Gripe Session

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(after writing this, I figured I’d better preface it with: I’m tired; work sucks for a variety of reasons and I still don’t feel especially well)

Nothing of particular note happened this weekend. Ethan had a little girl/friend over to play and they had a lot of fun. The mom came over and was pretty much a brick. Just kinda hung out even though my wife told her to feel free (PULEASE!) to leave her daughter there and go catch up on some errands or something.

The ridiculous thing was that we told her to bring bathing suits as we would take the kids to the pool if the weather was nice. So, she brings her daughter a bathing suit, but not one for herself. Since the kids are only three, my wife correctly felt that SOMEONE ought to be in the pool with the kids (even though we have a lifeguard). So this meant that there were two adult females at the pool watching two 3-year olds and that also meant that I was at home watching the baby.

Does anyone else see the lunacy here? Three adults to watch three children??? Now, had the other mother brought her suit, then my wife could have watched our baby, leaving me free to do any number of things that need doing around the house. But noooooo.

I’m going to bust on the women here for a second, so my female readers will just have to bear with me. When did women in society today become so helpless when it comes to kids? I mean, we only have two kids and my wife is at her whits end by the end of the day if I’m not there to help. Same goes for a lot of women I know…especially the single moms.

Now, believe me, I know kids are tough. I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be a stay-at-home dad, but one would argue that nature has not properly equipped men and therefore we biologically lack a lot of what it takes. For instance, I lack hips, so holding my son becomes a test of bicep strength. My wife on the other hand, can prop him on her hip and hold him all day.

Interestingly, we are only one generation away from moms who had 5 or more children and women today can’t seem to handle the one or two they have. And yes, a lot of moms work these days, but haven’t women argued all along that working at home is just as hard (nay, harder) than working at the office? If that’s so, then why all the complaints about having to come home and care for the kids? Why is working at the office, and then coming home and watching the kids, any different from watching them all day? If I read it right, when dads came home just 15-20 years ago, they didn’t take over watching the kids. No sir…they did what they needed to around the house, or else they just sat around. Amazingly, dinner still got served, the house still got cleaned, and most remarkably, the children didn’t die from lack of neglect. I don’t get it.

Maybe part of the problem is that working mothers carry so much guilt over not being home with their kids that when they are with their kids, they give it 200%. For example, I was briefly chatting with this mom at the house this weekend. I was standing there soaked in sweat from working in the yard, getting a glass of water before cleaning up so I could watch the baby while they went to the pool, and she says to me, “I tell you, I don’t know how people have more than one or two children anymore. I just wish someone would come over and just take my daughter for a while so I could get something done.”

In response, I said, “Yeah, it’s tough,” but in my head I’m saying, “Well, what ya do is you tell your child to go play by herself for a while and then you clean the house, pay the bills, cook the meal, whatever you need to do. Ya do know that you don’t have to play with them 24×7 right? See, you tell your child what to do, not the other way around.”

Perhaps I was so ready with this response because I want to say it in my own home so often, usually after a long day of work, when I have to come home and mow the grass or work on something and then cook dinner and or/ bathe the kids; which is pretty much every day.

I often wonder if we’re not doing our children a disservice by being their only source of entertainment at home. It’ll probably be better at our house when our boys are old enough to play with each other, but for now, my wife and I are both breadwinners, parents and playfriends and it’s two very full time jobs.

I don’t know…I just don’t think that this whole dual income parenting this is fairly equitable anymore. Just as men are accused of not respecting how difficult being a stay-at-home mom is, I feel women don’t respect that in addition to our office work, we men/fathers also have a bevy of things to do at home; especially if you own your own home and have any kind of yard. So while women get help with the kids, how many men get help with the house or the yard (note: I didn’t raise my hand)?

Yeah, I’m a little frustrated. My wife has another “offsite” meeting tonight where she gets to spend the night at a local hotel and get a full night’s sleep while I, yet again, get to stay home with the boys and answer the nighttime feeding request at 11 p.m. and then probably again at 2:30 a.m. and/or maybe at 4 a.m. Perhaps tonight I’ll let him just cry through the 11p.m. feeding since my wife won’t be there to coddle him. Heck, I know people with 2 month olds that sleep through the night, so maybe I’ll let him cry through his 2:30 feeding too. We’ll see. I need a REAL vacation I think.

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