Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Stay-at-Home Dad

First, let's start with the good news: McLovin is done going to Again-istan! Not that he still isn't needed there, or that he doesn't want to help make it a better place for both our troops and the Afghanis, but, after too many years in too many dangerous places, he's decided that maybe it was time for him to do something a little safer and a little closer to home. He'll be starting that after taking a couple of well deserved weeks off. The IHPs are super excited about him being home for a little while. Me? I'm discovering that there are some distinct phases of the Stay-at-Home Dad:

Phase One: Whatcha Doin' Now?
I had about one day to get used to the idea that he was going to be home. He told me on a Thursday night, and he was home on a Friday evening. If you're keeping track at home, I didn't get back from work on Thursday night until about 2am, and he wasn't gone at 7am like usual, so really, I had about eight seconds to process it. The first day was pretty cool. He took Happy to school and then ran errands that I would normally run so I could goof off with Mrs. Darling at the preschool. Then I went to Lydia's to goof off some more, and finally returned home with Happy in tow right around noon.

OK, the great secret here that all moms know - and that we try to keep secret - is that our afternoons are sometimes a little...fluid. There is no need to ask any specific questions about our day. It was good, kids are happy, some laundry got done and put in a big pile, and there's probably something good for dinner. Anything more specific, and we turn into CIA agents.

Ladies, he. was. in. my. house. Following me around. Saying things like, "so, whatcha gonna do now?"

What? Happy was fed, comfortable, resting and quiet. Dinner was planned, and both the washer and dryer were running.

McLovin: What do you do now?
Me: Goof off on Facebook?
[twenty minutes later]
McLovin: Now what are you going to do?
Me: Umm, I was going to call Lydia.
McLovin: Didn't you just hang out with her for three hours?
Me: Hey...maybe you want to go pick up something for dessert?
[thirty minutes later]
McLovin: Whatcha doin'?
Me: Playing on the blog and watching Law & Order. Shhhh.
[ten minutes after that]
McLovin: So, what happens next?
Me: GAH! I take a nap and then, tonight, I kill you in your sleep.

That man needed to get out of my house immediately. For stay-at-home moms, this is our office. I told him I was going to follow him around his office all day asking the same questions. He told me I didn't have security badges to get into his building. I told him I was having security badges made for my house.

Phase Two: I've Got Time 
There's that Golden Hour in my house that hits maybe once or twice a week. I can never plan for it, because it's kinda like a unicorn. It has to find you. You have to just be worthy enough for it to come. It goes a little something like this: you get through the clusterf**k of getting the kids up, dressed, fed, brushed, shoe'd, socked, jacketed, gloved, backpacked, lunch-packed and out the door.  Then you take the little one to little school...gossip in the halls, get a coffee and maybe go to the grocery store or post office.

You return home to clean up the hurricane that apparently hit while you were at Kiss 'n' Ride. Then, you look at the clock and see that you have one blissful golden hour of solitude and quiet before you have to pick up the pre-kid from the pre-school.

Sometimes I write. Sometimes I take a really long shower. And sometimes I just sit on the couch and do not a mur.thur.fur.kin. thing. The point is, I'm alone.

On Day Four, Phase Two hit. I was sitting at my desk working when McLovin came up behind me for a kiss. Then another. And another. And....oh, wait just a minute here, pardner. I got some work to do and I need to finish this for Lydia and I have a conference call in ten minutes and why are you not at work?

McLovin: Ten minutes! [pauses to think] I'll only need four.

Was I late for that conference call? Nope.

Phase Three: Oprah & Bonbons
When snowmageddon hit, I discovered the appeal of the SaHD. I had to go to work, and Nanny is about as skilled at driving in the snow as I am - which is not at all - so she had a few days weeks off. McLovin was on kid patrol. All day, every day. At one point I went out of town. Without having to plan for every moment I was away. It was kind of awesome.

