Ahh, peace and quiet.
Just me, my thoughts, and my computer.
It’s one of the main things I’ve always wanted. Something I’ve always talked about. You’ve all heard me mention how I couldn’t wait to be alone in a tranquil house, free to write, feeling unencumbered with no distractions.
And now I’ve got it – that mystical, magical, majestical day has finally arrived. Oh yeah, IT IS ON!
Wow, right now in this moment, I can attest to the fact that silence truly is GOLDEN!
So I’m supposed to be having the time of my life right? This is supposed to be my time to shine!
Then why am I sitting here alone awash in an overwhelming sense of loss?
Why are there more tears in my coffee than cream?
Then it hit me…I think I’m actually experiencing, of all things, Separation Anxiety from my kids. Especially from Journey, who has been with me the longest and is the last little birdie to leave the nest. PBS.org and AhaParenting.com both have interesting articles on the subject.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I feel this way. For the past eight years, I’ve been a stay-at-home dad – even though it took several years for me to accept and become adjusted to the role of being a full time parent. There is so much joy associated with being a full time caregiver to ones children, but it is also a lot of work, particularly if you choose to parent consciously. There are long stretches of monotony associated with the routine of being at home all day with children.
I never thought that I’d ever get used to staying at home with three little girls.
But I did.
I found myself in a unique situation as a dad who stays home with kids. Its true that the numbers of fathers staying home have been steadily growing lately, (2 million dads vs 10 million moms) however when I started out in the gig, I was the only one I knew locally. We hardly ever got invited to play dates by moms in those early years, because I guess being the only guy on the block at home during the day seemed quite unusual to most.
I never thought that I’d ever get used to being the only guy at the park surrounded by a sea of moms, making our own fun.
But I did.
When you meet people at social gatherings for instance, they love to ask, “So, what do you do?” You should have seen some peoples faces when I told them what I did all day. They couldn’t understand the concept of a man staying home with kids. It was as if I was just a weirdo babysitter or something. They’d quickly develop a disinterested look, and politely excuse themselves so they could chat with someone who they felt had greater career aspirations.
Later, in an effort to appear like a “normal guy,” I began to preface my answer with, “Well I worked for Sprint for eleven years, and now I’m staying home with my girls for awhile…until they go off to school.” I made sure to insinuate how temporary I felt my current situation was, and I’d soon be back in the corporate world making money like a man is supposed to.
As time went on, my perspective changed, and I learned to eliminate all pretense. I have come to realize how important my position as a father who stays home with his little girls truly is.
I never thought that I would get comfortable proudly affirming to people that I’m a stay-at-home dad.
But I did.
Because I realized after all these years, that I’ve been more than just a stay-at-home dad.
- a nurturer
- a role model
- a teacher
- a chef
- a nutritionist
- a first-aid provider
- a household manager
- a maid
- a butler
- a spiritual advisor
- a protector
- an event coordinator
- the head cheerleader.
These are some of the many hats that stay-at-home parents must wear. And I finally got the hang of it…accepted it…and for the most part, have relished in it.
One went off to school, and then there were two.
Then two went off, and then there was one.
Now all three are off, and at home there are none.
That chapter of my life is all but done.
So just like that, POOF…its just little ol me holding it down during the day – and a new chapter begins. Can I get used to whatever the Universe has for me next?
I’m sure I will.