Friday, May 12, 2006


Mother's Day

The Wife, before she was The Wife, loved kids. It was one of the first things I learned about her. She had a niece on whom she doted, and she always noticed little kids when we were out.

The Wife is amazing. When we started dating, I remember getting large pizzas and her matching me, slice for slice. That’s incredibly rare in the dating world. Her relationship to food is like a guy’s, yet she’s still a head-turner after two kids. How she does that, I have no idea.

Marriage was a relatively easy adjustment. Parenthood was the tough one.

When The Boy came along, everything (pronounce every syllable slowly) changed. Looking back to our pre-parenthood days, I’m astonished at how much free time we had. It’s simply unthinkable now.

Nature plays a cruel trick on new parents. Your moment of maximum cluelessness coincides with the baby’s moment of maximum dependency. Add sleep deprivation and the normal worries of new parents, and you have a recipe for insanity.

The first two years of parenthood were really hard. The Boy was spirited from the start, and the two-career marriage led to constant time shortages, kid-handoff-crises, oh-my-god-he’s-sick-again-I-can’t-call-out-again crises, round-robin pinkeye (if you don’t know what I mean, consider yourself lucky), and a bottomless pit of guilt. The Boy was in daycare during the hours we both worked (we staggered our shifts to the extent that we could), so he brought home every virus and germ his little body could carry.

When The Girl came along, we threw in the towel on the two-career thing for a while. There’s only so much stress you can carry. Besides, by the time you pay for two full-time daycares, it’s almost a wash. It’s tight, but as long as the cars hold out and nothing catastrophic happens, we can do it.

So my M.B.A. professional wife is a stay-at-home Mom, at least for a while. Even marrying a gender-conscious academic guy who had a single Mom himself couldn’t prevent the pull of cultural gravity.

It drives her crazy sometimes. Trapping a smart and lively mind in a routine of legos and “no, you can’t watch cartoons yet” and “don’t tackle your sister” is cruel and unusual. As hard as rubber chicken season is for me, it’s so much worse for her. When I’m out late, she’s flying solo with the kids all day, and stuck with the housework, too. There are times when it’s almost too much.

Rubber chicken season is almost over, so I’ll be able to reintroduce myself to the family. The Boy starts kindergarten in the Fall. The Girl is lower-maintenance than The Boy, and as they get older, certain things get easier. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

And she’s a fantastic Mom. She keeps her sense of humor, even when others couldn’t. The kids are wonderful, which is largely her doing. I knew she was pretty and funny and graceful when I married her. I didn’t know how strong she was.

Some decisions are just right. Seven years ago, I made one of those.

Happy Mother’s Day, honey.

A beautiful tribute to your wife for Mother's Day! It's fantastic that you recognize and appreciate the hard work she does!
Yes, what a lovely tribute! She sounds like a wonderful person--you must be lucky to have her!
Ya'lll sound like a lovely family! Hope you find some time to spend together this weekend.
How sweet. :)
"Trapping a smart and lively mind in a routine of [...] is cruel and unusual."
The former maybe, the latter not so much I think. That would make a lot of stupid moms.

Though I must admit I have not been there and done that. I will leave it open whether that is being smart or being trapped... ;o)

sweet tribute, happy M's day.
Y'all are lucky to have each other! Very touching tribute. I think that the time when kids are between toddler and puberty are the "honeymoon years" for being a parent. They are slightly independent, but the parents are still smart. Once they hit puberty (she says with the minimal experience of having 11 and 14 year old boys) a parent knows NOTHING! (in my best Schultz impression ;) ) Hasn't been through it themselves, and frankly, has no clue, about life. lol
Everything is a stage, and the secret is surviving it, I think. Enjoy!
"Trapping a smart and lively mind in a routine of [...] is cruel and unusual." I hated this paragraph! The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. I personally have never had as rewarding a job. Sometimes, indeed, it is too much, but this is a job that calls for a smart and lively mind like no other.
Suitejudy, I don't think anyone would disagree with you that stay-at-home parenting requires a smart and lively mind and rewards many people. On the other hand, smart and lively minds that long for other outlets often feel stifled by the situations which can be further exacerbated by a lack of local socializing (no playgroups? no other at-home parents with which to meet up? no outlet except the grocery store?) and a sense that one's working identity has irretrievably slipped away.

DD, wishing for your family a happy Mother's Day and for your wife a chance to reclaim all her hopes and dreams once this life stage is traversed!
As a smart and lively-minded mom who often feels like screaming at the prospect of one more round of Let's Pretend, I'll have to side with Ancarett and Dean Dad on this one.

That was a lovely tribute, mostly because you notice all the things about your wife that we wives hope aren't going unnoticed, but may not be quite sure.
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