit your old job into half the time in order to retain that side of you. No sacrifices of your career or hard earned position. You haven’t had to pick up pieces of your old life and try to fit them back in amongst your new one to make it work. You haven’t sat in the toilet and cried that it is all just too much. You haven’t had to re-learn half of your role, feel the pressure of other people having to work around you, understood what it’s like to step out, felt what it’s like to step back in.
I’m jealous of your confidence; of the fact that fatherhood seems to have served only to make you surer of what you’re doing and the person you want to be. I watch you dealing with our son effortlessly and I wonder; what is it like to be you? What’s it like to not question yourself over and over? How does it feel to just BE? Parenthood seems to have divided our abilities and whereas you’ve flourished, I find myself worrying that I’ve wilted. That even the smallest decisions are ones I agonise over – am I feeding him properly? Are we making the right choices? Are we doing the right things by our baby? I bite my tongue to stop myself picking at you to try and gain some control and yet I find myself doing it, that envy of your confidence seeping through despite my best intentions. I’m sorry. I tell you that all the time but I am. I’m sorry.
I’m jealous that you are still you. I know you hate it when I say that but it’s the truth. I’m jealous that your body wasn’t stretched and wrecked by pregnancy, that your hair hasn’t fallen out and now sticks out at angles and you’re not habitually abused by a hungry baby desperate to get to your body. You can laugh, cough or sneeze without fear of wetting yourself. You still look like you, your clothes fit, your body fits, you fit. I wouldn’t give up any of those changes for the world and yet I still feel that twinge of resentment sometimes that it isn’t fair. That my confidence in myself can take a beating far beyond what you could ever understand. That when you compliment me it feels forced, when you don’t it feels like torture. That I both love and hate my body in equal measure – it’s given me my greatest gift and yet it no longer feels like mine. I don’t feel like me and yet I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
But worst of all, I am jealous of your relationship with our son. In my darkest moments; the middle of the night, the toughest of tantrums, I resent that you get to be the ‘fun’ one. That you get to come in and play and laugh and joke with him. That from the minute he hears you at the back door, you are his sole focus. I am the comfort. The food. The discipline. The routine. You, you are the joy. It lifts my heart up to hear you together, to watch your enjoyment of one another, to see you bond in a way that is so similar and yet so different to anything I could achieve.
So you see, husband, I’m trying to show you that it isn’t my life you should be envious of. That our lives both have their own struggles, our own issues to overcome, our own misconceptions to consider. You should be envious of your own life and me mine because really, we have nothing to be jealous of.
You’re one hell of a Dad. I love you.
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Thanks Nic, means a lot! x
Yes yes yes!!! I’m constantly jealous of my husband he gets to be “good cop ” all the time.
Sometimes I want to be the one who doesn’t look around the lounge and see mess, instead seeing the scope to make a den or eat junk etc… I’m going to suggest some major role reversal I think!
Beautiful post which really resonated with me. I’d imagine this was hard to press publish as you are a relatively private person on your public internet site 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to publish this. I’m sure mum’s everywhere will relate.
p.s that final pic of father and son – wow you so powerfully captured a beautiful moment
I went backwards and forwards SO many times, me and my public private sharing! The great news is that I got a lovely message from said husband this morning telling me how emotional it made him and what a great job I’m doing.. talk about getting all the feels!! Thanks for the photo comment, I’m so snap happy these days! x
I can relate to this in so many ways. My husband has worked away during the week for two years. When he comes home he is the fun one I’m envious that he has a life and sleep! He is an amazing dad and it always makes me doubt myself. It’s tough being a mummy at times.
Isn’t it? I don’t know if they doubt themselves as much. The fun one is always hard, I think it only gets worse as your children get older. I guess someone has to be the normality and discipline! Thanks for reading x
What an honest & touching post you wrote here! Those are all things we think but then think we shouldn’t think or feel. It’s great that you put it out there. It’s not easy being mom – especially in those first months when you don’t feel like yourself. I honestly didn’t come back to feeling like me until my babies were around 2 years old! I know that sounds mad but it takes time. xx
Thanks Becky, I spent such a long time trying to decide if I wanted to post it, especially the bit about being jealous of their relationship. Hopefully it’ll show others that it’s not just them feeling that way! It definitely isn’t easy being a mum, there are so many things I never fully appreciated before. The great thing is, it’s given me a new level of respect for my mum! I’m glad to hear that in time things return to a new normal, I don’t want to wish away the time but at the same time, can’t wait! Thanks for reading x
Beautifully written, could almost have said it all myself. The grass isn’t always greener huh?
