To Stay or not to Stay (Revised)

thanks to Roshni, I realized that my posts were not being seen. I don’t know what the problem is: but from now on, I’ll have to send my post via email and maybe categorize it later. In any case: i am glad that “ONE” person did inform me that my posts were not coming through! (thanks thanks thanks!!!)
Now, on to the post (and I hope that this turns out right and doesn’t have lots of blank lines in the post, which makes it difficult to read).

Everyone asks if I am going to work after the baby is born. This is a loaded question. it is not just about what “I” want, but about — yes, yes, what DH wants, but also and most important what would be best for the baby.
Let’s start with the baby’s needs. i do believe that a baby needs to bond with a mother, if possible. I am going to nurse and it will make it easier so that I don’t have to pump as much and We will be able to bond while nursing. I ask, who would be the best person to take care of the baby. DH offended me once when he suggested that I continue to work and he continue to try to get his mother a visa so that she can come and care for the baby. OK, it is not that i don’t want his mother to come: or even that i don’t want her to help with the baby. Why was I offended? First, I realize how quickly years pass. in no time, the baby will not be a baby, but he will be in school. I want to spend as much time with him as possible before this happens. And: Yes, I was offended that he thought my mothering skills were insufficient and that his mother could care for the child better / more appropriately than the child’s own mother. DH said that he was afraid that I would get bored and resent the fact that I had to give up my job. After all, i do like being productive and (for the most part) enjoy working. The extra money is appealing, to both of us, I will admit. And, I do like some of my co-workers and enjoy visiting with them in the break room during breaks and lunch. It is interesting that “before I was pregnant,” he was very adamant about me staying home. But, now, … … Well, is it a “me” thing or a “money” thing? I am not sure. Anyway, i am not naive enough to think that “every part of me” wants to stay home when baby is born. I certainly will miss (although I groan about it lots) “us” both riding public transportation to work and back. I’ll miss the money. I’ll miss the routine and schedule which I could never seem to get on, by myself. i am not that self disciplined. I’ll miss talking to some of my colleagues. And, i certainly dislike housework; which I will be expected to do more of. Housework is what leads me to stay at home, though. I am admitting right here and now, DH does not like to do it and rarely participates in the cleaning/cooking process. I know! All of you bloggers have wonderfully helpful husbands that see it their “duty” to help out around the house. Your openminded husbands also enjoy cooking and will cook dinners and breakfasts and all sorts of goodies! They are ready and willing to be equal partners in the upkeep of the house and/or at least will prepare meals for you — and take pride in doing so. congratulations! Lucky you. I am not saying that DH does not “help” from time to time. But, for him, each “help” is optional for him. sure, he talks about “doing more around the house,” but it usually doesn’t materialize. I admit that there is some resentment, even now toward his cavalier approach to housework. I am pregnant, working an eight hour day and his “household duties” consist of taking out the trash, lugging heavy boxes and … … maybe once a week “assisting with dishes.” There are many times when I let household chores go undone. Sweeping/mopping the floor, cleaning the bathroom and actually “putting away the laundry” are not performed as much as they should be. He might remark that I need to be more careful about going up and down stairs and that I should take it easy. But, his solution is to put the work off until later. “Why don’t you go lay down for a while.” But, I can’t sleep, knowing that there is a sink full of dishes or a meal to prepare just waiting for me. I am the cook/chef in my house. Now, if he gets up on a saturday, he never comes in and asks “Are you going to get up and make breakfast?” But, he will wait and wait and wait until I get up and make it. He knows that I am pregnant and I need to eat; so the possibility of “not having breakfast” will not materialize. sure, I could just make breakfast for “one.” but, i find that approach not really solving the delemma. Sure, it “gives him what he deserves,” but it doesn’t really lessen my work load any. yes, i could complain, pout and nag. Sometimes, i even do. But, I still don’t get the desired result. Certainly, i could remind him of his promise: “If you work, also, I’ll split the housework with you.” but, I think he actually said, “I’ll help you with the housework,” Which in effect means something quite different and “help” is quite subjective. The point is that Right now, at least, he is not going to change. I can grumble all day about it. But, it is what it is. Instead of daily complaints: I analyze my options and try to take the one that will best benefit my emotional and physical well being. . And, it is not just a “Women should do the housework” kind of thing. It is more of a “I am lazy and just don’t want to put forth the effort,” “Besides, you do it better and faster than I do,” kind of thing. He knows ‘some’ Indian/Pakistani/Arab men who do housework.the Prophet (PBUH) even cooked and mended his own shoes. He hears these same men encouraging him to “cook and help her out around the house.” when he is feeling a twinge of guilt, he might even “help.” But, when someone does something out of guilt, the activity is extinguished when the guilt is gone. I don’t find the approach “just do nothing and let the house get so dirty until he just has to clean it” a good solution because “I” have to live there, also.
This post was written (initially) about four weeks, ago, so in the last week or two, he has increased his “help.” And, I am not saying that this is not appreciated. In fact, I enjoy doing housework together. I was never one of those daughters/sisters/mothers who would watch someone else do housework, while I sat on my behind. I always figured that “if” it needed to be done, the more people doing it would decrease the load. So, I admit that he is helping out more and the most wonderful way to destroy resentment is to ask: “do you need any help?” Which, by the way, he is doing more often. Maybe because he knows how extremely tired I am. Maybe because I am nearing the end of my pregnancy. Or, maybe he strategically asks this question toward the end of my cleaning, so that I will naturally say “no thanks.” I don’t know if this will last or is just temporary. But, I am glad that he is taking the initiative to ask. Sure, I am still doing most of the work. His first priority is still computer work/ whatever. But, I can’t dismiss the improvements in his willingness to at least “jointly perform the household chores.”
Coming back to work and the baby: I know that I just can’t work an 8 hour day shift: spend three hours on Public transportation and still come home to do dishes, clean house and take care of baby … … especially while he reads the news, listens to cricket and talks on the phone. i will be a tired mother, an ineffective worker and a resentful wife. Besides, I don’t want to regret my decision to work, when the child is six years old and ready for school and I say: “Where did the time go? I didn’t have that much time to spend with child because I was off doing my own thing.” With my older children, I was getting my degree, so there was a significant amount of time when I needed familial/communal assistance in caring for the children. While they received excellent care(in most cases), the fact remains that I still relinquished the responsibility of my children to another person and in that way, it was not “My Care.” I also gave authority to others to make decisions for my children, which in hindsight, I regret. .
Then, there is the cost of child care. child care is expensive and the more specifics that we put on child care: location, values/child rearing close to ours, etc.; the more difficult it becomes to both find and pay for. and, we would have to probably use public
transportation to get our baby there and back. If the person came into our home, it would cost even more.
for these reasons, if it is financially possible, Yes, i will stay at home — and enjoy my stay!

