Don’t Quit Before Your Parenting Shift is Over
I had been working in Chicago for the past month, and I was about to take a flight back to Houston on a Friday afternoon. Fridays are the worst for traffic and standing in line at the crowded airport.
My flight was delayed, as usual, and there was nothing to do except stand next to the bar at an airport restaurant and wait out the bad weather and storms.
Finally, it was time to board. Strapped into my reclining seat and looking forward to arriving home, the flight was going to be just two and a half hours. I was going to get to be back in my apartment, hug my cat, and sleep in my own bed.
The flight attendants were nice, helpful even. They gave us drinks. They checked on us to see how we were doing.
The weather was awful, however, and the pilot couldn’t land the plane. We kept circling over Houston International for hours, and then we went north to Dallas to refuel.
The flight attendants were not as helpful anymore. They ushered us off the plane, but the airport gate was closed because it was the middle of the night, and we didn’t know how we were going to get home. I considered renting a car and driving the last two hundred miles.
After much confusion, we passed through security again, boarded the plane (now refueled), and tried the trip again. I have never been through such terrible turbulence from storms in my life. By this time it was three in the morning, everyone was exhausted, and we had been in those reclining chairs for hours.
The flight attendants were mad now. Their shift should have ended, and they were not pleased with these passengers who hadn’t eaten dinner or seen the beverage cart for hours. We were more than an annoyance. We were a problem, and they were finished with us. No more smiles, just scowls.
We did make it back to Houston eventually, after twelve hours at six in the morning. The luggage didn’t make it, of course.
Yesterday I felt like those flight attendants.
The afternoon had been busy, and dinner got off to a late start. The diorama was finished for a school project for the next day, but I still had a lot of work to do for myself. I stood at the sink washing the dishes, and I was tired. I saw the kids’ bedtime get delayed, and I got frustrated. I just wanted to clock out.
I needed the kids to go to bed so that my mommy shift would be over. Those evening hours are the ones that we sometimes push through. My husband and I show up for the dinner and bedtime shift even when we’re sick and we have other work to do.
I remembered just in time that my kids are the passengers, not the problem. I stopped frowning at them. I got them into bed. My shift hadn’t ended, but I didn’t quit. Sometimes we just need to push through it.
Have you felt like that too?
Photo credit: ThinkstockPublished March 6, 2012. Last updated October 29, 2017.