by Leslie Morgan Steiner
Like a lot of us modern moms, I was intentionally late to the child-bearing party. I established my career before having kids. I waited to find the right man to marry. At the right time.
Then from age 33 to 38 I had three babies. Perhaps understandably, the only thing I had not completely established before motherhood was a strong, balanced marriage. Hey, you can’t get everything right, right? By the time we made it to our fifth wedding anniversary, my husband and I had three kids. We felt like our relationship had been hit by a Mack truck.
Of course I did not realize the stress work and motherhood put on our marriage at the time. I was too busy. Working, changing diapers, making sure deadlines were met at work and no one fell into an open toilet at home. I never slept more than three hours straight. I rarely saw my husband.
I was too overwhelmed to grasp that he was even more overwhelmed by the demands of work and kids than I was. Reflection and introspection don’t flow naturally to him. He tried to deal with the massive changes in responsibility by excelling at work and basically pretending everything in our life was exactly the same as before we had children.
Which, as I’m sure some of you moms understand all too well, really pissed me off.
My beloved husband slept through all the midnight to 2 am feedings and fevers and vomitoriums that go along with three kids in five years. He blithely went on business trips without clouding his mind with petty concerns such as who might stay home when a child (or two) got ill in his absence. My Harvard Law School negotiations cheatsheet was required to get him to make pickup at the daycare center so I could occasionally work past 5 p.m. or prepare for a critical meeting. He asked me to leave behind my comfy, family-friendly career to support his family-unfriendly career without even realizing what a sacrifice he was demanding.
Now our kids are 12, 10 and 7. My career is an unrecognizable squiggly line – 12 years ago I was a marketing executive at Johnson & Johnson with a promising future, stock options and international travel two weeks every month. Now I’m a work-at-home writer, speaker and consultant with the flexibility to be my children’s primary childcare provider.