My husband has never had an entire night with the kids alone. That is, until I went to the EVO Conference last weekend for three nights and four entire days. It was definitely difficult for me to be without them, but I was more worried about them being with out me. Not that I didn’t think he could handle it… But there is definitely an ease that comes with routine. I’m simply more used to doing the daily routine with the kids.
The first night I was there, I didn’t receive any alarming texts or frantic phone calls. In fact, every time I did speak to Dr. J, he was relaxed, and JOYFUL. Of course, I felt a lot better hearing how well they were doing (albeit, stunned). The following day I received this email:
just wanted to tell you how much i love our kids. they are the best kids, the sweetest, funnest, amazingest kids that ever were! i have completely and thoroughly enjoyed every minute with them. they are great and i am so happy to have had this time with them. we had a great night, they helped me with dinner, played puzzles together, laughed, ate all their dinner, we played games and tickled each other, told secrets…. it was awesome and 95% of the time has been like that. there have been very few crying episodes and i just can’t say enough about them, we and especially you have done an amazing job raising them. i love them SO MUCH!
MELT MY HEART. Brought me to tears. I am the luckiest women alive, I thought. WAIT. HOW IS HE DOING THIS SO SEAMLESSLY?? He’s trying to prove something, I know it. Are they really such angels around him ALWAYS?
Then, the next day I received this email:
i now understand a couple of more things about being a full time parent…
– it doesn’t matter what you or your kids look like when you are going out to the park, its more important that everyone has on all the necessary clothes.
– forget about trying to clean up before you go, just try and get out before everyone starts screaming…its a race between getting it all together (the kids and yourself ready, food and drinks for everyone) and them screaming!
– being at the park was so much fun just watching them smile and run around in the water makes everything / all the hard work worth it.
– it doesn’t matter when or how they eat it, as long as they eat it…thank you fruit + veggie squeezers!
– treats (candy unfortunately) can really come in handy if they are about to blow up, or don’t want to do something that you really need them to do, like go do laundry again.
AHA. He’s getting a little taste now. *insert snicker*. I laughed right out loud when I received this last note. Vindication tastes pretty great, actually. Although guilt for feeling this way, not so much.
The final day, the texts started pouring in. HOOOBOY. The bold font are his edits, he wanted to preface why he felt the way he did.
(this was the last night when jack wouldn’t let me brush his teeth, he wouldn’t open his mouth and he was being completely uncooperative with everything i asked him to do. he wouldn’t take his medicine he just sat on the couch and screamed).
“i feel like slamming my head into the wall over and over again…please stop your damn crying!!!”
“what part don’t you understand? please listen to me PLEASE! i am trying to help you, please stop screaming, stop hitting me & stop being a little brat…what do you want me to do?”
(the answer is nothing. in these moments you can’t do anything to help them. i remind myself they are only almost 2 and 3.5 and this is why they are acting the way they are. this is normal. keep calm and they will stop soon. sometimes i laugh it off because they are acting so ridiculous. other times i get pissed an yell at them which i have learned does absolutely nothing. main thing is to keep calm and wait out the storm, hold them if you can and tell to calm down as well because it will all be over soon. the crying will stop & unfortunately, sooner than later they will be all grown up and we will miss these difficult times. I would way rather deal with a 3 year old than a teenager!)
“parenting is like a diaper, you never know what you’re going to get”
I was ready to hop a plane at that point. Poor guy.
All in all, this was an excellent learning experience for all of us, and I got a little time to work on me (first in nearly 4 years). I highly recommend it. You just might learn something about yourself and your partner that you didn’t expect. And I still feel like the luckiest woman alive.
Going away can be the hardest thing for a mother to do, but honestly I think it is best. Its great for our husbands to flounder a little bit. I also thinks its so good for the kids to kinda manage with dad and having no routine. Then when you get home your happy to see them, but they are all MORE THAN HAPPY TO SEE YOU!
Love it! I think the only way for them to truly appreciate our efforts is to go through having them ALL on their own. And in our home Dude always takes them out to eat – which is cheating too!
oooh, that first one made me cry! and then I laughed at the others… and then cringed because I know it's coming our way – and I know we will be in good company! another wonderful post jess!
Okay, I got all weepy at the first one, and then proceeded to laugh as the post continued. Poor guy. I'm glad you all had this time, though! 🙂
The paragraph that begins "the answer is nothing" is the way I wish men would handle PMS too. Great post!
Soooo good for everyone that you went. Sounds like a growth experiment for you and the hubs.
Aaah, poor guy! But what an amazing guy, sounds like it was an awesome experience for him to appreciate you more and it sounds like he does! Thanks for sharing these letters, they were so sweet.
PS What are fruit and veggie squeezers and where do I find them!
Sounds like this man needs to blog – we'd love to have him do a guest post over on DadRevolution.com 🙂 great perspective – the not always fulltime dad to being a fulltime dad in less then 2 days 🙂
glad he made it out ok. I know I was a wreck for a about a week when wifey went on vacation w/ friends for 3 days – kiddo was younger and I only have the 1 but still its ingrained in my memory.
Love this post, Jessica! From the first very optimistic letter to you, to the last… haha… so cute. It's easy… and also very, very hard! So glad you did so well on your own – I am feeling more and more confident about NYC now! xo
This is great! I think every male need some full time parenting days. Glad you took the time for you 🙂
That's too funny. Mike has never done a weekend or night with the girls… I might have to think about that. 🙂
As sweet as that first message was, I loved the others. I always gloat when my kiddo acts up for my hubby. Makes me feel that I'm not the only one this happens for!
Great post! This reminds me of all the ups and downs of parenting! Hope you are well!
Loved this post! I find when the DH is away, he's got time to step back and appreciate all that I do as a (working) mom. Now that our daughter is 10, it's a whole different kettle of fish. If I'm away it's not tantrums anymore, it's pre-raging tween hormones. And THAT I can tell you, he's singularly ill-equipped to handle!
THANK YOU for this post. I read it to my husband and we both were cracking up! He does have to deal with the kids at night time about 2x week when I work… so it was nice for him to hear another guy struggle like he does (our kids are also 14mo apart).