I opened up Facebook this morning to find my cousin annoyed by an article, about how football player Jim Cutler sent his wife an anxious “Please God, when are you coming home?” series of texts. His wife had been out of town, and texted to him that the plane had landed. He replied with –
“Need u home asap.”
“All hell has broken loose”
“Jax is in his crib.”
“Cam refuses to eat.”
“I’m about to leave”
This is obviously to show how all men are indeed, buffoons, and incapable of handling the smallest of tasks – like minding their own children. The article even says that he responded to his wife “in the most stereotypical-man way”
Because no wife has ever sent a desperate text to her husband after a long day with the kids, or met him wild-eyed at the door, thrusting a screaming toddler at him and saying “I’m going out!”. All hell NEVER breaks out on Mom’s watch.
Cutler’s wife, Kim Cavallari, posted that this series of texts was “pretty hilarious”. And I do think it’s hilarious, in a “all parents have this moment” way. God knows, my husband and I have traded texts like “Kill me now?” and “I now understand why animals eat their young” and “Bring liquor home”. He has come home to find me twitching and will gently say “Hey hon, why don’t you get out for a bit, I’ll feed the children.” and lovingly shoves me out the door while I mutter something about “little ingrates”.
To say that when one parent has been gone for a while, and the other parent ends up on the edge, is just a man thing – well, it is completely and totally not to the truth.
I know, I have lived it.
See, when the woman’s the stay at home parent, she knows all the ins and outs, which sippy cups are favored, what the routines are, why never to allow the scissors out, or what tasks to let slide. Because she’s the one there all day, making the routines and choices. It is, as even Oprah will state, a job. A really lousy paying job that gets no respect, but a job none-the-less. To then except the non-staying at home all day parent to be able to swoop in and do everything and not have a moment of sheer panic is ridiculous. It doesn’t make the father a buffoon, it makes the father less experienced with that level of child-wrangling. And if you’re the type of woman who’s always “Ugh! He doesn’t do it right! I can’t let him near X because he manages it all wrong!” – well, then you’re setting yourself up for disaster. No one wants to do anything that they know someone else is just going to criticize and micromanage from afar.
The first time I left my husband alone with our boys, I came home two days later to “Daddy took us to McDonald’s!” and pizza boxes. Which made him the Best Parent Ever according to kids. I was all “Really?” at him. He said “What, I fed them.”
Eh, true. He did. They were being guys. They ate pizza and had taken apart an engine. The boys were happy, the house wasn’t on fire, really, it was fine.
The next time I left him alone, it was with three kids, ages 5, 3, and 1, for a week. He was good on his own for four days. The fifth day, the kids broke him. I got this desperate call of “The boys were awful, the girl child poo’ed like you wouldn’t believe – seriously, she’s not that big, how can she make that much poop? – and in dealing with that, I burnt dinner, omg, they’re killing me…” I didn’t say anything. “And I know this is just your typical day, but I’m not used to this.”
That isn’t be a wuss, that’s being truthful. And how many of us women-folk freak out when our husband is sent on a trip, and we have a week alone with our offspring? Be honest, it’s a lot. And if you’re not used to the daily ins and outs, then yes, it’s going to be hard. Especially if you throw a toddler into the mix. We can’t say that being a mom is so very hard, then mock the dads for not being able to instantly step into our caregiver shoes and be all Mary Poppins about it. Oh sure, there are those guys who are jerks, who really are useless, and they should be slapped with dirty diapers. But that text sent by Cutler? Could have been sent by any of us moms, and we know it.
So give the guy a break. Give your guy a break. Give yourself a break. Parenting is just hard, no matter what chromosomes you have.