About two years ago a couple of things happened. One, my husband was a casualty in the closure of our office. At that time he was completely burned out and we made the conscious decision to have him stay home for awhile to "decompress". We knew our children would only be little for so long and that this was a golden opportunity for us to have that stay at home parent that we originally agreed upon before having kids (although we initially thought it would be me). The second thing that happened was that my career took a turn and went into overdrive.
It really was the perfect storm. There is just no way I could have taken on the position I took on if he had been working full time as well, considering I had to travel occasionally and also had to put in 14 hour days on a regular basis.
It was an adjustment for him as well, considering he became solely responsible for everything household-related, including paying the bills, laundry, and most of the cleaning on top of shuttling kids everywhere, making lunches, and coordinating dry-cleaning drop off's and pickups. If you don't believe that being a stay-at-home-parent is a full time job you probably better think again.
So initially we thought maybe he would spend the summer at home with the kids then look to go back to work in the fall. Then we decided maybe we would get through the fall semester and he would look in the spring. Then somewhere in the middle of all of that, my company shut down and I took on a new challenge, one that has taken me in yet another direction. And now? Now I couldn't fathom him going back to work until Sam is probably in first grade. At least not full time.
But I digress. The thing is, in the last two years he has seriously become Super Dad. I mean, he can get stains out of the childrens clothing like I never could. He volunteers in Hayley's school several times a week (which she LOVES). He keeps our house and our life in order. He has the perfect routine for getting the kids up and out the door to school every single morning and he also has the perfect routine for homework and dinner every night. I adore him.
It also means that because of my career change and my travel schedule I am less involved with these kinds of details and therefore am not very good at them. Initially I carried a tremendous amount of guilt over this, and sometimes if you catch me in a particularly emotional moment I will confess to that. But these days I mostly try to recognize that it is absolutely ok for the traditional role to be switched and that my girls still have loving parents, regardless of what functions we perform in their lives. I keep trying to tell myself that I am also teaching them it is ok to be strong, independent, driven, successful women.
Nonetheless, in the last two years I have not spent much of my time doing the regular morning-nighttime routine. My husband had to go out of town this weekend so it was my responsibility to pick the kids up from school and make them dinner last night. Picking them up wasn't a problem but when it came to figuring out dinner I was at a complete loss. If you have seen my pantry (and I know many of you have) you would know there is certainly no food shortage in this house. Also I really do enjoy cooking. The only problem is that the things I like to cook are not the same things my kids like to eat.
Driving Hayley home from school I suddenly had a thought. Cook something I am always good at and they always eat. Breakfast.
The kids thought I was the coolest mom ever but all I could think about as I was tackling the evening routine was the movie "Mr. Mom" and for some reason the scene that kept coming to mind was when he was drying the baby's bum in front of the air dryer in the bathroom.
Is this what I have become? Mrs. Mom?
I chuckle a little to think of it and (at least at this moment in time) I'm not completely bothered by not being the perfect mom. I mean, even the perfect moms have their inadequacies. I am providing a good life for my family and my children know how much I love them. That's all that counts. So what if I don't know all of the tiny details. That's why families have two parents. And for those families that do it with only one parent, much credit to you.
In the mean time I am just happy that my kids ate dinner last night (three helpings) and asked for the exact same thing this morning for breakfast, which I competently prepared.
Just call me Mrs. Mom please.