Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stay at home Dad

How's this for a dream day: Big Daddy gets Sweet Boy out of bed and on the potty while I go on an early-morning walk with my friend, then they play and read books in bed until I get home and jump into bed with them. Then Big Daddy dresses the boy while I shower and feeds him breakfast while I get dressed. We all drive to preschool together and I wait in the car while the boys saunter into the classroom, stopping occasionally to chat with the mommies he met at the birthday part on Sunday. Big Daddy and I then go out for a cup of coffee and a bagel and sit together reading the paper in the coffee shop for a few minutes like a contended old married couple. Bellies full, he drops me off at home so I can get to work while he runs around town finishing errands. He picks up Sweet Boy from preschool and takes him to lunch. They bring me lunch back to the house and I don't even have to leave my desk, and Big Daddy gets Sweet Boy ready for his nap. He then turns his attention to some small household projects that we've both neglected for lack of time (or interest) on the weekends. I continue to work, on a bit of a high after some really positive feedback on my current project. After the napping and working is done, the happy threesome travels to Bucks County to watch our nephew's football game in the warm autumn sun.

This is too amazing a day to even dream of...but it really happened. Today. And it was wonderful. Big Daddy stayed home from work -- mental health day -- and took care of me and Sweet Boy all day long. I seriously could get used to this.

There was a time early in Sweet Boy's life that we discussed Big Daddy becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad. We were disgusted by our childcare options, and hated leaving our baby with a stranger all day. I had the higher salary, more stable job, and better benefits. And we both know he would be great at it, really. He has infinitely more patience than I do, still has more child-like instincts than I do (which makes him a better play-pal) but has more disciplinary instincts as well. And he doesn't mind housework or cooking when he has time to do it; he also loves running errands. He could very well raise our child and manage our household if that was his full-time job. Turns out my job responsibilities shifted and I was able to do this wacky three-day-a-week telecommuting dream schedule, so I've been able to balance both the working and the parenting and the household-running while Big Daddy has kept his job in the big city, as well. But today I'm thinking about what might have been.

Truth be told, I would suck at stay-at-home parenting. I love my child, of course, but I also really love my job. I love working. Maybe not the aggravation of the 9-to-5 routine and hustle, but I love the interaction and challenge of my work. (I also love to go to the bathroom by myself, but that's just a bonus.) During the three months that I stayed home with the newborn love of my life, I was bored and miserable. Granted he was a blob of screaming, eating, pooping baby at that time. It might be much more interesting and exciting to me these days to be home with him every day, now that we can enjoy playgrounds and libraries and eating ice cream together. But I still really love going in to my office a couple times a week. I have a huge amount of respect for SAHMs because they have the hardest, most important job in the world. I just don't know that I'm cut out for it.

But my husband is. Maybe someday, if I can get off my creative butt and finally write that bestseller so we no longer are swamped with debt and bills, we can give it a try -- me the sole breadwinner, him the childrearer. Of course by that point the baby will be grown and out of the house...but one can dream.

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