On our honeymoon in Jamaica one of our horseback riding guides referred to me as “wifey” for the entire excursion. It was cute then. Lately, it is the personality I hate most. Wifey. She didn’t appear until we moved to New Jersey and the husband’s work life changed. Now, she rears her ugly head from time to time.
Wifey is the one who spends inordinate amounts of time folding laundry and trying to figure out how to feed her children all natural healthy diets on $150 a month and thinks she’s failed if she can’t. Wifey wonders why no one listens to her…ever. Wifey plans menus and play dates and doctor visits that coincide with paychecks. Wifey agonizes over these things.
Wifey often doesn’t shower. Wifey spends a good deal of time with poop-either in diapers or fishing it out of litter boxes or washing it off stuffed animals, or tennis shoe bottoms and bed sheets. Wifey hasn’t had a hot cup of coffee in years. The life of wifey is mundane. Her husband leaves the house at 6 and doesn’t return until 8. Yet, on weekends when she is out with him, everyone addresses him-looks him in the eye, as if he is the one in charge here. He is not.
He is impressive and he does great things and he is in charge of his world, but mostly he has no idea what’s going on around here and yet his name is first on everything. Everything.
Wifey only comes out every once in a while. Usually, Cristie realizes how blessed she is to have three beautiful, healthy children and be able to stay home and be there whenever they need that. Cristie recognizes the tiny moments are often the most important ones-for them and her. Cristie feels sorry for her husband that he misses them. Cristie understands her husband’s work schedule and knows he still loves all of them even if his time with them is limited and often cut off by work email or text messages. Cristie knows he will read this and feel bad. Cristie doesn’t want his apology or pity or those eyes. Cristie respects him and loves him and knows he feels the same.
Cristie is logical and calm and reasonable. Cristie has it all together.
Wifey is plain old pissed.
She did not picture herself like this. Wifey did not picture doing most of the parenting alone. Wifey did not imagine having her own business that only she takes seriously. Wifey did not expect having to live with such little respect. Wifey was caught off guard by how quickly her self-respect changed with her role as wifey. Wifey did not want to be a wifey.
Cristie chose to stay home instead of leave every day for work-not because of some altruistic maternal motivation, but because she really didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. She knew teaching wasn’t it so she figured raising kids was a good diversion. Cristie knows she made her bed. Cristie knows she wouldn’t actually trade her life for a commute into NYC-even if she had any kind of qualifications to justify one. Cristie knows if her other job weren’t so flexible, she would miss important things like playdates and doctor’s appointments and would probably cry at her desk every day.
Wifey doesn’t care what Cristie knows. Wifey wants her husband’s job. Wifey wants to get away. Wifey wants another life where people notice her and not because she has dirty hair.
Wifey wants a do over.
I hope Cristie is back tomorrow.
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