My response: To look at her blankly and say “Uuuuummmm, I just don’t know…I guess I just DO.” The truth is, I make this shit up as I go. I expect most of us in this circumstance do, mom and dad alike.
And right here, right now, in front of God and all the assembled masses, I fully acknowledge the awesomeness that is The Bob. Oh he has his shortcomings, I mean, who among us doesn’t. But all in all, he rocks as a husband and a dad. We were reminiscing just last night about the early years, the ones that involved being up in the dread of night (that is not a typo, it is what I call being up at unspeakable hours of the AM), hanging with the Coop. I said I have very vague memories of those first years now. I have snap shot pictures in my head of moments, but most of that time is just a blur. Possibly that is because The Bob did much of the midnight duty. He doesn’t seem to suffer for it as much as I do, and it offered him the chance to watch Poker After Dark while giving Coop a bottle.
The Bob also does 99% of the laundry in our house. The 1% he doesn’t do involved clothing of mine that require settings other than REGULAR. And he walks the dogs for the most part, and does the garbage and lawn duties. I was sharing some of this with a coworker from another department, who happens to be female and Indian, and recently married to a very traditional Indian man. She had to tell him that if he wanted things done a particular way around the house, he might have to consider helping out. She was blown away by how helpful Bob is. “You are SO LUCKY” she said to me. Yes, yes I am.
And we pay a lot of money for full time day care/preschool. We are fortunate that we can afford to do that, although some months it doesn’t feel like we can afford it. But it is TOTALLY WORTH IT. Cooper loves being there, the teachers have all been great, he is learning as well as socializing all day. Not having to worry about that is a huge benefit. I am already stressing about what happens when he transitions to regular school and we still have a year. I keep hoping they will magically create an elementary school wing at The Barn, and I will just have to work here for the next 6 years and keep him in it. A girl can dream.
But in answer to the original question, how do I manage, I don’t do it alone. Sure, we don’t have family in the area we can turn to like our neighbors do, but we have our network of people who support us in different ways. And I don’t dust or vacuum or put things away very often. OK, maybe I wasn’t very good about that BEFORE Coop came along, but it really doesn’t get done as much as it should, and I am OK with that. Maybe once we are not paying for day care we can channel some of the funds into a once a month cleaning service. I really hate cleaning bathrooms. It would be worth it for someone to come in just for that.