3rd week in…
When my wife was hired full time, and I quit my full time job to take care of the kids, I wanted to blog daily about my parenting experience with them. Obviously, that didn’t work out quite the way I planned as we’re nearing the end of the 3rd week. I’ve been so completely overwhelmed by the experience and so busy.
I was never one to assume my stay-at-home wife had the “easy” job, but I was a little envious in some ways. I was getting up at 5:30am in order to catch a bus to work at a job that I didn’t care for. The job was fairly simplistic and if I’m honest, a bit boring relative to my field of experience (IT) and outside of my degree of study (Biology) but it paid remarkably well for what I did. I was burned out at work and my wife was going crazy at home. It was a no-brainer when the decision between paying full-time daycare and staying at the position or quitting and staying home to take care of them came up. I leapt at the chance.
And now three weeks in. I’ve survived! It’s been busy and chaotic. Both my toddler and myself have had our meltdowns, the most mature being my 7-year-old who is gone most of the day at school, and my 6 month old son, who seems to be constantly cheerful aside from a poopy butt, an empty tummy, or just plain tiredness.
In just this short amount of time, I’ve had to adjust to a few things. When I was working, I was a bit of a neat freak. Well, maybe just “normal” as everyone assumes they are on a spectrum for anything. Either way, I’ve had to put that desire to be neat aside, or more accurately, throw it far out into the field. Leaky diapers, messy toddler, and feeding a baby turns you pretty quick, there just isn’t a nice and proper way to do any of it. Along the same lines, I’ve quickly learned to not dress too nicely around the house. The aforementioned diaper malfunctions happen, food gets flicked around, or babies spit up.
The other thing I’ve discovered I’m starting to do is “mom instructions”. You know, those really detailed nuanced instructions that moms will tell babysitters or grandmas about their kids on their way out the door. A few times a week my mom will look after the kids so I can get some writing in, and I’ve discovered that I’ll spend about five minutes telling her little details like how long to burp the baby and how loud it should be if he uses X bottle vs. Y bottle, or which blanket to use when he’s ready for a nap vs. which blanket to use if you’re holding him. These details come out not because caretakers are overly neurotic, but rather a desperate need to keep them happy and quiet. If this blanket is too scratchy for them to sleep and they cry, you learn very quickly how to fix it.
Bottom line, the biggest difference is just time and task management. I’m a serial tasker; I like to finish whatever task I’m on before starting the next. With a six month old baby and a two year old toddler, and a seven year old, this is impossible.
Very quickly you have to learn how to get them dressed, ready for school, feed them breakfast, etc. All of a sudden that 50 seconds you set the microwave to re-heat something become precious, because that’s a task that can be performed elsewhere, like buttering a waffle or pouring a bowel of cereal. The whole day isn’t like that of course, but it becomes critical when we all need to leave at a certain time to get to school.
That’s ultimately been the most stressful and anxiety producing adjustment. Ultimately though, I am becoming better at it and I find that I’m enjoying the time I have with my kids.