Parenting

Dad on Duty Doesn't Mean the Family Falls Apart

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The other day, the WSJ's The Juggle blog tackled the subject of what happens when Mom goes away on a business trip.  The author of this particular entry tried for humor as she described the travails of her two toddlers, one of whom is crushed by her 3-day absence.  To get the laughs, she used phrases like "my family fell apart" and described spending several days "setting the scene" for her absence and "familiarizing her husband" with routines she usually handles.  Her son spent 3 days sobbing and her daughter caught a cold. Her son cried for days even after her return, declaring he suddenly didn't like school anymore.

Now, no one can predict a toddler's reaction to a missing parent.  And Marc and I have certainly had our share of "I want Mommy!" or "I want Daddy!" screamed at the opposite parent.  But leaving the house for a trip is made so much easier for either of us, and for any ESP parent, by the fact that both Mom and Dad are already deeply entrenched in the routines of the kids' lives and intimately involved in their nurturing.

In fact, I'm getting ready to leave - a trip home to help my mother recover from major surgery.  I'm a bit anxious - I never like to be away from Marc or the kids for that long, I'm hoping everything works out smoothly for my mother's recovery, and I know my absence is going to make Marc's life (and M's and T's) temporarily lopsided.  But I'm not going crazy with the preparation, and I know Marc's got it fully under control - in his own way - without one reminder or instruction from me.

Knowing my family won't "fall apart" without me is just a little of what I'm thankful for from ESP.