Thursday, 5 May 2011

The homecoming

Image from here
People parent in pairs for a reason.

While he languishes under the heavy weight and noise of stay-at-home duties for four active children, she is off refreshing herself with adult company, a lunch of her very own and some peace and quiet aka work.

As she quietly re-enters the chaos at home, she notices the strain on her partner's face. His failing patience as he is asked the same question for the 400th time that day by one child, while another whinges that he is hungry and the other two are wrestling on the couch; tossing each other off, getting more and more brutal until it ends, inevitably, in tears. He mumbles "I told you so" under his breath, whilst feigning interest in the distressed child. He too is suffering sympathy fatigue.

He looks up to find her there. Looking on. Concerned for him. Worried that he has too much on his plate, with the kids, the business and all that. They exchange a kiss. He sighs.

She greets the children who look up meekly from their latest activity. They run to her. They hug her. They tell her they love her best. She looks at him. He looks disappointed. She tells him they tell her that they love Daddy more. Swings and roundabouts.

She wanders amongst the sea of toys, slowly picking them up as she catches up of the adventures of the household.

The eldest tells tales of school and the birth of a new baby brother for a friend.

The middle child says he didn't watch enough TV and thinks tomorrow should be a pyjamas day in front of the box (just for something different).

The two youngest seek permission to jump on the bed. He doesn't allow that. She does, from time to time. They know whose buttons to push.

As she gradually declutters the loungeroom and dining room in readiness for the meal that he has prepared, she learns about the activities of the day (Lego, blocks, Snakes and Ladders and cars) the tension in the house gradually subsides. The noise levels return to a dull roar and the household members respond positively to the sense of space and clarity that the clear table and floor bring.

They sit and each their meal. They laugh. He and she drink wine. He says he loves her.

They are together and life is so much easier when they are together.

The players in this scene could easily be reversed. They both know the drill. One complements the other and provides energy when the other lacks it. They are a team. People parent in pairs for a reason.

This post goes out to all of you who do this parenting gig on your own. I can honestly say that you inspire me each and every day.
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*Voting in the Sydney Writer's Centre Australia's Best Blog People's Choice Award finishes today at 5PM. If you haven't already, head over and cast your vote for my sister Maxabella Loves.

29 comments:

Cate said...

Gosh yes, those single parents are a-mazing!! I often feel like I'm a single parent - rushing around doing everything from 7am to 8pm alone. But then he's home again and I can whinge and babble and laugh and cuddle - and not to have that would be the end of me.
But it is kind of funny to watch them manage on their own occassionally :-)
xxxCate

Diminishing Lucy said...

This is gorgeous. And so true. And reflects very much how I feel about the teamwork that is parenting.

And how amazed I am at parents who fly solo.

xx

themodernparent said...

Gorgeous. And apart from the day to day "work"of raising a family I feel so much for my single parent friends (particularly those who do it full time with no respite) for lacking that emotional "back up". Often as parents we are forced to make tough decisions or decisions that we are not even sure of or entirely comfortable with, and not having that other person to stand next to us say "you are doing the right thing" must be very difficult.

Maxabella said...

Great post, Coo. I know exactly what you mean (although the fact that you get home in time to have dinner as a family amazes and inspires me!).

Thank you for the PS too. X

Mama of 2 boys said...

Yes. Couldn't agree more. As much as my hubby is not a 'hands on' helper around the home, I would hate to have to do it all without him. He is kind, supportive, funny, loving and very complimentary. Friends and family often comment to me "well so he should be, you do it all at home". I know this. He knows this. But we make it work and that's all that matters.
A really heart felt post, I enjoyed it very much :o)
P.S. Loved your comment on my post today... that word verification is freaky. Seriously freaky ;o)

therhythmmethod said...

Tears! Great post, really spot on. I'm so grateful for having Mr Karen on my team, and amazed by the strength of those parents who do it all by themselves.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

What a fabulous post! Tells it like it is.

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

Exactly x

Alice Becomes said...

love love loving this post! you wrote it so well and really enjoyed reading it

Gill xo

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

Beautifully written...

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Loved this. :-)

Jayne said...

So lovely.

catparrott said...

So true. Much as Hubby often drives me crazy we're a team and we both know we'd be stuffed without the other. Lovely post.

A Farmer's Wife said...

Loved this the first time!! Still do.

Like you, I have the utmost respect for single parents.

Eloise said...

Sometimes its just soooo comforting to have that one person you can look at and say 'the kids, they were just soooo horrible' and that person knows exactly how horrible they can be :) Kudos to the single mums, and huge kudos to the single dads cause dealing with that stuff is not easy!

therhythmmethod said...

Such a wonderful telling of how it is. Indeed we are lucky to parent in pairs, to be able to pass the baton to the next relay member and fall in a heap by the sidelines. I've said it before, but I have no idea how single parents do what they do. It must take a huge amount of patience and strength and love.
Fantastic post MM!

Erin said...

So hang out some days for when 'he' comes home. Yep on those days my heart really goes out to single parents.

Miss Pink said...

Very fabulous post!

Diminishing Lucy said...

I loved this post then and I love it now.

It is the essense of lovers that work as a team.

xx

Kellie said...

Oh, what a fabulous post. I think about this often. I feel so incredibly blessed we parent as a pair. I truly do admire single parents.

Photographer Mum said...

Well said - I remember reading this when you first posted it. I too truly admire single parents. It must be a tough gig on your own.

Saucy B said...

A lovely post.
My best friend is a single mom. I've received her distressed phone calls when she's just absolutely at her wit's end and has no one to to take the parenting reigns for a few hours.
Our household has been experiencing the role reversal described in your post. I wish I could say it's been going as well as your post describes.
Unfortunately, i'm finding it to be a rather failed experiment.

georgi said...

hi from the rewind. I loved reading this. It reminded me of my own parents, who remain the best example of a team I've ever encountered. Also, Dad was the one who stayed at home more often than Mum too (he even got in the NZ paper for it when I was a baby .. back in the 80s that was pretty uncommon) .. thanks for hosting the rewind, sorry i haven't been around for a while ! x

A Farmer's Wife said...

Still loving this post.

xx

Mum on the Run said...

That hits a nerve for everyone, I imagine. Mums, Dads, single parents, step parents....me for sure!
Is it wrong that I'm a little satisfied to see that "help/release me" look when I return?! God knows he sees plenty of it from me!
I've never appreciated my co-parent more than after almost five months of solo parenting this year. Having Hubby home rocks!
:-)

Amanda Kendle said...

Goodness yes, how do single parents do it?

Only in our case *he* is the one who lets the small boy jump on the bed (sometimes).

Kamika said...

everyday i thank my lucky stars that I have the help that I do, I do not know how single parents do it. I truly dont

InkPaperPen said...

Loved this the first time around, though I have a new perspective now. With MM away Mon - Fri for the last 6 weeks I have been given a glimpse into what it is like to single parent. It is tougher than I ever imagined. Not having someone to share the journey with and bounce off is really hard. And I have a phone call coming each day to "check in". I can't tell you how good that phone call feels!

Enjoyed re-reading this one.

x

Photographer Mum said...

Still love it after reading it a few times. I am very fortunate to have someone to share the parenting with.

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