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A girl could get used to this

I arrived home a little bit late from the office this evening, after running an errand without worrying about racing up the highway from my office to get to daycare on time. When I walked in the door, I was greeted by the most scrumptious smells of onions and fried pork chops. A little boy with a gigantic smile and an infectious giggle ran to me yelling "Mommy's home!" and a handsome man kissed me and said "Just in time. Have a seat. Your dinner's ready." We ate a delicious dinner, and throughout the meal, the man and the boy spoke a strange made-up language that only they understood, exchanging giggles about a surprise that waited for me in the fridge. Finally when I thought the little boy would explode from the excitement of the surprise, the man presented a homemade carrot cake -- the first he'd ever baked -- just because he knew it is my favorite.

No need to pinch me, or check me for fever -- or send me for counseling because I've obviously had a psychotic break. This is real life. Or at least it is today.

It's been about two weeks now since Big Daddy's, ahem, parting from his employer of 12 years (those bastards), and I'm discovering that there are a lot of pluses to our new arrangement

(1) Daddy and Sweet Boy finally get to spend some regular old time together, doing regular old stuff like putting together puzzles, coloring, and exploring the woods in a snow shower -- all the things that I've been able to do with the Boy on a day-to-day basis but Daddy had been missing while making that hideous commute each day.

(2) Daddy is more consistent in matters of discipline. Sweet Boy's behavior at school has improved about 200%, and I'm noticing a number of positive changes at home, too. Like cleaning up toys without being hounded, or taking his cat-feeding responsibilities seriously.

(3) Dinner is ready when I get home from work. Which is enough to make any girl happy all on its own, but it also means that we eat earlier, which means we spend more time together as a family in the evenings.

(4) Our house has never been so clean. Seriously. Never. The counter tops sparkle and the dishes are put away. The wood floors shine. The furniture is cat-fur free. Even the laundry gets washed, folded, and put away. As if by magic.

(5) Small little odd jobs that have been sitting undone for months -- years! -- have been completed. Case in point: The ice cube maker in our freezer has been waiting to be connected since we moved in 3 years; he did some research online, hooked it all up, and we now have ice on demand!

(6) All the schlepping and errand running that I've been doing in between work and mommying is getting done while I'm at work. This includes things like oil changes, grocery store runs, phone calls, shopping for gifts for friends' birthdays -- even registering the kiddo for kindergarten!

(7) In the morning, I get up and eat breakfast with Sweet Boy, then we take our time getting dressed because Daddy can take him to school when I go to work. I can't even begin to describe how this has decreased my stress and made mornings better for all of us.

(8) Big Daddy is relaxed. And smiling. Finally. This is a very good thing.

No, I'm not advocating that all dual-income households drop a job just to shake things up. Yes, I think there's considerable time spent in the recliner with the TV on. And yes, I know that our life will be challenging* in a number of ways over the next few weeks (or months). And of course I do want my husband to find a job outside the home that he feels good about. But for now, this stay-at-home dad thing really is good.

(*Keep in mind that in about 4 days, I'll be home on maternity leave for 12 weeks...so we'll both be stay-at-home parents...at the same time! That's a whole lot of togetherness. Stay tuned.)

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