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5 Kids. 1 Dad. 10 Hours.  And it’s going to rain…

That is the recipe (for disaster??) at my house this Saturday.

I don’t know if I want to laugh, brag or worry.  Look what MY husband can do…

Looking to repay a favour to a friend, I offered OUR help watching her 3 kids, afterwards to realize that my schedule interfered and it became an offer of Dean’s help.  I know he is up to the task, but 10 hours indoors with 3 boys and 2 girls under the age of 9? It’s a big one.

I remember how it was when I started my practice part-time, and Ethan was 5 months old.  While I met some amazing parent-duty-sharing families,  I was reminded frequently to be grateful that I had a husband who could pull his weight in watching our kids, cooking meals and taking care of the house. Being in a very Italian-influenced area, the comments I heard when women learned that my husband was home watching our infant son ranged from:

Incredulous: “How’s he going to know what to do?” OR “You trust him to take care of a baby?!” OR “How on earth did you convince him to do THAT?”

Concerned: “Aren’t you worried?”

Envious: “My husband takes our kids to his mom’s if I leave for more than 30 minutes.”  OR “My husband has never cooked or cleaned in his life.” OR “Get my husband to change a diaper?!  I don’t think so.”

To which I thought: “I wouldn’t marry someone who couldn’t look after his own child.  He’s not a babysitter – he’s a dad.”

I just learned early on that the REAL recipe for disaster would be to expect him to do everything the same way that I would.

So tomorrow, other than making sure there is food in the house to feed the little monsters, I’m leaving him to his own devices.  I won’t expect the house to be spotless, and I won’t expect dinner to be waiting on the table when I get home.  (in fairness, little difference than if it were me at home)

I expect I’ll be able to guess what they did and what they ate by the clues left around the house.   I expect there will be areas that look like mini-hurricanes have blown through.   I won’t be surprised if our Hallowe’en haunted house in the basement gets transformed into a room-wide fort (not like I’ve found the time to wash the dozen sheets involved anyways)  My kitchen table will likely be covered with every craft supply we own.  Toys that have been long-neglected will likely be out and about.  And I have no doubt that a movie will have been watched (though as Dean pointed out, that’s only 2 hours of the 10…)

What I DO know is that the kids will have fun, they’ll be safe, and they’ll be happy.

On my end, I’ll make sure Dean gets acknowledged for being the Super-Dad that he is.  (Get him a super-hero cape?  Make a bumper sticker: I survived 10 hours with 5 kids??)

No, it seems to me that a super-parenting feat like this deserves the ultimate (and ironic) parenting reward:  a night out without kids.   (I sure hope our sitter is free!) 

By then, the potential shell-shock will likely have worn off.