Falling Down Stairs Doesn't Mean You're a Bad Dad
I feel pretty useless at times. Granted, some of those times are shortly after falling down the stairs, slamming my thumb in a car door, or the lesser of all evils, ill with flu-like symptoms. These are extreme cases, obviously, but there are times as a parent, I’m not sure I know which way is up or where the sun is shining. Though, I will admit there are times recently that I have felt even more accomplished. You’re probably wondering who wouldn’t feel more accomplished after walking down the steps and not falling, right?
Being a Stay-at-Home Dad
Being able to work from home has been a tremendous opportunity for me to realize something. I LOVE being a stay-at-home dad. I have never felt more useful in my entire life. Not only has our parenting blog been a hit (right?), it’s giving me something that I’ve so desperately needed – more time at home. There’s nothing that suits me better than being able to drop my daughter off and pick her up from school. I’m a good dad, even if I don’t always feel that way.
The whole premise behind Winey Parent is sharing our parenting adventures, including our highs and our lows. There are times when that sense of being a grumpy old man come over me. However, those times have been less and less since being a stay-at-home dad. It is the action of taking care of family that has been so satisfying. I take care of the kids, whether it be when there’s homework, playing games more often, or being home when they’re sick. I do that. I’m now always able to do that. That’s what makes it such an amazing thing.
Helping the Helper
There’s also this other thing that makes a huge difference in being a stay-at-home dad. I get to ease the burden from Meghan. I know how much she has always done for our family. When I did work an office job, she would get home before me, with the kids, and immediately start cleaning and then take care of dinner. Meghan is a pre-k teacher. I admire her ability to be patient. After teaching around 40 young children each and every day, she comes home to our kids and smiles. Of course, we all have good and bad days, but more often than not, they are good days with her.
Now, my goal is to make those good days happen even more often. Do you want to know how I’ve made it happen? Routine. After bringing home the big girl, I take care of the dishes. I unload the dishwasher or wash any dishes that need washing. What’s even better is hearing my daughter ask to help. Yes, Adelaide wants to help load and unload the dishwasher. It makes me so proud to see her help. After the dishes, I’ll get Adelaide settled with writing, coloring, music, TV time, or whatever other activity she wants, and then I work on laundry. I switch loads or sort or fold or put away. If there isn’t any laundry, I straighten the living room up.
The Haven of Blankets
If you’re like our family, we like to use blankets. So, there are (many) times when blankets are scattered all over the room as if we’ve been twirling a rope like a cowboy and then hogtying a chair. I’m not saying our living room is always messy, but as I sit here, one blanket is currently draped over the side of a chair. It’s as if a small child was lying sideways, feet draped over the arm of the chair, and covered by a blanket. So, back to the whole straightening up the living room before Meghan gets home with Marshall. It’s not always perfect, but it’s nice seeing a sense of relief on Meghan’s face when she sees the living room straightened up or the sink is empty. I get to do that now.
Okay, so I’m not crazy. I don’t like doing chores, but I like the end result. I like that I am home where I can take those tasks off of Meghan’s shoulders. Trust me, when you’re at the dinner table talking about each other’s day, watch your partner’s face when your little one shares how she helped with the dishes. It’s like magic. The enthusiasm our kids have for helping do chores shines onto us – and that’s another huge advantage of being able to work from home. It might sound like I’m making this elaborate plan to have my kids enjoy doing chores so I won’t have to do it one day, but I assure you, that’s not the case (*laughs nervously*).
Where was I? Right, being a stay-at-home dad. It’s a great thing for me, because more often I feel better about me. I feel able to say, “I’m a pretty good dad.” And honestly, I don’t know if there are many things that can ever top that feeling.
How do I get over that fear that something might happen to my own kids? The only thing I can hope for is that I will help and encourage my kids to get back on. I never got back onto a scooter after that crash. Knowing that my daughter might fall off hers will always scare me, but I have to be ready to show her it’s okay to get back on.