I chose to become a teacher, in part, so I would have more flexibility in the afternoons to participate in my kids lives. I wanted to be available to meet with their teachers (if needed), take them to activities, and participate in their school communities. I wanted to be an involved parent, and it seemed like sharing my kids’ schedule would help me do that.
It’s interesting then, that the fact that I’m the only parent who does that for our children, makes me seethe with resentment.
I’ve written about this before. It’s hard and it’s complicated and it’s not something that is likely to change while my husband has an inflexible city job and I drive the only car we own.
And yet, I find myself fixating on it from time to time, mired in envy that he can come whenever he damn well pleases while I have to watch the clock like hawk every afternoon. How he can just stay late on that call or attend that last minute meeting without a care in the world, while I have to ask to leave a professional development 15 minutes early so I can get my kid to her swim lesson on time (the traffic was so bad, we still ended up missing half of it). That he never has to remember when the Thanksgiving feast is, or what we signed up to bring, and he never has to have ornaments for the aftercare Christmas tree decorating and he never has to check that our daughter finished all her homework, or make sure he doesn’t leave our son’s favorite blankie in his cubby. The sheer amount of things he never has to think about it is massive.
Make him think about these things! You’ll tell me. Make him get involved! But he’s just not that kind of person. I’d probably spend more time managing his involvement than it would take me to just do it myself. Even when he does want to do something it usually doesn’t get done: He’s been talking about enrolling our daughter in a dance class but I’m totally maxed out on extracurricular activities and told him if he wants to do that he can figure it out himself (and it has to happen on the weekends and he will take her). I think you can guess how much leeway has been made on our daughter’s dance class (absolutely none in his six months he’s been talking about it).
The reality is, I can’t even delegate specific tasks to him because he never has the car and there are no useful stores on his way home from work.
I think I used to feel better about being responsible for every aspect of our kids lives back when my husband was responsible for the mornings. But I’ve been involved in the morning routine (and taking my daughter to school) for 1.5 years now, and in that time the amount of shit that needs to be executed for my daughter alone has grown exponentially (thank you elementary school).
So yes, I know there is no way to resolve this, no way for it to get better. I guess I need to just remember why I chose this profession in the first place, and be grateful I can provide the parental involvement.