Part of me felt guilty.
He works hard, you know, usually over 80 hours a week. This weekend is brutal with back-to-back call nights. I knew he was tired after a nonstop day in the intensive care unit, with at least one patient who needed to be intubated or central-lined or something like that. (He tells me, but it all runs together in my mind.) I’d already woken him up twice during the afternoon, and we were all so ready for bed.
Three hours is just not enough when the toddler starts screaming and pierces your sleep. I lay still. I waited. (Usually I’m out of bed and across the hall before Gruff even stirs.) Eventually, he got up. Threw back the covers, grumbling, “I have to work in the morning…”
And so I felt guilty. Because he’s right. He has to get up and drive into the city at 5:30 in the morning and work for at least 36 hours straight. But I get to snuggle under the covers for a few more hours. I get to put on a pot of coffee and pad through the house in my soft pajamas and watch the snow tumble down. I get to turn on PBS Sprout or a Baby Einstein if I need a few more minutes to rest on the couch.
But on the other hand, I consider, it might be helpful to think of my job at home as a more-defined job. If I consider myself on-call for Smooch any time that Gruff is at work, that’s fine. Then when Gruff is home, I’m “off the clock” and shouldn’t be the default childcare-giver. We should split it, at least as much as we can.
He tried soothing Smooch in his room and I heard him offer to rock in the rocking chair, but Smooch would have none of it. Big bed, and Mama, he demanded. So Gruff brought him in to cuddle in our bed, and Smooch didn’t really understand that Mama wasn’t feeling well (because yesterday’s tired-and-achy has become today’s vague-sense-of-nausea) and wanted to roll all over me and get off the bed and run down the hall and try on our shoes. And then I picked him up and put him back on our bed, and he puked on me again.
And then I didn’t feel guilty anymore. Resentful, sure, (why don’t you puke on your father for a change?) but not guilty.