'When Dad plays Mom for the day'


This past weekend was Mother’s Day.  Leading up to Sundays holiday I had experienced a particularly taxing week with my two-year-old son.  I was beyond exhausted from the week of tantrums, shingles (me), teething (him), and just the overall chaos of raising a toddler.  I was visibly worn from the week and my husband could see me struggling.  He had heard about my week as I experienced it and was empathetic to the week I had endured.  Empathy is one of the things my husband does extremely well-he never treats me like my complaints about my day are futile simply because I do not work a traditional job.  He has put in the time as a father and he knows how grueling it can be parenting a headstrong toddler.  I am not shy to tell him how difficult being a mom is, and he tries to understand best he can by spending one on one time with our son.

There is nothing I love more than a watching my husband with our son-particularly when he thinks I’m not.  With me in school my husband and son spend regular amounts of alone time together every week.  So, they are no stranger to the time together.  They have formed their own routines and I love to listen to how daddy handles bath time, or an ouchie; while I’m in the other room doing homework.  My husband gets the tantrums along with the giggles so he can relate to the struggle of a day filled with them both.  Or in this case, a week filled with more tantrums than giggles.  This week had me feeling less like super mom, and more like a hot mess mom.  I actually wasn’t all that excited for Sundays Mother’s Day activities, as I was just feeling down about myself.  I had plans to get a massage with my mom, sister, and sister in law that morning and figured when I came home from that I would be back on mom duty.  I was thrilled to learn that my husband had planned the best gift yet for Mother’s Day this year, a day off, a true day off! I have not felt this rejuvenated in months and the weight of this week has disappeared. 

My husband began his day of ‘moming’ at Target, like any true stay at home mom.  After waking up at 7:30am with our toddler and being greeted the same way I had the morning before, a very angry ‘I’m mad!’ screamed from his crib.  Our son has begun having a particularly hard time waking up, and getting going in the mornings.  While I usually take the mean mom approach and just leave him in bed to grump until he’s ready to be nice, my husband chose to be the fun mom.  He used one of my sons beloved action figures to convince him ‘dad was cool, and he should be nice to dad’.  Turns out Ironman is convincing because this got my son out of bed, dressed, and out the door to Target; all while I happily slept in the next room.  My husband really dived into the mom role and not only hit up Starbucks in Target, but got Kars a toy to play with while he shopped.  He seemed to handle the trip like an old pro.  By the time I woke up around 10am he had Starbucks, flowers, and a card waiting.  Honestly all that alone would have impressed me but my husband was determined to give me a full day off. 

When I returned home from my massage my son was getting ready for nap time.  Which is also a battle in our home, because our son is two, and everything we do is a battle.  I heard my son screaming ‘noooo!’ from his room as I ran into my husband getting his bottle ready in the kitchen.  He’d realized he’d forgotten milk at target and had to figure it out with the tiny amount of milk we had left in the house-true mom move.  Instead of taking the opportunity to jump ship and pass me the responsibility he told me to go downstairs while he put our son down.  I could hear the battle playing out upstairs.  I sat there and listened to the same screams I had heard daily this week from our son.  Dad was in trouble for changing his diaper, he was in trouble the milk wasn’t right, he was in trouble that it was even nap time.  But, in true mom fashion, my husband battled through and was able to convince our son to go down for his nap.  I returned upstairs and expected to take the monitor but instead my husband told me to go take a nap and he continued chores around the house as Karson napped.  As I watched him bustling around the yard pulling weeds and trimming trees I felt an immense amount of love for this man. 

I napped for two hours while he did housework and watched the monitor.  When our son got up I could hear he was distraught, as he usually is when he wakes up.  He was screaming for mommy and I was actually feeling rested and ready to spend some time with my little man.  I started to get up to get him but by the time I got to the door my husband had him almost completely calmed down.  He changed his diaper and got him dressed for our evening plans before finally giving me back my motherly responsibilities.  While this day may not sound like that big of a deal to a lot of you it meant the world to me.  As a mother, it is so often the little day to day things that wear me down.  The constant retrieval of snacks, the never-ending diapers, and the unbelievable irritability of a toddler.  My husband spent an entire day dealing with all those nagging responsibilities so I could have a day off.  Down to wrestling my son into his clothing for the day, he left nothing on my plate.  I have never felt more pride and love than I did watching and hearing my husband navigate through the day with my son, like I do every day.  He dealt with the tantrums, and the inconveniences you run into as a mother every day.  He didn’t stop all day, and kept up with all my son’s requests-which is pretty much a full-time job on its own.

Today made me feel rejuvenated and lifted the weight of motherhood off my shoulders for the time I needed to recharge.  Not only am I feeling ready to face the world but I am also feeling understood in a whole new way.  My husband knows what the tantrums in Target are like, and the effort it takes just to get our son dressed and out of the house in the morning.  I feel like he’s lived a day in my mom shoes and can understand the nagging parts of motherhood I deal with every day.  This was exactly what I needed following up the struggle I had experienced the week before.  I’m so proud to say my husband ‘mommed’ like a pro today and I was so impressed with him.  The best part was sitting down together at the end of the night and him telling me all about his day with our son.  I’m sure days with mom will feel colorless compared to the day dad ‘momed’.  Here’s to the dads who understand the weight of motherhood.  Especially the dads who aren’t afraid to be mom for a day.