Dave and I split up last night.

It happens to the best of us.  For Dave and me, it happens almost every day.  It is a necessary evil for busy parents with busy kids.  I took the Winter Music Concert; he took the Bar Mitzvah meeting.  Both events were mandatory and began at the exact same time.

Presumably a two-parent household is easier to run than a single parent one.  But the level of coordination required so as to avoid serious familial malfunction takes a ton of time and energy.

First you have to decide who is doing what.  Lately, the plum gig around here has been the Sunday/Hebrew school run as the driver gets to drop off both kids and then sit in the Burlap and Bean with a huge mug of something hot and yummy and write (or do schoolwork) for an hour and a half.  For the past several weeks we have each been graciously offering to take that major burden off the other one’s shoulders.  But usually the parent with the more pitiful day gets to go, while the remaining spouse is assigned an awesome task like food shopping.  Its can be a 5-10 minute discussion before this decision is made.

Then there is the “check in” along the way that involves several cell phone calls which inevitably begin with, “Hey, it’s me.  Could you…would you…should I….could I ___________________?” (Fill in the blank).  If circumstances change, there is a whole new level of coordination as our internal GPS systems need to recalculate.

Lastly, there is the oft unspoken aspect of the parental split – fairness.  It is rarely addressed directly, but fairness is pervasive and necessary for marital harmony. 

“I know I got the Hebrew School run three times in a row, but who’s counting?” 

Uh… Dave is.  And so am I if the situation is reversed.  When one of us is inexplicitly cranky, it may have something to do with getting the Cub Scout gig for the last month.  I’m just sayin’.

Every now and again, Dave and I will part ways for a few days, due to my work or his play.  And suddenly all the coordination stops because there is only one of us who does it all.  While shouldering the heavier burden is difficult, it is partly offset by the fact that no energy is expended checking in with the other parent.  And suddenly you realize how much time you spend synchronizing.   It could be an Olympic sport.  But Dave and I wouldn’t stand a chance against those families of six or more.

For those concerned MoB readers, Dave and I got back together late last evening.  But we all know it won’t last.

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