My husband got a standing ovation at Starbucks... and it irks me.
Lucy goes to ballet twice a week. Because we have two kids and have to divide and conquer with the chauffeur duties, my husband Robert sometimes drives her to class. A mandatory part of taking her to ballet class is making sure her hair is in a bun before you drop her off. She can't quite manage it on her own yet, so she needs a little help.
Because my husband doesn't wear buns (or much head hair at all for that matter), I had to school him up on the whole "making a bun" process. This took several sessions, and I even had to modify my usual technique for his giant sausage fingers. He eventually mastered it (I tested him and everything), and he can now produce a perfect bun in under 10 minutes flat.
It's nice to have a husband who isn't afraid to tackle the really difficult parenting tasks like preteen hairdos. Isn't it fantastic?!
Except when it isn't. Here's how it all went wrong...
Lisa: Robert just got back from ballet with Lucy, and I'm so perturbed!
Ashley: Oh, no! Did he get her there late?
Lisa: No. He was totally on time.
Ashley: Did he forget to send her with her ballet bag?
Lisa: No. She had all her shoes and gear.
Ashley: Well, I can certainly see why you are so upset. THE NERVE!
Lisa: Ha, ha, ha. When you hear the injustice that has taken place you will feel my pain.
Ashley: I'm always up for a good rant. Lay it on me, sister.
Lisa: He picked her up from school and, since they had 30 minutes to kill before ballet started, they stopped at Starbucks.
Ashley: Aw, don't be upset! You take her to Starbucks all the time. She knows you're the "fun one" too. Sometimes.
Lisa: No, I have no problem with *that*. I would not begrudge them Starbucks goodness. It's what happened there that has me irritated.
Ashley: Did they forget to bring you a latte?
Lisa: Well, now that you mention it, yes, but this is even worse!
Ashley: Worse than depriving you of a latte? Oh, man!!
Lisa: Oh, yes. After she changed into her leotard in the restroom, he got to work putting her hair in a bun.
Lisa: Well, after he performed the bun procedure I so carefully taught him, the craziest thing happened. An elderly couple at a neighboring table actually STOOD UP AND STARTED CLAPPING FOR HIM, and not in an ironic way. They were clapping and cheering because he was able to put her hair in a bun. Basically, they gave him a standing ovation because he was parenting, FFS.
Lisa: YES! And here's the worst part. Once that table stood up FIVE OTHER TABLES DID, TOO! It spread throughout the whole shop. My favorite barista, Mark, even did one of those really loud whistles with his fingers. They were all going nuts and telling him what a great dad he was because he put her hair in a damn bun. I have literally done this millions of times with no accolades whatsoever.
Ashley: In fact, doesn't she normally complain that you aren't gentle enough?
Ashley: I am full of rage on your behalf! That is SO unfair! Did he at least have the good sense to be embarrassed by the display?
Lisa: Ugh, no! He was *so* proud of himself. I think he might have even taken a bow. He couldn't wait to tell me all about it!
Isn't that always the way it goes?
Moms are expected to do it all. Cooking and cleaning -- check. Planning birthday parties and getting the school supplies -- of course. Laying out the clothes and packing the lunches -- duh. All the things.
Do moms get an "attagirl" for showing their basic parenting chops? Pfftt. The usual response showing up to carpool on time isn't, "Aw! It's so sweet that you picked her up!" (Totally what they say to dads.) It's more like, "You need to pull closer to the curb in the future. Also, turn off your engine if you're idling."
So the next time you see a mom out there keeping a toddler from licking a trash can, while identifying dinosaur species for a preschooler and simultaneously checking long division with a preteen, consider standing up and giving her a round of applause. You know nobody else will... unless she changes her name to "dad."