Monday, March 22, 2010

Competitive

My husband's career is really taking off.

I know how hard he has worked for this and for how long. More than anyone I know how much he loves his work and cares for his patience, that if anyone deserves this, he does.

But standing next to him at a big professional seminar where he was invited to speak and seeing how much attention and admiration he was getting from his colleagues, his professors and his management, I couldn't help feeling sad because my own career is in limbo.

The feeling was a shock frankly. He had asked me to take the information and create figures and charts and fancy graphics etc.. to create a hi-tech presentation. He was worried the content was too dry and too technical and would be too boring. And well, I do have time on my hands so I spent a couple of weeks researching and drilling into the data to understand it well enough to be able to present it well. Not an easy task because let's face it, the material WAS dry and boring.

As time went by and the day of the seminar approached, I started to build up the same nerve attacks I would build up for my own presentations. I had more sleepless nights than he did!

As he spoke I was watching the audience, trying to read body language and reactions. I was so desperate for him to do well. Up until he finished speaking, I felt like it was MY presentation too. I felt that we were a team.

And everything went well. He was great. He may not be great with Powerpoint but he is well-spoken and charismatic and he knew his stuff. I was worried for nothing.

But then at dinner after the seminar, he was surrounded by people I didn't know, speaking a language I am trying to learn but still have a very flimsy grasp of. And he was the star.

And I couldn't help it. I thought of the times when I was the star. I remembered how good it feels to succeed. I remembered how ambitious I used to be, how much I loved challenges, how much I enjoyed meeting impossible deadlines, succeeding in the most adverse conditions. I remembered the rush that you get when you pull off something you know not everyone could have pulled off and when that is recognized. And I missed it so much.

So yeah, I think for a moment in there, I envied him. I wanted to do as well. And it hurt a lot to think how my career is in limbo, to think of what I left behind, of how hard it is to start from zero and prove yourself all over again in a new country and get to the point where you truly feel you are in your element, you know the industry and the market, you know the clients, you get invited to all the professional events, you get unsolicited job offers, you can take on anything.

Of course, he knew. It's annoying how well he reads me when I don't want to be read. He got all worried and protective, trying extra hard to introduce me and involve me so I don't feel left out, telling everyone he couldn't have done it without me etc...Everything a good husband would do. And consequently I was left feeling like a monster for worrying him instead of letting him enjoy his moment.

I love him and I always will but I don't think I'm cut out to be the woman behind the great man.

Since that night I can't seem to get rid of these feelings. I get jealous just watching him dress for work in the morning. If he takes work calls when we are together, I get jealous because I remember when I used to get lots of 'important' calls too.

Is it normal to feel you want to compete with your spouse? Why do I only feel this with him? I mean, I am not threatened by the success of friends or relatives or siblings so why him?

I hate myself for feeling this way. I mean, we're in love and we're married. We're meant to support each other. I should be supporting his success. I should be proud and happy for him. What kind of wife am I?

11 Comments:

Blogger Live said...

Him, because he is the one for him you left everything (you are now craving) behind only for his sake

3/24/2010 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Dunno what to make of that, LouLou! Maybe you are just a bit resentful that he's got a fulfilling career and you don't, but want one?

I think it's totally great that you want to get back into the game, by the way :)

4/15/2010 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger anna said...

It's important that you are aware what you are missing: that's the function of being jealous. It means you have to think carefully about what you want to do with the rest of your life. I won't be easy, but you to start somewhere. Learning the language is a good start. I'm also in a career limbo (I work as a freelancer, business is slow). But I got a lot of energy being involved in community work in my own neighbourhood. This work provided me with lots of contacts and boosted my self esteem.

4/17/2010 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Thanks for your input everyone.

I don't know. I was so consumed with him and with motherhood that I really thought that would be enough.

But I was wrong. That's not me and will never be. I am too ambitious, too restless and I have too much energy. I am the only relatively new mother I know who complains that her baby isn't taking enough of her time, that he sleeps too much. When I see other mothers with babies, they're all so exhausted etc...But me, I was never much of a sleeper anyway. I was always on the go. So the hours the baby is asleep and the husband is at work are really tough on me.

I can't spend the rest of my life waiting for the baby to wake up or the husband to come home for work. All that hyperactivity will turn into resentment and frustration and poison everything.

It's hard to look yourself in the face and realize you're so much more self-centered than you thought.:(

4/18/2010 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger Puppy said...

Having another baby may be a solution. If one will sleep the other will be awake for sure to make u busy :))))

Stay well.

4/18/2010 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

It's hard to look yourself in the face and realize you're so much more self-centered than you thought.:(

LouLou, I don't think doing whatever you need to do to be happy and satisfied with your life is at all selfish. Your happiness has a direct impact on the rest of your family too, you know! :)

4/19/2010 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Néphèle said...

You're the good kind of wife. The kind of wife who loves him to death, supports him, lecft everything behind just to be with him and your family. You're the great kind of wife.

But you're also a girl, who had a life and a self before he came along, a girl who needs to feed of her own success and use her own wit and have her own achievements and her husband can look up to her from a seat among the audience, and feel proud of her, too, like you did for him.

You have the needs of a whole person, not just the needs of a widfe or the needs and the life of a woman. And that, i find more than normal, if not necessary :)

You're the kind of wife who lets herself sizzle nights & nights over sth so trivial and so human, and then she writes a post about it :)

4/26/2010 09:57:00 PM  
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7/21/2010 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Alia said...

hey Loulou where have you gone? I love your blog and check it often but I haven't seen anything in a while. is everything ok?

7/29/2010 02:29:00 AM  
Blogger 1029879D said...

My god, i have just read this and know exactly how that feels.....the conflict internally is massive.... and yet you want to be happy and supportive of them, but it is sometimes hard to when you remember you being in the light, you being the one who completed tasks, faced challenges..... i really feel for
you

I have tears in my eyes and in my heart for both of us, and so many more who took the back and found ourselves the woman behind the big man. Especially when that's not where we set out to be. I thought i was the only one who felt like this...... thank you for showing me i'm not.

10/15/2010 11:08:00 PM  
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