Harder

I yelled at my husband yesterday, in the Taco Bell drivethru.

Not my finest moment. But it’s ok, I’m starting a new diet tomorrow. Oh and the yelling was sort of unnecessary too.

But sometimes I wonder if he will EVER understand what my days are like while he’s at work talking to people who know how to wipe their own butts and don’t smack him in the face when they have a difference of opinion.

We were at Taco Bell and I was making E read all the menu choices out loud, because a) the writing is TINY b) I was in the passenger seat and it’s an awkward angle for seeing the board and c) I always hope they’ll have something new I haven’t heard of before that might delicious instead of ground mystery meat covered in fake cheese sauce. What can I say, I’m an optimist. E was getting frustrated with my squinting and my indecision and in his most exasperated tone said, “If you can’t read the board, WEAR YOUR GLASSES.”

FIRST of all, we have this discussion at least once a week. My glasses are scratched enough to be mostly unusable. My older, slightly wrong prescription glasses give me a headache. My even older, extremely wrong prescription glasses don’t help at all.

SECOND of all, I don’t have an eye doctor here, and I need to see one for a new prescription before I blow any money on new lenses and frames. But seeing a doctor takes free time and there seems to be a shortage of that in my life.

THIRD of all, my eyes aren’t actually that bad. I passed my driver’s exam without the glasses so I don’t HAVE to wear them. I just squint a lot and can’t read medium-small words on the tv.

But the argument isn’t really about whether or not I NEED the glasses – because if I am honest with myself I do, and ought to wear them regularly – it’s how my ability to GET the glasses is hampered by wrangling two children all day. It makes everything HARDER and he doesn’t understand.

E thinks that because he’s capable of caring for both kids in the house doing it elsewhere would be almost the same.* AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Do you know what happens in public? ANYTHING. Anything happens in public. Dogs the toddler can’t touch. Wind that blows on the baby in a way that makes her scream with anger. Food that belongs to people who don’t feel like sharing. Poopsploded diapers and nowhere to change them. POWER OUTLETS. DIRT. TRAFFIC. YELLING. STRANGERS TO JUDGE YOU. And no where safe to just leave the kids while you walk away for a minute and regain your composure.

Take the post office for example. Our post office is a NIGHTMARE – no parking, giant stone steps, no ramps for strollers (or handicapped people for that matter – I’m sure they’re violating about a zillion Americans with Disabilities Act provisions). I was in a town with a better post office so I decided to go there. I park somewhere out of the way so we’re not in the busiest part of the lot. Open the toddler’s door. Unstrap toddler. Fight with toddler about holding hands in the dangerous parking lot. Pick up screaming toddler. Walk around van. Open baby’s door. Pin toddler against the van with my knee while using both hands to get the baby seat out. Get slammed in the shoulder by the auto-closing door the toddler has activated. Hold baby seat in one hand and drag toddler with the other to the building. Fight with toddler about who gets to open the door even though it is too heavy for him. Herd toddler into line. Get out of line to prevent toddler from doors to the mail room. Feel like a terrible parent as he slams his head against a counter because he’s angry. Mail packages. Repeat in reverse back to the car. And I consider that a SUCCESSFUL trip.

E suggested I just use the stroller. All that does is add 10 minutes to a trip that now involves a screaming, thrashing 2 year old and getting stuck in three different sets of doors. It is also impossible for errands that involve: stairs, buying anything bigger than a breadbox, tiny doctor’s offices, places I have not been before and can’t judge for stroller-friendliness beforehand.

Now try that same scenario again only with a doctor’s office full of things Little Evan can’t touch and people who don’t necessarily like children. Oh and depending on the kind of doctor you might get to do it with your pants off. IT IS THE EXTREME OPPOSITE OF FUN and so far down on my list of things I’ll enjoy I’ll take any measures necessary to avoid it. So all my errands and appointments have to be done while E is home AND the offices are open. Not an easy feat.

Because E’s in the military, being healthy is actually PART OF HIS JOB and not only is his medical/dental/eye care provided, they schedule the appointments during work hours and make him go. My bosses aren’t quite so flexible. I don’t have family in the area to leave the kids with. And as much as my friends offer to help, asking them to watch my kids for every appointment would probably get me uninvited to playgroup pretty quick.

How do other people – or people with MORE kids – do this?

Maybe E can just keep reading menu boards for me and I’ll get new glasses when Caroline goes to preschool. In 2015.

*For the record, E is very good at parenting and sharing parenting responsibilities. But without the ability to lactate he can’t comfort and/or feed Caroline so the amount of time I can be away from her in limited. And now I need to write a WHOLE OTHER POST about my expectations of my husband (and men in general) as a father and how I feel both guilty and not at all guilty for asking for help. I need to go back to stupid craft projects before my brain explodes.

