I let my husband watch our kids for one weekend

by | Jul 30, 2017 | Memes and Military Humor, Military Kids | 3 comments

We decided to have my husband watch our kids for a whole weekend. Here’s how that went.

When mom is away, dad and the kids will play. Here's how a mom-free weekend went when we let my husband watch our kids.

Everyone asked me if I was worried how things would go if I let my husband watch our kids. I wasn’t. I mean, he’s their dad. He knows how to take care of his own children…right?

For years, I have been a stay-at-home mom for our four children. Sometimes, when my military husband is training or deployed, I have them by myself for months at a time. Things don’t always go smoothly, but I have grown into the role and am usually a pretty hands-on and active mom. Recently, I got my first weekend without a baby. My parents were celebrating their 40th anniversary, and I decided my oldest daughter and I should fly to the East Coast to be with them. We made the trip as brief as possible–flying out on a Friday night and returning on a Monday morning. That would leave my husband home with a 7, 5, and 3-year old for about 52 hours. What could possibly go wrong?

When Dad stays with the kids for the weekend, what could possibly go wrong? Turns out, a lot... Click To Tweet

In some ways, the weekend went about as I expected it to. Some things surprised me. And a few just made me laugh because it’s funny when the roles are reversed. Here’s what went down.

All this happened when we let my husband watch our kids:

Cooking was a challenge. I tried to prepare them for the weekend by stocking the kitchen with easy meals like frozen pizza, chicken nuggets, and mac & cheese. To be fair, we sometimes eat simpler food when he is away. Unfortunately… he forgot that our oven runs a little hot, so if you set it for 400 degrees, it is really more like 425. This resulted in some burnt pizza and crispy buffalo wings, which no one really enjoyed. The boys also complained that he didn’t make their morning oatmeal ‘the right way.’ He told me, “I don’t know what witchery you use to brew it ‘not too soupy’ for one and ‘not too hot’ for the other.” They all missed mom’s cooking!

When Dad watches the kids, they are probably going to eat pizza...

Photo by Carissa Gan on Unsplash

Bedtime was easy. Without mom around to tuck each child in, tell stories, say prayers, and talk about the day, bedtime went really quickly. They just… got into bed and went to sleep. When he is gone, bedtime is one of my least favorite times. All four kids run through the hallways, bugging each other and goofing around as I remind them multiple times to put on their pj’s and brush their teeth. Maybe I need to change my approach!

He couldn’t say no. He had to run an errand to the store, so of course he took all the kids with him. When our three-year-old daughter found a stuffed Minnie Mouse almost as big as her, he was a sucker for a pretty face. She got the Minnie. I would have told her no immediately. But Dad isn’t used to getting 3,428 requests per child per day. And it is kind of cute how much she loves that big toy…

My husband had the kids for 1 weekend. Here's how that went...

He didn’t call for help, but… Typically, if my husband is with the kids for even an hour, I expect to get a few calls or text messages. I was somewhat surprised that he didn’t need to ask any questions for the whole first day! But by evening, our daughter was really missing me, so he called to let her say hello. I thought this was very sweet and I enjoyed talking to her through the video call. However, I realized the irony of the situation. During deployments, I never have the option to make a call to my husband. The kids cry and miss him all the time, but I have to find ways to cheer them up and pull through until we hear from him again.

They went out to eat, a lot. During one weekend alone, they went out for lunch twice and ordered pizza delivery once. That’s way more often then our family is used to. Typically, we go to a restaurant once a week. When my husband is deployed, we don’t even do that, since taking four kids to a restaurant is not exactly relaxing for me. Preparing our own meals is one of the ways we save money during deployments.

If the husband is with the kids, it's going to be pizza for dinner. Click To Tweet

Someone threw up. On the way to the airport, my son was feeling queasy. Then he threw up all over the back seat. So when I got off the plane, the first thing I had to do was talk my husband through the clean-up process. Luckily, I keep spare towels and baby wipes in the car for such occasions. But I had to laugh, because something like that happens to me every time my husband leaves.

He was confused how to use public restrooms with kids. While running errands, he had to use the bathroom. My husband confessed how puzzled he was about how to do that when he had three kids with him. Never mind that I have had a small person in the bathroom with me for one reason or another almost every day for the past nine years. He has always had the luxury of going alone. (Don’t worry, he figured it out.)

