A few weeks ago, I was so thrilled to be quoted in The New York Times, “When Mom Travels For Work.” Thrilled of course, that 16 million+ readers could possibly have become interested in visiting The MomTini Lounge 🙂 — and excited as always to be part of chat about how to parent more productively – my mantra.
Amy Kossoff Smith, the founder of a parenting Web site, has a ritual when she travels. She leaves a printed itinerary of all the carpools, sports practices and games, baby-sitter hours and anything else her husband might need.
The Seattle Times, among others, republished the piece, spreading the word and idea that advance preparation helps a household to run more smoothly. The day it came out, it was already making its way around…it was the 5th most email’ed story in the business section early on…
The author, Julie Weed, did a fabulous job collecting lots of tips for parents including how to keep things moving at home when Mom works and is away. The story generated a lot of comments (77), and many comments wondered if the story was “anti-Dad.” In fact, Minnesota Public Radio ran a scathing piece, starting with the sarcastic remark, “Finally, someone pointed it out: Dads are portrayed as helpless creatures when it comes to the issue of parenting.” The public radio piece quotes a article in response, “Mom, Meet Dad. He promises he’s not going to break the kids” by NPR’s Louis Bayard. He writes, “As a dad myself, I’m only marginally offended. As a human being living in, oh, 2012, I’m baffled. What is this strange Times-y world where households crumble the moment Mom walks out the door and Dad is so flummoxed by the demands of caregiving that he has to lie on the couch until the next set of wired commands comes through? It’s not the world I live in — the one where every day, competent hands-on fathers (married, partnered, single) navigate their children from point to point without mishap.”
I read through every single comment on the Times website, and interesting…people seemed very focused and upset about the idea that Dads are very capable of running the show. I agree! Trust me, I’m much less concerned about mismatched socks than I am about a brace wire sticking through one of my kids’ upper lips, and my husband scrambling to find the orthodontist’s #, because it’s not as readily accessible to him. So…had the author called her article, “When a Parent Travels for Work,” maybe it wouldn’t have generated such a controversy?
I am an avid believer that parenting is a TEAM sport. Whether the family dynamic is a single parent, a married couple, grandparents, nannies, or other, there’s typically someone who specializes in the organization piece. And, when that glue is gone (work travel, etc.), a plan is always a plus! I think Dads are VERY capable, and there are things my husband can do that I wouldn’t even attempt!
…And he appreciates my written game plan when I leave the team for a trip!
In honor of this controversial article, tell me who is your organization chief at home?