Let me premise this entry by saying that I love my husband. I do. He’s a wonderful provider, a great father, he has drive and ambition. He puts up with the 50 emotions I go through in one day. He has always been supportive of my dreams. We’ve been through a lot and have built a great family and life together. But, sometimes, I just….*punches fist into hand repeatedly* you know? But seriously, contrary to this post, I do love him.
Ok, so a few days ago, I was at the house of one of my munchkin’s friends for a playdate. His mother asked me to stay for coffee and so I did. His mom and I actually hit it off pretty well (making a mental note to write an entry about how nervous I am when meeting cool moms; I mean it’s like finding a Unicorn! But I digress). Anyway, toward the end of the playdate, her husband came home. She has three kids, only one of whom is over 5, and I have two under 5; as you can imagine, it was a little chaotic. We must’ve started and never finished conversations on about 20 different topics. When her husband arrived my children had chosen this as the perfect time to FINALLY sit down and eat their pizza from two hours ago; because children are phenomenally oblivious to overstaying one’s welcome. Her children had gone over to the couch and were wrestling over the iPad. Her husband casually walked into the kitchen, fixed himself up a plate, and calmly sat down to eat while scrolling through his phone. Meanwhile, the kids were climbing and screaming on top of each other on the couch. This scene was all too familiar to me. It may as well be my house. Finally, she had enough and said something to the effect of, “Can you help?”
Cue husband grabbing one of the children and taking her to the other room. She apologized to me saying, “I’m sorry. It’s just he sits there calmly eating. Meanwhile you and I wolfed down our food in two seconds and washed it down with the cold coffee from three hours ago while we wrangle kids. I just can’t.” I assured her that she had no need to apologize and that I have been there. That I had just been there the previous night. At which point we had a joking conversation about how there should be “husband training.”
Which brings me to my Utopia fantasy in which I envision what this would look like. Oh and to be progressive and fair, I call it Spousal Training. And it looks something like this, (this is only the beginning! haha!):
Lesson 1- Pregnancy
You’re both pregnant. Except when you’re not.
Ex. If she can’t drink during pregnancy, neither can you. However, don’t mistake this with the entitlement to gripe and complain. Make no mistake; she’s doing all the hard work. Praise the ground she walks on. She’s growing a human being. Her organs are being shoved into her extremities by the cutest intruder, who incidentally is constantly playing kickball with her bladder.
Lesson 2- Birth & Infancy
Let’s get one thing straight: You’re never going to sleep again. And no, it’s not ok to sleep in on weekends because you have the “go to an office/building and get paid” job. Her job is just as important; though she doesn’t get paid, she’s responsible for keeping the tiny human alive. Not to mention she is responsible for shaping this tiny human into a decent and kind adult. If she has to be up; so can you.
Lesson 3- Household Chores
Ok, people. It’s 2017. Yes, being a SAHP (stay at home parent; I see you, Stay at Home Dads!), technically means that you have more time to cook and clean. TECHNICALLY. But practically speaking, any SAHP will tell you this is rarely the reality. Here’s my view: we all live in the house together, we all should help clean up. When you have children under 5, this is hard to enforce. BUT; there are small chores some kids 2-4 can help with like cleaning up toys and getting in the habit of putting their clothes in the hamper and shoes in the closet. It’s never to early. On that note; working parents, yes, I know you’re tired at the end of the day. But guess, what? So is your Stay At Home Spouse who’s been working hard to keep the tiny humans alive, fed, in one piece, entertained, and keep the house clean. Lead by example and pitch in. Even one load of laundry and the dishes can swoon a SAHP. (Hint hint, wink wink)
Lesson 4- Eating
Ok, I don’t know what else to call this. But, as in the example of my mom friend; you do not get to come home and sit calmly with your phone and your dinner while havoc ensues around you. Hey, we get it you’ve had a long day and you’re hungry. Same for your Stay At Home Spouse.
Lesson 5- Be A Team
Ok. All jokes aside. Bottom line. Be A Team. Not every family gets to have a designated SAHP; some families have to have two working parents who do have to conquer and divide all child-rearing and housekeeping tasks. And while some SAHPs have always dreamt of being a SAHP, others give up dream careers to offer a SAHP to your tiny humans. So let’s be a team.
Any other ‘lessons’ anyone wants to contribute to my budding “Spouse Training Manual”?