July 10, 2012 by jooshanoosh
So I have been off work for 8 weeks for the birth of my son. (That’s not my son above, that’s my daughter…I’ll get to her in a minute.) I am so lucky to work for a company that lets me take that time to bond with a newborn. This is the second time I have taken paternity leave and the first time was a dream. Sure, you are sleep deprived; sure, you have both poop and vomit on you every day for 8 weeks, but in the end you get to hang out with someone who likes to eat and sleep. Granted, they like to eat every three hours and sometimes you wish they’d, you know, stop screaming, but mostly you hold someone whose warm and only wants to snuggle into your armpit.
However, the second time you take paternity leave it turns out that that first kid is still there…only more mobile…more crafty…and much faster.
Here are some things I’ve learned as a stay-at-home dad that I wanted to share with all you dads who go to work everyday:
#1~ If you think your wife is cool with you heading off to work for 9 hours a day while she stays home with the kids…yeah, she’s not. She hates the moment you drive off and abandon her to these wolves you had the idea of having.
#2~ If you have ever pulled the, “I’ve been at work all day and I need you to handle the kids for a while,” well…you shouldn’t have! It’s like going to work and then saying to one of your co-workers, “Hey, I know you’ve been working all day but so have I, so could you just work some more while I decompress? This job is real hard…but you should keep doing it so I can have a rest.” This is the number one lesson I’ve learned (even though it’s number two in the list): having kids is not a 9-5 job, it’s all day and all night, so if you’ve been at work from 9-5, you have been doing it for the kids and you are needed and a hero, but while you’ve been talking to grown-ups, the person home raising your kids (if you have more then one kid) does not get a lunch break, she does not have a water cooler and her witty insights about the nuances of Downton Abby are lost on your two year old. So, when you finally get home from horrible traffic and dumb customers, it’s your turn.
#3~ Staying at home with a two year old is exactly like working in an office. The only difference is your boss is a three-foot psycho who loves what you’re doing one minute then despises your very soul the next. You work every second to please this boss, but nothing you do is sustaining. You never get a pass because of all the past hard work you put in. Here’s a perfect example: I made Daisy her favorite breakfast this morning (cubed eggs, tomatoes, and milk…for reals) I put a lot of time and thought into what she would like and how she would like it (a CUBED egg for crying out loud, do you even know what that is?!) and all that love and effort didn’t stop her from hucking the remote at my head at 6:00 pm this evening. It’s like she didn’t even care about my thoughtful breakfast…I oughtta cube her face!
#4~ We have set the bar so low! (Society, that is.) One day, in order to not kill myself, I decided to get out of the house, and I took the two kids to the zoo. Daisy loves it and Milo can be strapped to me in this sort of backpack that is made for kids. Well, no fewer than three different women at three different times came up to me and told me I was “Super Dad.” And what’s more, I felt like super dad! I mean I took my own two children out into the world without my wife to take care of the three of us! Also the women complementing me usually had their own brood of kids whirling around them without incident. It should be said that I lost Daisy for 20 minutes and Zoo security had to be contacted and check points were set up at the entrances. Don’t worry, they found her in the Giraffe House. Super Dad, Super.
I love my kids and I super love my two year old; nothing in my life has ever had such a polarizing power to both give me the greatest joy and stab me with such fury as that one little lady. But we are best friends, we forgive quickly and need each other instantly if one of us gets hurt. We live to make each other laugh and we both laugh easily if the other puts forth the effort. We talk and we remember what the other one likes and what we don’t like. I have loved this time that I’ve had to be home all day every day; no one knows her like I do and no one knows me like she does.
Just keep my little family in mind when you come home from work; some guys come home to not a lot and you get to come home to these little people who are part you and part your wife and part their own selves. And the world that they are growing up in is magic and it’s made magic by the person who recreates their world every day. Take advantage of every moment ’cause tomorrow…you gotta go back to work.
By the way, the title of this post is so clever it can’t go without saying…but only in tiny print. Missed Her Mom = Mr. Mom…go ahead say it out loud. I hope this is what you’ve come to expect here at Part Time Authors. See you tomorrow!