As a brief recap (for those who didn’t get a program at the front gate), my wife isn’t doing too well physically, and for the last few months I’ve been raising two boys: a three and a half year old and a (nearly) eight month old.
I hear all the stories of “regular” dads who rarely change diapers, and/or are home only long enough to either dole out fuzzy “quality time” love or discipline. And I see the videos of the dads gagging on the diaper smell or cluelessly getting run down by his charges when mom leaves him for a couple of hours.
All this is to say that I’m not one of those dads. I’m changing the diapers, cooking, feeding, bathing, driving, scheduling, etc. etc. etc. I know, you moms are saying “boo hoo for you…deal with it,” and the dads are saying “what are you doing, man?” And the folks with no kids have already clicked over to something else. Can’t say as I blame them.
However, as a parent, even though I’m doing a lot of the traditionally “mom” functions, I’m still a dad. I have a hard time just being at home. There’s a pull to take the boys SOMEWHERE, anywhere, but just get out of the house. The park, the mall, the beach, the harbor, the auto salvage yard, ANYWHERE. If I leave, I can focus on the boys (as much as a dad can), but if I stay home, I’m pulled between the boys, my school homework, cleaning the house, various projects that need to be done around the house (painting, organizing, building, fixing, lawns, phone calls), and all the other things organizationally that have to do with running a household. Because there’s so many things, I get none of them done because I end up just spinning in place. I’m a guy. That’s what we do.
Moms can plan meals. Dads realize it’s 4:30 (or later) and then start to rummage through the cupboards, fridge, and freezer for ideas (will this chicken thaw in 20 minutes?!?). Moms know that there’s an appointment tomorrow and three more the next day and make plans accordingly. Dads get a phone call from the doctor’s office (or the school, better yet!) where the voice on the other side says, “Egg is due here in 30 minutes,” and then pack everything and everyone up in a mad rush, forgetting the checkbook, wallet, and/or formula for the baby, who starts crying 10 minutes later because he’s starving.
I don’t know how single moms do it all, but I know (anecdotally speaking) that they do. And single dads? It has to be the grace of God, because we sure ain’t smart enough to do it on our own.