I think he started to get used to it himself. Typically, he got up every morning a little before five to read the paper, have some coffee and stroll around the house before he went to work. Then it was a little before six. Then later...last week I had to shake him awake so he could get the kids fed and off to school. Later that afternoon, I get this:

mclovin@home.com: How's your day looking?
kate@work.com: Haha. That's just another way of saying "whatcha doin' now?" Good. Home by 7.
mclovin@home.com: Excellent. Dinner?
kate@work.com: Your call...kids get to school OK?
mclovin@home.com: Yep. I'm just sitting here waiting for Oprah to come on.
kate@work.com: Nice. Did you remember to buy bonbons?
mclovin@home.com: yup. 
kate@work.com: so, really, what are you doing?

He never answered. Did we just change jobs and I didn't realize it? Wait. Does that mean the money I make would have to be used for actual living expenses like the mortgage and heat and stuff? Crap. That man needs to get back to work.

Phase Four: A New Job? But Why?
Or....maybe we can wait a while longer. Since he's been home, I've cooked less, the house is cleaner, I haven't had to go anywhere with all three kids in tow just for one kid's activity, and, this morning, that man actually started the laundry. And it was all white. And it came. out. of. the. dryer. still. white. I think I might have teared up a little bit.

He's gone back to the gym, he doesn't have his Blackberry permanently attached to his body and I think he might be aging in reverse. Holy Maude! He's turned into Benjamin Button. We have a vacation planned for the end of the month, and he says after that it's time to go back to work. I'm thinking if *I* work more, he can stay home longer. Like maybe forever.

Well, right up until he becomes younger than the kids. Which means I got a little time. Four minutes outta be enough.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. So awesome in so many ways!! I'm so happy for you and your family that McLovin is Again-istan-free!!!

    And don't even get started on the "I'll only need 4 minutes" thing.... =P

  2. I'm loving your blog. I think of was snickering to myself the whole time I read this post. Which of course prompted DH to lean over and ask "What 'cha doing?" HAHAH! I'm a stay-at-home-mom right now and the hubby asked what I did all day everytime I get home. I've also gotten, "that's it? Then why are you tired?" pfftt..

  3. I love having mine home too. I tell him he's making me lazy since he helps out so much haha. I notice the kids are happier too... and naptime nooners are awesome. Somehow we can both not work and pay for bills, right?!

  4. How awesome there will be no more Again-istan!!! Hooray!!! Try to keep enjoying it. :}

  5. This is SO true. Your afternoons are MY afternoons. I love you ladies so much.

  6. My husband works from home, so I go through all the same stuff, except there is no end date in sight. And because he's actually working, it means I don't get the benefit of having him help much around the house, just the questions when he emerges from his office to refill his cup of coffee.

    And don't even get me started on the times when he asks me to make his lunch because he's too busy working.

    To quote my beloved late grandmother, "I married him for better or for worse, but not for lunch."

  7. That's awesome, Kate!

    (However, when the Other Half is home for more than a couple of days, my eye starts to twitch and he needs to get off vacation and go.back.to.work!!!

  8. Love. When my husband was home for a stay-cation in December I loved the extra set of hands but did everything I could to cover up how, uh, "fluid" naptime is every afternoon. My little secret.

    Woot! for no more Again-istan!

  9. Congratulations first off, no more 24-hr notices of "I'm leaving for Again-istan."

    Hubby the Wizard, was home for 8 months and did things that I'd never have expected like train Monster to pee on command, take her to the neighborhood indoor playground he never let me take her to before when he was working and I was tearing my hair out, keep my kitchen spotless and fridge blindingly white etc. He's back at work now, and I'm back to tearing my hair out.

  10. I'm loving this blog! It is so funny and true! When Honey's home his first question is "what are WE going to do today?"
    Yeah for no more trips to Again-istan!!

  11. WHEE!!! No More Again-istan!!!

    Yep, my hubby works out of the house, too. Oddly, it means that when DD and I come back from work/school/daycare in the afternoon, it means that there has been an epic feast cooked in the kitchen, with no trace of food, but every.non-dishwasher-safe.dish.strewn.across.every.flat.surface. And he wonders why I don't get "much" done in the afternoon...grrr.