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29 Responses to “Harder”

  1. Swistle says:

    We do have family in the area and we’ve used a number of other techniques as well, and it is STILL almost overwhelmingly impossible for me to do an appointment for ANYTHING.

    Sometimes a place has evening/weekend hours, which is why I found myself having my eye exam at MalWart. Other times, I ask for the last appointment of the day and Paul comes home a little early—but often the last appointment of the day is too late for that to work. If I can get the last appointment at a place that’s farther from home and closer to his work, then he can meet me in the parking lot, and we can switch cars and he can drive the car full of kids home; this can buy us a little time. There are some days that Paul gets off from work that other places don’t; if I think of it far enough ahead of time, I can make my appointments for those days.

    We’ve honestly considered having him take one day off a year and me having a whole bunch of appointments (dentist! optician! GYN! GP! hair stylist!) that day—but the logistics of arranging all those appointments for the same day is too much to consider.

    • TMae says:

      I know women who have done that – have every.single.appointment on one day. It’s both helpful and overwhelming at the same time for them.

    • bebehblog says:

      E actually gets one free day a month so I try to schedule appointments for that day OR ask him to TAKE the day that I have appointments. But when it’s last minute (like when I am ill and need to see the doctor right away or the dog gets hit by a car and needs to see the vet immediately) that doesn’t help. And it doesn’t help at all for things like grocery shopping or general erranding.

  2. Krista says:

    Oh yes. I had appointments scheduled during maternity leave that I postponed and will reschedule now that I’m back to work. It is easier to take the time off of work than it was to either leave the hosue with two kids or find child care for them. And that’s coming from someone who lives next door to her mother in law. There’s only so much you can ask for you know?

    But Craig, he doesn’t get it. At all. And if I’m completely honest, I get ridiculously bitter that he can just say “Oh, I’ve got this or that tonight.” and meanwhile I have to arrange childcare to shower.

    SIGH.

    • Kimberly says:

      My hubby and I JUST had this discussion tonight when he was all “I have a client dinner tomorrow & a late meeting Thurs. night. and a game Friday…” and I was all “I just need to shower.” We also don’t have family close, and I don’t dislike anyone enough to drop both of my kids there.
      This post also reminded me that I was supposed to go to the obgyn in March, and I haven’t been to the dentist since before I was pregnant.

  3. Cole says:

    Daddy had a tough day yesterday, so Mommy offered to grab Chinese food on our way home (we had long day, too – we had to pick up Grammy Boo & Coach at the airport, which involved a whole bunch of time trapped in traffic and at the airport waiting for their plane to land)… I had a lot of pent up energy from spending most of the day in the car and our food wasnt quite ready when we got there, so I spent most of our time waiting wriggling and punching Mommy in the face because I wanted to get down and run in the parking lot and got into the sushi restaurant next door to visit their goldfish… 20 minutes later, as we walked in the door, Mommy was a frazzled mess. Daddy’s criticism of the food selections we made was NOT welcome.

  4. Brittany says:

    I get bitter towards the husband pretty frequently because he can pretty much to whatever, whenever, whereas if I want to do anything alone I have to bat my eyelashes and say pleeeeeease watch Rory while I go out. I am lucky in that she generally behaves in public (for now) but I dread this fall when I’ll have to wrangle two children.

    • bebehblog says:

      When Little Evan is being well behaved I LOVE going taking him palces. I even took him to a doctor’s appointment and he did great. But the unpredictability, it kills me.

  5. MKP says:

    Bleargh – sorry this patch is rough. I wish there were more within-walking-distance outlets for youse and the kids, for practicality and entertainment’s sake.

    This may be a childless-ignorance question, but why doesn’t E take the kids somewhere on his lonesome on a weekend day? Or take a few vacation days and call it mini-Paternity leave? Maybe not someplace high maintenance like the aquarium or seaport (or maybe that’s easier bc there’s stuff for kids to do), but just on errands. Gives you a break, gives him hands-on experience….

    • bebehblog says:

      Well, most weekdays he’s working, so that eliminates a lot of times. And then there’s the breastfeeding thing. But mostly it’s because if I DON’T have to take both kids somewhere alone I WON’T, so how can I ask him to do it when he doesn’t HAVE to? I’m never somewhere I HAVE to be (like an office or a submarine) while he is home.

      We do do a lot of errands together as a family on weekends, which is MUCH easier. One child for each parent is a fair balance. But it also means everything takes 5x as long because of crowds of other families doing the same thing.

