Friday, February 22, 2008

Time Together, Time Apart

The boys are home from school today-- our first full snow day of the year. I shouldn't be despairing given that our friends back in Maine already have had TEN snow days so far this year. It's just that the boys were home on Monday for President's Day & they've been on a bickering jag for few days. Suddenly our apartment feels really small & darn, those snowpants are sitting in their buckets at school. Do you think they understood when at 8:07AM, I looked at them & said, "We have 11 hours left. If the arguing, crying & shouting don't stop, it is going to be a looooooooooong day."

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I am working hard to be supportive of other parents' choices & not join in the real or imagined 'mommy wars.' I admit that I can be quite a judgmental person (I have righteousness issues: not religiously-based, just general "it's clear what is the right thing") so I've been working on this. Parenting is incredibly humbling & it would be be really helpful if moms (dads, too) just banned together & said, "Boy, this is freaking hard. We're all just doing our best" instead of all that stay-at-home vs. working-outside-home moms' stuff or nursing vs. formula-feeding moms' disagreements, etc. etc.

With that said, I was struck last Sunday with two differing parental images:

A. STATE OF THE UNIONS: There is No 'We' in Marriage
Here are a few parts of this article featuring Andrew Krents and Jennifer Belle & their sons, Shepherd and Jasper:

In the third year of their marriage, she became pregnant, but miscarried. “Then, I couldn’t get pregnant again,” she said. “I was inconsolable over not having children. I wanted to be a mother very badly. It’s going to sound dark, but I think there should be something between now and cancer. I wanted joy and preschool applications.”

and then after, having children:

Now that they have two children, and she is working on another novel, the marriage has become “one big competition for time alone,” Ms. Belle said.

“Andy’s desperate to work all the time, and I want to work,” she said. “I spend a lot of time saying things like, ‘My work is important, too!’ I must say that 25 times a day.”

They do have help — Suzy’s Chinese restaurant does most of the cooking, and they have a nanny 50 hours a week. “If I had the money, it would be more, frankly,” she said.

Wow, fifty hours I immediately thought.

B. Later that evening, while P had control of the TV remote, I made him stop at Extreme Home Makeover to check out the family for whom they were building a new home. P knows I am totally a sucker for such stories & is kind to indulge me as I get teary & sentimental. However, he seems less pysched by my new, growing 'addiction' to A&E's Intervention....

Anyway, this episode featured the Hughes family. This family has three boys. The oldest, Patrick Henry, is a talented musician. He also happens to be blind & wheelchair bound. Now at college, Patrick Henry is member of his university's marching band. In order for Patrick Henry to participate fully with the other 200 marching band members, his father, Patrick John, attends every practice & every game/half-time show so he can push his son through the band's steps and formations. Imagine the amount of snot running down my face when I saw that dad dressed in his version of the band's uniform, cheerily grasping the handles of his son's chair as he pushed & twirled the trumpeter .

You know, I couldn't help myself immediately juxtaposing Parents A and Parent B....

1 comment:

wheelsonthebus said...

I think these stories are sensationalized a bit. The fact is, I know my kids will be miserable with me in ten years if I don't work now. I am fortunate that I am flexible and can be part time, but not everyone has that option. The reality is that we all do it the best way we are able (one hopes).