The subject matter of a couple of new shows have hit home for my family. The shows are Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle. The subject matter I'm focusing on are women in power who have husbands who take care of the home.
The question that the guys are asking on the shows is, What could I be doing if I wasn't . . . ?
And it's the most difficult question that I, as a stay-at-home Dad, ask myself.
One of my earliest entries talked about how, upon telling guys that I was going to be an at-home Dad when JD was born, their responses included, "Lucky!" and, "How'd you swing that?"
Now, it certainly is not brain surgery. The going rate for a daytime caregiver, I believe, is around $20 - 25k per year. Not exactly big time money. It's cooking and cleaning, educating and entertaining. Again, not coordinating major business deals.
I love my son. I love my wife. I love my job.
But if I wasn't doing this, what would I be doing? Maybe I would hate my job, my boss, my life. I would feel an immense amount of pressure to continue working because we would have grown accustomed to our combined income. Perhaps I could do something worthwhile, like actively and successfully pursue a writing career. Or I could have been a great closer. Who knows? Who cares?
Now I have to be a great parent. I have the opportunity to shape a human being, to direct his abilities and dreams toward his version of success. We go swimming. He's just learning to hit a ball with his shinny stick (small hockey stick). He will play with and page through books by himself. When he's older, we'll do art projects and write stories together. We'll spend summer days playing baseball and basketball, winter days on the ice. I'll teach him to respect the kitchen and his elders. We'll battle over bedtime, naptime, and vegetables. We'll battle over video games, homework, and cell phone usage.
Those are the things that light a fire under my butt. There are days when I don't put my full 100% into making the most out of our day, then there are days when I try to make our minutes valuable by incorporating something educational, just to have him be cranky and only want to play without direction. Then there was the day last week when he walked all the way from the living room into the kitchen for the first time. When he wakes up, he babbles, "Dadadada . . ."
When I see all of these things, the good and the bad, I know that there is nothing more important that I could accomplish.