Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Career Man

People have been asking me, a lot lately, when I'm planning to stop working because I must be getting exhausted. And then they look at me with a curious expression when I start laughing out loud.

As if ... working makes me tired!!

Yesterday, I was home all day by myself while Charlie was at a meeting. By the time he arrived home at 5 PM, I was completely flat on the couch and unable to move.

Although I had managed to wash seven loads of laundry - I hadn't managed to put them all away - and I wasn't able to clean up the mess we'd made during lunch. Children were crawling all over me, throwing toys in every direction, climbing on the table, eating crayons ... and I had lost the ability to stand up unassisted.

The reality is, at this point in my pregnancy, staying home for one day by myself with 3-2 year olds is a lot more challenging than putting in an 80-hour work week, where I can sit comfortably behind a desk with my feet up and populate spreadsheets.

If taking care of 3-2 year olds wasn't challenging enough, add to that each child goes poop no less than three times a day and I have to chase them around the house, snag them, throw them over my shoulder, and wrestle with them on the changing table while they vehemently protest having their dirty diaper changed.

So yesterday, I proposed to Charlie that perhaps it would be better if I were to start working more and he spent more time at home, with our children during these last few weeks of my gestation. Being the amazing man that he is ... he agreed.

Today, was Charlie's day to be home.

At 7 AM, Charlie informed me that our dishwasher has broken for the fourth time, in four months. When he called the service representative, he was told that the soonest they could be here is Saturday. Between now and then, one of us Charlie will be handwashing at least 60 sippy cups.

At 8 AM, a new contractor arrived to give us a quote for replacing our carpet with hardwood floors. While I was preparing to leave for the day, Charlie gathered important information about installation and then entertained the children while dimensions were measured.

At 9 AM, I left for a meeting. Charlie finished meeting with the contractor, got the kids dressed and rushed out the door for dance class. But only after he finished feeding the children breakfast, cleaning up the kitchen, getting himself dressed, getting the kids dressed, packing a diaper bag, making a shopping list and feeding the dog.

Between 10 AM and 1 PM, while I was comfortably reclining in a chair at my consultant's office ... Charlie took the kids to dance class by himself, danced with all the other mom's while our children stood shyly in a corner, wondered why we paid good money for this class, loaded the kids in to the car, drove to Costco, decided not to fight with them and let everyone ride in the basket (such that he had no room in the basket for all the food he was buying which subsequently had to be stored underneath the cart), bought everyone pizza and ice cream for lunch at the food court, drove home, brought the kids in to the house, changed their diapers, changed their clothes, washed their faces, and put them down for a nap.

Between 1 PM and 3 PM, while I was snacking on beef jerky and laughing with one of my consultant's who was relaying the story of his wife's elegant baby shower being crashed by three of their friends - in the nude - Charlie was putting the finishing touches on our bedroom that he painted this past weekend, he was checking his work e-mail, responding to various phone calls, washing all the dirty dishes that had been in our dishwasher from yesterday and all the dishes that had accumulated thus far today ... and starting to prepare dinner.

Between 3 PM and 6 PM, while I was discussing with my consultants what we were going to order for lunch - tomorrow ... Charlie was chasing the children around the house and yard, reading them stories, breaking up fights, feeding them snacks, and cleaning up the disasters that they'd made.

When I arrived home at 6:30 PM, Charlie had just finished feeding the children dinner. He was cleaning the kitchen and about to give everyone a sponge bath before changing them in to their pajamas. While I sat back on the couch with my puffy feet elevated, Charlie put away all the toys, cleaned chunks of meatloaf off the floor, filled me in on his day, and restocked the diapers.

By 7:00 PM, Charlie was standing at our front door, talking to one of his co-workers who swung by our house on his way out of town for a field assignment. As the project manager, Charlie wanted to make sure that the guy had all the equipment necessary to complete the job and understood the work he had to perform.

