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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Stay At Home Daddy

When I was young and imagined life as a married man with kids (not sure why I even bothered wasting my time imagining this, since my inability to even get a date was the big running joke with all my friends), there was this fantasy that my wife would be out there in the work force and I'd be a stay at home Daddy, looking after the kids and pumping out novels, short stories, screenplays, all kinds of great writing.

And even though I now know better, somewhere in the back of my mind I had similar visions about this week looking after Alexander while Fran is at work. At least this time in my imagination, I'd gotten a bit more realistic and broken the "great writing" from an entire 8 hour day into little pockets of 15 minutes here, half an hour there. But there was still this vision of getting writing done.

My vision about this changed dramatically after a single day of being an "at home Daddy" -- by the time Francine got home from work yesterday I was exhausted -- I could barely move (never mind plant myself in front of a keyboard, start up the old imagination and start pounding out stories). Looking after a little person for 8 hours is ten times more exhausting than my typical 12 hour work day. It's non-stop, not a moment of rest. Sure, I've been an involved father ever since Alexander was born -- but something about yesterday was utterly exhausting, yes, more exhausting than other times when it was just him and I. Writing this blog entry, for example, while it consumed no more than about 5 minutes of my time, it took nearly a two hour stretch to get it out.

I have a new respect for stay at home Mom's -- their job is ten times harder than the toughest day at work I've ever had. It's also rewarding, though (don't want to cast a negative light on it) -- it's a long, tough day, but one of the most rewarding a person can have. It's just not for everyone, and I have no idea how Francine was able to do it day after day -- she's a much stronger, tougher, more organized person than I could ever be. And, on top of everything, she also got housework done. The most I got accomplished yesterday was making supper, cleaning the upstairs bathroom and vacuuming the top floor and basement. I didn't even get a chance to do any laundry. (I've got to figure out where Francine hides the superhero cape)

Okay, now it's time to send my Mom a thank-you card.

2 comments:

Fran said...

I know you too well! I knew in the back of my head that you were thinking about getting all sorts of writing down. It makes me feel better for all those days I could not figure out why I could not get to doing any email. You are a much better Daddy than you think!

Pete Mitchell said...

And you still got more accomplished than I do on any given day and I don't even have to look after myself.