While I am not a stay-at-home dad, I suppose, I’m a semi-stay-at-home-dad.
I have a small webdesign business which I supplement with temp work, but Char is the one who earns the money. So I bring and pick up and take care of Jay, many an evening, morning and in-between.
It is tiresome and I do feel trapped at times, but for a lot of reasons that’s how things came to be. At this point in our lives. In some years, they might be different.
And while I feel bad often enough about not being able to go 100 percent in work-mode, or sometimes at all … I also love the damn job. At home …
It is a chore and a privilege at the same time. I wonder if it can ever be different to be a parent?
Having children changes a lot to put it mildly.
On the downside you get to have to earn more money and less time to yourself. On the upside … well, everything good about having children – and then this perspective that you want something better for them. Including bettering yourself.
Char and I have had some rather exhausting discussions about money over the summer and I have had worries to go with that, but I often get back to that perspective:
“This is not Somalia. Our problems are solvable. I want to be a better example for my son.”
I.e. focusing more on solutions than arguing and throwing guilt around.
That is the only way.
Tomorrow it’ll be Jay’s 1st birthday and thus almost a year ago that we had a really hard experience getting him here.
But I am heartened that despite the lingering pain of that memory, everyday new wonderful memories are added in the other stack – of his life, what it is, what it can be, what it will be.
I guess that is called healing.
You Have That Parent Experience Again When …… you one the one hand are really, really angry and feel like saying something nasty to your spouse who can’t or won’t understand why lack of sleep and time to yourself got to you first, when she is preoccupied with her own lack …
… and on the other your heart is genuinely old-fashionedly melting when you see your 11 month old son trying to drink from a cup.
MN and his wife had a son yesterday. The best of news after all the time we thought they could not.
And before they thought so, Char and I thought so. (And while we thought so, they thought still they could.)
Apparently they decide when miracles happen.
overall I have a good feeling that Jay’s body – all of his body – is developing in the right direction, so to speak. And that this thing about the head is going to get even better.
I feel less anxious about it than just a month or two ago. But I guess the added pressures during these weeks, e.g. with regard to my mother’s cancer, work and moving in and out of our apartment – all that contributed to me and Char being more sensitive to what happened with Jay.
But when I really sit down and … take time to feel, I do feel that he is developing as he should. In this respect.
And … in all other respects he is a super-healthy and normal little boy. And I feel deeply, deeply grateful for that.
It is worth taking time to feel that.
I think maybe it is helpful that we are relatively old parents and that I have gone through an evolution myself with regard to how I value the company of other people. In my early 20s for example I really did not like family get-togethers. I was always focused on how the other members of my family talked about “boring things” and all their little faults (imagined or otherwise). As I grow older I have begun to really look for what we share and what I appreciate in various family members, instead of focusing on what sets us apart. It just works better. I don’t try to sweep big differences under the rug, but I don’t give them too much power either – e.g. political differences.
I believe that lesson at least can help me if my son doesn’t choose a “smart” career or makes some other lifestyle choice later on that really upsets me.
But time will have to put that belief (and promise to myself) to the test.
Maybe everything is as it should be then. But as said, the feeling is so strong – the feeling that it is close to heart-break that innocence has to end.
In such cases, though, it helps to write about it. One day I will know why.
Today I read a book for my son for the first time. It was a small ‘book’ with pages very thick of some plastic like material and hole and rounded corners he could grab.
The ‘plot’ was about a teddy bear taking a bath, then going to bed and then getting up in the morning. You could see various things in the book, like a towel, pajamas, and bananas – each related to the story’s 3 main section.
The beginning, middle and end, oh yes.
Hardly a story. Hardly a book, even.
But his first.
One little book for Jay, and me.
But one big start of something …
Was alone home today, whilst working and it was a strange feeling.
I was glad to have the time, without interruptions. Also to just sit back after work and enjoy a whiskey.
But I also missed Jay and Char very much.
I both needed them to be there and not to be there, at least that day.
Another definition of parenthood, I guess. But not the worst one.
We all want what is best for our children, or at least should. Trouble is that we don’t always know what will be, and even when we are sure we know, reality won’t always let us choose that.
But damn if we don’t give it another try, then.
Jay was kind of impossible all day and we didn’t really find out why. We were still at my parents which was a a down in a sense (I’m writing this Friday, panting to catch up). I guess I wanted the time there to be more perfect and baby-coo-coo.
Which is silly, of course. Just like the idea that my parents have an idea that babies should be perfect.
They raised me and my brother, after all. 🙂
Alone one whole evening with Jay for the first time and it went rather badly. He wouldn’t take the bottle, or even a small glass of milk from Char. Not without screaming his lungs out.
I stopped after a while and just let him sleep in the carriage until Char came home. I felt pretty bad about it, except of course that I stopped in time, when I realized it did not work. That I did have that much sense, after trying for several hours.
Sometimes even small victories has to count.
When you have children you automatically have more conflicts – the adults. Being 42 and 43 is no security against that.
If your relationship is old, too, and has grown old through trials then age is, however, makes you more secure in your ability to solve the conflicts that do arise.