I haven't had a weekend day to myself in a long time. Now, yes, I've gone and done things during Son's naps, but I'm still "on call." I just can't even begin to wind down when I have to haul the monitor with me. I get a little resentful because Husband rarely, if ever, pulls duty. Yet, I allow it. I figure that for the most part, his week tends to be more stressful than mine, so I cut him some slack. This weekend, however, I had hoped it would be different.
I was supposed to go to a spa party on Friday night to hook up with my best friend (whom I haven't seen since, oh, March) and just do something that was fun and not in any way, shape, or form related to parenthood. Friend called me on Friday morning to let me that while she was still going to go, but that she had commitments early on Saturday morning and wouldn't be staying too long. Since we weren't going to get a whole lot of time together, and it was quite a drive, I decided not to go. It didn't help that Husband had to stay late that night because it was busy at work. He had called before I even left for work that morning saying that he would be late. He suggested that I drive up to his work, drop off Son, and he could take him home and I could go to the party. Without a map this may sound a little off, but it really was a good idea logistically. In the end, it would have only screwed up Son's schedule, and there were no guarantees that I would even get to the party at a decent time. That, coupled with Friend not being able to stay very long, just made it a non-starter.
Husband had felt so bad about the whole deal that I thought he would go out of his way to give me some time this weekend. Just "me" time. Somehow all of that went out the window. First, he goes into work on Saturday morning. Then, he calls and tells me that he and a friend were going to go out on the boat that afternoon. His friend had had a rough week, and he thought it would be a nice thing to do. What can I say? No? Husband had already made promises to go. So, Husband comes home, finishes up replacing the floor in the boat, his friend shows up, and they leave. They didn't get home until almost 6:00. Husband then spent the next couple of hours goofing around with the neighbors and chatting. Great for him, and I know that he needs that type of interaction too. However, where did that leave me?
It left me with a child who only took one nap ALL day on Saturday, during which I attempted to sort clothes and get at least one load of laundry in. I also loaded up the dishwasher and did the weekly hunt for the sippy cups that Son has launched all over the dining room. Combine that with taking out garbage and organizing the recycling, and oh, the fun! Oh, and to top it off, Son would start to howl at the top of his lungs if I had even the audacity to try to go to the bathroom by myself.
Sunday wasn't whole lot better. Husband continued his boat project (replacing all of the rotted out wood, etc.) and ran to Home Depot. Had a ball. I bet he even felt like he got something done. What did I do? Dishes. Folded laundry. OK, and watched a little HGTV while I was at it. Husband finally came back in around 2:00. I got in the shower, fed Son, and told him I would be back after I went to a couple of stores. I go and spend my profit-sharing check (at least a good chunk of it) in less than 45 minutes, and then embark to Target to pick up prescriptions, etc. On my way wandering through the aisles, I check my cell phone. SEVEN missed calls. All from Husband. The calamity, you ask? Son is crying and won't stop. It's now around 6:30ish and Husband is apparently mad at me for not being able to give him the magic cure to make the howling stop. GRRRR.
I finish up at Target, but, and I hate to admit this, I take my sweet time. Now, I know that it probably wasn't a nice thing to do to Son, since he wasn't having a very good time with Husband. However, my guilt was tinged with just a bit of evil glint in the eye. Darn it, it's time that he (meaning Husband) learns how to handle this without taking it as a personal affront, and Son learns that Daddy can do the job too. So often, and I don't think that I am the only one that does this, it is just easier on our nerves to just take over and "rescue" the likes of Husband when things head south. Husband is perfectly happy with his role as the rough-houser, kiss them on the top of the head before he leaves role. He's not so great at handling the day to day stuff. Although, in his defense, he does changes diapers. Sometimes.
I finally get home, and I'm greeted by a tear-streaked little boy, and, I kid you not, a pouting husband. Pouting. Because an eleven month old didn't respond to him like he wanted him to. That said eleven-month old stopped sniffling as soon as I came in. He's put out.
Part of it is that he is frustrated that he can't seem to control these crying jags that Son has. Let's see. Son once again took a late morning nap, so wasn't up to an afternoon nap. I could've pushed the issue, but I didn't . It was almost 7:00 by the time I got home. Had Husband thought about, oh gee, FEEDING the child? NO. (Insert animation of looking at him in utter disbelief, and wanting to pull hair out.) Son was shortly, and very happily, in his highchair inhaling his turkey and yams, followed with a peach chaser. Husband then looks all downtrodden, doing the "I'm the worst dad on the planet" routine, and feeling sorry for himself. ARGH!!!!!!! It's simple problem solving. Really. And it pretty much took the wind completely out of my sails.
This whole episode shows that we have some issues to address. They area as follows:
- Husband needs to be more involved in how a routine day goes. Just because he's not a big fan of structure doesn't mean that our near-toddler isn't.
- Husband needs to figure out that there are times when his needs come dead last. Period. I asked him if he had tried to get down on the floor and distract Son by playing with him. "But it hurts my hips and my feet fall asleep." Tough. Try having over nine pounds of baby sitting squarely on your bladder at the end of August. Sympathy quotient=0.
- I HAVE to stop feeling guilty for getting some time away. In the end, it only hurts me (and creates a need to vent and throw a tantrum of my own) and Son doesn't get the experience that Dad can handle things too.
In the end, it took until last night when Husband 'fessed up that he was a little out of line to act like he did. I know that Son can be frustrating, but sometimes you just have to dive in. Being a parent is about being there for the Kodak moments, along with the Tales From the Crypt moments. It's just the way it is.
Put it this way: I'm gone for four days the third week of October. Husband has a pretty steep learning curve. I hope that for both his and Son's sakes, they are up to it.