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Resentful

My daughter threw up this morning...not completely uncommon for her when she gets herself worked up. No nap yesterday, a rough night after an early bedtime, so we weren't quite sure if she was sick or not. (She's fine.) The Mama had been up with her on the couch and I woke up with a headache. I was in a steamy shower trying to fix my head issue when I got a puke-covered 3 year old to join me for a rinse. When Mama suggested she take a sick day at that point, it seemed pretty logical.

Cole's felt fine so he went to school like normal. But in the middle of errands and Mama not knowing the usual procedure, she had to check about what time we leave for drop off and pickup. And was surprised at the time involved. The realization that she had time to go to the store during school drop off highlights one of my pet peeves as a SAHD. Though it holds true somewhat for parents, generally.

The time suck. The way that people assume because you're a parent--especially the at-home parent--you must not have anything better to do. Or, another way, some people assume your life must revolve around your child.

Drop off for school is at noon. But there isn't a parking lot...only on-street spaces. Which means we usually arrive at 11:45am. It gives the kids time to play and the group usually is quite wild by the time a teacher comes to open the doors for us. We walk in, down the hallway, hang up coats, stand in line to wash hands at the sink, then Cole is expected to move his photo on the wall from "home" to "school" for attendance. I have to initial that I dropped him off, check his folder for artwork, and then this journal business.

Today's topic was actually pretty cute...if you had a pet dragon how would you take care of it? On the last day of the week the children are allowed to check out a book from a selection of books from the classroom. But, typically, the journal takes 5-10 minutes as they draw a picture, we write what they tell us, and they practice tracing their name.

I usually get home around 12:30pm.

And I get it. His class has 20 kids and a limited number of assistants to help round up a rowdy crew of preschoolers. There is snack to prepare, glitter everywhere, kids needing to use the bathroom NOW. But on the other hand, why do you expect that my time must be so leisurely and unimportant that I can come help with this basic task?

At-home parents have other children and please don't assume we have easy or readily available childcare. We are the childcare. Not everyone has a grandparent, babysitter, or older sibling they can leave the babies/toddlers with. And the at-home parent works around the working parent's schedule. Planning the parenting hand-off is sometimes a delicate balance that requires scheduling, coordination, and advanced warning. The Mama cannot drop everything--or not answer her work phone--because I need her on duty. I'm lucky that her schedule is flexible enough for me to sometimes be overly relaxed about that fact. But, as a rule, I shouldn't abuse it if I do. Hell no someone outside the family shouldn't be wasteful with my/her/our time.

Recently, we've run into issues with planning school meetings, too. Teachers only in the building until 4:00pm and 4:30 is too late. How many of you get off work before 5pm though? When a parent takes time off work to come in and show concern for how the student is doing, please respect that effort. Sadly, I think schools sometimes assume that our families always get first priority. Which is usually true. But you're not a fully-realized adult if you have nothing else going in your life besides kids. I love mine. But I can say as a good father that I have other interests as a human being. I need to fit in workouts, engaging with my community, attending meetings for organizations I belong to, etc..

I'm that confident that I'm a good parent that I can try to be an even better human being in telling my children they are not the focus of my world. I should hope, dear children, if you ever read this one day that you respect not only what I give up to be with you everyday but the way I continue to have outside hobbies, interests, goals, dreams. I love being a dad, but I'm three dimensional.

Not only is disrespecting parent time wasteful, annoying, and rude...it also pigeonholes us into single-issue existence.

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