I’m sitting in class, affectionately watching my students with their faces in their laptops, pretending to do the grammar exercises that I assigned in their online workbook, but my mind is elsewhere. I brought my cell phone with me to class today, which I never do, and I was fully expecting it to blow up with texts, but not a single one came through, which makes me even more nervous. You see, this morning, for the first time ever, my husband is taking care of putting the kids on the bus ALL. BY. HIMSELF.
Obviously, before leaving the house at 6:45, I made the kids’ lunches, prepared their breakfast, crushed Giancarlo’s cocktail of meds and stirred it into the peach and carrot flavored apple sauce that he likes best, I packed the school bags and put their school shoes by the door, but I didn’t prepare ALL their clothes. Would Rosy remember that it’s spirit week and today she could wear the sparkly emoji shirt instead of her usual uniform? Of course she will remember – we left it out last night. But I didn’t get her sparkly tights out. I should call. No, Carlos needs to feel like he can do this on his own. It’s important for me not to be that nagging bickering wife that makes him feel useless. He wasn’t nervous about this morning at all. Why would he be? First of all, he is too macho to show any kind of weakness, and secondly, he doesn’t have any real idea of what it entails. Whose fault is that? Not his.
Anyway, of course I ended up calling. Who are we kidding? But I was sneaky – I asked to speak to Rosalia, and reminded her about the sparkly tights myself. And to tell her father to tie her hair. And to watch the clock. When she passed me back to her father, I was all “you got this babe, super dad!” I just sent him a similar message congratulating him for surviving and getting both kids to their separate buses on time. He did it! Truth be told, I didn’t have much faith that it would happen. It was probably a shit show. Actually, my kids are such little shits that it probably went super smoothly, just to prove me wrong and make him think it’s that easy all the time. No arguing about what goes in the lunch, no dragging them out of bed, no chasing a naked stinker around the house, then dodging kicks to the stomach to give him his meds. Guaranteed, those little monsters were on their best behavior with dad.
Should I not have done those extra steps to facilitate his task this morning? If I hadn’t, who would have suffered? Everyone but him. I would have been agonizing all morning, no – all day, wondering if the kids had a good enough lunch (we all remember how judgy lunch monitors can be, don’t we?) I would have spent all day feeling anxious about Rosalia’s possible disappointment if she had gone to school without her sparkly tights, and as that disappointment would evolve to wrath, it would not be directed at the adult who helped her get ready this morning, no, it would be directed at me, the Doer of all Things. But, as several therapists have pointed out to me, if I do all the things, then I don’t leave any space for someone else to do them, because they are done. All the time. Because if I don’t, my mother, the Queen Doer, does. And Papa barely even notices.
Except when he writes you a sweet Mother’s Day card thanking you for being the Doer of all Things. This post may have gone very differently if he hadn’t!