I’d like to give a shout-out to the dads out there who are just doing their jobs every day, being dads. I don’t think dads get their due recognition for just being dads. What do I mean, you ask?
Well, this stems from a recent business trip I took during which I repeatedly heard, “Who takes care of your kids while you’re gone?” Um, their dad. And, “What does your husband do with the kids while you’re gone?” Um, he parents them. He takes them to school, picks them up, makes them dinner, puts them to bed, and even – gasp! – reads them bedtime stories! He’s a dad. He does dad stuff.
I’m pretty sure the men on this business trip didn’t get the same questions about their wives. Have you ever heard a man asked, “How does your wife handle those kids and house all by herself while you’re gone?” I’m guessing no.
People assume I pick up my kids from school, pack their lunches, make their dinners, give them baths, put them to bed, and clean the house to boot — because I’m the mom. Why isn’t the same assumption there for the dads?
I find it truly offensive when I hear “Oh, how nice that your husband babysits while you’re gone.” WHAT???? No, he doesn’t babysit. He parents. I’m not offended for me, I’m offended for my husband. Why is it not just assumed that he’d be an amazing parent, with or without me there?
I’ll let you all in on a little secret that shouldn’t be a secret. I should be shouting this from the rooftops. My husband is often better at being a dad than I am at being a mom. He’s a fantastic cook. He can fix just about anything in and around the house. He knows how to do laundry, and no, he’s never turned any socks pink. He knows the kids’ teachers and school schedules sometimes better than I do. Basically, he’s not a bumbling idiot who falls to pieces when I’m out of town, and I wish people would stop assuming that he is just because he’s not the mom.
And while I’m on my soapbox, let’s clear up some other traveling-mom annoyances. Yes, of course I miss my kids when I travel. I don’t need to hear: “Oh, it must be so hard to leave them! I could never do that.” Great, don’t take a job that requires travel if you can’t travel.
“Your kids must miss you so much!” Gee, I sure hope so! But no, I don’t think they’ll be damaged by my occasional week away from them. I think they’re learning some very valuable lessons about women in leadership positions, about relying on daddy as much as mommy, and that even when someone goes away, they come back. So yes, I’m sure they miss me, and I’d be concerned if they didn’t. But they’re not being emotionally scarred, so please don’t put that guilt-trip on me.
You don’t need to ask me if I worry about my kids while I’m gone. They’re in the more-than-capable care of their dad, so my worry is as much as any other mom’s when she’s not in the direct vicinity of her children. Which means that I worry whether I’m just down the street or on the other side of the globe.
Here’s a big one: No, I’m not on vacation when I travel, do please don’t tell me how nice it is that I get to take all these great vacations. Of course I try to squeeze in as much sightseeing as I can, but that’s on my own time after or before a full day of exhausting meetings. I’m in a fun industry – tourism – so a lot of my travels involve fun activities. I’m not going to apologize for that. But it’s not vacation. Vacation is with my family or friends, not coworkers.
The point of my rant? To start, I want to give public kudos to my husband and all the other husbands out there who are just doing their jobs being amazing husbands and dads. I’d also like to not get questions that men aren’t getting too. If you wouldn’t ask the men in your office if their wives fall to pieces when they’re gone, then don’t ask the women that about their husbands.
I’ll give my husband all the credit in the world for being an amazing parent while I’m gone, just like he’s an amazing parent when I’m home. See, we’re in this together. We’re partners. We’re both pretty eff’n amazing. I manage to run the house and care for the kids by myself when he travels, and you’ve better believe that no one is telling him, “How WONDERFUL that you have a wife who can care for her kids when you’re out of town!” So here’s a shout-out to ALL parents who do it alone, whether temporarily or permanently! Let’s remember that, man or woman, we’re all pretty capable human beings.