At this time, my wife Elisa is currently on a 15-day mission trip to Uganda and Ethiopia. While she is away, I took some vacation time to stay home with the kids. I must say I am handling my duties pretty well, considering the house is still standing! During this time, it has kind of made me think about things. About how when Elisa gets back, I plan on showering her with love, and affection, and maybe a gift or two. Not just because I missed her, but because I forgot exactly how much work it is to run a household with a 2 year old and a 6 year old roaming the halls. And that made me realize that we, as husbands, tend go get too comfortable with ourselves from time to time.
We guys (as in I), tend to forget that it is A LOT of work. Running this child to a doctor's appointment, running that child to swimming lessons, then to soccer practice, or a play group, getting all the meals and snacks prepared, putting the house back together after a day's worth of playing, and clean ups, baths, bedtime stories, bed, assuring them nothing is under the bed to get them back to sleep, and press the repeat button in the morning. And sometimes doing so without getting anything done for yourself. Now I know that my wife is a Superwoman in her own right, and she is awesomely great at what she does as a stay-at-home-mom, but getting the hands on experience (in her absence) has opened my eyes even wider than before. That said, I now have a better understanding of how things are when I would normally be returning home from work. And those things are my own assumptions.
Before I used to joke to her about "living" on Facebook, and checking emails in the evening most nights after dinner. This is sort of a light-hearted complaint I hear from several husbands quite often. Well now seeing the full-on routine of the day, and seeing that my kids have only two speeds: Pedal-to-the-metal and Sleep mode, there is absolutely no time to sit in front of a computer during the day!! So now I understand why she runs to check her accounts when I get home, because that is really her first opportunity to catch up on things. So for that, I now feel silly, and apologize for thinking in my own head that things were not as they seemed
So in short, I just want to tell her THANK YOU for all that she does and that I do indeed appreciate her. I also have a whole new appreciation for single parents…….for those of you out there, I applaud you for all that you do. This is a complicated enough job with two people involved, so I just can't imagine juggling the house, the kid's needs and work by myself permanently. Just can't begin to fathom it. So here very soon, I will be celebrating my wife's arrival back home! And you can believe that I will be showing my appreciation
Brandon Hyman is a military dad of two who counts on his wife's good will and flexibility.
Last night Mrs. B and I had the dreaded feeling parents have when at 11 p.m., one of the kids (the Boy) shuffled into our room and said, "I don't feel good; my tummy hurts". Dealing with a sick kid is bad enough, but the real source of dread lies in the fact that this is just the beginning. With other kids at home, if this thing does turn out to be a virus—which it did, then your chances of this little event lasting through multiple kids has goes up dramatically. The Twin-kies certainly did not help their cause. They insisted on taking the Boy's disease-plagued cup and drinking out of it all day long. Their indifference for their own water glasses was almost super human. You would have thought only the sweetest water came from the disease cup, and their own water was flavored with dead fish.
Having a sick kid has other complications, like the fact that the Boy’s younger brothers could care less how he feels. They continue the behaviors that have irritated him all week long (taking cars, throwing things at him, and getting frustrated when he is in their way). It all weighs into the “fun” of the event.
As a parent, it is hard to not see yourself reflected in the actions of your child, and maybe that is why I am so particularly nonplussed when the Boy gets sick. I am a complete baby when I am sick. Just ask Mrs. B. She will gladly confirm my status as a whiny, needy, wimp (and that is just when I have a headache). The Boy exhibits many of these same traits and they drive me nuts. Thanks to my lovely and tolerant wife, I have learned a few strategies that make me an acceptable caregiver.
I am embarking on the next couple of days of illness with the support of a wonderful wife and mother, and just like everything else, it’s never is as bad as you make it out in your head. A week from now (or by the time you are actually reading this), everyone will have already forgotten about being sick. I hope they do remember the time we spent just sitting together on the couch watching Cars for the 100th time. That’s the kind of thing memories are made of.
a. minor baker
A. Minor Baker is the father of four living in Austin, TX. In addition to a soon-to-be second grader, he and his wife are the proud parents of 5-year-old twins and a new baby sister. He can be reached for comment or question at firstname.lastname@example.org