One of my new friends from the bus stop had to have foot surgery last week. In a lot of pain for a long time, she finally went in for an x-ray and, much to her surprise, discovered her foot was broken. Not only was surgery a must, but the doctor said she cannot walk on it for over a month.
On Friday, I met her husband, who had baby in tow, at the bus stop. I introduced myself and told him I was bringing dinner over that weekend, and daughter, Emma, would be helping them out, to boot. He thanked me, 7 month old in his arms, three year old around his leg and his two other kids, kindergarten and first grade, in the bus line. He still had a smile on his face as he told us that until the in-laws arrived and he returned to work on Tuesday, he was playing Super Dad. He admitted uncertainty as to what his sanity status would be by then.
I told him about my blog and warned it was going to be very hard for me not to blog about his temporary role. "Go right ahead," he said (I love it when people say that). He even added another detail just so I would have plenty to go on. "We have friends with five kids; she works, he stays home. Today I told her to go hug her husband." He laughed. The moms laughed. We all got it: Staying home with kids is hard.
A privilege? Yes. A blessing? Yes. A gift? Yes. Easy?
I remember back when I was homeschooling over a decade ago. It was my first year, and my September birthday fell on a school day. Just like I still frequently hear from my kids, I didn't want to do school on my birthday. Nothing they can do about it--public, private or home school--they have to go. I, on the other hand, had options. I called on Captain Fun. "Would you take a day off work so I can have my birthday off from school?"
He said he would be glad to. What else would Captain Fun say?
I shopped. I lunched. And I am sure I went to the bookstore and envisioned all of the books I would some day write. I confess, I still do that.
When I came home, Captain Fun was still in his sweats from the night before. His hair was a wreck and he had spit up on his shirt. "I am exhausted," he said. "I did not sit down the entire day and I only got a twenty minute nap."
My hair was combed. My shirt was clean. I couldn't contain myself: I let out a laugh. A chuckle. Okay, a guffaw--which I immediately explained to the Captain.
"You look like me, and I look like you." We both roared with laughter. He is, after all, Captain Fun.
And since Captain Fun, himself, declared that staying home with small children is a tough task, well, that's all the proof I've ever needed. It has helped me stop comparing myself to other moms. Whether you stay at home or work outside the home, mothering is one tough task.