Monday, August 9, 2010

Dad Gets A Taste Of Momhood -- And Lives

Late Blooming Mom has been out of comission for a few days.

Just the other week I was saying to Late Blooming Dad, "I wish someone ELSE would plan, shop for, and make their every meal for a change!"  It's my least-favorite part of momhood.

It took me undergoing surgery to make it happen. 

I can't say the trade-off is worth it.  But I have to admit, now that I'm recuperating and over the anxiety of having someone knock me out and cut me open, I am not missing kid-meal duty.  In fact, this whole experience has provided a sort of mini-break -- albeit one aided and abetted by Darvocet and frequent ice over the incision -- from many of the kid-tending duties.

Since Wednesday, Late Blooming Dad has been Daddy and Mommy combined.  Now I'm fortunate to have a spouse who takes on a good chunk of the kid stuff every day anyway, when he can:  he normally rouses the kids, coaxes/barks at them to get dressed, and helps me get breakfast on the table while I get lunch in the lunch boxes.  He does the bulk of the school drop-offs, has given more baths and showers than me, and dutifully takes at least one kid off my hands most Saturdays for sports or a class or playdate and lunch.  He's sat through more than a few crappy kid movies to give me a nap or weekend down time. He's a good one, he is.  And between us, the division of labor usually works pretty well.

But since the surgery, he's had to do his share PLUS mine.   The past couple of days, I've managed reading a bedtime story or two, a couple of short craft-making or playing with the train set sessions.  This morning (Monday) was finally back to brushing hair and teeth, and smearing on the sunscreen.  But the rest has been all dad, all the time. 

Saturday was not exactly full of Kodak moments.

Unfortuantely for dad, the kids were in full-on Cranky Von Whinestein mode ... and in short order, so was dad.  Nobody was pleasant to be around, and the brief time I spent in the company of all, my first trip out of the house since surgery for dinner in an actual restaurant, was kinda sorta barely tolerable.  Dad could not wait until the kids got to bed, and then slumped off to bed himself, in a mood about as foul as I've ever seen him.

He was entitled.

But I huddled on the the sofa for a couple of hours after he went down, preferring reruns of cooking shows to being in the same room with the sleeping ogre.  (Forgive the ogre reference, but SHREK 2 has been on our DVD player far too often this past week.  I'd conveniently lose the damn video if I thought I could stand the fit that would no doubt result.)

Then a funny thing happened overnight.  Everybody woke up in a better mood.  Amazing what a lot of sleep can do.  Dad, having realized Saturday had gotten off to its bad start when Thing 1 got out of bed far too early, lay down in their bedroom for another half an hour after they first awoke.  They were supine, if not exactly asleep, until the civilized hour of eight a.m.  Dad and kids, then rested and positively chipper, got off to a pleasant beginning.  I managed to help out a wee bit in the morning, so dad could get some time on the exercyle -- not fun, but a mini-break for him given the circumstances.  And the whole day, from swim lessons through a birthday party and getting ready for bed, went so much better for him and them ... and thus, by extension me, since even while recuperating, I have to put up with everybody else's moods.

Dad earned his grumpiness the hard way; I don't begrudge it.  I just didn't want to be around it.

We all got a look at what it's like when a two-parent household is suddenly, temporarily, more like a one-parent household.  I have to admit, I had my moment of gloating -- after the kids were abed last night, when I teased Late Blooming Dad about his taste of momhood, having him take responsibility for every morsel that went into them.

You'd think the down time in bed, reading or watching TV, or talking on the phone with friends, not working, or just plain napping, would qualify as the highlight of my recovery.  But not having to shop, plan and pack lunch for camp has actually been the best part of this deal.

Now if only I can milk it for just a bit more ...

1 comment:

William V. Madison said...

What an adventure -- and bravo to Late-Blooming Dad!

I'm especially intrigued by his ingenious solution to the problem of kids who wake up too early. I wonder whether he can use some sort of reverse strategy when they're teenagers and want to sleep in: stand in their rooms for a half-hour until they get out of bed?