A two-income household becomes a one-income household, and dad stays home! Sure, you’ve heard the stories of stay-at-home-dads before, but now you can read it from the outside in. Husband@Home is one wife and mother’s observations as her family adjusts to having a stay-at-home-dad.
My husband had only been at this ‘daycare daddy’ thing for about a month when the neighbors started coming over to visit with him more often. We are fortunate to have wonderful neighbors and we will often just stop in to say hello. (I realize this does not happen in many parts of this country, but it still happens in Tennessee… depending on where you live!) It is spring after all and everyone is emerging from their respective hibernation. The children are racing up and down the street on their bikes, and teenagers are packed into hatchbacks like sardines zooming down the street threatening to “squash [us] like a bug” as my oldest would say.
When I was a teen, the Vice Principal at our high school would come over the loudseaker every spring when the making out in the hallways had reached its pinnacle. He gave us the same speech every year; it began something like this, “the days are getting warmer, the flowers are in bloom, the bees are buzzing and the birds are chirping…” hence our naming it the birds and bees lecture. We knew spring was officially here when we heard this speech.
Now, many years later, my spring is marked by my own children emerging from their sleepy winter dazes into the warm sunshine and running through the sprinkler octopus. This spring there is something new. It started so subtly that I did not realize the transition. I came home one day and my husband was looking after a neighbor’s children for them. I was proud of him. The kids were running through the house flagging the doors and tracking in dirt; so I had to play bad cop for a moment, but things quickly settled down. Ultimately order was restored and we enjoyed the company of their children playing with our children.
I love that our neighbors trust us with their children and I am glad to be the house on the street alive with children and dogs! Through the course of the next couple weeks, this became more common. The people in the neighborhood looked to him more often to help out or to watch out for them. They depended on him. He would help fill in a hole where the kids could have twisted their ankle, cut low-lying brances from a neighbor’s tree, help seperate monkey grass for a pregnant neighbor, etc. This is the kind of neighbor we should all strive to be! Not only had he recently taken on the responsibility of staying home with two toddlers day in and day out, he was now the neighborhood watchdog and Mr. Rogers!
I know you must sense a huge ‘but’ coming on… and here it is; when I come home from work, I am pretty tired and I require a few minutes to change gears. On most days, I sit in traffic for 45 minutes to an hour, trying not to turn on the A/C in order to save gas. I try to use that time to shake off my work day and look forward to my children, but sometimes traffic is a whole other stressor that requires some time to get over. I need a few minutes to re-adjust. I want to hold my girls and listen to them babble about their day, but not police a house full of children.
That first five minutes when I come in from work is the best five minutes of my day! Ten minutes later I have locked myself in my bathroom (pretending to have a tummy-ache) with pen and paper writing this down.
Image credit: B S K, SXC