      • MKP says:

        Yabbut, if being home with the kids right now is Your Job, you do Have to take them places alone since the alternative is never to go anywhere. If you don’t give yourself equal status for doing that every day, nobody else is going to, wellmeaning and good-at-sharing-childcare as they may be. Does Caroline never take bottles, ever?

        I know that a lot of this is theoretical opinion-based experience because I have not had to do it myself… but learning to handle both kids in both a home and outside environment is equal participation, imo.

        It makes me so sad to see so many people in a position where one partner is able to go out and do things just cuz while the other feels like they have to ask permission. But we’re participants in our own relationships, and we teach people how to treat us, for better or for worse.

  6. TMae says:

    The other thing that pisses me off about all of this is that when hubs takes our single kidlet anywhere by himself (so I can shower, or cook dinner, or whatever necessary task I’m trying to accomplish) people FALL ALL OVER to help him. And he gets lauded for it. Like, I’m surprised he hasn’t come home with some sort of goddamn award. “How NICE that you’re ‘helping’ with him…giving mommy a break!” Eff that. This phenomenon is why I went forever without a hair cut, and why I STILL haven’t been to the doctor or dentist since O was born, despite having a broken tooth and being overdue for my pap.

    Will Evan go in the Ergo on your back? We’ve started putting O back in it because going to the grocery store was becoming a two-person job: one to grocery shop, and the other to keep the toddler from destroying the lower shelves. He HATED it the first few times, but now he’s resigned himself to it, and it does make some of those trips easier. Getting him back into the carseat is a little more epic, but I guess I can’t have everything.

    And finally – this is EXACTLY my fear about having two kids. I didn’t hardly leave the house with one for the first year (he hated the car seat, what if he fell asleep, didn’t fall asleep, etc. Basically, I sucked at parenting for a full 12 months), I am scared to death I will never leave the house again, FOREVER if I have a second. Phhhhhffffft.

    • bebehblog says:

      I actually bought another carrier (a Boba) specifically for putting the toddler on my back – I just haven’t tried it yet. Wearing him would prevent a lot of arguments but carrying around an extra 26 lbs while trying to buy cases of olive oil sounds exhausting. The other solution would be wearing Caroline (so I don’t have to lug the bucket) but I can never bring myself to wake her up if she’s sleeping in the car seat. Plus until just this week she HATED being worn. She did OK in the Moby yesterday and the Ergo today though, so once we get past the sleeping-all-the-time stage I’ll do it a lot more.

    • <– OH MY GOD YES THAAAAAT!!! when people see me at the craft store, target, etc with poppy, they generally shift their glance and attempt to scheme a way to scoot ahead of us through doorways, isles etc. i can literally see them wanting to avoid us, because got forbid they may have to consider holding a door for a mom with a stroller, or worse *GASP!* my child may try to TALK to them and say something like "hi!" or "crackers are yummy!"

      on the contrary, every. single. time. my husband takes p out on his own (which over the last year has thankfully got from "never in a cold frozen hell would that happen" to "at least twice a month, albeit begrudgingly"), he comes back with stories of strangers practically shitting themselves over the cuteness of a daddy out with his tiny daughter. people ask him her name, age, and favorite breakfast foods. they compliment her clothes, her stroller, his jeans (ok, that was some couger lady at safeway who totally wanted his nuts, but you get my point.) it's CRAZY how friendly and excited people are about dads being out with their kids, like it's seriously the most charming thing EVAR – most of them would probably trample a basket full of newborn baby bunnies rushing to my husband's side to retrieve poppy's dropped sippy from the floor. no joke.

      going out in public with a kid is hard. i've gotten great at it, with a mixture of careful planning, a calm attitude, always having a backup plan, "tricks" to keep my kiddo happy, babywearing, and a new stroller that is tiny in size, easy to maneuver, and opens/collapses with one hand. however, just the very THOUGHT of having a SECOND kid to wrangle while making public outings sends me into a panic spiral – seriously i would probably be housebound unless i had a second set of hands to assist if there was more than one child involved! i totally commend you for getting out as much as you do with both kids. you are doing awesome and there is no way to avoid getting frustrated with the situation at times. xoxoxo!

    • Kimberly says:

      YES!! Hubby actually took both boys to My Gym tonight & came home saying that one of the girls who works there held O THE ENTIRE TIME. I started to get mad, btu then I realized that I still had no kids to watch.

  7. Mama Fisch says:

    Can I tell you how many times when I read your posts I nod, smile and think “I could/should write this”. Well, it’s about 1,000. Men… they just don’t seem to be wired the same way we are. Everything is okay. Everything is easy and they always manage to order something that taste better on the menu! Thanks for some laughs on this Tuesday morning!

