Dad doubles as mom

Sunday, October 26, 2003

It's not easy being Mr. Mom day and night.

Joni was out of town several days last week for computer training.

This meant I had to make sure the kids got dinner, did their homework and didn't stay up too late.

It meant I had to get out of bed early three days to wake Becca up for school choir. It meant a major search for matching socks each morning, and packing lunches for Becca and her sister, Bailey.

It meant picking Bailey up from day care and making sure Nature Girl didn't leave her shoes behind when she walked barefoot to the car.

Also on Thursday night, I had to serve as Joni's stand-in at Becca's Girl Scout troop where Joni is the assistant leader.

I helped shuttle troop members to the Cape Girardeau Central High School football game. Bailey came too, sporting a tiger tail and face paint. She's only in second grade but she already understands how to be a true sports fan.

Of course, it's not football that draws Becca and her friends to the stadium. It's the chance to chat for hours that draws their attention.

Middle school students never seem to run out of things to say, particularly when they can say them in a whole different section of the stadium away from their parents.

Before the game, the girls had pizza. Not that low-fat pizza that one national chain is touting, but good old-fashioned, fat happy pizza.

Health-conscious pizza doesn't work for me. The idea is about as logical as a beer diet.

Of course, Becca didn't have a single slice of pizza. Becca, who is the consummate picky eater, had to have chicken fingers. When it comes to food, Becca's immune to peer pressure.

Speaking of pressure, I have nothing but admiration for single moms. They have to do it all. They don't have a safety net. I'm still not certain when they sleep.

I have a safety net. Joni keeps track of all the Scout meetings, does a ton of laundry and still has time for a bedtime story.

She's also good at helping the kids pick out their clothes for the next day. I'm less certain about the attire, although I favor jeans and T-shirts. It's hard to mess up such a wardrobe.

I'm not as good at getting the kids to bed. Time has a way of slipping away when you're watching the World Series while washing Becca's jeans and following Joni's telephoned instructions on how to get out the stains.

A friend of mine says that when she has to be away on business she leaves a list of her chores for her husband to perform.

Just writing it all down must be tiring.

But I can help with homework and get the kids to bed before the "David Letterman Show" comes on.

I can make peanut butter sandwiches too. But I'm not good at this dinner thing even when I've had a good night's sleep.

With Joni gone, I took the kids out for the basic chicken fingers dinner and ice cream.

They're thrilled to go out, even if it's just a drive-through. Besides, both Becca and Bailey are reluctant to eat anything I cook.

I can't blame them. I'm not thrilled about my cooking either.

Besides, there is an advantage to eating out. There are fewer dishes to put in the dishwasher when you return home.

That leaves you more time for homework, Disney shows and reading the school lunch menu.

If it's sleep you wanted, then today was your lucky day. Americans turned their clocks back an hour, giving moms and Mr. moms an extra hour of sleep.

Sweet dreams.

Mark Bliss is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: