I spent the weekend doing work in Chicago and now I’m at O’Hare and I’m not sure I should be here. I’m not sure I should travel so much for work.
The German woman next to me could not get the Internet on her phone. I used all the high school German I could remember, except Der Kartoffelsalat ist I’m Kühlschrank. Nothing worked, so I decided it would be ethical for me to download the Amazon mobile app onto her phone without asking.
It’s genius marketing from Amazon, and I am excited for the day when you can download the Penelope Trunk blog app before you get Wi-Fi at O’Hare.
And also forget it because the more time I spent developing the Penelope Trunk mobile app, the more people would write to me and say, “Are you okay? Why aren’t you posting?” And then I’d have to hate myself more.
Also forget it because I don’t have time to build a company big enough to partner with O’Hare. Are they going to give my kid an internship in an astrobiology lab? Because unless it’s going to help my kids, I don’t have time for anyone’s partnership overtures.
I did a twelve-month plan for me and each of my sons. I was going to do one for my husband, too, but he cannot be controlled. He is an ISTP. I made my own version of a personality test because I am tired of other peoples’ tests being too long or too stupid.
So I have thousands and thousands of people taking the test, and guess who never takes the test? ISTPs. Because they think it’s a waste of time because they did not write the test. Not that they would write a test. But still, they think they could do it better so they don’t want to take a test that is not written by them. They don’t care about other peoples’ tests anyway.
So there is no twelve-month plan for my husband except that maybe I could get him to throw out the shirts that have holes in them. Like the one up top.
It was not hard to find a picture with this shirt in it, by the way, because it’s in nearly every picture. It’s his favorite shirt. Or only shirt. You don’t marry a farmer for his extensive wardrobe.
Anyway, I told him, “Look at how much the boys admire you. They want to be you. They identify with you. You have to be careful what you do.” He looks up. I have his attention. So I beat a dead horse: “The boys want to do everything you want to do. You have to model behavior of someone who has great self-esteem. No holes in shirts.”
I am showing you this picture. He is not looking at this picture because ISTPs are about action. Not talk. So I have talked as much as he can listen to for now.
But it’s so clear to me that the boys want to be him. Boys want male role models. I don’t know what this means for lesbian couples. Someone can tell me that in the comments. But I do think it’s probably related to the fact that 70% of women think they are the bad cop and the dads are the fun ones.
Psychology Today explains that kids develop emotionally through play with their dad. The magazine upholds stereotypes of the comforting mom and the playful dad not because stereotypes are good but because these particular stereotypes are accurate. But the bottom line is that kids need time from each parent.
The Center for Working Families at Berkeley published a paper suggesting that kids suppress their desires for quantity time with a parent over quality time with a parent because the kids know the desire stresses out the parents.
And a summary of the academic research about father involvement concludes: “Children of involved fathers are more likely to have higher levels of economic and educational achievement, career success, occupational competency, better educational outcomes, higher educational expectations, higher educational attainment, and psychological well being.”
So it’s clear that quantity time is as important as quality time for parents and kids. However there is not data to show more time in school is linked to higher achievement.
To me this is a clear argument for more time at home with parents. But it’s also an argument for adding more time with fathers. Typically the moms manage the homeschooling. It’s a relationship of traditional specialities, where the dad earns the money and the mom runs the home.
But we are finding, as we dig for ways to convince absentee dads to pay more attention, that all kids could benefit from more attention from their dad.
Theresa Thomas writes that quality emerges from quantity, and I believe this is true. It’s why I homeschool. But it’s also why I think I’m homeschooling when I volunteer to do all the cleanup after dinner so my husband can play with the kids.
There’s no way I could tell my husband how much time to spend with the kids. As much as I’d like to schedule his life, he won’t put up with it. He is a farmer. “Make hay when the sun shines” still holds true. So I have to give my husband quantity time so he can give some of it to the kids. I don’t know exactly when giving him time will result in time for them, but quantity time is the commodity we pass along to each other.
So I stand at the sink washing the dishes even as I realize I should be building a mobile app empire instead. I could pay someone to do the dishes. I could pay someone to do everything, really. But a big reason I homeschool is because I believe in quantity time, and I want to be there to give it.