Several weeks ago I had one of those horrible Friday nights. I was in a crabby mood. It was the end of a very long and difficult week. We had a full weekend ahead of us followed by another very busy week and an even busier weekend. I was tired just thinking about it. The kids, of course, chose that night to make an art of not listening, pretty much doing the exact opposite of anything we asked. We were out as a family and on the way home, moving them just from the door to the car took 20 minutes. It also involved lots of whining – mostly theirs, and lots of tears – theirs and mine.
When we finally got everyone home, D took one look at me and said “You’re done. I got this. Get out of here.” I turned tail and ran. It was perhaps the happiest hour I’ve ever spent in a Target.
Because we share primary parenting, I had no qualms about whether the kids would get to bed on time, with teeth brushed. We didn’t have to have a conversation about what he needed to do when,or what they needed to do when. The kids didn’t find it at all odd to be doing bedtime with just Daddy, and, save for one teary moment when they realized I wasn’t around for a goodnight hug (a problem fixed by a quick phone call to say goodnight), they barely noticed I’d left.
It wasn’t easy for D. The kids didn’t magically turn into cooperative angels when I walked out the door. But D took the hit that night because he saw that I was in no shape to parent. And as hard as sharing primary parenting is many days, that night reminded me of one of the reasons why we go to the trouble – the ability to tag in and out whenever needed. We’re definitely better for it, and we suspect our kids are better off, too.
Have you been in my shoes recently? How have you and your partner dealt with it?