In the course of our parenthood, my husband and I have had a series of disagreements as to "who does more."
Are you familiar with this one? Closely aligned with the "I am more exhausted than you", the "who does more" disagreement follows a predictable rhythm.
With our upcoming move, it has been necessary for one adult to travel to Montreal to scout neighborhoods and houses. As it is also the end of the "school year", dance recitals are looming. Upon pain of death, no ballet rehearsals can be missed. I fear the wrath of Miss Joy at this time of year. Not to mention that Emily goes all haywire and funky when her routine is disturbed.
He is the elected parent to do the scouting. Truth be told, the idea of handling his daughter, alone, for the weekend is a fate he would rather not discover. Upon the rare occasions that this has occurred, he crawls from the wreckage of our home gasping "Must...go....out...alone" and disappears for several hours.
I understand this urge. I know what it is to feel so fried by Saturday at 2 p.m. that the phrase, "Mama, Can I..."
gets cut off as the words "You can never do anything else in your entire life, so don't ask me" comes barreling out. I understand why mothers walk through the grocery store with that glazed distant look on their faces as their children throw Twinkies and chips into the cart. We are defeated. Our children know it. Cripes, strangers know it.
So today, my husband calls to say that he will be home at about 5:30 p.m. He's secured a house! Hurrah! I have been awake since 6 a.m., when the incessant campaign for scrambled eggs and bacon that will go uneaten as soon as I serve them began. I have gotten child showered, to dance, fed lunch, gone grocery shopping, done our errands, come home, thrown a load of laundry in, taken out the garbage, unloaded all goods purchased and put them away, separated Emily and the neighbor who came to verbal blows over picking up Emily's room, picked up the clutter, made the bed, did the dishes, gotten in a 20 minute session of yoga before said child "verbal blows" came to pass, and cleaned the ^%$%^$%$ toilet.
"Did you have anything planned for dinner?"
"No, I don't."
"Do you want me to get her Chinese food?"
"It doesn't matter to me."
"Well, I'm going to eat my leftover BBQ"
"No, you're not. I threw it away when I was cleaning the fridge."
"YOU THREW IT AWAY? BUT IT WAS STILL GOOD!"
"I'm sorry. I saw it sitting there and threw it away with the other stuff."
"Fine. I'll stop and get myself something. Should I get her something?"
"Frankly, I am ambivalent on the whole "dinner" issue."
"Dawn, I don't want to get home and hear you go "I'm so tired..I need to rest."
Breathe, I remind myself, Breathe.