A Husband's Perspective on Working Mom Overdrive.
In my single days I was a complete failure with fast women. I’m not talking about the kind of ladies who moved through men like fire through a dry forest. I’m referring to females who make quick decisions, achieve goals rapidly, and grab all the life they can into their waking hours.
So I’m still trying to figure out how I managed to marry such a creature. I’m what you call your basic tortoise. I walk slowly. I overthink everything. I eat so methodically that restaurateurs who value table-turnover pay me to stay away. And if you think I’m slow, you should see my father or have met my late paternal grandfather. Time is measured by sundial with those two guys.
Yet I did marry one swift-moving hare of a woman. Wendy talks fast, drives fast, eats fast. It used to make me crazy since I had to ask her to repeat almost everything she said and would sit in the passenger car seat clinging to the door handle, wondering if I’d left proper instructions for my funeral.
For all my troubles in keeping up with this lickety-split lady, her energy level is a big reason she’s a super mom. In a given day, she can do morning drop off, teach college classes, head up a meeting to improve the parking lots of her campus, email and phone a gaggle of friends, and get dinner ready at day’s end. On the weekends and in-between teaching, she takes the kids to extra-curricular activities, reads to them constantly, leads weekend family hikes, and slips in a date night with me.
I live with this woman but can’t figure out how she does it. There’s no Ritalin or other foreign stimulants to sustain her relentless multitasking. Just God-given fuel that keeps her on “mom overdrive.”
Of course, sometimes, she breaks down. She can be short-tempered with the kids and I. She neglects my need to talk to her about career stuff or emotions (yes, I’m frequently the “girl” in the relationship). She leaves a mess of unopened mail and clothes wherever she goes. And, once in a while, she falls on the bed to cry that she’s a disaster as a mother, wife, friend, etc. She may be fast, but she’s not a machine.
Still, working with this very human ball of fire has its rewards. While getting the soap out of little Ari’s hair as I sing a Raffi song is one of my day’s bigger achievements, my slowpoke style meshes with Wendy’s light-speed sprint. I’m the one who assures our meals are well balanced in the wake of my wife’s “just get ‘em fed” efforts. I show my second-grader how to proofread his homework after Wendy has prodded Benjamin to finish up. I spend hours burning CDs, filled with the kids’ favorite songs, to accompany us on road trips, following my partner’s whirlwind packing to get us in the minivan.