Just spent the weekend looking after the kids while my wife was away. I’ve no idea how she does it! It was such hard work. Honey, when are you coming home?
Have you seen these kinds of posts on Facebook? My husband would never post anything like that. He does know how I do it, and the reason he knows is because he does it, too. He’s a parent, just as I am, and he’s a grown man, and he’s perfectly capable of looking after his own kids for the weekend. Not babysit them, look after them.
I’m currently in a hotel, working. I’m not going to lie, it’s bliss. I ate takeout from Whole Foods while lying on bed watching trashy tv. I got to eat dinner, uninterrupted, and that’s a big deal. Normally my husband doesn’t get home until after we’ve all eaten and so I spend most of the time standing and shoveling food in with one hand while dealing with the constant demands of my two little boys. Later tonight I’ll drink wine, watch a movie, and go to bed early to get a full eight hours of sleep. Uninterrupted.
In the morning I’ll work, all day. Uninterrupted. Currently I work for two hours at a time, max. I’m constantly searching for my red editing pens among the papers and crayons on the dining table, opening my design app to find posters of chameleons (although, to be fair, I think Red could teach me a thing or two about Canva), and typing one handed with Smalls on my lap, ineffectually trying to swat his stubby fingers off the keyboard. I love that I can work part-time, from home, and maximize my time with the boys. But it leads to certain unique work challenges that my husband doesn’t have to deal with.
My husband understands why this is more than just a weekend off from the family; it’s a weekend on with work. Even if it was just a weekend away, to relax, read books and sleep in, that would be okay by him too. I won’t thank him for letting me have ‘time off’ any more than he’ll state he doesn’t know how I do it. I’m completely content that he’s at home feeding the kids, entertaining them, and putting them to bed, just as I do. Kissing boo-boos, finding missing shoes, planning around naps, just as I do. And I get to spend time out the house, think, write and create, eat, sleep and pee, uninterrupted.
What I will thank him for, however, is being such a great role model for our kids. They have no doubt that Daddy is more than just a babysitter. He knows what TV shows they really like and which ones they pretend aren’t scary, what Lego model they should build next, and how to encourage them at that difficult mid-point of a bike ride so they’re home before they know it. When Smalls plays with his stuffed animals, puts them to bed and rocks them in his arms, he says he is their Daddy. He’ll make an awesome one, as will Red, for good reason. They have the best example right in front of them.