Friday, February 16, 2007


As you know, I'm back at work full-time, since December. Since about the middle of January, we're really hitting our new groove as a family comprised of one career woman, one stay at home dad, and one baby.

But I'm worried about the distribution of labour.

Parenting-wise, I have it pretty easy of late. I'm up with Miss Baby first thing in the morning (usually a very reasonable 7-7:30am), when we snuggle and breastfeed and get the house ready for the day: we open blinds and make the beds, refill the wipes or the diaper basket. She smells like a baby and I sniff her head and hold her close while she takes her time coming into her more active daytime self. We wander into the kitchen for breakfast, Miss Baby on the counter in her Bumbo chair, and me reading her the headlines from the breakfast bar while she coos at PCK and the cartoon dude on the Mini Wheats box. Recently, we've begun to have breakfast at the dining room table -- she, munching somewhat inefficiently on Cheerios in her high chair, and I, sucking milk through my Mini Wheats and reading the paper. I remove her from the high chair, and we make a game of 'find the escaped Cheerios'. More snuggling, and usually some laughing: this is the best and happiest part of her day.

By the time The Dada is done showering and shaving and dressing, I'm basically off-shift until I come home from work at about 5:20-5:30 ... or 5:40-5:50. Then I play with Miss Baby and feed her some supper and play some more, and Pynchon helps with her bath, and I breastfeed her to sleep and tiptoe out of her room by 7:45. It alternates between high-energy fun and silliness, and more sedentary activities that she enjoys. She goes to sleep readily and easily. She rarely wakes at night anymore.

In sum, my weekday shift is pretty easy: no naps, no long stretches alone in the house, no staring at all the cleaning and renos that need to be done, no major outfit changes or numerous diaper changes. I get the happy morning snuggle time, and the activity-filled and also snuggle-intensive supper-hour to bedtime shift.

I'm skimming the cream from the parenting milk bucket (urr, wait, I am the parenting milk bucket. Poorly chosen metaphor ...). It's hardly fair. Come the weekend, The Dada is, as you might well imagine, a little burned out. And yet here we are on a Friday evening after a long week of cold and shoveling and plumbers and more, and Pynchon sends me -- me! -- off with my friends for dinner tonight. So, just to be clear, he was on shift all day, and then fed her, bathed her, and put her to bed tonight. While I was out carousing.

I started here to write a sentence about how guilty I feel, but that would be about me: what I want to write instead is what a good man Pynchon is, how very very generous he has shown himself to be, as a husband and as a father. It is my goal as this marriage proceeds to model more of my behaviour on his. And to let him know just how much he means to me.


Beck said...

Aw. He sounds like a sweet, wonderful man. I'm glad that he realizes that working full-time is draining and that you still need recharging time! Working full time isn't easy, either.

Alpha DogMa said...

I have one like this too. Aren't they great? The Omega Man is awesome.
Only he doesn't get the cream of the parenting milk bucket (great line, btw) he gets the cranky, food covered, unwashed, smelling of stale urine, post-5 PM version. And that is just me. The kids are even worse.

NotSoSage said...

Wow. This post could have been about Joe and I...I hope I tell him enough, but it's a good reminder. Thank you.

Melanie said...

I vascillate constantly between being sad that I'm missing the mundane middle-of-the-day mommy duties and being grateful that I can have my career and rear my kids too. It is skimming the top of the bucket. I didn't think it was a bad analogy. It's such a question-filled life, that of a mother. I thought you wrote of it beautifully.

bubandpie said...

You left out the Saturday shift - my hubby works the same M-F schedule as you do (though I'm not at home full-time, of course), but right now he's out at the dads' group at the Early Years Centre while I read blogs, I mean, um, clean the whole house. It all evens out.

kittenpie said...

Oh, good man. I actually pooped out on my girls night out last night because our day together Friday (a rare treat for us!) went down the drain, and I really wanted to ahve some time, but I was pretty pleased for him to not even stop and think before saying that yes, I should go when I had asked a week or so earlier. Here's to the ones who get it!

Mad Hatter said...

I'm the Pynchon around here. Having said that, my fella, works like a b-tard all the time. He works six nights a week and every afternoon (including weekends). When he is not working (or keeping in great shape) Mr. Marathon man is with Miss M. They adore each other. I always expect him to come home for his hour dinner break all grouchy and with his head in the rehearsal hall. He never does. The minute he's in the door, he's all ours.

Jenifer G. said...

I can see this from all sides...I have been home for nearly two (!) years now and before that worked four days a week. After the girls I always kept Friday's off.

For me the days are long at home and hubby doesn't get home before 7pm most days. He rolls in somewhere between bath and bed. When he is home though he is involved, baths, meals, takes them on errands on the weekend to give me a break, etc.

He works hard so we can have this life we want. His job thankfully does have flexibility and being his own boss allows him to take a day here and there, or come home early once in a while. If there is a problem he will be there no question.

He is constantly telling me to go out with friends or spend a few days away. He insisted my friends and I book a hotel when we visit LifeFest in March.

He really does value and appreciate what I do. That said the days are long and I sometimes miss my other life. I am grateful I have my mother-in-law and mother to help me when I need it. His long hours leave a gap that is sometimes hard to fill.

gingajoy said...

it *does* all even out. especially when you have 2! he sounds great--I'm reading "babyproofing your marriage" right now (for BlogHer review) and as I read about all these men who need sports metaphors to lift a finger, I am once more grateful that I have a husband who sounds much like yours.

Mimi said...

What interesting comments! Sounds like we're all doing pretty well, partner-wise (phew), and I'm always fascinated to hear the domestic arrangements other families come to: there are as many varieties of working / parenting / marriage blends as there are children in this world, I imagine.

Probably what makes me feel guiltiest, and this is likely a cultural thing, is that I love love love going to work so much. Like it would be better if I dragged myself there every day, regretfully. Hm.

cinnamon gurl said...

Wow! On the one hand, I couldn't be in Pynchon's shoes (I mean I AM still on mat leave for two more weeks, so I'm home all day, but I wouldn't be too quick to send the huz out carousing)... that said, he's an introvert anyways, and would prefer to stay home alone so it's not a viable comparison anyways. THAT said, my huz could use some more alone time, because when he's not working, he's always home, and always involved. Yay 21st century partners!

ewe are here said...

It sounds like you got a good one! I've been blessed; G is also very very generous as a husband and father. Wouldn't trade him for anything!