  8. Amanda says:

    See I am not so worried about the 2 kids part. I just have to get through the summer with both of them and then Maddie is in school and I just have to tote Zoey around. I daydream about enjoying a coffee at Panera practically kid free in the fall. I am having issues now. With less than two months to go all energy is gone and I feel like a crappy mom to Maddie.

  9. Rebecca B. says:

    I’ve never commented on your blog before, but I read it quite a bit! I felt the need to comment today because I have 2 girls, 15 months apart. They are 18 months and almost 3 right now and going ANYWHERE with them is a NIGHTMARE. And my husband isn’t as helpful as yours, so I have to take them everywhere.

    I’ve taught my almost 3yo a “trick”… I can get her out of the car, and tell her “Hands on the car” and she’ll stand where I put here and touch the car until I can grab a hand. I worked very hard on this, and her letting go is just not acceptable. It works long enough for me to get the younger one out of the car… that’s about her limit.

    Thank you so much for writing this…I’m going to show it to my family who thinks this should all be easy for me!

  10. Heather says:

    I have a dentist appointment on Thursday. That I have re-scheduled SIX TIMES. We just had the fight about this very same thing last night, over this appointment.

    I work, but have a flexible schedule where I am off on Thursday and Friday afternoons to be home with Addie. However, because I am out of the office for 10 hours a week, it is expected that I *try* to not take off work for appointments. My husband works for a company his family owns, so he has the flexibility to be off, he just doesn’t understand why he has to and why I can’t take her with me. SERIOUSLY?

    Another good example of this was last week, when A fell asleep in the car on the way home from daycare and then wouldn’t nap that afternoon. When I recounted this story to my husband, he asked “why don’t you just try to keep her awake in the car?” ……REALLY? BECAUSE THAT HAD TOTALLY NEVER OCCURRED TO ME.

    Men. Sheesh. :)

  11. Susan says:

    My 2 year old is so hit or miss that I never know what to expect. Yesterday he was a doll at Borders, sat and read books and listened. Two days ago he was a nightmare at Target and we had to leave. Baby #2 is due in 15 weeks and I am starting to slightly panic at the thought of never leaving the house. We have no family or help around, so I feel your pain on that part. Hopefully it gets better!

  12. Denae says:

    ((((HUGS))) No advice because you can find ways to make it happen but you will never be able to erase that it is just harder with two. I feel for you.

  13. When are they going to figure out that post offices need drive up windows??!??!?!

  14. Anna says:

    Suzanne reading your post helped me so much. I have a 3 month old and was just upset that I can’t seem to get anything done. I know this time is for bonding with her but we still have to eat :) my husband acts like he’s doing the world a huge favor when he goes grocery shopping, when going to target alone is what I fantasize about these days. Anyways good luck and thanks for the sisterhood.

    Ps- your kids are so cute!

  15. sarah says:

    Right there with you, Suzanne! I just got new glasses – because I finally got to the (crappy, in the mall) eye doctor for the first time since before I was pregnant with Nora. Add in the normal non-kid related procrastination before that, and it’s been 10 years since my last new prescription. Being able to see is amazing, finally!
    I have very little in the way of tips that you haven’t either already heard or tried – babywearing and waiting waaay too long to do things (like until most of the kids are in preschool) is what “works” for me.

  16. cakeburnette says:

    There is nothing like the military man for condescending parental advice. Because their jobs are crucial to national security and such, they think they are experts in EVERYTHING.

    Hang in there. There’s not much you can truthfully do until the kids are bigger/Little E is in preschool for a couple of hours. I will say that I used to HIRE A BABYSITTER just to go to the commissary when DH was TDY and they weren’t in preschool yet.

  17. Julie S. says:

    Where is the love button? I know I shouldn’t laugh, but I know these scenarios all too well- but minus the baby. Baby is coming in October, and now I am wondering how I will ever survive! And our post office is the EXACT same. If I can swing it, I leave Brayden with my mom.

  18. Laura says:

    I’m afraid. Very afraid of how hard it will be with a second kid one day, and we’re not even pregnant! I wish my husband would take the baby and all of the related baby and house duties for ONE DAY. Then maybe he would begin to understand how hard it is to do it all. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on one’s POV), I work full-time, so I can schedule appointments and not have to lug the baby with me. I was seriously wondering just this morning, though, how you could possibly go to appointments if you are a SAHM. You’ve answered my question. Hang in there! P.S. Maybe you could buy some cheap off-the-shelf glasses for the time being?

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