Recently, I went back to work after taking my maternity leave. During my leave, my husband and I did the morning shift together. He’s a realtor so his hours aren’t set. Our eldest wasn’t in school yet. Because none of us were required to be at a certain place at a certain time, we could start the day slowly without a need to rush.
He’d brush our daughter’s teeth while I changed our son’s diaper. He’d make the coffee while I prepared breakfast. He’d feed the kids while I put away the dishes. We had a rhythm, almost like a dance in the morning that created peace, not chaos.
Then I went back to work. Our daughter started school, and the chaos began.
Watch: The two types of parents. Post continues after video.
Although I work from home, I still need to be in my office on time so that I could begin my day, connect with colleagues, attend meetings, respond to urgent emails, and so forth.
My day started earlier so that meant my husband needed to step up. We agreed that he would get the kids ready and do the drop-offs so that my time would be completely focused on work.
The plan was that I’d get myself ready for work, make coffee, prepare breakfast, and pack our daughter’s lunch before heading downstairs.
Everything else was up to him.
I wanted to physically be away from them so that I wouldn’t feel the need to do more than we agreed upon. I’d rather not know what was going on. I didn’t want to watch. You know, ignorance is bliss.
However, during the first week of our new routine, there were so many moments I wanted to run upstairs and take over for my husband. It was like hearing a car screeching to a halt every few minutes as it barely avoids collision, and wondering when the brakes will stop working and it finally hits something.
On the third day, I swear my anxiety was going to consume me whole.
I’m in the middle of typing up an email when I could hear him and the kids running around upstairs.
He shouts, "Let’s play a game. I’ll chase you guys around the living room and whoever gets caught will have to smell my stinky feet."
Then I hear the pitter-patter of little feet, a burst of screaming and laughter while he does his monster voice, "Stinky feet! Stinky feet!"