More than once recently I have found myself wondering if superheroes have families and if so what becomes of their spouses? Are they rocking themselves in a corner somewhere on the verge of a nervous breakdown or are they twirling their wedding bands, wondering how they got themselves into this? I wonder this because I sometimes picture myself as the Stay At Home Mom version of Lois Lane, toiling anonymously away wondering where in the hell my Clark Kent is because he’s late for dinner. It’s not easy being the primary caregiver to three young children while your husband is off saving the world. I’m sure Stay At Home Dads experience something similar. We often call moms superheroes, but in truth I feel like a sidekick at best most days.
My husband is a hard worker, always going above and beyond for his job, our church, our community, and while that’s great, sometimes I just want more time with him, more help with the kids, and more attention to the details of this life we’ve created together. I feel like a nonentity some days, like I traded the name on my birth certificate for the title of “Mom” which is both special and nondescript at the same time. It means I am supreme caregiver of my household, but also denotes I’m just one of many who bear the same title. While my husband has the time and freedom to do all these amazing things for which someone will praise him, someone may promote him, someone will at least notice, I will spend my days making sure he has that freedom. So what do I do with these feelings?
1. Guarantee Face Time – My husband and I will be hosting a small group together at church in the spring. It will be about marriage, because while it can be work, I truly believe marriage is a blessing. The bonus is that it guarantees some face time with the hubby.
2. Give Yourself Credit – Primary caregivers usually get little to no props for the countless hours we give of ourselves. We often don’t get a break or a “thank you.” Our job is one we cannot retire from, take vacation or a sick day and will one day be a little sad when we have done our jobs so well that our children don’t need us. So while our voice may be the only one we hear saying it, make sure you say it often- “What I do is important.”
3. Do Something Just for You – This is the advice primary caregivers struggle with the most, especially me. We are used to putting our needs last. We are used to serving in the shadows. You have to make time to do what makes YOU happy. For me it’s writing this blog or reading a good book.
So this is my commiseration with all the primary caregivers out there whether you have the title of “Mom” or “Dad.” It’s not easy being the spouse of a superhero. I’m glad they are out there saving the world, while we quietly take care of our families. I know it needs to be done.
Despite my weariness, I try to remind myself that I don’t in fact like the spotlight. I didn’t become a parent to get accolades, money or fame. I may never be known outside the walls of my home, but here I AM the superhero and NOT the sidekick, even if I forget it sometimes. To quote the poet William Ross Wallace, “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.”