Camping this summer…
Me: Hey, did you get Bean’s shoes?
Husband: No, I’m taking pictures of this cool bug.
Me: (visible eye roll complete with dramatic sigh)
Husband: What have YOU done? (grinning sheepishly)
Me: Oh you know: packed all the swim stuff, dressed both girls, sun screened both girls, and now I’m on my way to gather snacks.
Male friend: (shouting) Oh! Scoreboard’s up!
Lots of laughter to follow and shouts of “who’s done more?” from the surrounding couples.
Keeping score. I would be lying if I said I did not do it from time to time. It happens in my worst moments, when I manage to accomplish absolutely nothing, despite how hard I’ve tried. It creeps in at the end of day, when I am overwhelmed and frustrated. Typically, it’s witching hour, when my toddler is losing it, the baby is feeding off the fury, and I am just trying to stay afloat.
It becomes a spiral. I think back to those days before children. I completed simple tasks. They seem so long ago. I think about how much my life has changed since then and unfairly assume that my husband’s life has not changed nearly as much. Then, I calculate. I calculate what I have done that day, that week, that month, and in that moment I am always ahead. However, the score is not accurate and incredibly biased.
The problem is, I am not in this game alone. I am lucky. For me, parenthood is a team. There are times when one partner may be doing a little more than the other. However, the great part about a team is that roles soon reverse. Sure, there are days when I get all the things done and parent like a rockstar. There are also days when I ignore everything that should get done to give extra snuggles, collect rocks, read stories, build forts, and make memories. My husband never judges me for that. He smiles and tells me that our girls are lucky. They are, because my husband does the same.
The goal of parenthood is to love, teach, and inspire our children. Some days we may teach them about responsibility, and other days, we spark their imagination. There are going to be days when it all comes together and days when it all falls apart. Score keeping is not going to make that any better. My husband and I both have our strengths and weaknesses; together we make the perfect team. Even in those darkest parenting moments, I know he will be there to support me and I will be there for him.
So let’s go back to that scoreboard moment. The one where I had publicly called my husband out for not helping. Sure we all laughed, but it was not entirely fair. That morning he briefly helped me get the girls ready, but he discovered a cicada molting on tree. His inner nerd took over. He called all the kids over to witness the amazing metamorphosis. He called out play by plays and the kids studied the emerging bug. They were enthralled. Later, they collected cicada shells and searched for other weird bugs. He gave them a chance to take a deeper look at nature, so maybe he was up in points that day.
Of course, since we are not actually score keeping, it doesn’t count!