When I wake up in the morning I will officially be a SAHD- Stay at Home Dad and Junior will be an official SAHT. It is the 3rd career for me in 3 months (but only his second career in toddlerhood). Which on the down slope of 30 has been a little hard for me to wrap my mind/stomach/ emotions to understand 3 in 3. This is the life I have always wanted but not necessarily the life I thought I would have.
I have long hated work for the sake of work and money. I have often thought that given the chance I would rather raise my son than pay someone else to do it. I often think that being able to be at home rather than hauling my head to an office or cramming my legs into (and out of 100+ times) a mail truck would be better. Better how? I am not sure. Not financially. Potentially not emotionally. But probably physically and familial-ly, it is the best for this season.
We haven’t even started but Junior is my best friend right now. Because I quickly left the postal service, we had daycare paid through the end of the month. But the more I was home and in charge of the then 19 month old Junior, the less he wanted to go to school. The more books were stacked on the reading chair, or his bed or in front of the door. The longer he took to find his shoes, finish his breakfast, or to finish dirtying his diaper. I am hoping it was not just to make up for the time I missed while working 7 day weeks. But in any case that time is over now.
So now I take care of a 20 month old and the family house. I cook most dinners. I shop for food…and probably cut coupons. I do the laundry and vacuum the floors…well Neil the Neato- our robot does, but I push the button and empty him. Also I watch money flow out while I contribute by clicking videos for pennies as my only financial contribution. I say this in present tense because I have been training the last couple weeks, as I have been home during the day alone working on random house projects…and forgetting to shower most days.
As I enter this time, I hear a lot of questions about how I think I will handle Junior. If I have things to do with him. If I know how to feed, clothe and protect him. Most of these come from my own head. They come because I was prepared to deliver mail or build spreadsheets while people crafted and molded my spawn. Now, I get to do the molding and shaping. The playing and art making. The teaching and disciplining. Well, I get to do this while I am home alone with him, but the beautiful Hannah will be doing a lot too when she isn’t doing a job she loves and that pays for us to be home.
It is a difficult feeling because I never thought I would be voluntarily unemployed with a young child and house I own to take care of. I didn’t think I would be mature and stable enough to run a house or be left with a child for many years there. I don’t have issues with being a Mr. Mom or Daddy Daycare or whatever gender role reversal term is used. I was raised mostly by a father that was home, while my mother made the large income needed to keep our family content. I am more surprised with the speed that it all happened. But that is the way things work. If I didn’t leave my stable job of seven years for what I thought would be a 30 year advancing career, I don’t know if I would have ever left. If I didn’t leave we would still be living a life we planned to change “one day”.
Instead, we have found the “one day” starts tomorrow. Junior and I will build a vegetable garden and chicken coop…most likely “built” from Craigslist…and learn to be urban farmers. We will become regulars at Cafe Au Play and the Oregon Children’s Museum. We will learn which library tells the best stories and which park has the coolest slide. We will memorize all of the trails of Powell Butte and Forest Park and <insert other here>. We will learn how to cook again, and bake for the beautiful Hannah. We will be friends and family at the same time.
Good thing I was bad at delivering mail.