We took a car trip to Wylie, Texas, not to see the sights but to see the children. Although we were within 30 miles of Dallas we did not have the opportunity to venture there. Here is why one who raises three children doesn’t get too much done — beyond parenting — during the day.
Amy, the older daughter is eight and attends a public school. She leaves the house at 8 a.m., with a neighbor who has children in the same school. Abby, 4-1/2, goes to a parochial pre-school, 12 minutes from the house, and her classes start at 9 a..m.. Luke, who will be one on December 1, takes a nap in the morning. Abby is picked up at 2 p.m., Amy at 2:45 and her school is five minutes away. Shortly after returning home it is time for Luke’s second nap of the day.
This type of schedule is common in two-parent households when one parent is able to stay home with the children. What is not so ordinary is in this case the one at home is the father, our son Neil. He does all the rest of the household chores too somehow during his day. The laundry, cooking, looking over school paperwork and all that goes with running a household is under his purview. His wife is a medical residency program at Baylor and she leaves home by five or six in the morning, depending on her schedule, and returns sometime after six, if she is lucky. When she has call, all bets are off as to when she will be around the home. Her workplace is a mere 30 miles away but with traffic, wrecks and general city congestion, the trip sometimes takes 90 minutes. Fortunately they are both patient adults and the children are happy and fun to be around.
What strikes me each time we visit is that when our two sons were small and I was the in-home parent, no one thought it was extraordinary. Although it has been 27 years since Neil was in kindergarten I still contend that was the year I got behind — and have never caught up! The boys were bused in the mornings and we picked them up. Kindergarten was out at 11 a.m., and that was one trip. Neil was “starved” and had to eat as soon as he came in the door. My husband came in for lunch at noon. Our older son was released at 2:15 and he had to eat. And around we went.
I don’t ever remember my husband being astounded at how I was able to juggle the many balls of running a household, yet he certainly is when it is a man who is doing it. I am too, not because a man is doing it, but that is being done so well. It is pleasing to see the fruits of my labor putting forth his own fruit.
Peggy writes from the family farm in South Dakota. Her internet latchstring is out at Peggy@PeggySanders.com. ❖
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