20 Reasons Why I am the Parent in Charge

I love my husband. He is a great father to our kids and he really is my best friend. However, when it comes to our kids we have very different roles. While my husband is attentive and loving and fun, there is a whole other side to parenting that he really has no part in. I have 1000 different things to do in a day and as the last few years have gone by I have come to the realization that my life is so different when it comes to our kids because I am the parent in charge. The enforcer. The planner. The organizer. The cleaner. The communicator. The shit picker upper (literally and figuratively). Yes, I do it all and I know every single detail about my boys and how our house runs. Here are some of the reasons why.

1)I sent my hubby for groceries. Actually just 8 things. He called me twice from the store.

2)He has no idea what sizes of clothes/shoes our kids wear. He also doesn’t know what is in the bag he takes with our kids when he drops them off at daycare. (spare clothes, hats, sunscreen, stuffies, the emergency soother)

3)The man cold. Do I even have to go here? Whenever he is under the weather, he always whines “take care of me.” This includes the making of whatever will make him feel better and being at his beckon call whilst still doing everything I normally do. When I am sick I get sent to the basement in some sort of quarantine and he may throw down some crackers every now and again. When it comes to our kids being sick, apparently he “doesn’t do puke.” I have come to find out that he also doesn’t do diarrhea, poop explosions, boogers in noses, pretty much anything gross that can come out of a child.

4)He asked me how old our neighbour who babysits our kids is. I said “Grade 8”, to which he replied, “That means nothing to me. So she’s like 8?” Yes, an 8-year-old takes care of our kids until midnight when we actually go out. He has also never booked the babysitter himself and he always has to ask me what her name is.

5)He has no idea what to feed them. If I don’t specifically tell him what to make he will just give our kids chicken fingers and fries. Every. Single. Time.

6)When I have “mommy time” it is in the evening after my kids are in bed. My husband golfs. Yes, that’s right…a 5-hour hobby that occurs in the middle of the day. Awesome.

7)He doesn’t understand the importance of “night diapers” and changing our 2-year-old just before bed or else he will wake up prematurely soaked in urine. I am also the only one who apparently knows where we keep the spare sheets.

8)Speaking of bedding, my hubby often tells me that before we met he never washed his sheets weekly like I do. In fact, he never did it at all because he didn’t think he needed to. GROSS.

9)Counting to 3 really works. Please follow my lead and just do it already.

10)He didn’t know a) the name of our son’s preschool b) where the school is located c) his teacher’s name d) what days he attends and e) basic every day communication.

11)I am a teacher. This is a fact. Because of this my husband told me that when it comes to our kids’ education/school choice/homework/extra curricular activities/high school/university/lifelong learning, that he would “just leave me in charge of that”. Hmmm that seems fair.

12)He didn’t know that when you go to another child’s birthday party that it is customary to bring that child a gift. I am pretty sure that this is a societal norm, but okay. He then asked if we needed to send money with our son to pay for the party, you know like 20 bucks? I also don’t need to point out (but totally will) that I was the one who rsvp’d to the party, went to the store, bought the child a gift, wrapped it, and had my child make a delightful handmade card to go with it.

13)Valentines, birthday party invites, teacher presents, daycare incidentals…I’m sure you know where I am going with this…don’t worry I got it.

14)Now I did grow up with a brother so I am quite familiar with the “poop excuse”. Although growing up I thought my brother was some masterful genius as he always got out of dishes to “have a session” as he called it (disgusting I know). I came to realize it wasn’t just my brother, but all men use that excuse. My husband uses this excuse more than the average man I am sure. Bath time, bed time, dinner time, really any time I could use an extra pair of hands, he is beckoned to the bathroom. Always. I have come to notice he never has to go during naptime, happy hour, evening hours, when I suggest a run for ice cream. Moms never use that excuse because moms don’t poop I guess.

15)I schedule EVERYTHING. I literally make all the plans, figure all the necessary shit out, and put it all into his phone which will set off alarms when he is to do certain things or be somewhere. Sometimes I’ll put little things in there like “buy your wife a surprise today” (a gift certificate for the spa and some mini eggs). I mean I obviously have to be specific.

16)I pack all our shit when we go somewhere and all he has to do is pack it in the car, which is a cake walk compared to the laundry, snacks, stuffies, sippy cups, etc. that I have to organize and put in their respective bags to be placed nice and neatly next to the door. It must be nice to not have to worry about whether Elmo made the trip or not because your awesome wife is on the case. The one time I didn’t put my bag by the door my husband didn’t put it in the car and I didn’t have any clothes for 2 days.

