Every stay-at-home parent of small children deserves to hear the words I heard this weekend after leaving all three BUBs with their amazing Dad while I went grocery shopping.
“I don’t know how you get anything done in the day. I haven’t even got my socks on.”
18 words. If these words could be printed and stuck to fridges, emblazoned on t-shirts, set as ringtones, then arguments would dry up, stress levels would fall, divorce rates would plummet. Cleaning companies would flourish.
Willy Wonka knows the score because I text him photographs throughout the day of devastated kitchens, eye-watering spillages and splattered clothing. He responds with photographs of parked Porsches for the BUBs and bowls of noodles in Chinatown. Do I wish I was him? Sometimes.
On Saturday we travelled to London to a screening of the upcoming Paddington film that WW has been working on. Leaving BUB.3 at the grandparents’ and travelling buggy-less with just the two older BUBs, it was a brilliant day but utterly exhausting. Two trains and a tube – an hour and a half journey each way – took it out of us all.
WW does that every day.
While I have been sometimes envious of his “me time”, his chance to finish a thought, I can now see that he probably can’t. His journey is often delayed by an hour or two, and it involves jostling, far more jostling than I experience even when I actually get in the bath with the BUBs (I do that, I do, I’m mad).
Whatever time he gets in, he is cold, tired and so very happy to see us all. He never complains, no matter what the day has thrown at him.
Does he wish he was me? Often. He would love to stay home with the kids, with or without socks. Did I tell him how I can now properly imagine how it is to do that commute every day. Yes, in about 18 words.
Are we better for it? For acknowledging, out loud, the challenges and sacrifices in what the other person does every day in order for us to be able to do what we are doing and for our children to be happy and where they need to be? Definitely.