I’m hoping to make it to the movie theatre this month to see the adult comedy “The Change-Up,” starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds. For one, I definitely need to get a date-night on the books – with three kids, one being a toddling 11-month-old firecracker; we’ve sorely neglected couple time over the past year. But beyond the date, I’m finding myself eerily drawn to the plotline of wanting to swap lives with someone else – my husband.
No, I do not want to be a man, but I do envy his life at the moment. You see, long ago, before we married, before we had kids, before we even knew each other … we made some decisions surrounding our career paths. He elected to earn his teaching credential and move into the role of developing kids. I, on the other hand, took my writing and marketing skills to the corporate jungle.
Here we are … a decade later … and his life just seems so much more balanced. He’s usually out of work by 3:30 p.m. during the school year, and of course he has multiple holidays and summers off. Our kids obviously benefit from his schedule, and he does the heavy-lifting when it comes to pick-ups, activities and the homework/dinner rush.
My career, on the other end of the spectrum, has translated into a long commute and even longer hours. The pay is certainly better – a plus for the family – but that also means I’ve earned the title of “breadwinner.” Yeah!?
Did I draw the short stick? Did my core professional skills lead me down this path? I’m not a money-hungry, corporate-climbing crazy person. Rather, my skills and job opportunities simply moved me along this road. Where is the off-ramp?
I have three beautiful children, and I want to be the one who spends time with them. I’m jealous of my husband, and I’m sometimes resentful that I need to bear the weight of our financial commitments. I’m not sure where we go from here, because we’ve kind of painted ourselves into a corner. We need to pay the mortgage, save for college, pay for preschool and beyond … and my paycheck largely accomplishes these goals.
So yes, I want to do a “change-up” with my husband. I want to swap lives with him, trading the long commute for a short one, the corporate gig for a position with more family-friendly hours, the frustrating time on the road for the chaotic afternoons with the kids. I want a “change-up,” but I don’t know how to get it – given we selected these career paths more than 10 years ago.
I know the moral of the story is that the “grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” as I’m sure the new Bateman/Reynolds comedy will so hilariously illustrate. But I’d sure like to give the other side a try. I think it might suit me.