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2 Responses to “To Stay or not to Stay (Revised)”

  1. Roshni Says:

    Nice to see you back Jan; your posts were missed! Is there any way you can add on the ones we didn’t see? About working, I’m with you on this! I would definitely want to stay home till my kids were in school; or even for longer if I could afford it! I do think it is important though to have an outlet for yourself to develop personally, so that you don’t lose your mind to dishes and baby sick! Maybe working part time, doing a degree course or volunteering, just something that is for you alone and gets you a bit of time out when you need it.
    On the housework issue, I’m sure your other half will improve on this! My husband is very good in housework; and is a better cook than I am! But that only happened because he was living alone for years overseas and couldn’t call up his mum to come bring him some food over! Many south-Asian men have issues in this department; and if they are blind, they sort-of subconsciously expect others to do their bidding! Give it time; I think the baby will change allot of things. You already said he is starting to get pro-active, so that’s progress! Finally, about your mother-in-law, he must realise that you both haven’t met in person yet and its unfair to throw you together when you have a new baby and so many changes going on! Once you have a routine and things are more settled, then there may be scope for that! My mother-in-law and I get on well, but even I don’t know how living together long-term would go! I pray you are taking it easy now and that you and the baby are well. Sending positive vibes your way!

    • jamily5 Says:

      Hi Roshni, I am not sure which ones you have not seen, so i will try to look into it more this weekend. for now, I’ll just have to email the posts. thanks again for the alert!!

      I think that it is true, what you say about South Asian men and blind men. Annoying, but true!

      I am going to do some braille transcription classes and hopefully get my certification. And, I want to start my Urdu learning again. I do want to do a bit of volunteering at Exodus Refugee Immigration Center to teach English as a second language. No, i don’t have a degree, but I think that i can do a reasonably good job. and, I will probably volunteer here, at the place i work, also. Volunteering at my workplace has two major benefits: 1. DH and I can ride in together: and 2. when/if I did want to be employed again, they might be mroe likely to hire me back.

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