He was amazed how quickly the dishes piled up. He actually did a pretty good job of keeping the house cleaned up, and he even started a load of laundry on Sunday. He ran the dishwasher too, but he was surprised how quickly it filled up. The day I came home, he apologized for the breakfast dishes being in the sink. “I swear I just did the dishes,” he said, “and the sink is already full again!” I just smiled sympathetically. I knew exactly how he felt. And he only had 4 people in the house! I have to do dishes every single day just to keep up.

He couldn’t believe their attitude change when I returned. As soon as I got in the car, the kids got louder. They started asking for things, whining about things, and fighting with each other. My husband was shocked. “They were NOT like this while you were gone!” he declared. They had actually been fairly quiet and well-behaved most of the weekend. I always try to tell my husband that the kids act differently with me than when he is around. Typically, as soon as he walks out of the room or goes into a store, the kids start acting up. Of course they push all the limits during a deployment. This was probably my husband’s first time seeing the night and day difference.

In summary, he did fine. I’m grateful he gave me the opportunity to see my family, and I think we both learned a lot about each other during the time we were apart. You gain a lot of respect when you walk in someone else’s shoes! Shortly afterwards, we had the chance to switch roles for a day again when his military unit celebrated Jane Wayne Day. I got to don his flak jacket and kevlar and go out to the rifle range. You can read about that experience here. We definitely are happy with our own responsibilities and don’t ever want to switch jobs!

Have you asked your husband to stay with your kids? How did it go?

 

3 Comments

  1. orchid

    Hi, I read this blog and like your posts. I don’t have any military background. My cousins work for Indian army, so I have little idea about military life in India. God bless you and your family.

    Reply
    • Lizann

      Thank you so much for reading! I appreciate you stopping by!

      Reply
  2. Adela sandfordsen

    No way. My partner of 7 years cannot look after our two kids (2 and 4) for even 15 minutes. If I go out to buy milk or take recycling out to the bin store, I come back to utter chaos! Kids screaming, randoms toys all over the house, sink full of dishes, my personal things on the floor, loud tv, taps running, poo smells, and of course lots of requests from the kids. Because they didn’t think to ask their dad for a drink/activity to do/snack or he couldn’t be bothered to offer them a snack/ask them why they are cranky or pretended he didn’t hear their request for a snack. I’m surprised I have not killed him by now!

    Impressive in a sick way that three people can make soooooo mess and noise in only 15 minutes. Annoys me no end that he cannot manage for 15 minutes what I have to do day in day out.

    Funny thing Is he smugly says to me housework and childcare is easy and not real work. But the moment he has to look after them for even 15 minutes or JUST do one task e.g. run them a bath he cannot cope! The bath time chore Is his but what a shambles he makes of that and that will take him 1 hour (I get at least 10 jobs done in that Time) – he doesn’t get any towels etc ready, doesn’t supervise them in the bath, doesn’t bother washing & drying their hair, won’t rinse the bath out, won’t put clothes on them and won’t hang the hand towel up (yes you heard right, he actually uses the bathroom hand towel to dry them as he could not be bothered to plan ahead and walk a few meters to get a clean bath towel from the cupboard) back up. Then he sulks with me as I haven’t “helped” him or told him what processes needs to be done (hello? It’s a bath, your only f**king task which you have done 100s of time, you should be a pro by now!) I did warn him all he has to do is the bath while I..WAIT FOR THIS…cook a home cooked dinner for four people, Set the table, put the toys away, light a candle, shut the curtains, pour the drinks and prep the dessert!!!! Note: these are the tasks I got done while he did their bath. Strange thing is He literally thinks all he has to do is put them in a bath and fails to do the pre-bath planning and aftermath. Then he will go on at about how much work he did today and expect a medal.

    I gave these examples and there are many more as it means I will never be able to have a weekend away with friends or a day out as I wouldn’t trust my husband with the kids. That’s right a few times I had just half a day shopping and He would actually forget/not think to feed the kids despite the fact I have either left designated meals in the fridge or there is a big freezer full of easy to heat up oven food. He wont even feed the kids some easy snacks – crisps or give them a carton of drink…he claims he didn’t see the snacks, despite the fact he knows where they ARE when he wants to eat or drink them! He actually waits until I come back and expects me to prepare and serve the food. By the point I’m so cranky that I make the kids meal and say to hell with feeding him.

    Can someone explain to me why my partner behaves in this feckless and selfish way the few times he looks after his own kids for even just 15 minutes?

    Reply

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