Note: This is the first in a series of occasional guest posts from my wife, Amy, who swoops in to give us a working wife’s perspective on parenting.
January 6, 2010
I’m pretty sure he mentally divorced me tonight. I heard his disappointed voice say, “Oh my God! Honey, did you know she had this?” I left my dinner preparations to see a vast pile of oatmeal in front of the stairs. “No,” I said, “I didn’t know she had that …”
The truth was, I knew. I had given it to her. Dinnertime appeasement is essential. While what I do can barely be construed as cooking, it does take time. A whole 15- 20 minutes of time. What else is a mom to do but give her child a canister of oatmeal to stack her trains on? Did I think: a) she’d be able to take the top off, and b) she’d take said canister of oatmeal into the living room and dump it on the floor? No, I didn’t think that far ahead. If I had, I would have realized the possibility, but I was just struggling with getting through the moment.
The story of my life these days.
I have these moments when I truly realize he is more the “mom” and I am the “dad.” I mean this in the most stereotypical sense, of course. He takes care of her all day, every day. I swoop in every evening and assume mom duties—I make the dinner, we play, we bathe, we read stories, I put her to bed. But I sometimes feel I lack essential “mom” traits. For instance, last week while playing outside, Piper needed a tissue. Jeff pulled a Kleenex out of his pocket so quickly as if it was a reflex. I didn’t have a tissue on me. How can I be a true mom without tissue in hand to wipe my kid’s nose?
I sometimes laugh at how unrelatable everything is to me now. I saw a headline on my favorite parenting website, “Shared Parenting for the Long Haul: How to make sure Dad is doing his duties.” Wow, that’s not my life. My husband is the absolute apple of this child’s eye. They spend every day together. He gets her up in the morning, feeds her, plays with her, comforts her… Duties? The man does the child’s laundry, my laundry (he even hangs up my tank tops for crying out loud), the dishes, the grocery shopping … need I go on?
I can’t complain about any of this. Why should I? A man like this is rare. I know it. I value him. I don’t know how he even does what he does. Would I have gone crazy long ago? Probably. I’d like to think I could be a stay at home mom, but could I? Am I better at working and managing our finances instead of managing our household?
This isn’t what I’d planned, for sure.
There are stay at home dad groups, but what about the working moms to the stay at home dads? These are the women I want to meet.