Katie’s last few posts have been about the difference between men and women, moms and dads. And while I agree whole heartedly about the dreaded man cold, I wonder, is there that much of a difference between working mothers and working fathers? Take last week for instance. In a reversal of roles for my house, I was traveling for work, and my husband was left to juggle the school bus, child care, work routine.
Wednesday: Wednesdays are half days in my town so Max gets off the bus at 1:45ish. Since I work from home, I usually greet him, get him a snack then settle him in with books, homework or the iPad (most often of combination of all three) for a while until it’s time to pick up his brother at child care. Since I wouldn’t be home, and my husband couldn’t leave work early to meet the bus, he arranged for his father to take care of Max for the afternoon. He did have to leave slightly earlier than he normally does to pick up Ben at child care by 5:15 p.m.
Thursday: Get both boys and himself ready. I usually do the morning routine with the boys since I don’t need to leave the house, meaning, I don’t have to look presentable. The plan was for my husband to leave the office by 3:15 p.m (as prearranged with his boss) so he could meet Max at the bus stop at 3:45. Well, a work crisis arose and he simply could not leave. My brother-in-law to the rescue. He was able to meet Max and stay at our house with him until Ian could leave work and get Ben at the center. Ian also called in reinforcements for that evening, having his parents over for dinner. Actually, they ended up spending the night so Ian could get to his can’t miss, can’t be late, early morning appointment the next day. Oh, and as an aside, while all of this “who will pick the kids up” scramble, I was getting voicemails from Ben’s child care saying he was having a really rough day, was out of control, having a tantrum etc. Great, now I feel badly that my husband has to deal with that too! I know calling in reinforcements may make it sound like he couldn’t handle it all, but keep in mind he was doing all this, while dealing with the work crisis and I was not reachable.
Friday: Everyone makes it to work/meetings/school on time thanks to the help of Grandma and Grandpa. But oops, now I’m the one with the late arrival to pick up Max from the bus stop. Thank goodness my mom had the day off and could meet him. She picked Max up and took him to her house, while I arrived home with only a few minutes to drop my stuff off and rush to the Harvest Fair at the child care center that I’ve been promising Ben I’d take him to. Phew.
So I think that some fathers, the ones who are equal partners in child care and housekeeping and all of that do deserve some credit. I love this article by Ken Gordon. It really describes what my household feels like. He thinks maybe we should all be called “overworked” instead of working mothers or fathers. I like it. What do you think?
Thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, Abby Off the Record for linking to Ken’s Huffington Post post.