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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Job

I hesitate to mention what I do for two reasons. First, I don't want to sound pretentious and second people generally don't like people who do what I do. I am an attorney (gasp!). So is my new husband.

My husband would shudder at the thought of telling someone what we do. More for the former reason than the latter. I agree with him for the most part. I hate when people drop the "I'm an attorney" line in almost all situations. However, in the course of getting to know someone, inevitably you ask what they do. My husband dreads this question, and therefore never asks it himself for fear that someone will return the question. He is a little overboard on the whole "don't tell them we are attorneys" thing...but whatever.

My job is more demanding than my husband's. I work more hours and it is less fun with more stress. I am a civil litigation defense lawyer specializing in construction law (although if I have to deal with one more plaintiff who slipped and fell in the grocery store because they didn't notice the jelly on the floor in the rush to the chip aisle...I will kill myself).

My husband is a prosecutor. His job is more important than mine, but less stressful, less hours, and certainly more court room time (which means more fun). It is my dream job, and I am secretly jealous of him getting to do it. As all important jobs do, his job does not pay as much as mine. Therefore I am what you call the bread winner.

Of course that's just if you looked at it on paper. In real life, my new husband does all the laundry. He does 90% of the cleaning and neither of us really cooks, but he is responsible for dinner most nights. Did I mention that he does all the yard work, food shopping and in general keeps our lives on track? Sometimes it feels like I contribute little other than my paycheck.

And I am bitching because I feel like I don't clean and cook enough. Well....yes, yes I am. Because I want to be a good wife, and if that isn't kosher with Betty Friedan then she can give me a call and I'll explain it to her. I'm not saying I want to quit my job and take care of my man, but I think I would find satisfaction in making sure the kid eats a healthy meal, and goes to sleep in clean sheets because of me.

Only...it feels wrong to me to feel that way. I feel like I am letting women down by wanting to be a great wife. "How 50's of you" they say. And my husband doesn't get it. He doesn't see a problem here, thinks I am being dramatic. He is fine with me not doing anything domestic, "you worked hard today babe, it's ok, I'll get dinner"

And like I said in an earlier post, we do everything together, so I am always right there with him in the yard, or painting, or even figuring out the wiring on the deck, or the crack in the foundation...I hooked up our new printer the other day. I just can't get a handle on anything domestic. The very things I think I should be doing are the things he does almost by himself.

The last generation sold us a bill of goods girls..."YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL". Just kidding you! You can't. So the key is balance. Balance and learning the nuances of your oven so you don't burn everything that you put in it...despite following the directions to a tee...Betty Crocker my ass...I mean, COME ON! The directions said 350 for 25 minutes. What am I doing wrong here?

And you know what? It isn't alright to just do one or the other...you are supposed to do it all. Can't just stay at home OR work, because women are divided on this issue. Each side makes the other feel inferior. If you stay at home and take care of your family, you feel like the career women are looking at you with pity. And if you are a partner at your firm, and don't cook for your husband or keep the house perfect or (god forbid) put your kids in daycare, then you know that the stay at home crew is whispering about how bad of a mother and wife you are.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Thanks for being such a great role model Hillary Clinton, but do you have a good pound cake recipe? That would really help me out.


**P.S. this is where the aforementioned night sweats come in.

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