It feels like its been a year since my last blog post. It has been a year since I last punched a clock. It was this week in 2014 that I officially became a stay-at-home Dad. For the past year I’ve lived primarily in sweatpants and cargo shorts. I usually shower well after midday, and rarely shave more than twice a month. While this may sound like a slacker’s wet dream it is far more work than it seems. It took a long time to get used to what turned out to be a pretty extreme lifestyle adjustment.
When I talk to older men I am often asked, “Do you change diapers?” Are there fathers out there that don’t? In my head I have a quick-witted response along the lines of, “Faster than a pit crew changes tires” or “I wipe Donny’s butt cleaner than a fat kid licks his plate!” But what comes out is usually a hushed and nervous sounding, “Me? Oh yeah, it’s no big deal.” I hate that question because the one that usually follows is, “What do you do for work?” or “How’s the job going?” When I tell them that I stay home it comes out sounding quiet, ashamed, and embarrassed. The only reason is because I, like so many, hold this misguided stigma about men who stay home and have the audacity to personally raise their children. “That’s women’s work!” “It’s unnatural!” Unnatural? Taking care of my kid??? Penguins do it, why can’t I? It took almost a full year to accept that I could be more to my family than a paycheck. That I could trade in my 40 hour work week for a 168 hour one. That I could strive to be the foundation of my family. That was then and this is now. I have finally embraced the role that life has led me to. I have found the self-worth that initially escaped me. That sounds silly to me, now. My old job sucked! I had somehow brainwashed myself into thinking it was better than the amazing opportunity MM had given me. The work I do today will actually have an impact on someone’s life. The work I do now has a chance to change the world! For better or for worse. I have a kid and I get to raise him MY way. The control freak in me loves that.
Mommy Moneybags(MM) has on numerous occasions said to me, “I don’t know how you do it. I don’t think I could.” And she’s right, I don’t think she could do what I do. The level of patience and sanity needed is inhuman. I can barely do it. I’m constantly exhausted and hungry. Repeatedly hauling 30lbs of squirming screaming baby up the stairs while trying to ignore the thick scent of urine and poop. Then dragging the remaining 28lbs of a slapping kicking child back down the stairs in hopes that he’ll sit still long enough for Dad to add three sentences to his blog.
The house is usually a mine field of rubber balls, Blu-ray discs, and razor-sharp Lego’s. Spending my days in an obstacle course, snacking on cheez-its, and being bombarded by a toxic scent doesn’t always leave me at my sharpest. Slip ups happen all the time. If MM only knew some of the things that have gone down without her knowledge. For instance, Donny rolled off of our bed when he was just a baby…twice…and once off the futon! It feels good to get that off my chest. While I’m at it, he also fell down the stairs. (If you never hear from me again MM should be your prime suspect.) Sometimes when Donny is running through the house and falls I simply let him lay there and cry. Not all the time but there are moments when I wait for him to get up, dust himself off, and calm himself down without Daddy’s help.
That’s what I really enjoy about being a stay-at-home Dad. Parenting MY way. Our days consist of less PBS, more ESPN. Less soothing nurture, more ill-advised adventures. Under my watch Donny will learn to pee standing up before most boys his age. I may be doing the work that is traditionally performed by Mom, but I can’t ever be her. It’s simply not in my DNA. There is no such thing as Mr. Mom. Just a Dad and his son. A man and his boy.
- Thing I learned today – Several male animal species take care of their young. Among them are the Red Fox, Barking Frog, Seahorse, Horned Owl, Homosapian, and of course the mighty Emperor Penguin.
- There are two sides to every story. As much as a role reversal this might be for me, its even more so for MM. And she’s performing beautifully in her role.
- Sports Minute – For the first time in my lifetime I am a proud fan of the best basketball team in the NBA. Go Dubs!
Thank you very much for stopping by. This is the thirteenth Daddy Day By Day. I’ve picked up some new followers as of late which has been very exciting. Thank You. If you have any questions, rants, feelings, anything positive, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply comment below. Please click on one of the two “follow my blog” links on the right. For you mobile users the links are at the bottom of the page. Talk to you soon…