“He sounds exactly like you,” my husband remarks, as he sits at the computer.
Immediately, I’m prepared for a fight. “What is that supposed to mean, Michael?”
He exhales, removes his glasses and rubs his eyes, “When he gets upset or frustrated he talks the way you probably do during the day. Don’t do that! Stop yelling! You’re making me very angry!”
“Would you rather I not discipline them? Maybe I should give them some matches or show them where we keep the knives.”
“That’s not what I said at all,” he says, this time irritation is in his tone. “Maybe you could just let more things go.”
And there it is – the working parent’s misunderstanding of how an average day plays out while he/she is at work, and the stay-at-home parent’s inability to see that maybe there is another option in how to deal with disobedient, spirited and/or rambunctious kids.
For a while after having our son, I waitressed a few nights a week to make ends meet. I was still nursing at the time and when I’d get home after midnight I had to pump my engorged breasts that had been filling with milk since my shift started at 5pm. I realize how tiring parenting and working outside the home can be, whether you’re working part-time or full-time. Is that how the working parent feels everyday when walking through the door – depleted and overwhelmed?
I don’t want to be the parent who works outside the home. I want to be here with my kids even when they’re horrible. Some days a lump rises in my throat and I think I’m doing something wrong. What the hell am I doing wrong? They just don’t listen to me. But then I blink and they’re giggling together, getting along, even…sharing. Imagine that!
If I’m not here when they’re acting beastly, I’ll surely miss the glimmers of good times that peek through even the most frustrating moments.