My husband and I were enjoying a very rare moment this morning… time to ourselves! All the kids were sleeping and we enjoyed a cup of coffee together in the sun-room. These moments are few and far between, so we really enjoy these mornings where we get to sit quietly together, “check in” with each other and discuss the latest and greatest adventures/concerns in our childrens’ lives. My husband complimented me and said he doesn’t know how I do it all and care for the kids at the same time, which led us into a conversation about what kind of parents we are.
We have many friends who categorize themselves as “Part-time” parents, because they are divorced or separated and have their children half of the time and they consider their parenting to be strictly part-time since they only have their children every other week or weekend. Then we have friends who are “Full-time” parents, who share the role of parenting equally and spend time with their children on a very consistent basis.
Surprisingly, that doesn’t really describe either me or my husband. I’m more of an “Over-time” parent, because I am with my children 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I never get break (ever!) unless you count the babysitter we got so we could celebrate my birthday for 4 hours. I am the mother, chauffeur, cook, disciplinarian, teacher, spiritual guide, guru, and all around entertainer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy being the “Over-time” parent, even if that means all my kids go with me to get my legs waxed and spend the entire time asking questions, making what is already an un-relaxing experience intolerable… I chose to be this type of parent. My husband on the other hand, said he felt like a “No-time” parent, because he literally works all the time, day and night, weekends included and travels for work (sometimes weeks at a time).
It got me thinking that sometimes I feel overwhelmed, exhausted, angry and defeated by my parenting role, but I look at my husband this morning and my heart aches for him. I don’t even want to complain about the kids’ latest antics or how tired I feel, because I know he would switch places with me in an instant. Every time he sees the kids its as if they have aged another year and he’s missed it. He never gets to read bedtime stories or run the bath for the little man. He misses dinner most nights and their birthday parties, recitals, sports. He misses the little things that add up to the very big things… kisses, cuddles, laughs, tickles, first words, first bike ride, Sunday morning pancakes, ice cream for dinner, falling asleep with them in your arms.
My husband made the difficult choice to work as hard as he does, but he didn’t choose to be a “No-time” parent and in my eyes he’s the “All-Around Amazing Parent!” He’s the one who makes the biggest sacrifices so that the kids can have a wonderful life and I love him for it.
What kind of parent are you?