This morning I left the house at 6am and arrived back home at 5:30pm. The kids were in Dad’s care all day long. Walking in the house I thought possibly a Midwestern tornado had struck us. Josh and the two girls were cuddled on the couch watching an old episode of Wipe Out and the boy was no where to be found (he’s a teenager, he hides in his room a lot.). Not only was the house a disaster, but the water had been turned off all day long because the city was doing some work on a main line. This left all the toilets full of WWII carnage. I gagged when I walked in.
“So, what did you guys do all day while I was gone?” They informed me that they watched a few movies. I looked around surveying the wreckage of movie watching. The dinning room table was lost under papers and clothes from the girls’ room, the dog dishes were empty, there were crumbs over every surface of the living room. Pillows and blankets were strewn in the ruins of a fort. The dishes were piled high (which can’t be blamed since there was no water.). The mountain of shoes behind the door had grown feet and walked into the living room. Upstairs the load of laundry I had dropped on the bedroom floor at 5:45am was untouched and the bed was unmade. Children’s books and blankies cluttered our bedroom. I walked back to the kitchen, ignoring the mess, and started making dinner.
**Sigh**. Welcome home Mom. We missed you, now get back to work.
Mom’s way is different than Dad’s way. When I’m home with the kids, the house ends up clean again by the end of the day because I can multitask. Chores get done and the kids are cared for at the same time. When Dad watched the kids, I’m just thankful that everyone is still present and accounted for at the end of the day. Dad’s Way is just different.
This reminds me of the time that my husband won a trip to Europe.
For Christmas one year, Josh surprised me with a plane ticket to Prague, Czech Republic. I had always wanted to go there and that year a friend of mine was teaching English in that city. Josh had secretly made plans with my friend to surprise me with a trip to visit her. I was totally thrilled on one hand, and a bit confused on the other hand. Why didn’t he buy a ticket for himself too? If it was because we didn’t have the money for two tickets, I didn’t want to seem ungrateful. If it was because he wanted to spend a week of quality time with our two young children, I didn’t want to take that from him. But I really would have preferred to travel with my husband. So I bided my time until I could discern the reason why he only bought one ticket. And I worried.
Secretly I worried about leaving Josh alone with a 1-year old and a 6-year old for an entire week, and for good reason.
A few nights later I spent the evening bathing the children and getting them ready for bed while Josh sat on the couch like a lump and watched Monday Night Football. I wanted to take a relaxing bath myself. So I handed the wet, towel-swaddled toddler to Josh while he sat on the couch barely conscious. I handed him a diaper and PJs and said, “I’m going to relax in the bath, don’t interrupt me unless someone is bleeding.” No response from Dad.
A few seconds into my bath I hear a sickening thud followed by intense screaming from our toddler. She had fallen off a bed and knocked her head on the wooden floor… but no blood, so I didn’t come out of the bathroom. “I’ll let Dad handle this,” I decided. A half an hour later I exited the bathroom and was greeted by a naked baby with a sucker in her mouth and red sticky stuff all round her face.
I scooped up the child and carried her to her father. “What is this? Why is she eating candy right before bed? Look, she’s all sticky! I just bathed her! And why is she still naked?” The only response I received to my inquisition was, “She brought it to me, so I opened it.” Obviously.
Another sigh. I again scooped up the naked, sticky child and headed towards her darkened bedroom. With my hands full, I did not turn on the light. Big mistake. Suddenly I slipped on something tube shaped, warm and squishy. “What on Earth? Did he give her a banana too?” I thought. I quickly turned on the lights and to my utter horror I saw my bare footprint in a pile of poo on the bedroom floor! I gagged. Dad had let the baby run around naked after her bath and she had pooped on the floor while he sat catatonic in front of the football game. I was furious!! There was a very minimal reaction from Dad. “She didn’t smell poopy.” No, it looks like it was a clean drop!
Later that night, I carefully brought up the subject of Prague. Without directly saying, “I fear for my kids’ lives if I leave them with you for a week.” I asked Josh what he thought about me asking my mom to watch the kids so he could come to Prague with me. He was absolutely elated… I secretly think the whole “inept at diapering the child” thing was just a ploy to get to come with me to Europe. Well it worked. And my children are all still alive, thanks to my Mom. She knows the Mom Way too.