Have you seen The Break Up? Or at least the preview they ran on TV every twenty seconds for The Break Up where Jennifer Aniston says “I want you to want to do the dishes” and Vince Vaughn says “Why would I want to do the dishes??” That one line embodies my marriage so well it’s almost not funny. I’m pretty sure we have some version of that fight at least once a week. Just substitute the words “unload the dishwasher”. Or “fold the laundry”. Or “change the litterbox”. There is no end to the list of chores no one WANTS to do. What Jennifer Aniston and I really mean is “I want you to know that I went to a lot of trouble to make a nice dinner tonight and if this was a truly balanced relationship with equal contributions from both partners you would do the unselfish thing and take care of the clean up without my having to prod and nag you. Oh and you could trying actually SAYING thank you sometime too.” But I’m not married to a guy who’d still be paying attention after “truly balanced relationship” so this fight keeps happening.

Now there’s a whole new list of baby-related chores. Feeding, burping, changing, rocking to sleep and entertaining. Can I expect E to WANT to change diapers? That’s even less fun than doing the dishes. But what about rocking the baby? When he’s quiet and sleepy he’s pretty cute, even if it is midnight. I also thought the mommy feeds/daddy burps system was working pretty well but E’s enthusiasm seems to be waning. Of course, cleaning up huge puddles of spit-up might be even less fun than poop. But someone has to do it and if E’s not volunteering the responsibility always falls on me. There is no one else. No maid, no helpers, no nanny, no Mom. I AM Mom. And to be honest, even playing with the baby becomes tedious when I’m the only one doing it. How many games of “Where’s the baby’s toes?” can you play – especially when the answer is “Woman, I have no idea. Feed me again or I’ll scream.”

Of course, not loving every second of baby care makes me feel incredibly guilty. I’ve discovered that’s what children are, little guilt machines. It doesn’t matter how much love and effort and care you put in, all you get back is guilt that you’re not doing ENOUGH. What if every second I let my baby sit in his bouncy chair and stare at the ceiling fan is another point off his future SAT scores? GUILT. What if not buying any special baby-brain stimulating black and white toys impairs his eye development? GUILT. What if letting him cry while I brush my teeth is destroying his trust in other people and he has dysfunctional relationships for the rest of his life? GUILT GUILT GUILT. And my own guilty heart is so full it’s started spilling out onto E. Why doesn’t HE want to play with the baby more? Why doesn’t HE get up at 3 am every night? Doesn’t he worry the baby might feel neglected? Doesn’t the guilt bother him? Does he hate his baby? One thing’s for sure, if we can’t find a balance between him WANTING to want to change diapers and me relaxing a little bit, he’s going to end up hating me.