Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I, Mister Stay-at-Home Dad

It has been a little over a week since my wife went back to work and I officially became Mister Stay-at-home Dad. This situation has produced several career challenges and family difficulties. However, the family's got to eat and Suzi and I have agreed that this is the best thing to do.

Firstly, I want to make it absolutely clear that this wasn't my first choice. Kara is nearly three months old and I think that she should be with her mom. I offered to go apply to shite-jobs in Rosetown many times so that I could be the manly provider and Suzi could be the stay-at-home mom. But she wouldn't let me do it. She believes in my talent as a writer and she thinks that I will be miserable at 7-11.

When she first told me this, I felt relief, flattered, fearful and distressed. But it makes sense. Her new job is well-paying. 7-11 isn't, and it's true that rejoining the workforce in an unskilled job would be a crushing blow to the old ego. Now I just have to succeed at my writing career and make her sacrifice - being separated from her little girl too soon - worthwhile.

So here I am with this little human in my lap. I have to balance her needs with Suzi's first and foremost. Then I have to somehow find time to write. I also have to find time to exercise, because damn, I'm getting bloated. I have to keep our house tolerably clean. And then I have to take care of myself somewhere in there too. I'm tired all the time because I rarely get a full night of sleep. I have no idea how I'm going to manage this.

Despite appearances and attitudes, I am no stranger to hard work. A mere six years ago, I worked as a production assistant on the movie "Just Friends". It was ten to fourteen hour days on my feet. It was physical work and it was frequently unbearably cold and thankless. But those two months were some of my happiest days. Every night when I laid my head on the pillow, I knew I had done a good job and slept easily.

So that's not much different from my present situation, right? Not exactly. The paycheque in my name was a real motivator. Also, I could be assured of a good night's sleep with Just Friends.

While I struggle and juggle tasks at home, Suzi pines for her baby and pumps her boobs to keep the milk flowing. She comes home more exhausted then I do. It will be interesting to see how our situation works. Will we get used to it? Or will something become intolerable enough that we have to change it?

Much depends on Kara. I look eagerly forward to her first time sleeping through the night. I will equally relish the day she picks up toys and stops relying on me to keep herself entertained.

This situation may not be ideal. Ideally, I'd be independently wealthy, nobody would have to take a nine-to-five job and we could both spend our days raising Kara. Or I'd be one of those hard-working guys with a well-paying job in a trade so I could be the big man. But I'm not either. All I have is a musical education, a difficult-to-realize dream of living as a writer and a baby in my lap.

Oh, and love. I love my generous and hardworking wife. I love my little, brilliant daughter. That is more than enough to sustain me as I navigate my new role in the world.

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