[Pictures by Sweet Husband]
"And we hafta be at school at 8:15, and I hafta wear an orange shirt, and we hafta eat a nice, healthy breakfast that morning...." the Kid had been rattling off the details of his class field trip to the pumpkin patch for a week beforehand.
I could have orchestrated my schedule so that I could go, but it was just too complicated at work last week, so Sweet Husband arranged his day off so that he could be there instead. I'll admit, that was just the teensy-tiniest bit hard for me.
We're very equal opportunity when it comes to who stays home sick or who puts the Kid to bed, but I tend to gobble up a lot of the special, fun stuff before Sweet Husband has a chance. It's not because I think he doesn't want to do it or is incapable or anything like that--I just really want to go have the fun. But lately, I've been forced to step back a little, which I don't think has been a bad thing.
One of the ROTH ladies posted this article on Facebook the other day--Being a Stay-at-Home Parent Is a Luxury … for Your Spouse. Judging from the comments, many stay-at-home mom's found the premise affirming, like it was something they hadn't thought about before. In my own head, I was like, "Well, goodness, of course it is!"
Honestly, it's something we've fantasized about. I'm not sure who would do the actual staying home even, but that part doesn't matter. Grocery shopping that doesn't have to be squeezed in between work and dinner on Friday night! Doctor's appointments that can be made at any time! Laundry that gets washed in a semi-regular fashion!
It makes my head spin with the possibilities.
Except that, setting aside from the fact that we're both passionate about our jobs (most days) and that our financial planning to this point reflects that (i.e. we both want to keep working, so we haven't tried to make the sacrifices necessary for one parent to stay home), I wonder how that would alter the extent to which we're both equally involved with the Kid?
Of course, even a working mom or dad can get an occasional day off to go for a school field trip, so there isn't necessarily a super-direct relationship. But when that person has to arrange things to do it and the other parent can just go...I suspect I know what the default would almost always be. If I tend to gobble up the fun right now, I would downright make myself sick on it if I didn't have to balance it with work, too. And I would starve for it if I were the working parent and Sweet Husband stayed home.
"Did you have a good time? Did you take lots of pictures?" I quizzed Sweet Husband when he called to report-in later that afternoon.
"It was great!" he zoomed off with almost as much enthusiasm as the Kid, talking about the hay maze and the playground and the awesome chaos of letting 20 pre-schoolers loose in a pumpkin field. I couldn't help but grin over the piles of paper on my desk.
I was still a little jealous that I missed it, but I knew it was the right choice. And it made me more cognizant that, in the future, I need to step back and share the fun stuff more often.