17)When I have down time I am meal planning, cleaning, doing laundry, you know that endless list of 1000 things. When my husband has down time he is watching sports and picking players in his golf pool. Did you know that golf practically runs all year? So. Many. Tournaments.

18)It’s offensive to ask me if “the tomato truck is in town”. If I’m bitchy it’s because I am organizing all of our kids toys in their proper bins; a job you don’t even know exists.

19)Like my father, my husband finds out what our kids are getting for Christmas on Christmas morning. He is equally as surprised as my children.

20)To me the most important part of doing the dishes is the wiping of the table and countertops. This is always the part my husband leaves out because “doing the dishes” is just that. Just remember that things you believe should be implied, are not. They need to be forcibly directed with charts, graphs, overheads, slideshows, power points, and a series of sticky notes. Also, whenever I do the dishes (which is many times a day) I don’t announce it the household. “I just did the dishes” and then waiting for praise enrages me. Especially when there is food littered under the table.

**Note: I read this to my husband and while he admits that many of these things are completely true, he wants you all to know that pre marriage and kids he used to golf A LOT. Now he just golfs A LITTLE. The good news is I get to hear about how much he used to golf A LOT. Oh and it’s all in good fun. He has to live with me after all. Don’t worry the next post will be self deprecating humour all about myself. I also agreed that when it comes to the house he is the one in charge, but with the kids there is nothing I don’t know about them. I told him to challenge me on this and all he could come up with was if I knew how to clean the boy parts. Good grief.

CB

How To Throw a Child’s Birthday Party

If I were to tell you what my number one fear was when becoming a parent I’m sure you would guess either 1) keeping a helpless infant alive 2) sleepless nights with said helpless infant or 3) how to place a helpless infant into one of those godforsaken baby slings. However, the real answer is birthday parties. Before my 1st son was even born I worried about the planning, administering, conducting of, everything to do with having a successful birthday party. Seriously, this stressed me out.

I am not creative. I loathe Pinterest. I hate going to other children’s birthday parties. I don’t even want to go to my own child’s birthday party. But this year my son was turning 4. A 4 year old is starting to have actual friends and not just children I force him to play with because they have the same pant size. Not to mention, he is at an age where he might remember that he didn’t get to have a birthday party when he turned 4 because “mommy is lazy”, or whatever he will tell his future therapist.

The year before, when he was 3, I invited my friends’ children (once again from forced playdates) and did “Pancake and Pyjamas” theme, an idea I clearly stole from someone on Facebook who obviously trolls Pinterest like it’s her job. It went over well and of course I took complete credit and then suggested the idea to others like I came up with it on my own. Obviously. This year was going to be different though. I was going to have to invite children I did not really know. Children who have parents who could possibly judge me for not having enough crafts/songs/life lessons about sharing involved in this birthday party. I know I shouldn’t care about moms judging other moms, but y’all know it happens! I am still sensitive about not nursing my second child and affiliating that with why he grunts and points instead of talks, so back off!

I asked my son what he wanted to do for a theme and gently (with a bit of desperation) suggested we could do the same thing as last year because it was so much fun! Pancakes! Pyjamas! Extra syrup! No dice. Instead he replied, “Let’s do cake and clothes instead”. Helpful. So naturally I resorted to a Paw Patrol theme because that’s what all the other 4 years olds are doing (hey there is plenty of time for him to set his own path in life and be an individual and all that other crap).

So if you want to know exactly how to tackle that dreaded birthday party, I have some pointers. The first hurdle is the invitations. Right here is where things can get out of hand. Do I invite the whole class? Do I invite all the random kids in the neighborhood? More importantly, how many kids can I have in my home without inducing heart palpations? According to my husband, the answer is 3, but clearly I have to invite those kids that will make my child happy. You know because I am such a good mom.

Next, you need to think about the food. I know it’s annoying that you have to feed them. Obviously, I’ll order a mediocre cake from the grocery store the night before. I’ll assume that they can make a cake in the shape of one of the Paw Patrol dogs and hope for the best. (They don’t by the way…have to settle for a “Happy Birthday” written in icing). I suppose I could have done that myself, but I don’t bake and now is not the time to pretend that I do. Bless you if you saw the Pinterest post for Thomas the Train cupcakes using real trains and Kit Kat bars, but I’m not interested in that shit. Partly because I don’t see the necessity and partly because kids would eat cake served on the floor because IT’S CAKE. Maybe I am tainted because my children would happily eat food out of the garbage (oh and they have), but to me cake is cake. I also know enough to plan a birthday party between the hours of 2-4 so that all I have to serve is cake and a few juice boxes. I might put out of bag of chips on the counter, which would just be for me to eat while I watch children terrorize my home. Keep it simple and just make sure you don’t open the booze until the children leave (or at least until you can say “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” when a parent gives you the evil eye).

