Some things are just plain easier to do by myself. For example, we took the children out for ice cream tonight. I grabbed the three older children and headed for the line, leaving Hubby with the two little ones and a request that he put them in the stroller and c'mon and join us. End result was hubby pushed empty stroller to the back of the ice cream place (not the front where y'know we were) and carried TLL, leaving H in THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET. I literally flung a handful of waffle cones and my purse and had to go running after him while his daddy was oblivious. The first two times this happened...I had patience (maybe because my heart kept stopping) the third time, I lost my stuff. In a scene that would have made Kate from Jon & Kate proud, I yelled at hubby in front of a million people and our kids.
Yes, I am that shrew.
One thing that my hubby doesn't get, is that I have a plan. At all times, with every decision made in public (usually for safety reasons, though some sanity saving ones as well) there is a plan in effect. Often I need to change/improvise/rework/ scrap and start over said plan, but, it does exist. When you take a large number of children, particularly your own (because THEY never listen to you) anywhere, it is important to think about contingencies. Not necessarily in depth, but to think, okay...if I am not going to have any hands free, I'll use the stroller. Then you tweak the plan as necessary, for example, to keep H from screaming while he is strapped into the stroller...I'll point out the ice cream cones everyone else is getting and tell him that if he's good, he will get one too. Then, Mom/Dad is able to actually buy ice cream without tempting every purse snatcher within a 100 mile radius, and it doesn't cost a fortune because there is no need to replace the cones you fling on the ground. Mom/Dad can even do this in relative peace if they acquiesce to the request for 'sphinkles' which I hear are much better than the kind I buy.
The reason that I like to let the children get out of the car is because I love my upholstery. Of course, I also realize that it is more fun for them to get to sit on the benches and goof off and enjoy the sugar rush, and I do love my children more than my leather seats. As the children begin to finish, I usually ask them to race from the bench to the wall (or whatever) so that they are burning off sugar fuel and I can control where they are running (i.e., not in the street) and I must admit that the big ones are wise to my game, but, participate because they like to run. Then I can sit back and snap pictures, play with the baby, eat my ice cream, and most of all enjoy my children.
Tonight was the Treat Night from Hell. I yelled at Hubby. He yelled at the kids. Everyone was off their game and miserable. It would have been much better to take the kids by myself and bring him back an ice cream. Of course while talking about it in the car on the way home, Hubby admitted that the reason he didn't put the children in the stroller was that...ARE YOU READY?...He doesn't know how the straps work. Somehow in the past 12 years, I have failed to notice that my husband has never learned how to use a stroller. *Thinking back to when TLL fell out of her swing right after he got here, maybe all things that strap.* I will say that it was a good thing that I had lost my temper already, because it would not have been pretty had I not felt chastised into being on my best behaviour.
So, tonight was an unmitigated disaster. From tonight, I learned something though. While I was furious at the time with Hubby, it was more my fault than his. If, for this long, I have been picking up his slack...I can't expect him to feel confident doing things that he has never had to do before. I'm not sure how this happened to be honest. I can't believe that for all these years, I've just done it all myself, never teaching or helping Hubby do things with/for the children on his own. I am a little shocked that he has never said, "hey, how does that work?" Instead he has been saying things like, "I forgot." Still, I am amazed. I am no longer angry, just sad. Maybe, just maybe this is why we are being given number six...to get it right...finally. This time around, I am going to play dumb from time to time. "Honey, can you figure these things out? I can't figure out how they work." There is one thing about my husband that I know...he can't resist a damsel in distress, and that folks...is how I'm going to get him.
There is one thing I am sure of though. Watching him leave was really, really hard. As frustrated as I have been with having him here, now at least I think I know why. I just watched my very best friend, and the only person who really understands me drive away. He took a piece of my heart with him when he left. Sure, I can do all the buckling and unbuckling of daily life on my own, but, I can't make us a family without him. The children will miss him terribly, he is the good parent to my bad parent. I will miss him more...he is my other half. It is still 2 years and 5 months until his contract in the South is up. That sure sounds like one heck of a long time.
23 hours ago