Now many of us get to combine the joys of career and parenting at the same time each and every day for the foreseeable future. Now, both things can be wonderful and fulfilling. Who doesn’t like the satisfaction that comes at the end of the productive work day? And what parent doesn’t love to chat with and play around with their kids?
But not all good things go well together, like peanut butter and chocolate. No, this is something else entirely. For example, I love a good marinara sauce, and I love Junior Mints, but under no circumstances would I put them together.
Day One of this reality started out so well that I didn’t get the idea for this group until about lunchtime. In fact, there was a moment early on when I was working on my laptop and my 4- and 6-year-old kids were adorably reading books together on the sofa. With the kind of hubris so often punished in Greek tragedy, I smiled and thought, “this is going to be A-OK.”
Twenty minutes later, I was on a phone call and my son was screaming “PEANUT BUTTER! DADDY! PEANUT BUTTER” at me for several minutes.
An hour later, my 6-year-old daughter asked me for the third time why we can’t go to the Children’s Museum. I sat with her and explained (again) about how there was this bad sickness out there and we all had to do our part to stay healthy and make sure others stay health. She looked at me with her soulful, beautiful eyes and said, “Daddy, AGAIN? This conversation is so BORING.”
A couple hours after that, my son woke up grumpy from a nap, was angry that he couldn’t have a snack until after he finished his lunch, and screamed for about 45 minutes. He also insisted on holding my left hand, which while kind of adorable, also makes typing rather tricky.
Lest he be left to a solo performance, my daughter kindly stepped in to complete the duet by complaining that we couldn’t convene a last-minute, and rather elaborate, St. Patrick’s Day party tomorrow, and invite everyone we’ve ever known.
Between all of this and a last-minute hoarding trip to the store, I accomplished a solid 7 minutes of work before late afternoon, when the kids decided to go play in the yard. Once again I breathed a sigh of relief, as they frolicked together and the grown ups were given some measure of peace.
After a few minutes, I saw a blast of leaves fly into the middle of the yard. Just then it hit me that the leaves I spent a few hours raking last week were still in bags in the corner of the yard. I ran out in time to see that my son had gleefully emptied the contents of those bags onto himself, his sister, and much of the yard.
As they laughed and played in the leaves, I was able to simultaneously smile inside and think, “OK, that is a pretty great kid moment,” and also think “Great. Now I have to rake all those goddamn leaves again.” But the kids helped me put the leaves back in the bags before proceeding on to other mischief.
So that was day one. Peanut butter, boredom, screaming and leaves. Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings. We’ll all get the hang of this, right?