Anyone who has ever navigated preschool drop-offs knows that it often requires as much strength and stamina as completing the “American Ninja Warrior” course.
There are toddlers everywhere, frazzled parents trying to separate from their children, and someone is often in tears (no comment as to who!)
Now try doing this all with a baby in tow and it is that much more difficult. Think “American Ninja Warrior” with one hand tied behind your back. As moms, we have figured out how to tackle this task, and we get it done. Sometimes we feel great about the accomplishment. Other times, we are just glad to be on the other side, relatively unharmed.
So when a good friend of mine made his first attempt at drop-off with both his 2-year-old daughter and newborn son, he knew he was in for a challenge. Here is what he had to say about the experience:
“I walked into school one week after my son was born with both kids by myself. I had one in each hand and my daughter’s unicorn book bag on my back. As I walked in, several moms applauded me for a job well done. The praise and admiration made me feel great as I walked down the hall to drop my daughter off. I really felt as if I had already mastered the dad of two kids thing!
“As I drove away with my son, I felt I could conquer anything. But then I thought about something. Having done drop-off for my daughter for several weeks before my son was born, there were always moms with AT LEAST two kids, if not more. These moms were loaded with strollers, car seats and bags, chasing kids down the hallway but no one was praising or applauding them for their Herculean efforts. Any why not? I realized there seemed to be a certain expectation for moms. I guess that is because, after all, they did bring these kids into the world, so we know they can do just about anything!”
While I very much appreciate his validation of how hard it is to bring a child into the world, it brings up a really interesting point. I, along with many of my mom friends, accomplish the extraordinary challenge of dealing with two kids nearly every day. Not once can I recall a pat on the back, let alone a round of applause.
It is not that I expected it, after all, this is part of my “job.” But don’t people get rewarded at their jobs for accomplishing something difficult?
Just as my friend said, it almost feels like as moms, there is an expectation that we are just automatically capable of handling things.
Now, I am in no way trying to devalue what dads do as well. Many dads deserve all the “Super Dad” awards and accolades they can get. That round of applause was totally warranted and well-deserved.
But why shouldn’t moms be applauded as well? I think it is an important reminder of how hard we moms work every day, often without this level of recognition.
In the months after my daughter was born, I had to learn how to juggle the responsibilities that come along with caring for a toddler and a newborn. There were many days when I felt as though I had it all together, but some days were really difficult. It is not difficult in an “I can’t do it” sort of way, but if we are going to be completely honest, it is not easy to manage both a toddler and a baby by yourself. I would love to, on occasion, get the recognition that my friend got on that day at drop-off.
So, to all the dads out there, if you are reading this, make sure you thank your wife for all of her hard work. Whether she is a stay-at-home mom or works full-time out of the home, odds are she has put a lot of effort into making sure your kids’ day goes as smooth as possible.
And to all you moms out there, remember that what you do every day is incredibly challenging, and you are a champion for getting it done. Consider this your round of applause!
You deserve it!
Jmore parenting columnist Talya Knable is a psychotherapist who lives in Lutherville with her husband, Stephen, and their two children, Jack and Leigh. Her website is tkpsych.com/ She is also the assistant clinical director of Shalom Tikvah (shalomtikvah.org/) , a local non-profit organization that supports Jewish families facing mental illness and other challenging life circumstances.
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