Definitely not, I’m sure he has very similar things to say about how he feels as it’s never that easy!! x
Oh so true, so beautifully put! I try to explain this to my husband so often and he never quite gets it – will certainly be getting him to have a read this evening! x
I hope it goes well!! I don’t think they get it, but then I don’t think I get how he feels either! x
It’s a struggle, isn’t it. They get jealous of us not having to go to work, or spending more time with the kids, or having more of a bond. We get jealous of their sleep and time to themselves. The truth is both our lives change when kids arrive and he has to accept our changes. Lovely post.
So many changes. I think it’s just as hard for the guys in their own way as well, I’d hate to see our little boy for such a short amount of time – that said, he does get to sleep!!
I would love to see you husband write a response to this, it’s interesting how we all have our different perspectives. I know my partner hates that he misses out on so much with our baby, but he knows he could never swap places with me and he is impressed with what I do, no matter how badly I do it.
As a mama you have to give so much of yourself to have children, and that’s hard, it’s harder still that your children probably don’t ever truly appreciate it until they are a parent themselves.
I’d love to see his response as well but it’d probably be along the lines of ‘love you babe’ and that’s it! It’s so hard for them as well. That’s so true about the appreciation, the gratitude I have now to my parents has grown so much since having a child. Thanks for reading.
Beautifully honest post. I remember feeling like this when my youngest was born, particularly the last bit about being jealous of the relationship. My son lived for his dad getting home at the end of the day, and it broke my heart a bit at the time because I felt I wasn’t good enough. In that moment, I could have written this myself x
I think all of us go through this feeling, which is a comforting thing to hear! Exactly that, I feel like in that moment, I’m the second best parent. Which is ridiculous as it’s not a competition in the slightest!
Absolutely beautiful post Hayley, I think you’ve managed to say how a lot of us feel and you’ve done it so well!
Thanks Amy x
Oh Hayley I have felt exactly the same, and so glad I’m not alone. It’s not easy and it’s so hard, especially being the stricter parent and John the ‘fun dad’. I resent him too, sometimes ( a lot) xxx
Sometimes I think being the stricter parent is easier as they know more of their boundaries but it also feels a bit like all I ever do is bark orders!! Thanks for popping by x
This is beautiful and perfectly written. We decided that after having our second daughter I would stay at home. Whilst I know I’m incredibly lucky to be able to have this time with them, I’ve lost myself in doing it. I see my husband the same person he has always been and I’m jealous. Fatherhood has only enhanced his life. Whilst mine is unrecognisable. I don’t begrudge that, I adore being a mum to my girls, but I wonder will I ever be me again. X
Oh Laura, I know that feeling so well. It’s hard to reconcile that feeling with the fact that you wouldn’t change it for the world, isn’t it? It makes you feel so ungrateful but that couldn’t be further from the truth. x
This brought a tear to my eye. I am sure this resonates with most parents, its a tough journey and I have found myself feeling the same as this. Our eldest has a favourite parent and its not me. Well at least thats how it feels and I have struggled with it for quite a while. Although Hubby and I laugh about it, it does cut deep. The other day he drew a picture of his family and me next to him, its my favourite… xx
I’m not surprised it’s your favourite, I would be exactly the same way! It’s a side of parenting that I never appreciated before hand and something I don’t think any of us really want to admit to. Thanks for reading x
Wow! This is so beautifully written.
As I’m reading it I’m nodding in agreement as so many times I feel the same way. I don’t mention it as I just don’t know where to begin but you have put it perfectly.
Thanks Jo, that’s very kind of you to say! I think so many of us feel the exact same way but we all think that we’re the only ones struggling.