Last month, I was really sick with pneumonia. However between us, I wasn’t too upset when doctor prescribed a heavy dose of bed rest, even though that meant my husband was going to have to play Mr. Mom for a full week.
Now despite the stereotypes, I wasn’t too worried—my guy is the most hands-on dad I know. He’s changes the kids’ sheets in the middle of the night if one has an accident, cleans up throw-up, packs lunches, and regularly dresses both kids for school—maybe not in the cute outfits I would have picked, but beggars can’t be choosers, you know?
Yes, girls, he’s a gem. I hit the baby-daddy jackpot! But you know how they say don’t judge until you’ve walked a few miles in someone else’s shoes? Here are a few things my husband learned about me—maybe not so much walking, as carpooling—around in mine:
I am a full-time referee. About four hours into the first day, I got a phone call. My husband wanted to know if I knew that our 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son fought the whole way to school about who got to sing a particular song on the radio. Did I know? Um, yeah. I tame that beast daily! I suggested that on tomorrow’s drive, he turn off the radio and divert their attention by pointing out the trains, trucks and taxis around them. The next day, based on my suggestion, the threesome apparently counted almost 40 trains, trucks and taxis. Hey, anything’s better than crying!
It might not seem like it, but I actually hear everything my friends tell me. Some guys shy away from girl talk but not my man. Before I got my hands on him, he would have never dipped his toe into the gossip pool, but he came home with stories for me all week. But how the ladies communicate with each other still mystifies him, so here’s the deal: We get a limited time to talk to other adults during the day without the kids around, so we have to make it count. The sentences are run-on. We talk over each other because we need to get thoughts out as we remember them. We don’t mean to interrupt each other, but totally understand if someone has something more important to discuss than the current topic. If that hurts someone’s feelings, sorry, but too bad. It’s tough out here in Mommyland. If you need to bring note cards to keep up with the convo, then so be it.
I almost never get to enjoy a meal. On the second night, after putting the kids to bed, my husband asked me when I eat during the day. Between driving to school, working while the kids are in school, and then going full-speed for the rest of the day with them, he couldn’t figure out how to fit a meal in. Ha! Like I eat. Ok, I do, but usually I’m balancing sushi from Whole Foods on my lap while driving from school to ballet or speech therapy. I keep the snack packs of SkinnyPop Popcorn in the trunk of my SUV and say it’s for the kids, but honestly, I’ve been known to inhale a bag or two in a few minutes flat. Listen, Mama’s gotta eat and Starbucks coffee ain’t food.
I’m always tired. Even when I don’t seem it. I think my husband was pretty shocked that despite everything I do with the kids during the day, I still have energy to play with them at night when he comes home. I even heard a few, “I don’t know how you do this,” but he totally underestimated himself. He was a total trooper. On top of taking care of the kids almost completely on his own, he also kept up with his actual work. He didn’t skip a beat. But neither do I. While the kids are in school, I’m usually writing a few articles or organizing an event for a charity. If it’s a birthday month for one of our kids, forget it. I’m planning, making, and decorating. Scheduling classes, lessons, and play dates. Making sure everyone has winter coats, extra clothes in their cubbies, the right tights for the recital, and sewing a Halloween costume from scratch because the only thing my son wants to be is the only thing they don’t sell.
You know me—I’m Mom, just like you. We’re all busy, and totally exhausted, but we don’t seem to mind. We have the world’s greatest unpaid internship and although the job itself might not be that hard to get, it’s a highly coveted title that we’re proud to own.
By the end of the week, although he loves our kids more than anything, I think my husband was ready to get back to the office. And I couldn’t wait to get back in the car and start counting taxis…
Originally posted on Elizabeth Street…