Most if not all of you probably don't know that I've been home alone for the past 16 days. By Sunday it will be 18. Not literally sitting in my home by myself, but on the last day of March my wife boarded a plane headed for the Middle East and Europe for her Business School Externship.
While she's been gone I've:
- been to the DMV 3 times.
- been to traffic court where I was treated like a felon for an expired registration.
- traversed most of Georgia at least 8 times taking my son to basketball games.
- registered my daughter for multiple Kindergartens.
- had 2 job interviews.
- worked out nearly every day and lost 12 pound in the process.
- kept the kids comforted during a power outage.
- spit shined my home to museum standards.
- made 4 trips to a body shop making sure my wife's car was fixed properly (she was in a minor fender bender).
- landed one of the 2 jobs I've interviewed for and waiting to hear back from the other.
- sifted, sorted, shredded and resubmitted more paperwork than any sane man should ever have to.
- worked out at the gym with my son.
- slept an average 3 hours a night.
- set up a tutoring schedule for my son
- volunteered my usual 3 hours per week and added mentoring a young man in writing to my goodwill basket.
- put up new curtains and curtain rods.
- gotten both of my children up, dressed, fed and out of the house before 8 am.
- done my daughter's hair almost as well as mom does, including, washing, conditioning, oiling her scalp, detangling her hair (which now is to the small of her back) and braiding it
- taken my daughter bike riding everyday after school and on the weekends as weather permits.
- taken both kids on a picnic.
- cooked 5 out of the 7 days of the week.
- arranged 3 playdates with my daughter and her little friends.
- watched Inception 3 times (it wasn't that deep to me - I got it on the first watch).
Over the years my wife has traveled often but never for this long. And after this trip I will probably seriously insult the next woman who cracks a joke about me being Mr. Mom, or struggling with my kids when Mom isn't around because guess what? None of that is true. But I guess gender discrimination washes both ways.
No I'm not Mr. Mom, or "babysitting" my own damn kids, or frazzled or hanging on by a thread. Have I been tired? Yes. Have I had moments where I've been at wit's end? Definitely! Have I had any time to myself? Mostly after midnight when I can't leave the house and I'm delirious with fatigue. Have I ever once considered that I can't do this? Not even once. But, I don't have any newfound appreciation for what my wife does for two reasons: 1) I've always known the lengths that moms go to without thinking twice; and 2) my wife has never had parent alone and as long as I'm taking in air, she never will.
I'm DAD, doing what I'm supposed to be doing, doing it thanklessly, doing it because I love my kids, doing it because I was ordained to do so, doing it because I'm not a boy, doing it because it's my responsibility, doing it because I love doing it, doing it with my eyes closed, doing it in my sleep, waking up and just doing it, doing it and not thinking twice, doing it and doing it well.
I'm not some dude married to a woman that has my kids and then I "help out". I'm not just the guy who steps up when it's time to drive or pay a bill. I'm DAD in every sense of the word, and maybe even redefined. If my wife's trip showed me anything, it let me know just how far I'm willing to go to see to it that me and mine are taken care of. And how far is that?
As far as the eye can see.
I'm DAD. Period.
Photo Credit: The Welsh Poppy
E.Payne is the author of Investing In An Emotional Letdown and I Didn't Invented Sex. For the past 3 years he has posted 600+ articles about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between here at Makes Me Wanna Holler.com. To learn more, click here.