Now here’s the thing. I’m a bit of a cheap ass. Shocker. That’s why I won’t buy/make some specialty cake. That is also why I figured having my child’s party in my own home would also be cheaper. But with having a home party comes the need to entertain and have games planned. Again, it’s because I’m supermom. I highly recommend having a plan here people. Don’t think you can “wing” this….that my friends, is a rookie mistake. So I had some crafts planned (paper bag puppets…not my first rodeo) and these foam dinosaur kits I got from the dollar store (double points there for cheapness). I had them ready just in case. I was hoping the kids would just run around and play. Nope they all loved the idea of a craft when my son spilled the beans about me buying glue, which could only mean one thing. Glue=messy craft=so much fun. Shoot. Me. Now. Crafts with 3 and 4 year olds (and my 22 month old to boot) is basically you making it for them while all the other kids scream at you “I need help”. “I want eyes on my puppy”.” I want to make a dragon that breathes real fire”. “Where is the glitter? I am not making anything unless you get me glitter.” And on and on it goes. This is the point where this two hour birthday party feels like it’s been 2 years. Two years in prison. Perhaps it would be better to make a bunch of puppets ahead of time and let them randomly put on stickers. I’ll let you know how that goes over next year.

After the craft and signing of “Happy Birthday” and eating of cake, there is the matter of the presents. Anyone with a young child has that fear. You know what I’m talking about. That fear that your child will throw a tantrum at the present they received, or god forbid ignore the gift entirely. Of course I spoke to my son (well we rehearsed a very well thoughtful and meaningful message) before the party to make sure he was thankful and appreciative. I suppose I was fearful about the story my mom tells about my brother’s 3rd birthday where he opened all his presents and told everyone he didn’t like any of them. Oh the horror! And that was back in the days when parents didn’t attend parties with their kids or if they did they sat in the kitchen smoking cigarettes and drinking Diet Coke. If your child does throw a fit at not liking a particular gift, I would simply throw out the old cliché “Kids will be kids”, or something along those lines and immediately fake an emergency that requires you anywhere but in that room.

Once you finish making your child hug every child at the party and look them directly in their eyes and say “Thank You”, you are just counting down the minutes until either the parents come to pick up their child or the parents that stayed get the hint that you want them out of your house. Just remember that this will soon end and you will be able to crack open that 8 dollar bottle of wine knowing that you deserve it because you are “Mom of the Year”! Don’t forget the goody bags though. Oh yes, the treat bag every child wants, but no parent appreciates having in their house. All goody bags are the same. Cheap ass toys from the dollar store, recycled pencils from every other birthday party, an organic, nut/peanut/ gluten free snack that will boost your child’s immune system, and stickers/tattoos that you will most likely toss in the trash when your child is not looking. I suppose it is a nice way to say “Thanks for coming to my birthday party”, but truly isn’t the joy of making your own paper bag puppet enough? It isn’t, so just give in and make up the goody bags with the above mentioned necessities and save yourself the criticism you will receive if you don’t do it. Then you are home free and you can relish in the fact that there will be 364 days until you have to do it again (unless you have more than one kid and you will likely have to do it again in like another month).

Oh and while we’re at it can we just can all the bullshit holidays please? You know what we used to get for Valentine’s Day? Yes that’s right…Valentine’s. That’s it. You know what we used to do for St. Patrick’s Day? NOTHING. That isn’t a thing until you are old enough to drink green beer. We did not have “Elf on the Shelf” at Christmas time. We had a “you better be good or you’ll be in trouble with dad” lecture that lasted all damn year. Christmas was one day, not three weeks of super fun surprises every damn day. You know what that clever little Easter bunny left us? Jelly beans and those giant chocolate bunnies that would accumulate a village in my parent’s deep freeze. So can we just go back to this please? I am far too lazy to add any more shit to my already shitty plate.

I vote that we make the birthday party and all holidays and non-holidays alike a much more simple affair. My birthday parties as a kid were the same every year. We went swimming at the local hotel pool and came back to my house for pizza and cake. And you know what? I loved it. I didn’t feel slighted because my mom didn’t spend $500 at Dino Bouncers. My mom is just like me…Mom of the Year…well at least in my kids’ eyes I am and that is all that matters anyways.

Next Post: How to decide on Baby #3 (Did we or didn’t we??)

C.B