Today baby A and I finished our taxes and it felt monumental.
“It’s like having a literal squirrel in the office,” I told my husband. “You can ignore her for a few minutes and get the next step done, but all the while she’s destroying the house. When you catch her she tries to claw your face off.
“But is it fun?” he asks.
“It’s fun when she’s strapped down in the stroller and I get to drink coffee,” I say.
The rest of the day is a weird strategic game where I must compromise one element of sanity in attempt to gain another. Want to wash a sink full of dishes? Looks like the cub gets to cover the floor with canning rings. It’s like Axis and Allies around here.
Yes, that is my vest she’s wearing.
Note the clean dishes drying in the background.
I try to figure out the objective of A’s squirrel games. Step 1. Wave novel object around in the air. Step 2. Drop on floor. Repeat. I don’t get it. She must get it from her dad.
This is A’s dad as an infant in a squirrel suit. Coincidence? I think not.
I’ll take a moment now and recognize all the great dads who parent. Props. Kids need to grow up around good men as well as good women, even as much as they need food and shoes and soccer camp. This post is for you too, although my love is twisted around gender specific pronouns and personal experience.
Child-raising is a job that someone’s got to do. Even as I wish babies could spend their first few years as plants, needing only water and sunlight, or as fancy sunglasses that you just can’t lose or break. Instead they need peas and polenta, which they will throw on the floor. You still have to feed them by the way; you can’t be like, “But I made you polenta.”
I could outsource this job if I wanted, but I won’t. I value child-raising, and this may be the only chance I get to do it. Also, we all know that being a working mom means I would be doing both jobs. I’m afraid of who I would become if I went to a paying job in the daytime and cared for the squirrel at night. I can’t imagine it.
My friend S is a working mom who gives solid gold advise. When she was pregnant she figured all the child raising would be shared with her husband, 50/50. They work jobs on opposite schedules and trade off work as primary caregiver. “But then I realized,” she said, “I’m the mother. If they’re sick in the night or have a bad dream, it’s me they want. It doesn’t matter if I’m the one going to work in the morning. Parenting will never be 50/50.”
Which brings me to the point: Every mother needs a wife. My friend E has a baby the same age as mine. She and her wife became parents with donated sperm and incredible perseverance. She carried the baby, nursed him, and works the paying job; I am amazed by all she does.
E and I were both recently at a meeting. Baby A was with me, as per usual, and her boy was home with his other mom. E ran the meeting and took minutes on a laptop, which she later sent around in a helpful and professional manner.
Meanwhile, baby A squirreled around in my lap a little, nursed in the carrier, and then fell asleep on my back. After the meeting I received the emailed notes along with recognition of how my friend does it all: She has a wife.
I know another woman with a unique set up: She is a single mom who lives with her brother, his wife, and their children. The other two adults go to paying jobs everyday, and she takes care of the kids. “I don’t know how anyone does it,” she told me recently, “with just one woman in the family.”
Which brings me to the question: If you are out there doing it all, going to work then making meatloaf and taking names…
Where can I get woman like you?