Today I met two friends, also mothers of young children, for lunch. We try to do this once a month, usually when all the kids are in school so we can have grown-up talk.
It almost didn't happen this time. The boys have both been home sick all week. One of the women was also dealing with a sick child (he's feeling better and back in school today). The other friend was sick last week....
When Chris came home last night, I told him I had canceled my lunch plans because the boys would be home once again. He looked at his schedule for today and told me to email back that I'd be there - as long as I could get him back to work by 1:30.
He squeezed in coming home for lunch today, between meetings, because he wanted me to be able to go to lunch.
Yep, he rearranged his schedule as much as possible because having grown-up time and getting out of the house and friends are all important. Especially when I've been stuck in the house all week with sick kids. Who are feeling better today. I know this because they've been fighting. (It's been a rather quiet week around here. As much as I've enjoyed that, I am kind of glad for the battles because it means they feel more like themselves.)
Tonight I host this month's book club for my moms group. I scheduled this before Chris started learning the bagpipes. Yep, his bagpipe group meets on Thursday nights. And he's staying home so I don't have to deal with the kids while trying to have a discussion about this month's book (Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy).
Can I point out that this is normal in our house? And I hope it is normal in other houses. That Dad stays home and parents while Mom goes out sometimes. Just like Mom stays home and parents while Dad is out at work or playing bagpipes. We both have things we like to do (I have my writing group and book club; Chris has his bagpipes and movie-making). We both make time for each other to pursue those interests. Sometimes there are time conflicts, in which case one of us changes plans or we hire a babysitter for the evening.
Because it's important.
I've heard other moms comment that Dad was home 'babysitting'. Or Mom cancels her plans when the kids are sick because, even though Dad will be home, she has to 'be there'. Those are things Chris and I have worked very hard to not have in our house. Chris doesn't babysit, he parents. And he would be insulted if you said he was babysitting. He can take care of sick kids just as well as I can (sometimes better since he deals with puke better than I do).
Besides being good for our relationship, I think it's good that our boys are seeing this too. They see that Daddy can take care of them. Yes, he does things differently than I do, but that's ok. He's showing the boys that men are capable. That being a dad is important. that kids aren't just for the women to deal with.
And that's the best lesson they could learn.