“Mommy for a Day”
I love being a dad to our two wonderful little girls. I am very fortunate to have the kind of schedule where I get to play with them every day, and we have grown so close that I am almost as important to my children as my lovely wife is.
We both work hard to raise our children and to take care of business, but as the aforementioned lovely wife pointed out in her post, I have the luxury of time all to myself. Completely off-duty! This doesn’t quite happen as much as it did when we had just the one kid, and the “man-cave” has given way to a toy room.
OK, to be fair, the piles of toys have almost as much to do with my compulsions as the man-cave did, and are almost as much fun.
Being Dad is the best, but I have often wondered what it would be like to be Mom to our girls. I suppose there is a childish element involved (“No fair! I want to make people!”), but mostly I wonder what it was like to create life and make milk to nourish that life. Like so many men before me, I am in awe of the power of women. Unlike some of them, I have absolutely no desire to oppress this power. I prefer to bask in it.
But, I digress… I cannot possibly fathom how awesome and surreal it must be to slowly develop a sense of a having a being within that becomes more and more (but never completely) a separate entity. As horrible as the thoughts of labor and delivery are, I would love to know about those other things. Sure, there has certainly been an amount of polite props given to the guy involved in this creation, but in my opinion I just handed over half the blueprints and settled in to a supporting role. Oh well, I’ll never know the love and joy of a mother’s unique bond with her children. However, I feel overwhelming gratitude that I do know a lot about the love and joy of a father’s unique bond. Something too many in my generation cast aside as inferior to wealth, power, or celebrity.
I wouldn’t trade in my role as Dad for anything. But, reading my wife’s post prompted me to ponder what it would be like to switch roles. It is always good to cultivate appreciation for my wife, so let me indulge that fantasy for a bit…
First, I would need more than one day. I need one more than the number of days it takes my little one to be weaned. I love attachment parenting when it’s someone else’s nipples we’re talking about. Mine couldn’t take it. I would need some sort of Rocky-style montage of me toughening up my teats.
Once I get her to take a bottle from me, then I would be all set to enjoy that extra day. I would probably wake up in the morning exhausted from having a wriggly little cutey squirming next to me all night. As Dad in the family bed, my current job consists of fetching water for Viva and getting kicked in the nuts. My wife and baby daughter always look so exquisite, curled around each other next to the safety rail. I would ameliorate my exhaustion by planning to spend my day in pajamas and to incorporate a nice long nap into my plan.
OK, time for a disclaimer: I do not at all think that this is a typical day for a stay-at-home-mom. This is merely what I would tell myself to help me get up.
I totally would do it too. Give me a break! In this scenario I only get one day, so I am going to live it up! It would be so fantastic to spend the whole day with my youngest. I would be down to change a mountain of diapers if I could just be with her. Of course, she is not screaming at the moment, so it is easy to make this claim. When she napped, I would level up my Jedi or maybe watch a show. I would probably have a beer at 12:01 PM. I might do some housework if the kid were amenable, but I might just do one more flashpoint first…
But, mostly, Pringles and I would play and bond. I would be there for all of her delightful cutenesses and milestones instead of sneaking a peek at text messages from my wife detailing them. I would hear for myself the sound of her infectious laughter and comfort her after a fall (she is quite the acrobat). Even though my time would never truly be mine, I think it would be worth it to have that kind of relationship with my girls. And, I could probably arrange something that closely approximates “me” time. Maybe when my hard-working wife gets home she can watch the kids while I do a little writing.
Oh, crap – that reminds me. I should go help my wife get the kids to bed.
Happy Father’s Day to all of you! And thank you for indulging my first attempt at blogging.