A lot is made about the fact that moms “are more involved” with their children’s care than dads are.
In some ways, I’m willing to agree, but with an important caveat.
I do go every appointment I can – I’m usually the one who takes the Monster to the dentist, I’m at every IEP meeting, and I usually go along for any of the other appointments. I like to know what’s going on, and to have a chance to have the discussions provoke other questions to get deeper into things that might help my son with his Autism.
But I don’t go to everything. Case in point – I didn’t go to his OT evaluation today, and I didn’t go to the developmental pediatrician appointment a few weeks ago.
Now… it’s not because I don’t want to go to the evaluation, even if it’s really going to be a few hours of sitting there while they run tests on the Monster and get a basic idea of his current functioning level. Or that I have better things to do, because… let’s be honest, I might be the breadwinner, but my family’s more important. It’s because there are other ways I can make a big difference, because my not being there enables someone to run R to pre-school and pick him up, while also letting me attend a few important (but delegate-able) meetings at the office. My job’s flexible to let me do either of those things – attend the appointments or go shuttle R around…
And that flexibility is important. Today’s OT is a great example – we got a call last night at 5 PM about a last-minute cancelation and opening, and… the Monster’s on a wait-list that’s eight months long for an appointment. You better believe we’re grabbing that bad boy and running with it. But because it’s too late for me to delegate one of those meetings, I can run R to-and-from while the wife covers… and it lets the Monster get seen for the evaluation so much sooner. So when folks tell me that I’m not “as involved” as my wife is, I have to take some offense at that – I am involved, because I’m making it possible for my son to get the care he needs more rapidly, and we all know that sooner is better for interventions.
I know that I won’t hear everything that the therapist tells my wife, that I won’t have the same opportunity to ask questions, and that things might get missed in the retelling until I can see a report. But that has to be alright, and while I’m not as “involved” in the direct back-and-forth, I contribute in my own way by facilitating these sudden appointments. And that’s all good enough for us.