My partner is amazing. She generally prefers ‘wife.’ I think partner is more descriptive. We have been partners for more than 15 years and married for more than 13 of those years. We have been co-parents for more than eight years and throughout our time as parents, my partner has been incredible with our daughters – and other kids too!
When you are in the thick of parenting it is hard to step back and acknowledge all our successes or take the time to celebrate those things that make our partners great. Mother’s Day is one of those days that encourage us to take that step back and think about the mothers in our lives. In previous years I have written about the amazing mothers in my life. This year is all about my partner.
There are many more reasons why my partner is an awesome mother. Ten is a nice round number so I picked ten of the biggest examples.
1. Gave birth to three awesome girls
Seems kind of essential to start with the primary qualifying criteria. Of course you can become a mother in other ways. In our case, we went the get knocked up and pop out the babies route. Laura did an admirable job in this department.
2. Primary caregiver for three kids
I have an office gig that also involves travel. Laura works at home looking after the girls. She is with our 19 month old all the time and our two oldest after school. Sometimes she manages all three solo for a few days at a time if I am on the road and away over night. As all parents know, this is exhausting work to be in top gear all day trying to keep your kids alive and hope that they learn something along the way. Our kids can all speak and sometimes feed themselves – in no small part due to her efforts.
3. Extra kids after school
Because it isn’t enough to look after three kids of our own Laura also looks after other kids after school. In part to bring in some extra cash to pay the bills. Mostly to help out friends who can’t get out of their day jobs early. Our school day runs from 8am to 2:30 pm so it is extra challenging to pick up kids if you have an office job. She is pretty wiped out when I get home. All the kids are usually in one piece and to me, that is amazing because that would probably not be the case if I were running the show.
4. Helps me be an active parent in the midst of all the other distractions of life
Life is busy and I have a lot going on. It is easy for me to get wrapped up in projects and Laura helps pull me out of those projects and back into family life. I could really use another ten hours every day to get everything done I would like to be doing and I truly appreciate Laura bringing me back to our biggest priorities – our kids.
5. Volunteer conductor of a school choir
This year she decided to start a choir at our girls’ school because there was not one. She is a singer and believes passionately in the importance of music in the life of a kid – in all of us really. There was no choir at our school and so she decided to step in and create one.
6. Fights for our kids
This year our oldest daughter started grade three. We discovered that her teacher is a fan of homework. We are not. I probably would have pushed my daughter to do the work because it was assigned by the teacher. I was never a fan of homework as a student and I would never consider myself an academic. I would have presumed those things to be related and thought that doing ones homework would make someone a better student. Laura on the other hand is an excellent student and is an academic in her desire to learn and study. She is more educated than I am and thinks about education more than I do. When she rebelled against the amount of homework – in defense of our daughter and our family time I jumped on board. She did the research and discovered that there is no positive correlation between doing homework at this age and school achievement. She discovered that in fact there is a negative impact on family life and possibly on academics. We met with my daughter’s teacher and told her that we wouldn’t be requiring her to do the assigned work because we didn’t have time for it in our lives. If it hadn’t been for Laura, my daughter and I would be having daily battles about getting homework done, which would have had a negative impact on our relationship.
7. Counters temper tantrums with love and compassion
We have a six year old who is prone to tantrums – very impressive tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. Yesterday in fact she spent 45 minutes screaming in a park when I took her to a different park than she wanted to go to. The other one offers no shade and would not have been good for our toddler in the 30+ degree heat. The result was that the two of us missed Laura singing in her choir concert. I was not willing to take temper tantrum girl to a concert that began after her usual bed time when she was already cranky.
It was very frustrating to miss one of the few concerts in which Laura sings in a year. I have been to almost every one of her concerts over the past 15 years and I love being able to pick her voice out of the choir.
When I am dealing with tantrum girl, it is a battle of wills, no matter how I try to help her calm down. I offer hugs and get pummelled. I speak calmly and get screamed at. I try to talk her through deep breaths and get screamed at. I ask what she wants and get a response of “I WANT MUMMY.” I have no interest in foisting tantrum girl on Laura so we continue our war of attrition. Laura deals with her share of tantrums during the day so there is no reason that she should also have to deal with them when I am around.
When Laura deals with tantrums she shows a great deal of patience and tolerance and is able to help tantrum girl settle with hugs and love. As much as I offer this to our daughter she refuses to accept it from me. What she really wants is mummy and she fights to get what she wants.
8. Doubles as a jungle gym for a toddler
To be honest, everyone serves as a jungle gym for our 19 month old. Laura just gets to to more of it because she spends all day with her. We have a kid who loves to climb on anything she can and often that is the closest person. As any parent knows, it is exhausting to have someone constantly demanding to climb up your body. It makes it challenging to get anything else done. Laura survives this every day and our daughter loves her for it.
9. Seeks advice on how to manage parenting challenges
I make this parenting thing up as I go. Laura looks for advice – she is an academic by nature remember. She asks other parents for advice and finds books on relevant topics so that she can be a more informed parent and find ways to managing whatever we are encountering at the time.
10. Helps me be a better father by her example
Watching Laura in action as a parent helps me be a better, more compassionate, more engaged father for all of the reasons listed above.
She is an amazing woman and mother and the girls and I are so fortunate to have her.