  12. I'm looking forward to this same scenario this summer! My hubby has his sabbatical from work this summer and he will be home for 9 weeks!!! So happy for McLovin that Againistan is done! Cheers!

  13. Yay for no more Again-istan!!!!!

  14. Great news about no more going to Afghanistan! But I know that after having my DH home for more than a few days I start to develop uncontrollable verbal tics, like, "I'm doing NOTHING. Because I can for a little while," and, "There is no list. I just get things done as they come along," and, "Yes, this is a normal day" (as the kids are fighting, the cat's barfing on the rug, the toilet is plugged, the laundry spinning, dinner cooking, and I'm on my eighth cup of decaf coffee because the combined stresses of life caused me to develop an intolerance to caffeine as I neared 40 but I still cherish the illusion of being awake). Having him home 24/7 during his layoff was interesting, but it was awful when his new job was over two hours away and he lived away from us all week and came home on weekends until we could sell the house. I am so grateful for his regular job, with us all together now! Ah, blessed routine. . . .

  15. Wait. Back up. McLovin HELPED around the house while he was off? My OH has been off for 3 years and now in the 2 weeks before his new job starts he has begun to help. Or at least he helps when he knows I'm going to blow from doing.it.all.by.myself.

    I AM happy he doesn't have to go back to Afganistan.

  16. I love my SahD he is the butter to bread, the breath to my life. And he does windows!!!

  17. I can relate...somewhat. My DH lost his job 9 months ago and is now a SAHD...The only thing is, I had to go from 4 days a week at work, back to full time. So, I'm the one asking those questions...."Whatcha do today?" And, home is NOT clean...I still do all the bill paying, most of the house cleaning....ugh...good thing he's kind, loving and funny...

  18. I love my SAHD too. I don't know how he does it!

  19. My DH also works from home and it is funny to note the similarities he has with some of the other comments here.
    So glad McLovin gets to stay here for awhile!

  20. I'm married to a wonderful SAHD, and I know how lucky I am. He does everything except fold laundry (and that is because I have control issues and NEED to fold them.) I drive him insane when I take a few days off!

  21. Mine is a teacher and stays home during the summer. Bug was born last April, so this past summer was his first time home with the baby. I swear all he did for three months was email me pictures of the two of them. Really made that whole 'back to work thing' so much better. Or not.

    And every night he skulks in to the office and looks at me farting around on the Internet and asks, like it's his comedy routine, "whatcha doing?" GO AWAY.

  22. I'm totally laughing while reading this post because I can relate. I work part-time, mostly from home. This past summer, my husband began to work from home as well three times a week to cut down on commute time. I'm thrilled to have him at home for the free occasional babysitting, school drop-off/pick-up and offspring-behavioral-management purposes. However, it does drive me nuts that I can't enjoy a sweet rare lunch hour parked on the couch eating unhealthy goodies and watching the Investigation Discovery real-life crime programs without him coming out of the office and asking, "Whatcha watching?"

    Also, he still asks me constantly about the kids, "What time do they get out of school again?"

    A few years ago a friend of mine left town for a little mommie-vacation and left her husband, a corporate CEO with a medical background, in charge of the kids. I found him at school holding a daily schedule she had made for him listing all the info he needed EVERY HALF HOUR. It was a truly impressive document. He stared at it, looked at me, and asked, "What time do they get out of school again?"

  23. How is that a SaHD? My husband is at home full-time, I work full-time. There are MANY worse enemies to the SaHD. For instance, have you ever TRIED to get into a playgroup when you lack the "right" physical equipment? They'll let you know "We're not accepting new members" faster than you can say OB-GYN. Or how about filling out insurance forms where they ask for your information as the employee sponsor and scratching everything out and putting in your wife's information. Or bringing your kid to sports or band during the day and being told, "Oh, it's so nice you took the afternoon off work to spend some time with your son," when your WIFE is the one at work. Taking a few weeks off work... that's temping.




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts