This week, Michael Winerip's New York Times Parenting column focuses on a wild phenomenon. It turns out that when you work at home, sometimes you actually have to, like, take care of the house! Crazy. (Seriously, this guy makes their online-life columnist Michelle Slatalla look like Frank Rich.) You remember Winerip; he's the Times writer exiled to the lonely Regionals section, where he can safely muse about the fact that his kids aren't getting into Harvard from his comfortable Long Island perch.
Because I enjoy the perks of being the stay-at-home parent, I understand that I have the responsibility of anchoring the household and all that normally entails.It's hard to tell what's most annoying about this piece: Probably it's his wide-eyed incredulousness that there could be so much involved in taking care of his house and his kids in a week. Has he ever talked to, you know, a woman? Turns out, life is messy! Is this really what Metro editor Joe Sexton had in mind? We joked about Winerip writing an essay about his local elementary school's carpool lane, and scarily we weren't that far from the truth.
But this is the catch: Very rarely does our household entail just the normal stuff it is supposed to entail. Hardly a day goes by without some domestic breakdown, some issue with school or some sprained something that needs X-raying. In a two-week stretch in August, I had six medical appointments for the kids or me. And we are healthy people.
When my wife gets home at 8 p.m. and asks, "How come you didn't get more work done?" I can't remember. So a few weeks ago, I decided to investigate myself. I started making notes on where my time was slipping away to each day.