“Just not cut out for watching children.” That was a text I got from my husband the other day. I won’t repeat what went through my mind and what I may have actually said out loud when I read it. Since going back to work, Will is in charge of the kids for about 4 hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings. The other 2 days I telecommute and then there’s the weekend, of course. So all in all, it’s not a whole lot of time to be on point. This was only his 5th day doing it.
After I saw that text, I called him, just to make sure nothing horrific or out of the realm of normal was going down. I heard Stella in the background, playing and intermittently bellowing. Felix was doing some low-level fussing. All in all, it sounded like a typical morning. For whatever reason, Will was struggling with it. He stated that he thought about getting a second job so that he could pay someone to help watch the kids all the time. He stated he wished they were older so things would get easier. I replied something to the effect of “Now you know why I was about to lose my shit after 10 weeks home with it all the time.” I got crickets. It made me kind of angry.
I guess part of me is glad that he’s having some problems. I know that sounds mean as hell, but I sometimes felt a lack of empathy while I was home on maternity leave, and I still sometimes feel it on the days I’m home. Even on weekends, I’m the one that juggles the kids most of the time while he works on whatever project. I don’t mean to imply he’s slacking. He’ll be outside cutting grass or doing some other variation of “man work” I either cannot or don’t want to do. I’m inside trying to do laundry and vacuum with 2 kids. I think cutting grass is probably more peaceful. It’s just a different world.
Will is great with Stella when he’s focused on her and her alone. He gets short with her when he’s trying to do something else and she’s swirling around which is always. My husband is NOT good at just sitting with the kids. And that’s what you have to do. You can’t get involved with rewiring a circuit board (or whatever the eff you do with a circuit board) or trying to purge the library while you’re in charge. They require a bit more attention than that. If you’re lucky, you can read some. But you’re going to be interrupted over and over and over again. It’s just what happens. It’s maddening. You’re frazzled and feel busy although you can’t do much of anything. And anything you try to do takes 400 times as long.
Things will get easier as they get older and are able to entertain themselves without covering their hair with paint and glitter. One day I will definitely look back and pine for them to be little again. Not every moment is a drag. Sometimes it’s sweet. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s damn entertaining. I know I recognize this. I worry sometimes that Will doesn’t.
I do get impatient with them. I get bored. I get frazzled. I get stupid having no one to talk to but wee ones and nothing to entertain my brain but reruns of cartoons. I guess some kind of acknowledgment of “I see now how hard this is” would be nice. Ultimately, this is probably a very typical mom vs. dad dynamic. It’s only now quite exacerbated since adding the second kid.
Insights, oh wise parents out there?