Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Slippery Slope

March 13, 2010 was my first official day as a stay at home dad.  It was an exciting as well as a frightening change in my life.  I was used to going to an office everyday, talking with and sometimes getting chewed out by clients, chatting with co-workers and sitting in rush hour traffic to and from my workplace.  Suddenly, I was just getting up to feed the Big Guy (back then he was more of a little guy), hitting up the zoo, going to our Gymboree classes, trying out sign language for infants classes and going on hikes.  It was pretty great.  Sure I had some bad days, and the learning curve of taking care of the Big Guy full time and balancing responsibilities at home was steep for me, but overall I was having a great time.  After a few months I had a system.  Mondays we went to the grocery store.  Tuesdays I did laundry.  Wednesdays we had Gymboree.  Thursdays I cleaned the pool.  Fridays...well, those were mine, lunch at Station Tavern with a few beers while the Big Guy played in the tavern's playground.  I had it down.  I was the master of my domain.

Then came the Little Man.  Perhaps it was having the Mrs home for four months, maybe it was having two kids to look after thus doubling my parenting duties, maybe it was I was getting a touch of senioritis (a debilitating disease to high school and college seniors about 1-2 months prior to graduation which causes the infected to play video games, hang out with friends and avoid school work at all costs) and maybe it was a combination of all three.  Whatever it is, I haven't really gotten on a schedule.  My days are somewhat a bit of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants variety.  The Big Guy wants to go to the park, sure.  Some fellow SAHDs want to get together, I'm in.  There's a premiership soccer match on, let's watch that.  

There are some other factors too:  I am taking some photography classes and trying to start a family/couples photography business (you've seen my pictures here, if you like them then HIRE ME!), writing a blog and the Mrs has been working 12-18 hour days seven days a week for the past 2 1/2 months.  In addition to a few other factors which have come up recently, though I can't go into them just yet (I'll share those details in a few months - but no, it's not another kid.  Let me rephrase that, hell no, it's not another kid), I have been slacking in my duties at home.  

To give you a picture of my now:  I have a basket of laundry that hasn't been folded in five days,  I have a load of clothes in the dryer that has been done for 24 hours and hasn't been touched, I haven't picked up the dog poop in the backyard for four days, I haven't changed the bed sheets on our bed in three weeks, for three months our dining room has been filled with bags and boxes bound for Goodwill and I haven't showered in two days.  Luckily, we have a house cleaner who comes every other week - so we don't live in complete filth.  If you aren't slack jawed yet, then we should be hanging out.

The amazing part is that I don't actually feel like I am slacking, I feel that most days are fairly busy.  "Busy" is a term I use loosely, by the way.  I don't want to give the impression that I am crunching numbers, scanning documents and facilitating multi-billion dollar company mergers, I did mention I was a stay at home dad, right?  But I am changing diapers, giving baths, feeding two boys, getting in a workout, heading out on playdates, working on potty training (not me, the Big Guy...though some people may argue that I could use a refresher) and acting as a jungle gym/doctor's patient/horse/block builder for my boys.  It may not sound like a lot, but wrap all of that up in 12 hours and it's a full, full day.

I was at a friend's daughters first birthday a couple weekends ago.  While the Big Guy slowly warmed up to the crowd (these days he hides behind me and tucks his chin into his chest/turns his head away whenever anyone he is not entirely familiar with looks at him, however, this does not include strangers at the store, who he happily waves to and says "hello"...if you figure that out, let me know), I sat down outside and starting chatting with some guy who I never figured out the relation to the hosts as well as another SAHD.  The other SAHD was right in my shoes.  Grass on his lawn was looking more like a wavy field of golden wheat, laundry was backing up, dishes were done less frequently, and the house was a bit of a mess.  He had also just become a father x 2 in the past 3 months.  I felt relieved to know I wasn't alone.  We reminisced about our beautiful schedules from a year ago, we laughed about how easy just one child was and that we never quite appreciated it, and we agreed that two was enough.    

The other guy sitting there remarked how we would get the hang of it again soon.  He sounded so certain of it, it was not like he was trying to make small talk.  This guy was an Iowan dairy farmer, I don't think they do small talk there.  This guy works hours I don't ever want to be familiar with, is responsible for the livelihood of more living beings than I have friends on Facebook and yet he wishes he had more kids.  He told us we would regret not having more kids.  Are you nuts?!  Did I mention I was 180 minutes late, also known as three hours, to the birthday party?  I can't get to anything on time these days.  If I am 15 minutes late, that's early for me.  If we had another kid, I would never see anyone.  I would end up speaking like Curious George.  I would invest in stretchy pants and a matching Snuggie.  Babysitters would put us on the too many to sit list.  Things would not be good.  

I'm sure the dairy farmer is right.  I'm sure I will get the hang of this two kids things soon.  I may even show up (dare I say) on time to a few get togethers.  The laundry will get folded.  The dishes will get cleaned.  The bed sheets will get changed.  All will be right with the world again.  But I may just go another day without a shower.

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