Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mr. Mom Chronicles: An Update

Tobias can't be expected to
interrupt his work to deal with me.
When I first started the "Mr. Mom Chronicles," documenting my new life as a stay-at-home freelance writing dad, I expected it to be cute. Oh, I also expected there to be challenges, but I expected them to be cute challenges, making for entertaining stories that people would smile at and pass along to their friends.

You might notice it's been more than a month since I updated this series.

A little math: Parenting is hard. Work is hard. Combine the two? Days full of exhaustion and never catching up. And I'm afraid it's my son who is paying the price.

Here's what the typical day has been like the last couple of months: I wake up and go straight into office mode. The boy wakes up, generally an hour later. I get him up, diapered and fed, then return to writing mode. This is how we spend the day: I work. He lets me know when he needs something. I yell at him when he does stuff I don't want him to. And we both pray for the moment that momma gets home.

This is where I've done a lousy job: I haven't routinely set aside time that's just me and him. Parenting has been a subset of my day, but I haven't really let it dominate any part of my day, to where other duties -- to myself and my freelance employers -- get put totally aside. The boy, it seems, has been completely screwed by all this.

I stayed home, in part, so that we wouldn't have to resort to daycare. Not just for cost reasons, but because we weren't ready to have him hanging with strangers all day. At the rate I've been going, though, he might be better served by the attention he'd be getting in an institution.


Or I could dedicate myself a bit more to the task of parenting. This morning, I took him to breakfast and then a walk through the neighborhood. Nothing fancy, but it was time that we hung out and I didn't have my nose buried in a computer. I think it was good for him. I know it was good for me. We'll just have to keep on trying.

1 comment:

KhabaLox said...

Our 3 year old is in preschool/daycare 2 days a week, even though the nanny we share with my sister-in-law (who's son also goes to the same preschool/daycare 2 days/wk) comes all 5 days to watch our youngest son. It is an extra cost that we don't have to burden ourselves with, but since we can afford it, we do.

There were two factors weighing in on the decision to send him. First and foremost was that we wanted him to be exposed to more and different things and kids. Hanging out with his brother and cousin all day did socialize him some, but we saw a marked improvement when he started spending time playing with other kids. He stopped biting for one. Additionally, the teachers were far better than the nanny (or the parents) at helping him develop his cognitive skills (e.g. numbers, letters, colors, etc.)

The second factor was that they potty trained him, which was a godsend.