It’s the start of the school year so that means all the people that have school age kids get to rejoice that they have structure returned to their lives. For me it means that I become a school teacher’s husband again for the next 10 months. With my shift schedule as a firefighter, I am on shift for 24 hours then I get the next 48 hours off. That means if I start on Tuesday morning at 7 am, I am at work until 7 am on Wednesday and I don’t return to the firehouse until 7am on Friday for another 24 hours. There are many good and bad things with that schedule. A bad thing for example is lack of sleep on shift makes for a long day at home the next day.
A good thing with the 24 on 48 off is that I get to spend 2 out of 3 days at home with my kids, and I have 4 of them, 3 of which are under 5 years old. The school year for me means that when I get off shift, I get to race home to high 5 my wife in the doorway and see her off to school. Then I get to see her smiling face 9 hours later after she teaches about 20 something 1st and 2nd graders all day.
My wife is amazing! She gets up early to make my day easier. She tries to get the kids dressed if they are up. Actually, I could go on for days talking about how awesome my wife is, but I am going to save that for another time.
What I want to focus on is what it is like to be a “SAHD” “Stay At Home Dad”. I think I fall under that category or at least I come pretty close knowing I do it 2 out of 3 days. I do get to go to the firehouse every 3rd day, which is basically boy scouts without the adult supervision, but that is an entirely different blog entirely.
I want to address the way people, especially judgmental women, address the SAHD because I think we have been getting a bad rap. I know that some guys lower the bar of expectations when it comes to being a husband or taking care of the kids but let’s not throw all of us guys under that school bus. Some of us actually do give a crap. There are some things that need to be said, at least I feel the need to say them. Maybe not all guys feel this way, but a lot of the ones that I know at home with their kids, if even on a part time basis, do feel this way.
I take my kids to the park so the kids can actually play at the park.
I’m not taking them there as a ploy to hit on you. I’m actually madly in love with my wife. She is not only way hotter than you, she runs our house like no one else can. I know how blessed I am being married to her and I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that. That being said, when I say “good morning” or “nice weather”, I am just trying to make idle chit chat, not pick you up. I am not looking for invitations to your play groups or tea get-togethers but you don’t need to treat me like I don’t belong there either.
Feel free to go back to your Starbucks and your “Shades of Gray” book or bagging on your husbands to your girlfriends while I actually pay attention to my kids at the park.
I am not babysitting my wife’s kids.
My wife doesn’t come home at the end of the day, slap a $50 dollar bill on the counter and say “Same time tomorrow”. You don’t babysit your own kids! When my wife is home for the summer and I am at the firehouse, no one would ever insult her by saying she is babysitting while I am at work. I love being with the kids and trust me when I say, they are usually way more excited to hear that the babysitter is coming over then a day with me.
I actually can cook, clean, and hold on to your Starbucks…I do the laundry at our house. My wife is an all star at taking care of the house. We usually split up the chores and laundry is under my domain. With 6 people in our house, it’s a never-ending abyss of clothes. See, it’s not a mom’s job. I can do it too.
Guys don’t do things the way you do and that’s completely fine.
The kids still respect authority in our house even though I do things differently then my wife does. She might be more strict on certain things then I am and vice versa. The rule that we have at our house is that whoever is there is the one that calls the shots. I don’t dictate the rules when I am at the fire station, she doesn’t make them when she is in the classroom. It works much better that way.
Ladies, give your husbands some credit. If you leave him a list of rules for him to follow when he is with the kids, you are showing that you don’t trust him. Let me tell you something else, he probably isn’t following them anyways. He loves the kids too. Let him handle things. Everyone will win that way. It may not be the way you would do it but that’s fine. In some cases, it might even be better.
Stop supporting television shows and movies that show dads as bumbling idiots.
Al Bundy, Homer Simpson, and a host of others show the kids that we are not good role models and this is not ok. Show some re-runs of Andy Griffith or Howard Cunningham on Happy Days. If you want your husband to be taken seriously as a role model, treat him this way. Don’t show your kids that this is what fatherhood is like.
I miss my wife tremendously during the school day. I treasure the time when she is home, as do all the kids. I am honored that she trusts me enough to not worry about our household when she is at work. It feels great that she does everything possible to make my day easier but I know that she feels confidant that I can get done what I need to with the kids. Now maybe I can negotiate that $50 bill she should be leaving me on the counter.
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