Do Your Spouse a Favor... Tell Them When You're a Crappy Parent
The Wife With One F has been going to school to get her nursing degree for more than a year now. That's more than a year of night school and part time jobs to save up, ten hour clinicals, 17 course hours in twelve weeks, and just in general the gauntlet that they put you through to make sure that when you get out and among the sick you are thoroughly trained.
Because of her hellish course load and all the studying it entails, my wife is rarely home alone with our daughter, and almost never takes her out in public by herself. There's just no time for a day off from the studying, and short breathers are so infrequent that we spend them as a family all together. The rest of the time it's me taking the kid out of the house by myself so my wife can sequester herself back in the cave of knowledge.
Recently she got a two week break between semesters, and set a whole day aside to do whatever my daughter wanted just the two of them. That turned out to be the Children's Museum because the kid is obsessed with the superhero stage show that they have going on right now. So after consulting me on things like parking, food availability, cost and the like, off they went while I headed out to the day job.
Several hours later I got a call from a very tired sounding wife as they headed home.
"Your child threw a screaming fit in the bathroom."
Turns out there was some sort of South Korea/North Korea dispute over whether my daughter should use the child-sized potty or the adult, and it degenerated from there. For the rest of the day my wife called herself pretty much every name in the book, but mostly horrible mother, and variants on that theme all because during the rare day she's able to have a Just Girls Afternoon there's a meltdown.
I feel very bad for the Wife With One F. When the kid and I go out there's a constant stream of iPhone pics showing a smiling blond four-year-old doing adorable little four-year-old things. It's Foursquare check-ins with witty one-liners related to the antics of youth. When I come home I look exhausted, but I just have that kind of a face. In short, every single outing between father and daughter looks like a page out of Awesome Parent Magazine.
And sweetie, it's all a terrible, terrible lie.
There has never been a single time I have ever taken our little miracle out into the real world that she has not at some point degenerated into a screaming psychopath unable to see reason or express herself without berserker warcries. Her howls of self-righteous indignation over capricious, half-imagined slights have echoed across halls of learning and whimsy from one end of Houston to other.