By Charity Williams
It’s hard being a married-to-medicine parent – being the one who has to handle the homework, the plumbing disasters, the vomit bugs, the calls from the school, the fights over dress code and flip flops and punk bullies over and over again. It wears you down.
I have a huge amount of respect for those single parents out there doing it all day every day. But it’s also a tricky curvy road for us married parents to negotiate because, at the end of the day, we still have a wonderful, caring, and loving spouse to attempt to make feel included in the daily monotony.
We have children that don’t quite understand why the other parent is absent so much. Putting a positive spin on things can be difficult, especially when one spouse is also struggling to remain positive and keep bitterness at bay. But sometimes, the children are the best teachers.
Last week was honor roll breakfast. All the children in the school making all A’s or B’s get a certificate and recognition at a donut and orange juice infused 45 minutes during class time. Parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, and children cram into the folding cafeteria benches to listen for the names to be called.
Of course, I was a few minutes late (our pet pig got out, long story), so I missed the fight for seating. My 4th grader saved us a portion of a bench and I folded my grown up legs into the table.
We clapped as each name was called, but when one of her classmates was called, we noticed a bit more noise. This kid had everyone show up! There were two parents, four grandparents, a couple younger siblings, and all hooted and hollered with pride for him.
My little girl leaned back against me and whispered with a bit of sadness that he sure did have a lot of family there. He did. And it was wonderful. And maybe he worked extra hard for those grades.
But I knew what my little girl was really saying – he had a lot of support, and she did not. Time to intervene.
I pulled her close and whispered back. “I bet he is really happy to have so many there. It’s wonderful. I guess they don’t have anything else to do today so they could come here?”
She took it right up. “Like catch a pig so they were on time!”
“Or save someone’s life in the hospital?” I added. She nodded in agreement.
“Or travel and live in Europe and see the world?” she added, referring to her grandmother.
She glanced back at the wonderful family hugging their child with pride. She pressed into me a bit.
“Momma, I bet they have a boring life compared to us!”
Sorry to throw you under the bus, you lovely, extra participating family, but my baby needs this.
“Yes, I bet it’s really boring.”
Charity Williams is a former meat scientist now allergic to meat, a stay at home mom who is rarely home, and a physician’s wife that breaks all stereotypes. She has a farm in Kentucky with her husband of 18 years, their two daughters, and way too many ponies.