Dad's Turn

I had to work this past Saturday for part of the day. It's not that bad. We get fed breakfast and lunch and I get to meet with prospective students and parents who are interviewing for scholarships. I think it's good that I have to work sometimes on the weekends because it forces Bret to take care of the kids on his own.

When Emily was a baby I was finishing my MBA in night school while working full time. This meant that at least two nights a week Bret and tiny little Emily were on their own. Bret had to feed, change, and sometimes bathe a two month old baby. As a new mom I could see how easy it would be to do it all. You are so happy to be doing it for the first time that you lose sight of the fact that the responsibilities should be shared. You also forget that just because dad's do things differently doesn't mean it's wrong. I have seen friends criticize their husbands because they didn't change a diaper just as they would have or feed the baby the way that they normally do. The typical dad's response is "ok, I do it wrong so here you do it" and we do. Then a year down the road or even with the second child we get frustrated because we do everything and they don't help.

Because I was trying to do so much at one time I was forced to keep my mouth shut. I came home sometimes and Emily's dirty clothes would be in a bucket out on the porch b/c Bret couldn't deal with the poop that was seemingly everywhere. That was if the onesie made it to the bucket and not just the trash (he promised to replace it and argued that it wasn't worth the effort). He was a super messy feeder of baby food and didn't always remember a bib. He also didn't always remember that she needed to be changed into pajamas before bed because to him the comfy sleepers she was in looked fine to sleep in at night.

At the end of the day he took care of her in the best way he knew how and I appreciated it because it was the only way I was going to be able to do anything else. Last year I took some time off and stayed home with the kids and I noticed that I started to take on the majority of the household and child care responsibilities. To me it made sense that since staying home was now my job I would do things (like laundry, dishes, cleaning, baths, cooking, etc) more than him because he was working so much. When we decided that I would go back to work we joked that Bret would have the hardest time adjusting and he has. Although we don't argue a lot our biggest point of contention is him helping out more at home and with the kids. We are working on this.

So this past Saturday was interesting to say the least because it had been a long long time since he had to take both kids and manage for the day. It was made even more challenging because it wasn't just a stay at home and hang out type Saturday either. He had to take both kids to swim lessons, feed them lunch, pick up a birthday present, and take the kids to a skating birthday party. I felt bad for Bret because after swim lessons Palmer was exhausted and didn't want to be put down. That meant that Emily was on her own skating for the first time while he held Palmer. I got done early and went and met them at the rink and got to skate with Emily. It didn't bother Emily one bit but it bother Bret a lot. I felt bad but at the same time exactly what he was feeling. It is hard to juggle both kids especially at a birthday party. But such is life and you do what you have to do. After this we talked about maybe setting some time aside for one on one parent time for both of the kids. I think it is a great idea and could be a lot of fun.

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