Dinner — almost how it’s supposed to be…

Life is good. I think I can officially say that the move is over. We still have a few boxes around, and things are not hung on the walls, but the pressure to get it all done is off. (Which most likely means that we’ll still have things that need to be hung at this time next year…)

Last night I picked up those little boys from school, and we had a really nice afternoon (minimal yelling from anyone involved.) At about 5, I had a glass of wine and fired up the barbeque. Once the Major came home, he had a glass of wine with me and we had dinner outside at Turbo’s request. Of course, Turbo suggested that we eat outside and then as soon as the table was set, he began throwing a fit — “Why are we eating out here? I want to eat inside….” Agh!

For once, I just enjoyed dinner. I didn’t harangue the boys about eating two bites of this or four bites of that… we had artichokes, so they were both very into pulling the leaves off and eating them. Turbo would scrape all the flesh off with his teeth over and over and then tell me, “I can’t do it! I’m not getting any…” While Lunchbox, following his brother’s example, would dip the leaves in mayo and then just suck the mayo off and show me the untouched leaf, looking quite proud. Regardless, it was so nice. I didn’t worry about food on the floor/chairs/table (part of this may have been the 2 glasses of wine), and I just enjoyed the perfect weather, the company, and the beauty of our new home. More than that, I was finally able to just sit and revel in the wonder of having a family to call my own. It felt wonderful.

The Major took care of baths while I cleaned up, and then we put the little guys to bed and had a nice evening together. Most nights, we kind of go our separate ways after bedtime, doing our own things. But last night we talked, watched an episode of Mad Men (my new addiction) and even went to bed at the same time! (I am usually in bed by about 9:30 and the Major tends to stay up late.) It was really nice.

This morning I got a real treat. I got up at my usual ungodly hour, but instead of getting ready for work, I…wait for it… got to go to the gym! That’s right! This is the week that the Major and I begin our gym rotation. I am going to go on Tuesday and Thursday, and he’s going to handle little boy responsibilities on those mornings! He’s going to go on M, W, F. It was really freeing to walk out of the house, just me, and drive away to do something good for myself. Of course, I spent most of the time wondering how things were going at home, and hoping that the Major wouldn’t forget anything or end up really late or anything. Despite the fact that I usually manage responsibilities for three people every day of my life, I suffer from tremendous guilt on the days when I rely on the Major to do it. I feel like I’m asking him for some huge favor, and I worry constantly that he’s going to be annoyed or put out. I’m not sure why, since I know he doesn’t worry at all about whether I’m annoyed about being the “default parent.”

This is probably a whole other topic — but I talk about it with some friends regularly. Why is it that the man in the marriage can basically do what he wants to do, while the woman takes on most of the responsibility for day to day management of children? One good example of this was one that a friend gave me the other day. She was downstairs herding small children all afternoon, and her husband walked through the room where she was peeling her youngest off of his shrieking brother. Sure that he’d come back any second to help, she found herself searching for him a few minutes later when he didn’t reappear. Where did he go? Upstairs to close the door to the master bedroom and take a 2 hour nap. Could she (or I or any other ‘default parent’) just decide to go nap? Definitely not. If I want a nap on a Sunday afternoon, I basically have to ask permission. I have to make arrangements for the care of the TLAs. If the Major wants a nap, he just says, “hey, I’m going to go take a nap.” And I get to say, “oh, okay.”

Is this always the case? Why? I’m not really complaining — like I said, I had a great night with the Major and am in a happy place at the moment. But I do wonder why moms are the auto-parents and dads have to be asked to step in…

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