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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