"I'm going to the gym." These are the words I hear from hubby almost every night at 7:30, as he puts on shorts, an old t-shirt and workout gloves and heads downstairs to the gym in our building.
Now, I know my response should be "Good for you, honey. I'm so proud of you for getting in shape so that we can have a long and healthy life together and that I can worry less about you getting cardiovascular disease or type II diabetes." I know I should be happy that I get an hour to watch Teen Mom in my pajamas without hubby trying to wrest the remote control from my hand. But I'm not happy. Why?
Because I'm a jealous, petty person. Hubby looks good. In fact, he looks fantastic, better than he ever has in the decade I've known him. And while Nice Wendy is proud and excited for him, Jealous Wendy wants to stuff butter into his Quaker Oats oatmeal squares. Pour Crisco into his morning cup of coffee and tie him to a chair so he can't burn off any of those greasy calories. If I have puckers and craters on my backside, he should have puckers and craters on his backside. Isn't that what love is all about?
OK, fine. You're right. Love is about supporting each other and rejoicing in each other's successes. It's about being excited when your hubby shows you his washboard stomach and big biceps. But here's the thing: these days, I'm working hard to accept my body for what it is and be less obsessed about how I look. I'm trying to embrace the muffin tops rather than berate myself for them. As hubby's BMI plummets, the feeling that I'm failing grows and grows, as does my desire for a big, decadent piece of thick, gooey, molten chocolate lava cake with coffee ice cream on top and then maybe some creamy fettuccini alfredo for dessert. Man, I'm getting hungry.
Did you have any idea there would be competition within marriage? I sure didn't. The first time I felt it was when our careers diverged, back around the time our daughter was born. He left for work each morning, waving fearfully to my resentful face before hopping in the car. In those first few years of my daughter's life, his career took off while mine was gasping what I thought was its last breath. Even though it was my choice to slow down professionally, jealousy oozed out of every pore of my body. And that jealousy negatively impacted almost every part of our marriage.
Now, though I'm not earning the big bucks by any stretch of the imagination, I'm feeling better about my career. But my body? Not so much. So every time hubby goes to the gym, it's a reminder of what I'm not. It's a reminder of how there's yet another way I can't keep up. I can't build a business, manage all the responsibilities of mommyhood and life, and still have a firm ass. It's just not possible.
But tonight, when hubby puts on his shorts, a t-shirt and workout gloves, I will smile a genuine smile and tell him how proud I am of him. Because I am. Then I will turn on the boob tube, watch some Restaurant Impossible, and try not to think about how the waistband of my pajamas is digging into my tummy. And how that tummy is starting to growl at me. Again.