As many of you know, my wife and I both have full time careers. Fortunately, for our family my career allows me to stay at home with our daughter Monday through Friday while my wife is at work. This flexible schedule has given me a unique perspective into parenting that few fathers ever experience.
I legitimately and whole heartedly sometimes feel like a stay at home mother. A typical weekday for me goes as follows: tend to my daughter while my wife gets ready for work in the morning, kiss my wife goodbye for the day, act as my daughter’s primary source of entertainment, care, and nutrition until my wife comes home. Most days, I don’t shower or even change out of my pajamas. As a male that handles firearms, criminals, and violent and unpredictable encounters for a living, staying at home with my 3 month old daughter during the week is an interesting change of pace. You would assume that this change of pace would be less stressful for me or even easy. WRONG.
Staying at home with your child is a different kind of stress. It can be the most rewarding and most trying job depending on the day of the week. Any man can come home from work and spend an afternoon or weekend with his wife and kids, but being their only parent for an extended period of time can feel very isolating, stressful, monotonous, and unrelenting. It’s the kind of feeling that can only be understood by physically being in that position and most men today will never know that feeling. Babysitting your children while your wife grabs drinks with the girls on the occasional Friday night doesn’t count.
Don’t get me wrong, making the decision to have a child was one of the most amazing things my wife and I decided to do and I love my daughter with all of my heart. For the most part, being home with her is an extremely beautiful experience and my wife is envious of the quality time I get to spend with our baby. However, staying at home with her has given me a once in a lifetime experience with our daughter and an overwhelming amount of appreciation for stay at home and single mothers (and fathers).
It really makes me angry that there are so many men out there who can’t even do the bare minimum when it comes to being a father. Daily, I read about too many mothers “trying to get him to be a part of our lives.”
There is a lot more to being a parent than conception.
The hard work that you put into ‘parenting’ your child is your child’s first glimpse of a good work ethic. If your partner doesn’t exude a good parenting work ethic to your child: you need to re-evaluate.