I have long suspected that I was the less popular parent in this house. There were little signs before, like the girls' enthusiasm when B.Rube comes home, or them insisting that he tuck them in or read their bedtime story instead of me. I enjoyed seeing it, appreciated the bit of free time it sometimes gave me, and had never reflected it back upon myself....until this past week....when S. Rube actually made me cry.
I snuck off to the laundry room and fought back tears amidst the pile of whites, and tried not to inhale the stinky litter box fumes beside me. Damn it.
It went something like this:
J - So, Daddy and I are both going to your soccer games tonight and they're at the same time, so we'll each watch 1/2 of each of your games. I'll watch 1/2 of yours and then Daddy and I will switch, and I'll watch 1/2 of T.Rube's...
(before I could finish my sentence, S.Rube bursts energetically out with:)
S - I WANT DADDY TO WATCH MINE FIRST.
J - okay, well, I'll start with T and Dad can start with you.
S - No, I want Daddy to watch ALLLLLL of my game!
J - No, he can't. It's only fair if we split it up. And I really want to see you play too. And I'm sure that T wants Daddy to see her play.
(her now with an exaggerated pouty face that has never worked on me but still she tries:)
S - ohhhhhhh, but I want Daddy to watch the whole thing.
(now me with one eyebrow slightly raised and a bit of a snarky tone to my voice:)
J - Why?? Why don't you want me to watch you? Do you love him more than me or what??
(her without ANY hesitation or even a breath whatsoever:)
S - YESSSSSS!!!
(me with eyes wide and mouth agape:)
J - What??? Are you serious?? Did you really just say that?
(her with horror in her eyes as realization of what she said sinks in:)
S - well....well....well....
(her wheels are spinning as she tries quickly and desperately to undo what she has just said, thereby saving herself and me:)
S - .... well... just a little bit.
Oh my God, her honesty kills me.
All I can answer back with is a less-than-enthusiastic "wow" as I am already getting up to retreat to the laundry room and fighting back the blurriness that is quickly forming in my vision.
It's the truth, you know. In her limited understanding of love at this point in her game, it is the truth. Yeah, she loves me. Yeah, she misses me when I'm away. Of course she does. Because I'm the one she's always with, so it must just seem odd when I'm not here. But, she loves her time with her Dad more than she can appreciate her time with me.
And, for her, that equates love.
The longer I stood on the mound of dirty clothes, the more resentful I got. (and, yes, I'm quite certain that hormones were playing a bit of a role in this). The job I do here, the hours I put in, the stress of feeling like I'm planning, organizing, implementing and otherwise holding it all together for everyone, is TOTALLY taken for granted. I am just the nag, the cook, the laundress, the cleaner, the slave, the driver, the slavedriver... shit that mothers have long since known and complained about. The irony that I was standing in the laundry room did not escape me at this moment....
And then....wooohoooooooo....Dad comes in! DADDYYYYY!!!!! It's time for wrestling, movies, card games, tickles, and snuggles. FUN FUN FUN!!! Of course they 'love' him more. He's like the circus arriving to the boring small town on that hot July weekend every year. More fun than a whole fucking Mini stuffed with clowns. He might as well be bringing home cotton candy every time he walks in the door.
So, I reflected, felt a bit sorry for myself, reflected still, threw a load of laundry in and reflected some more. Then came up with a few goals.
1) That I spend more time away, and really make 'em miss me!
2) That I let B.Rube step up to do the dirty work waaaaaay more often than I expect him to now.
3) And, most importantly, that I nag less and play more, all whilst maintaining my fine balancing act with a smile on my face.