Today I found a big scratch on my laptop screen. I ask the baby, he says ahhh ehh with a big grin on his face. No help. He can’t speak and is not a great lead, but he’s still damn cute. I ask AJ, the 3-year old and he says I don’t know, can I have a treat? No, it’s 7:15am, but still also damn cute even as he runs off crying for not getting what he wants….again. I ask the wife, she laughs and says we all know what happened….. we have kids. True but like I have a desire to clean every water spot off the bathroom mirror each time I see it…or worse tooth paste, looking at the scratch on this screen each day will drive me crazy (er). I will get used to it when the next inevitable shenanigan event reveals itself.
Recently, I watched a local news story from Milwaukee that my Mother-in-law suggested. The segment was about Stay-at-Home fathers. I was Happy and hesitant to watch as I didn’t want them to make us out to look like a bunch of (excuse the language ladies) pussies. I wouldn’t normally say that but wimp and wussy just didn’t cut it as I’ve been reading so many Stay at home Dad blogs and no offense Dads, I love that we are able to do this but my ideas in my blog are that I want to inform, entertain and get feedback (still encouraging feedback, hint, hint). Before I started all this, I researched many already existing blogs of this nature and found that a lot of the men have for lack a better term have become Moms. Not to offend as I identify with what you do, but just don’t let yourself become the Mom. Primary readership may be from Mothers but be real and don’t cater to them. Cater to yourself and write your experiences as the man that you are.
According to the report, there are over 2,000,000 stay at home fathers in the U.S, right now and each of the men interviewed said the same thing that they thought they would have more fun but instead it’s more work. I agree partially as I have a wife that makes sure we are all happy and helps where she can but I also know how hard she works for us. Between us it’s about give and take. Between my boys, it’s about take and take. We love them anyway and buy them lots of toys they don’t play with.
Alright, I know I wrote “not to offend” and reading back, I may have done so but although this new role for me has changed my daily routine, but I only meant to say….Don’t let it change your gender identity.
This is written as a cautionary tale as I had a difficult transition after working for 18 years, moving and then staying home with the 2 boys. The difficulty was with being a new stay at home Dad in a new place and as I’ve probably mentioned before, nothing can prepare you for this. I didn’t know what to do when I got here, how I would know where to take them? What’s the best way to get them to have fun and the best way to tire them out so they nap well and give me a break. The answers are there to find. The loving Wives and Mother are here. The internet is here. There are many parks where we are so if you’re not a social person, your kids are and they can start conversations with strangers for you or your kids make friends with theirs.
As we have approached summer, we were not sure what to do with AJ during the week. He can only handle so much of Dad. Plus, as a toddler, he needs the social interaction and mental stimulation. We found a place near us, Jumpfit which has Bounce houses, indoor playground and activities such as horseback riding, been taken to the water park and many other places for their summer program as it continues. AJ loves it, we love it and it’s pretty reasonably priced but to wear out the kid and leave him not bored is priceless.
Last week, AJ went to Vacation Bible School at Jarvis Memorial Church which to me sounds like an oxymoron but again, he loved it and from what I witnessed, it seemed like a great event for the kids and I enjoyed the energy in there, everyone singing, dancing and everyone participating. Now, I’m not the most religious person but being there reminded me of the retreats that I went to as a teenager at Church which at the time was life-changing and probably kept me from being a degenerate (that came later in my twenties…I survived and was blessed with an amazing life which I owe to my family AND particularly the great friends I made at St. Jerome’s Church). One thing I felt was phenomenal was the fact that all the adults that were there running the show, dressed up in Jesus’ disciple attire, the decorations for Nazereth was that those participating were there completely voluntarily to teach and sing about Jesus and the kids learned about the bible. To me, it’s not so much about religion but rather, togetherness and celebrating being good people and how important it is that we counteract the evil in this world. The bottom line is that if we keep our kids busy, happy, stimulated, socialized and involved that gives him time to be independent from Family. This makes it that much better when they’re home with us.
You all have made me who I am today, I’m happy, loved and have an amazing family. Had I not met all of you I may have been a very different person. Thank you. And special thanks for Diane, I speak for myself but believe that we all look up to you, you’ve always gave us perspective and how to love and be good to one another.