Friday, April 30, 2010

"Taking Care of the Kids"

Today’s flood victim is my husband.  Okay, truth be told, in an actual flood, I’d grab on tight and never let go.  He is a great guy and I love him dearly, but I’m not feeling well today and he just happened to get on my bad side.

Why is it when he is sick I have to play nursemaid to him, take care of our three children, the house, the bills, the dishes, the laundry, etc., but when I am sick, all he can handle is making sure our three kids make it through the day alive?
I get it, watching three kids under six is hard. I have been doing it for years.  I have been doing it, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, making dinner, paying the bills, carpooling, and dealing with every single miscellaneous thing that pops up (the broken dishwasher, the flooding bathroom, the sick kids, the service men that can’t ever come when they say they will and inevitably end up ringing the doorbell ten minutes after you have gotten the baby down for his nap, the cable going out, the car needing repairs, all of it).  Trust me I know it is hard.  But it is necessary.  And if I am too sick to do it, he should. 
It shouldn’t all be waiting for me when I come downstairs.  And as all you moms out there know, we always return sooner than we should because we don’t have the luxury of paid sick days where the world doesn’t collapse if we stay in bed.  Our world does collapse and then we have to pick up the pieces.  It’s just easier to suck it up and get back to business as usual. I mean really, every time I am sick I end up feeling guilty, like somehow he thinks I WANT to be tethered to the bathroom not sure which end to point toward the commode.
If he’s ill, he gets to call in sick and lay in bed all day and recover, but unless I am actually physically unable to move, I have to get up and do my work feeling like crap.  Any moms out there know how hard it is to handle making lunch for your kids when you are ready to toss your own.  And it is not uncommon to do exactly that, put them at the table with their meal, waiting for that moment when they are all occupied so that you can finally rush into the bathroom and release the vomit that has been burning its way up your throat for the past half hour.  I can’t even recall how many times I have had to beg my oldest to “be good and keep the babies happy while mommy runs to the bathroom.  Mommy’s not feeling well bud, I’ll be right back.”  I wonder how that would go over at the office.  You are in the middle of a presentation about to toss your cookies and you say to the board of clients sitting in front of you, “Now you five just wait here patiently, I’ve been really sick and I just need a minute to throw up and then I’ll get back to telling you why your company should spend thousands of dollars with mine.”

But I digress.  It all boils down to this:  When I am done with my 24 hours of flushing everything, and I mean everything, out of my body, I get to get up early with the kids the next day while my husband gets to sleep in to give him a break. (Poor him because he’s had to do my job, no one says poor me that I still feel like death).  Anyway, I get up and go to change the baby, but of course there are no diapers at the upstairs changing table so I need to run downstairs with her, change her there and then come up and get my three year-old dressed.  That is a chore on a good day.  My six year-old is out of underwear because it never occurred to my husband to put in a laundry.  So I throw one in hoping that I can get it washed and dried before my son needs to leave for the bus in 40 minutes.  In the meantime, I tell him to wear the pair he has on (yuck!)  He wants to borrow his brother’s but I think day old underwear is the lesser of two evils.  When everyone is finally dressed, we are now running late. I go downstairs and I find a stack of dishes sitting in the sink so that I can’t even access the tap to clean what I need to make their breakfasts.  The baby is crying because she wants her sippy cup, which is sitting in that mess in the sink.  The other two are complaining that they are hungry but my husband used the last of the cereal.  When I finally get that ironed out.  I start to clean up all the dirty napkins and paper plates from the night before and find the trash is so full I can’t even stuff those in.  I have to empty the trash, which spills all over the floor.
When my husband comes downstairs, he hears me mumbling under my breath, complaining about the fact that apparently I am the only one that knows how to do dishes, laundry, or empty the trash.  And the argument begins, because, God forbid, I be allowed to blow off a little steam.  I mean it is not like I said anything directly to him, and if I had been mumbling under my breath “do you think you could stop by the market” he wouldn’t have heard that!  But instead, because I am still sick and tired, I ask the inevitable, why are these dishes here, why couldn’t you empty the trash, is there a reason you left me with no diapers?  And the answer….I am sure all you moms out there have heard it before…many times…”I was taking care of the kids”…said with that air of annoyance. 
Well then by all means you are excused. 
Why would I ever expect that you, a forty year old man, would possibly be able to stick the kids in front of the TV half the day AND wash a few dishes, or take out the trash.  Silly me, and here I thought that was part of the job all these years.  Good to know.  So tomorrow when you get up and wonder where your underwear is, or why there is no gas in the car, or why I haven’t paid the credit card bills and we are getting hit with a huge penalty, I’ll remember the magic words to make it all go away: “I was taking care of the kids.”
 I wonder if that will work with the IRS?


  1. Awesome. I've been looking for that perfect excuse to why I can't do everything and it was right there in front of me the whole time.