When I was little I wanted to be a Dad. Not in a Crying Game sort of way but even back then I realised that Mum's do all the domestic work. Dad's got to go out to work and had someone to 'look after them'. I liked the idea of being able to be the one who had the 'ultimate no' but who didn't have to have the squabbles. Or the one who got to play uninhibitedly with their kids without having part of their brain thinking about how they were going to get the stains out of the kids' clothes as they rolled in the puddles. Dad's have a great role. I wanted to be one.
Since becoming a Mum, I realise there is no better role in the world. You are the centre of your child's universe and there is no-one more loved or needed (my kids are 5 and under. I am sure this changes with time). But there is still a bit of me that wants to be the Dad. For example, last night as I was patiently trying to get the kids to eat their dinner and sit at the table and not speak with their mouths full and take their toys away from the table and not poke each other in the eyes with their forks while simultaneously cleaning up the kitchen after preparing the meal with one sick child on my hip, Daddy arrived home. "Daddy!" a chorus cried out and four little people ran to the door to welcome home the Geege. Eyes bright. Excited.
It's a good gig that.
I met up with a friend of Geege's yesterday, at the Pirate Ship playground. He is a Stay At Home Dad (SAHD) with a 2 year old daughter (and a working wife who is 6 months pregnant with #2). He is a very Zen kind of chap; the sort who does Yoga and Vipassana (silent meditation retreat) and speaks in a quiet, soothing voice. He is doing a great job raising his daughter. She is sociable and happy and intelligent. A joy to be around.
Anyway, he and I spoke yesterday about the joys of parenting. He was so positive. So happy in his role. Recounting stories of what could only be described as domestic bliss. Not a bad word to say.
Not a bad word. Was it an act? or is he really digging the whole Mr. Mum thing?
I know when the Geege did the SAHD thing 2 days a week, he did it under duress. He found it hard and draining (see here).
Not a bad word. I felt rather intrigued and inspired.
Upon reflection of my conversation with my husband's friend, I realised a couple of things that I learnt from this capable SAHD. Firstly, he takes time for himself. His daughter goes to daycare 2 days a week. He works one of them and has the other for himself. To do whatever he likes. Definitely a good thing to do, if you can.
Secondly, he doesn't do the housework and he isn't responsible for the domestic thought. His wife still 'runs the house' as he put it. He just gets to look after his daughter (no mean feat) and himself and cook a few meals. That would certainly make it a more managable job, don't you think? Somehow, he still gets to be in the Dad role, but he is the primary carer. The best of both world's I think, perhaps my ULTIMATE role.
The SAHD. That is what I am coming back as in my next life.