The concept is a novel one but one my family has faced more than once – stay at home dad.
I think when people hear that term one of two ideas pops into most people’s heads; and I don’t think either of them are a picture of my hubby and son.
There’s the dad who’s blissfully happy wearing the baby in a carrier on the front and pushing the toddler in the swing while juggling the dishes and vacuuming.
There’s the dad sitting in the middle of the living room floor pulling what little hear left on his head out as the kids run screaming around the house either without a diaper or an overly full diaper sagging at their knees while throwing the dishes in the washing machine.
Michael isn’t either of those guys. I think he falls somewhere in the middle. He’s got a good handle on things – he knows his way around a cloth diaper, he’s got the menu plan under control and he plays a mean train conductor. But there are also moments when he’s all but waiting at the door peering out looking for my car to pull up so I can take over and he can collapse with exhaustion in bed. I get the occasional text asking where x, y or z is located and when Miles was a newborn I received a handful of the, “I can’t do this, you have to come home,” calls.
Michael was home with Miles from the time I left to go back to work when Miles was eight weeks old up until Miles was eight-months-old. And for a week now, Michael is home with a 20-month-old Miles while simultaneously looking for a job in Evansville with our relocation from Anderson.
When Miles was a newborn I would call or text home about every hour, frantic that something was going to go wrong – Miles wouldn’t take a bottle, Michael would get confused with the cloth diapers or forget to change him enough, Miles wasn’t getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep. Most of those things never happened and after a couple of weeks (OK, realistically more like a month) I chilled out on the calling (and worrying.)
And this time around, I may not check in all day. I don’t worry at all. Of course I think about them and miss them; but I know Michael has everything under control.
The two of them, in only a week’s time, have developed their own little routine and are enjoying all the train playing complete with lots of “choo-choos” and some “Go, Go, Go,” (“Yo Gabba Gabb”) along with a healthy dose of playing outside with dog-dog.
As much as I’d love Miles to be home with one of us all the time it just isn’t realistic. I know that being around other kids and in a structured, out of the home environment is what is best for Miles (that may not be the case for all children, but it is for our son.)
I’m hoping soon Michael is able to find the right job as running a family on one salary (especially when that one salary belongs to a journalist) can be a challenge. But I see so many benefits to these two stints of stay at home daddom we’ve had.
How many dad’s get to say they were the primary caregivers (during the day at least) to their child for the first eight months of their lives? And this bonding time for Michael and Miles now is invaluable to both of them.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I was jealous. I try to make it home most days for a quick lunch at home with them and it is hard to leave to go back to work, especially when they are doing something especially fun!
Any other stay at home dads out there? How do you make it work at your household?