Back when I blogged regularly, and while I was also contributing to a blog all about being a working mom – you know, back when I had two kids not three. And my now 5 and a half-year-old middle child was my 3-month-old youngest child – I wrote a blog post all about how maddening it is to be a working mom and get the comments about “how hard it must be” and “who is taking care of the kids.”
Well, fast-forward five years. We’ve added another kid to the mix and I now have a job where I work remote and travel fairly often. That blog has been long-since shut down, but I just stumbled upon the original post I wrote, and I have to say that I am unpleasantly surprised and how much things have not changed.
Since I took my very first work trip away as a mother, when my now almost 10-year-old was 3 months old, and literally every single trip since, at some point before, during or after my trip, I’m asked, “so who’s watching your kid(s) while you’re away?”
It’s come from women. It’s come from men. It’s come from executives. It’s come from fellow parents.
Then when I tell them that the kids at home with their dad, their jaws drop. Disbelief written all over their faces. Every time.
It boggles my mind that people assume that just because I’m the mom and I’m traveling that I must have left the kids with my mother or my sister or my mother in law or some other capable woman. That my husband can’t handle parenting the kids by himself or be bothered to leave work in time to pick our kids up before daycare closes.
My most recent trip was the worst I’ve heard it in a while. I was gone for back-to-back trade shows for a total of 15 days. It was brutal. For all of us. Two days in Vegas is too long, let alone two weeks. I had never been away from the kids or him for that long. I was exhausted. He was exhausted. We all missed each other.
People were unrelenting. The moment they heard how long I was going to be gone they immediately asked a) Do you have kids? followed quickly by b) Who is taking care of them while you are away?
Why is it so hard to believe that my husband, my childrens’ FATHER, is taking care of his kids while I’m out of town. It not only pisses me off, I take offense to it on his behalf.
I get that he’s not the norm when it comes to things like this. I remember one time, after returning home from a trip I took when Reese was a few months old, he told me (“no offense”) it was kind of nice to have me gone because it meant he got to do more with the baby.
My job is just as important as his job. And likewise, our children are just as important to him as they are to me. We are in this parenting gig together. That means we both juggle schedules, make sacrifices accordingly. As a team. When he has to work late, that means I’m on pick up and dinner duty and sometimes even bedtime duty solo. And when I travel, he jumps in and does the same. No hesitation.
Dads can be active parents too. Why is that so hard for people to understand/believe/accept!?