Lately, there have been some pretty big changes in the Figuring it Out as we Grow household. When JJ started preschool this year, I changed my entire work schedule around so I could become our family's personal chauffeur. I am working about half of the hours, but still feel like I have less time than I used to.
We are a one car family right now, so we wake up at 7 to run Fat Dad to work, come home, eat breakfast, take JJ to school, come home, try to clean/spend quality time with AL for about an hour, then I run her to Grandma's, run myself to work, work, pick up JJ, pick up AL, pick up Fat Dad, dinner, clean, bedtime. I am usually falling asleep with the kids if not before.
We have been struggling a little bit financially since the adjustment, and I have been struggling with the fact that for the first time in 12 years, I NEED Fat Dad. I love him to death, but I've always been stubbornly independent. It's always been comforting to me that should anything happen to him or us, I could handle it by myself. Yes, it would be tough, but I could do it, and now, I could not. As for him, I think he's excited that for the first time in 12 years, he has the upper hand : )
The other day I told him that if he would take care of the kids, I could always pick up a shift on the weekends to make a little more money, but he said he's rather have me home. He said he needs me to be here, more than he needs a hundred dollars. Even as my heart was melting, I protested. I explained to him that I don't feel like I am contributing enough to our finances because I am used to being able to provide more. He said keeping the house clean, and being home to take care of our kids is more than enough of a contribution... Did I mention yet how much I love him???
Fast forward a few days to our still dirty house, and he starts questioning what I do with my day. I spew off the routine that I mentioned earlier, and he still thinks I have all this spare time. I think he thinks I've found a way to transport myself Star Trek style, and I am spending my free time eating bon bons, and watching the real housewives of whatever county they are in now.
Fat Dad always thinks he has a better way to do everything so when he was working second shift this weekend, he didn't waste a minute in critiquing our every move. First on his agenda was that I wait too long to get the kids dressed. If I got them dressed right away, it would save me so much time. I was in a play along mood so I got them both dressed for the day. Then watched as JJ spilled his breakfast all down the front of his shirt. With a smart ass smile I said wow, Fat Dad, I saved so much time getting him dressed the first time, that now I can do it all over again : )
Fat Dad is persistent so he kept on going. Next I should drop AL off at Grandma's right after I take JJ to school so I can spend that hour cleaning. This is where I put my foot down. I love the quality time that she and I share in the morning, and while we are lucky enough to have free daycare, I am not going to abuse Grandma's generosity... I'm sure she enjoys her alone time in the morning as much as I enjoy our together time.
I feel like the whole morning was spent with me doing nothing the way he would have done it, but you know what, JJ made it to school on time, I made it to work on time, and AL got to have her mom all to herself for a whole hour. I call that a success, and I think after seeing just how our morning went, he did too.
We are both majorly stubborn know-it-all's. I'm pretty sure we've been together for this long because we are too stubborn to admit that we can't make it work. I'm sure the love and the two kids thing helps, but I think it's the stubbornness that keeps us glued together.
I am a know it all, but only on stuff I actually know about. I am not one of those people who will argue with you about something that I really know nothing about. I am a researcher and a learner so if it has to do with something I am not familiar with, I shut up and learn, or Google it to death later.
One thing I think I am pretty well versed in is my kids. Not your kids, or your sister's kids, or anyone else's kids, just mine. I will never tell you what you should do for your kids, just what has worked... and what hasn't worked...for mine.
I think after a day of being a critic, he realized that I know what works for our family, and that even though our house is not spotless, we are fed, clothed, and happy! I will be the first to admit I work much harder on the happy than the clean, but I'm pretty sure when we look back at our life we will remember the laughter much more than the mess. I'm also very sure that once the kids leave, the mess will follow : )
After a day of being critiqued I realized that while our schedule may not be perfect, I am doing the best that I can, and that is all anyone can do.