Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Working Dad V. The Working Mom

With me working now, the family has had to make some adjustments. My days off are Tuesdays and Wednesdays; Disgruntled Husband's are the normal Saturday and Sunday. This makes daycare a little cheaper since we're only paying for 3 days worth; I think that may be the only upside to this arrangement.

There are definite differences to my husband's weekend and my "weekend." And if you ask me, they are pretty one sided.

Difference Number 1: Waking up on the days off from work
DH is not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, and neither am I. However, my Keurig and newspaper subscription are slowly changing that for me. Saturday mornings, I am up by 6:45, showered, dressed, and fed by 7:45, and on my way out the door no later than 8:30. DH sleeps through all of this. It's not until I forcibly remove the covers from his fetal-positioned body that he opens an eye. I need him out of bed to run interference from Mini Me so I can get out the door without a four-year-old on my leg. When I call to check in at 10:15, I hear kids asking for breakfast,

My "Saturday" (aka Tuesday), DH wakes up after the 11th time his alarm goes off, gets ready and leaves. Somewhere in there, he says to me, "Must be nice to sleep in." He came back yesterday to get something he forgot and found me still in bed at 8:25 a.m. I got a stern talkin' to. What? No, no hypocrisy going on here.

Difference Number 2: Breakfast
I already mentioned that by 10:15 or so, the kids are asking for breakfast with DH. What I failed to mention (and also DH's rationale for not feeding them until this time) is that they forage for nourishment until then. Chocolate chips, yogurt, stale tortilla chips, apples and string cheese - it's all open season for my kids with minimal parental supervision.

When it's my weekend, I am poked every 20 minutes from 6:30 a.m. until 8 or 8:30 a.m., all by different kids, begging for breakfast. When I do come downstairs and ask for 15 minutes to drink my coffee, they look at me like those malnourished kids in the commercial for sponsorship. I asked them this morning to get a yogurt to tide them over until sunrise and had a public flogging by Larry Potter. Somehow between Sunday and Tuesday, my kids lose the ability to gather nuts and berries...or Go-gurt and goldfish crackers.

Oh, Mr. Belvedere. How much do you charge?

Difference Number 3: The Activities
On DH's weekend, there is a plan of action. Usually, it involves massive consumption of gasoline, a large city, and someplace cool to see. Awesome. I'm glad they get to do things like this (and not only because it means I don't have to get to go). My husband has never been one to sit still at home, and if he wants to go anywhere, he needs to bring the kids.

On my "weekends" the kids ask me what we're going to do that day, like I have Six Flags tickets in my robe pocket. Which leads me to my final discussion point...

Difference Number 4: The House
When DH's weekends roll around, it's activities and fun and maybe shopping. Cat puked on the stairs? Walk over it. Somebody dropped a PB&J face down in the kitchen? Walk around it. There are no clean clothes for the kids? Teach them the sniff test. We got things to do.

When it's my "weekend," our activities are picking up from the previous five days, two of those days being DH's time off from work. Every week, I do laundry and clean the bathroom and pick up toys, grocery shop, and clean with chemicals that DH has no working knowledge of. Last Sunday, I mentioned a friend from work might stop over for a glass of wine before dinner. He heard me and cleaned to the best of his ability: he threw out the newspapers on the porch. The living room, kitchen, bathrooms, and basement were all on the application for Hoarders, but by God, that porch was clean!

I suppose to the rest of the world, I'm a worker bee. But to my family, I'm just Mom, and my working is really cutting into their sense of normalcy. I think this is when people start to hire Mary Poppins or Mr. Belvedere.


  1. Screw Mr. Belvedere - I say go with Charles In Charge. Scott Baio is most likely unemployed anyway. And I have a lot of respect for a woman who can get the "Must be nice to sleep in" comment from the husband and not knock his balls through his throat. Kudos for your self-control :)
    - Bethany

  2. Hang in there, Jess. It will get better as the routine becomes more "normal" for them (both the kids and DH). One thing I'd suggest trying? Dividing up the chores. Maybe DH would take a few things to do on his weekend and then that would leave fewer things for you to do on yours. (Just a suggestion--I don't know him well enough to know if this is just wishful thinking).

    Also, don't forget--once the kids are back in school, your "weekends" should become mostly kid-free, correct? Mini Me will be in preschool part of the time, right? You will actually have some time for YOU!

  3. I agree about trying to split up the chores! My husband has always had laundry (partly because it's always too heavy for me to drag to the laundry room across the complex, partly cuz I HATE laundry).

    I'm a sahm now, but there was a period of time when my husband was a sahd. There are some pretty major differences for us too, and a lot of them very one-sided!