I remember the day I knew I could marry Mr. Flinger. Surprisingly, it wasn’t in High School when we were mushy young love-birds. (gag) It wasn’t during college when we were best friends, not-dating, and desperately fixing one another up with other people. It wasn’t until years later, at 24, having moved home to Texas and back that I saw him with my cousin Danielle. I remember the summer, of 2000, living with my Uncle and Aunt having found a job up in Portland, but not an apartment. I moved up from Houston ready to start my job and my new life, namely, hoping Mr. Flinger and I would hook-up (chicka chicka bow-wow). One day we took my cousin roller blading. She so adored Mr. Flinger that she made a necklace for him, a pretty little thing with beads and a star at the center. Perfect for an 8 year old and slightly odd for a 25 year old man. Mr. Flinger wore that necklace all day long. He wore it roller blading at the park. He wore it to the store. He wore it even though the small string barely fit around his neck and the star jabbed him as it stuck straight out, strained on its new owner.
This was the day I realized he would make a wonderful dad; Years and years before that day ever happened.
Years and Years later, we started a family together. A family we want. A family we’ve talked about since we were 15 years old. Internet, I’ve talked about these very two children with my husband for 17 years. And yes, that freaks me the hell out. Why shouldn’t it?
Most days we do just fine. We go places. We enjoy friends. It’s lovely. There are the meltdowns. There is screaming (the baby) and crying (LB) and the occasional W.T.F. (me) but usually, we do ok. We manage. We’re.. happy. Really.
But I clock out at 5. I expect the man with the star necklace to walk through that door at five. I NEED the man to walk through that door at five. FIVE. That’s an entire hour after he gets off work, providing for traffic and the all important “getting things squared away” time. Five. O’clock. That’s when help walks through the door and the children smile/laugh/outburst with glee at the sight of Daddy.
That’s 17:00 if you’re in the military. Or eight PM if you’re on the east coast. Or much, much, earlier the next day in Australia. I’m just sayin’.
So what happens at six? Or seven? Or when the bed-time routine is long past due and both children are melting down and I haven’t had dinner because some small people keep BUGGING me? Or when I clock out and don’t get over-time? Or when I can’t poor a glass of wine because the guilt, oh the guilt, of drinking before back-up is here? And yes, I’m being horribly selfish but really? I’m not the only one.
Work is important. Work is good. Work pays for my coffee and our children’s clothes. It pays for our house. It provides a sense of importance. It gives us ways of using our minds. But work? Is not home. It is not the family. It is not the wife and children. It is work. And while work can go on long after you do, the family can not. And all it takes is one phone call to give an update and work is forgiven. But damn if that phone isn’t there at that desk around five o’clock. He must get shuttled to Mars around 4:30 because for some reason, some weird reason, the phones don’t work after then.
Or, at least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe.
11 guests here now.
I am with you!! My husband works 12-14 hour days and then has to commute an ADDITIONAL 3 hours or so to get home. He leaves at 4am and we are lucky to see him before 7pm…Bring over that bottle of red wine and we can be each others “back-ups”!!
By Siri on 2007 09 10
OMG, you are SO me, circa 10 years ago.
You know what’s funny. Now that my kids are older and easier. My husband leaves at least an hour later for work than he did back then and he comes home two hours earlier.
Coincidence? I think not.
They’re just lucky because they have a place to escape to and get a free excuse. We don’t.
Let him have it!
By Friglet on 2007 09 10
I totally understand! My husband usually gets home around 4:30 (he goes to work early so he has plenty of time to play with the kid before bed time) but when he gets home later than that, I start to get jittery.
And I tell him regularly that I’m really glad he comes home everyday!
By snarflemarfle on 2007 09 11
And while work can go on long after you do, the family can not.
By Jan on 2007 09 11
I get the feeling you were writing this post in your head at about 5:15pm! I know exactly what you mean; I have older kids (well, 2 of them) so I’m out of the heat of things for the most part, but still, I’m with ya.
By Renee on 2007 09 11
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
I start clock watching about 4:45. Call, dammit! Say you’re on your way home. I can’t take much more. His ass is MINE if he calls at 6:00 saying he’s on his way home. I’m pissed.
Loved this post.
By Jennifer on 2007 09 11
Loving your site! Yes—the toilet and baby bjorn go hand in hand.
And I went back and read all your Baby O posts after having a 36-weeker in the NICU on a ventilator, too.
Here’s my baby’s Tales from the NICU
I’ll be back!
By Anna on 2007 09 11
This has been a bone of contention for me too. Five, I would WEEP for five. I’ll settle for six, since five is when he gets off. If I’m lucky, it’s 6:30. If I’m not, it’s later. We tried for a while him going in an hour earlier at 7 and leaving at 4 and it was marvelous for a while. But it didn’t last and he’s back to leaving at 8 (or a touch later some mornings) and back sometime after 6. Drives me NUTS.
By Marilyn on 2007 09 11
Oh yeah mate, know that feeling only too well! And you only have two children to contend with!
By Chris H on 2007 09 11
Moms need a break, absolutely. Stay-at-home Dads do, too. One of my favorites to this day is “Call out for pizza, there’s no way Mom’s cooking tonight.”
By Daisy on 2007 09 11
I’m just the opposite. Of course, I’m home watching porn until Hailey comes home from daycare at 4:00. It’s the small advantage to being bedridden from mono.
By Jenny on 2007 09 11
By hilary on 2007 09 11
I just stumbled upon your blog and loved it.
Just wanted to say hi. I’ll be visiting again.
By An Iowa Mom on 2007 09 11
Right there with you sister and I only have one kid, a 4 month old. Hubby doesn’t get home until anytime between 5:30 and 7 which varies so wildly you’d think a decent person would call to at least discuss dinner plans. Unfortunately the phone is the last thing on their minds…
Love your site update, btw. Very cool!
By Skiplovey on 2007 09 12
I think it must be a guy thing. Sometimes it bugs me; other times I can let it slide, especially if he’s been communicative enough during the week to let me know a day is going to be particularly bad.
What I canNOT deal with is him coming home and sacking out on the couch, or checking his FREAKING EMAIL, or watching Daddy TV, or insisting that he’s SO TIRED, or in some other way refusing to participate in parenting until some randomly decided time when he can miraculously get his shit together and help me out.
Not that that ever happens at our house, NOOOOO.
By Claire on 2007 09 12
I read this today and the whole time Im thinking, OMG Im not the only one. What is up with the work world? My blog entry for today dealt with work as well, okay kind of. Damn that super important place that pays our bills, clothes our bodies and steals our husbands for much to long.
By SJSFalter+ on 2007 09 13
I will say this though - thank your lucky stars he doesn’t have to go out of town for days at a time. Leaving you with the spawn. By yourself. With no other helpful care givers in sight. That was pretty much my first year with the kiddos outnumbering me. I don’t recommend it.
By lanna on 2007 09 13
Ben did this to me the other day. He ran out to the grocery store that’s 3 blocks away to get us ice cream (in my brand-new car, without telling me), and was gone an hour. On my night off. With a child and puppy both nipping at my ankles.
And he left his phone on our countertop.
Turns out he ran into an old friend and was having a grand time chattin’ him up, but still.
Wanted to kill him. Almost did.
By Tere on 2007 09 14