Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Birthday Boys

Today I went for a long walk instead of a run to rest my knee and give myself a treat for my birthday. I very much enjoy long walks as they give me a chance to think things through without distractions intruding on what I’m thinking about. Distraction is a terrible problem for a stay-at-home parent because there are always little emergencies happening everywhere all around you. Then if you get done with the emergencies for a moment there are a dozen little maintenance/drudgery items to take care of, many of which are things you’d rather not do. So you look for something to do that seems a bit more stimulating than scraping cheerios off a bowl with a fork, and you remember you need to pick a restaurant for your birthday dinner and follow up with the babysitter, so you sit down at your computer and suddenly it’s 2:30 p.m. and you’ve wasted the entire day having important cultural discourse about whether or not Hannah Montana should be allowed to go on television and pretend to fuck a giant foam “We’re #1” Finger. Obviously this is a problem for everyone, whether they work at home or in an office or at the fire department or wherever it is. But when you’re a stay at home parent those things you were supposed to do are going to be staring at you for the rest of the day, and your wife is going to come home and see them, and your kids are going to complain about them, and your friends are going to see it when they come over and you’ll be embarrassed, etc. etc. It’s a very visible form of failure when you get distracted and get behind on your work. This affects your self-image, obviously. One way to counteract this is to have a group of male friends you can go out with, who won’t care if you didn’t do the dishes and forgot to call the plumber and can’t even remember where you left the vacuum cleaner it’s been so long since you plugged the damn thing in. Stay-at-home moms might be gasping a bit at this. I get the feeling a lot of them wouldn’t think of going out with friends when the dishes are piled up in the sink and there are legos everywhere and there is a load of sour laundry mildewing. That’s probably a healthy way to be and I applaud that, but I’m not that way. It can be easy to sort of forget to have male friends as a stay at home dad, but you need them. Most of all you need people you can be honest with about important emotional matters that are hard to talk to your wife about, like which of the other moms at your kids’ preschool has the best ass. Notice I say “other moms.” A lot of what I’m going to say on here presupposes something very important which is that you find your wife insanely attractive, miles more attractive than just about any other woman you’ve ever come into contact with. If you married someone who is not a “10” on your personal sexual chemistry scale, you’ve wandered into a difficult place and I don’t envy you. I certainly do not recommend becoming a stay at home dad. It will not end well. So your lesson for the day - as you make your mom friends, reach out and make dad friends too wherever you can. Your friendships that will work the best are the ones where all the adults in both families are close and can talk to each other openly. If you don’t have that, problems can become very big before everyone who’s affected by them is aware of them, which is a recipe for resentment, mistrust, and worse. Your assignment is to have dessert, call your buddies to set up a boys' night, and remember to look at your wife and say "damn that is one fine woman."

1 comment:

Jess said...

I heartily approve of your assignment, and I'm very glad that you're one of Dan's "boys." Even though he's not a stay-at-home parent, having a group of men that he hangs out with on a regular basis has made a world of difference for him and therefore for me.