Putting the Onus on Mothers – and Parents in General

I like to say 90% of success is just showing up. Which is a good thing, because there are some days showing up is all I can do, because my brain is somewhere else.

For example, last week was the kids’ spring break, and I arranged to work from home 4 out of the 5 days. My husband worked from home on the day our office has our weekly meeting, so I could attend. I am fortunate that I have this kind of flexibility, as this article points out. (Oh, and “yes” to everything that article says. I clearly had children in the wrong, by a lot, age window. Although, I am so thankful that I will not be suffering the same lack of sleep in my 40s.)

At the beginning of the week, I arranged a carpool. I told the other mother in advance that my husband would be home on Tuesday to share in the carpool. I gave them both each other’s cell numbers.

Nonetheless, instead on contacting him about a change in plans on the day of his carpool duties, she texted ME.

WHY!?!?!

All this did was create greater confusion, because now I had to make sure that he got the message. It put the burden on ME. It put the time and the responsibility on ME. Guess what else it did? Prevented me from doing my job for about 5 minutes while I made sure that messages were relayed and confirmed.

Yes, this was only 5 minutes. But believe me, in the life of a mother, there are so many “5-minutes” of juggling details that they can add up to a day. I love it when childless working women say things to me like, “What do stay-at-home-moms” DO all day?!?!” Oh, I could tell you! I could EASILY fill-up an entire day taking care of the non-work related details of my life. Instead, I just jam them into the early morning, evening, and weekends. My husband complains that I jam our weekends too full. But honestly: When in the world am I/are we supposed to get everything done?!

This is not the first time this has happened. Another favorite was the time my daughter’s daycare (this was at least 4 years ago) called me to retrieve my sick child from school, even though my office was further away than my husband’s. Now, one cannot expect them to know that. What annoyed me was that they repeatedly called me and never even tried calling my husband when they couldn’t get ahold me right away! I might have been on trial for all they knew.

The main point of this rant is that we all need to be more mindful of our assumptions. I am guilty of it, too. But for the love of all that is good and holy, people: If you know a woman works, and she has given you her husband’s cell number, and she has told you that he is the one in charge that day: Do that poor woman a favor and call the husband when you need to relay information pertinent to the children. For. The. Love. (Thank you, Jen Hatmaker.)

Also, Econ-Mom: I never got the chance to respond to your last post about neurotypical people’s assumptions about children and behavior and parental responsibility. As you know, I am in your camp, because, even though she tests as neurotypical, I had a child with a number of issues in her younger years that made it *feel* like I was raising a non-neurotypical child. Daily temper tantrums, speech delay, sensory processing issues and extreme introversion had both The Hub and I wondering if SC1 had autism. We asked her speech therapist regularly. We also had her evaluated more than once. While I would LOVE to take credit for the incredible 10-year old she is now, I personally do not like, nor want, to take credit for any of my child’s good or bad behavior, because I struggled in that department for so long. There is literally nothing more frustrating than to watch the same poor behavior exhibited in public – over and over and over and over again – despite best efforts to correct it. For years, I wanted to put a sign around SC1’s neck that said: “I am only 2.” or “I am only 3.” Because she looked much, much older than her years, so more was expected of her. In short, because of my experience, I am extremely understanding and compassionate towards parents whose children are acting out in public. We all need to remember that children are not tiny adults. They are LEARNING. They cannot be expected to do everything perfectly. And when you see a parent struggling, it is much kinder to let them know “this too shall pass,” than to pass judgment.