At 3:30, I texted Thatboy to see if he could pick up the boys from school, because there was no way I was going to be home before dinner. In fact, I arrived home after the boys' bedtimes. But they weren't asleep. Thatboy let them stay up long enough to kiss me goodnight as I swept in the door. The entire day, I probably saw my children for about an hour.
And this is the cry I hear most from the working mom. They complain that they barely see their children during the week. They let their children stay up later at nights, because it's the only time they see them. It's rough. I get it.
But the thing is, and what I jokingly tell my friends and coworkers, is that you have 18 years with these kids. The hours you miss now are a drop in the bucket of the many hours you will spend with them. That sounds dismissive. And I don't mean it to be so - because I understand. I know that these are the hours when milestones occur. This is the time when your children actually WANT to be with you.
But my remark is more a way of asking them to give themselves a break. For centuries men have spent long days and nights at work, without worrying about the impact it had on the family. It was a given. And in many ways, it still is. Despite the fact that most families are dual income, men are still usually considered "breadwinners' while women are "homemakers." Which means the pressure is on mom to be a full time worker, and a full time maid, and a full time caretaker. I'm not implying that our husbands still come home, sit on the couch, and wait for their martinis - I like to think that most 21st century men are equal partners in the home - but the pressure is still there for women, even if it's self-imposed.
So moms. Instead of beating yourself up for not spending enough time with your kids, think about what a great example you're setting. That they'll know mommies and daddies can both work hard. That they get to see time management skills in action. That they know daddies are just as capable of helping out around the house and taking care of children.
And really they are. I don't think Thatboy is an unusual specimen of a husband. I tend to think he's fairly run of the mill. And I know that those nights when I have to work late, the boys are in excellent hands. Like on Tuesday, Thatboy picked the boys up from school and took them on a hike. And he's well trained enough to send me pictures, so even though I'm not there, I'm not entirely missing out.
Then he took them home, fed them dinner, bathed them and got them all ready for bed. While I tucked them in, he heated up dinner for me too. Because really, in the vast scheme of things, families aren't really about one person taking care of everyone. In a family, we all take care of each other. As long as your children are cared for, the hours don't really matter.