Yesterday I tricked my husband. I'm not proud of it* but we have to do what we have to do.
I was having one of those weekends - you know, the kind when you have to take all three kids to the supermarket and clean up a weeks' worth of mess and do five loads of laundry and entertain other people's children and go to swimming lessons and pack for a school camp and attend a four-year-old's birthday party. And I couldn't face doing all of them alone.
I had to offload some of the work to my husband. Meaning, give him one chore and do the rest myself. As per normal.
Now, to be fair, The Architect does work on a Saturday, so he only gets one day of rest. But seeing as I get none days of rest, I do not feel guilty asking him to do something to help ease my burden.
So I gave him a choice. He could take three year old Boo to her swimming lesson at 8.30am, or he could take her to a Spiderman-themed birthday party at 10am.
Our conversation went a little like this:
Architect: Which activity will allow me the most time to engage with our daughter? Which do you feel will be the more bonding experience for us? Which would you consider, as a parent, to be the most personally fulfilling? Which would Boo prefer me to attend?
Ha! Are you kidding? The conversation went nothing like that. In fact, it went exactly like this:
Architect: How long is swimming? How long is the party?
Me: Swimming is only half an hour, the party is two hours.
Architect: Can I drop Boo at swimming or do I have to stay?
Me: You have to stay.
Architect: Can I drop Boo at the party or do I have to stay?
Me: You have to stay.
Architect: Do I have to talk to people at the party?
Me: No, you can sit in a corner on your own. YES YOU HAVE TO TALK TO PEOPLE. What, you want the other parents to think that Boo has a mute, psychopathic father?
Architect: I don't like talking to people.
Me: Yeah, I've noticed that.
Architect: Do I have to talk to people at swimming?
Me: No, you just have to make sure Boo doesn't drown.
Architect: Okay, I'll take swimming.
I got Boo dressed in her tiny little swimsuit and waited for my husband to come down the stairs. At 8.20am, the time he needed to leave, he walked out of the bedroom, said "Come on Boo! Let's go swimming!", grabbed our daughter's hand, and headed out the door.
"Um... you may want to take towels?" I suggested.
He turned around and the slightest hint of abashment crossed his face. He took a towel from the linen closet and headed back out again. "Okay Boo! We're going!"
"Just wanted to check you have your swimsuit on?" I called out.
"What do you mean my swimsuit on?" he asked. "I'm not getting in the water!"
I may have looked a little triumphant. "Oh yes you are," I told him. "It's a parent-child swimming group. And if you don't get your swimsuit on you're going to be swimming in your undies. Not that there's anything wrong with that..."
"Really?" I asked. "Sorry, must have forgot." And he ran upstairs and got changed.
The Architect and Boo had a wonderful time at swimming, getting into gross, overheated water with a bunch of very young children with teeny weeny bladders. Lucky them.
And then I took Boo to a lovely party at which she was entertained by a delightful Spiderman (in a skin-tight suit, for those interested...), and I got to sit in the sun drinking coffee and eating hotdogs and cake, chatting to other mums and dads and generally not being in chlorinated, urinated water.
And if I used a little trickery to get there, well, I'll think about that over the laundry this evening. I'm sure the shame will come eventually.
*actually I'm extremely proud of it