My husband works for a company based out of Hong Kong, half
a world away from Los Angeles, which is where we, as a family, call home. He spends a lot of time away. In fact, he’s gone for two-thirds of the
month. Having two kids ages 12 years and
20 months, you can guess that this situation is far from ideal. Not having any other family in L.A., my
husband and I rely on each other to keep our show on the road.
So having my husband gone so much for the
past six months has really required me to step up my parenting game, big time. In that time, I’ve been full-time working
and caring for the kids, trying not to feel resentful about the fact that my
husband, although he’s working hard, is also at “work” dinners every night,
drinking copious amounts of wine, sleeping-in on the weekends and basically, living
a kid-free life in an amazing city. I
realize that he’s not doing anything wrong per se, but the nature of our set-up
puts most of the parenting responsibility on me.
But a month ago, a fantastic opportunity came around for
me — the chance to go to Singapore for work doing something I love for three weeks. My husband arranged to work from
LA and care for the kids for the weeks I was gone.
As I jumped for the chance and committed
right away, I worried like hell about my husband and my kids. It’s not that I thought my husband was
incapable of handling it all. But, well, OK, I worried he wouldn’t be able to handle it all. I mean, he’d never been alone with the kids
for consecutive days like this. And I
know how freaking tired and overwhelmed I got in those three-week stints, so I
imagined that his experience would be that compounded by the fact that he
wasn’t used to the role. But as it
turns out, he handled those three weeks like a champ. And it’s time I openly acknowledge his kick-ass
parenting skills. Here are five things that
happened when my husband took over full-time for three weeks.
1. My kids had a blast.
I honestly thought I’d be in tears watching my kids over
Skype beg me to come home. I kept
dreading that first call, thinking I would witness my 20-month-old’s heartbreak
when I couldn’t reach through the screen and hold her. But that never happened. And it’s because my kids had nonstop fun with
their dad. They loved their time with
him. And my husband saw it as a real
special opportunity and made the most of it. He took the kids to play in the waves and have walks along the beach, they
had picnics at the park, and he took my son to the movies. My British husband
even took the kids to a Fourth of July parade and drove up Mulholland
to a lookout for fireworks later that night.
The Skype calls showed me a totally cool and collected husband who didn’t need my help as much as I thought he would. In fact, he didn’t really call on my "expertise" at all.
2. There was some serious bonding
Prior to these past three weeks, my kids, and particularly my
toddler, were very attached to me, preferring me to their father. I’d love to attribute this to my parenting
awesomeness, but this was purely due to the fact that they spend more time with
me. So naturally, with mom being nowhere
in sight and with them being cared for 100 percent by their father, my children
and husband really bonded. My son loved
having “dude” time with my husband, and my daughter not only stopped calling
him “Peter,” but fell in total love with her daddy. You have no idea how wonderful it was in
those first few days after being reunited again to hear my toddler call for
“daddy” and not me in the middle of the night. My husband felt special, and I made sure I encouraged it with
the, “Ohh, it’s so special how she cries out for you, how she prefers you now.”
3. My daughter is a little more British
While daddy had the kids to himself, he really laid on the
“British.” My son, being 12, is too old
to stray far from his American ways, but my daughter is still susceptible to
being Anglofied. With me being out
of the picture, my husband went full bore with it. She is now addicted to "Peppa Pig," can hum the tune to "Top
Gear" and knows who Gordon Ramsey is. She also calls me “mummy,” which makes me do the “say what?!” face every
time I hear it. One more week and she’d
be requesting Marmite on her toast and loving Piers Morgan. Oh wait, nobody likes Piers Morgan.
4. I learned that I don’t know everything (that’s
This one is hard to admit. Before leaving, I envisioned Skype calls with my husband daily if not
twice a day, instructing him on things like how my daughter likes her apples cut
and how to get her to let him wash her hair. But the Skype calls, which happened only once a day, showed me a
totally cool and collected husband who didn’t need my help as much as I thought
he would. In fact, he didn’t really call
on my "expertise" at all.
I feel more connected to him because he understands and can appreciate
my experience spending three weeks at a time alone with the kids. And when I talk to him about how it’s nearly
impossible to keep the house clean or to ever feel rested, he can empathize,
because he’s been there now. I’m also
more attracted to him. It’s hot seeing a
man fully committed to his family. His confidence as a father makes him even
sexier than he was before. I love him
for handling it all on his own without any complaints. And he did it all with pleasure, with a smile on
his adorable face. And that makes me
melt for all of them.