By 7:30 PM, Charlie had tucked everyone in to bed, said evening prayers, pulled my dinner out of the oven - served it up on a clean paper plate - brought it to me on the couch with a glass of ice water and handed me the remote control so I could watch American Idol at 8 PM.

By 8:15 PM, he brought me a bowl of ice cream.

By 9:00 PM, he was giving me a foot rub.

By 10:00 PM, he was seated in front of his laptop computer, responding to all the work related e-mails that he'd received throughout the day and lining up conference calls, for tomorrow.

Wait a minute.

I just peered over his shoulder and he is playing Spider Solitaire.

And here I was thinking he was actually busy.


  1. I am glad I get to say this first (I am sure many similar comments will follow) - you have an amazing husband!!! I was exhausted just by reading today's blog.....

  2. I can see that work is less exhausting than chasing triplets!
    Have you thought of labeling sippy cups by kid and just sticking them back in the fridge between uses? Then you could wash them once in the evening. I've done this for years with my kids - regular cups by now, not sippy cups - but I'm not washing a cup each of the 25 times they each want a drink. We've never had a problem.

  3. Your Charlie sounds a lot like my Paul.

    I think I love them both.


  4. What a great guy you have there! That sounds exhausting just reading it. How crazy is it when working is actually easier than staying home?

  5. the only thing i can say in response is "he's a keeper!". seriously, i'm on a year's sabbatical from work and there's no question in my mind that going to work is actually less work than the alternative. clearly, i love spending more time with the girls, but it's way more exhausting (if not way more rewarding). eat another bowl of ice cream, and make charlie have one, too. y'all deserve it. :)

  6. You are SUPERWOMAN and he is SUPERMAN! What a great team.

  7. And then today he does it all over again the next day! I just finished a Two-Sets-of-Triplets Playdate with Charlie and the kids. Did you know he can support one kid on a ladder with one hand, another on the slide with his other hand, and a third on the stairs with his foot? He's amazing, indeed. As for which is more work, working in an office or watching kids all day, I've done both, and I continue to swear that working at the office is a vacation compared to a day at home with triplets.
    -Debbie (mom to 2.5-year-old triplets)

  8. Having also done both - working and taking care of twins WITH help - I can honestly say that working is easier.

    As for your Charlie - he sounds like my husband. I wish more women were as lucky as we are...

  9. I love your posts about Charlie. He seems like a terrific husband and father. But, we all know that attached to a great man is an even better woman. So your stories about him tell me volumes about you.


  10. Dude! Now that's a man worth keeping! It's lovely to see men rise to the occasion.
    Enjoy the "time off" for the next few weeks!

  11. Jen:
    I never take it for granted that I am married to Charlie's father.....the man who set the example that made Charlie the man he is today. Sometimes I pinch myself and ask the Higher Powers why I am so blessed.
    We are so very blessed with these two amazing men....we could not do what we do without them. I make it a point each day to honor him in some way.... a special meal, a funny dance or face...clean the kitty litter.
    We will see all 6 of you in July and send much love until then.....
    Grandma Kathleen

  12. I pine for the days of merely "working". I could handle dealing with a thug, with one hand on my revolver and the other on my panic button, standing on my head now! I keep looking for the panic button NOW!!! WHERE IS THE FREAKING PANIC BUTTON???!!!!!! Doesn't this crazy triplet motherhood thing come with a panic button????

  13. Having children is the most challenging and hardest thing I have come across so far...there are no sick days, no vacation days, no breaks, and no skipping. Going to work IS easier than staying home. Kudos to you and all your hard work!!!!

  14. awesome post. awesome husband. and the underlying truth is that parenting is the most time-intensive, emotionally draining and physically exhausting job there is. kudos to both of you for being able to juggle it AND your "real" jobs. :)

  15. I'm with you! Staying at home with the short people is WAY more tiring than work! Ugh.

  16. Those cookies look gooooood.