Hey folks, school’s back in session, which means I’m down to just one kid keeping me busy nowadays. Surprisingly enough, the baby isn’t actually the one that takes all that much work…well…I mean…sorta. He is in full exploratory mode at the moment, meaning that although I can set him down in the intention of getting a few pages of Agora Files Part 2 edited (I promise, I’m really really close to done!), he has the nasty habit of getting into every single possible thing he can…and our house isn’t exactly baby-proofed.
But I’m not here to talk to you about today. I’m here to talk to you about my summer.
I want to start out with the simple note that I am incredibly proud of all stay at home parents. I mean, I had it somewhat easy, what with my wife working from home, meaning that if I needed an extra set of hands, they were there, but even with that bit of a crutch, I ended each day in complete exhaustion. And my kids were awesome. Pretty much all summer. I didn’t spend my days screaming at misbehaving youngsters, or chasing runaway boys (well…not all the time anyways). No, in fact, most days I sat outside at a local park and chatted with mothers and just enjoyed my time away from a desk (while also fretting about how I hadn’t gotten any writing done…)
I mean, seriously, how do those mothers do it? I suppose it’s the whole fact that summer is short, and then school comes along and gives you a bit of a break. Like I said, things are actually quite relaxing at the moment with the baby around. He’s eating a snack while I type this and keeping himself quite well entertained.
Whatever it is, congrats to you mothers. I only had a summer of it, and it was quite early on when I began the job hunt quite hard because I knew that this wasn’t feasible for my body for an extended period of time.
Of course, this all makes it sound like my summer was terrible.
Quite to the contrary. My summer was awesome. Between just getting to hang out outside, actually having time to slowly explore the city and it’s many interesting local shops, ambling through the Chippewa Valley’s many local events, like the Eau Claire County Fair, you know, things that I wouldn’t normally have time to do, and still feeling like I didn’t get everything done. I mean, my kids had been talking to me all summer about heading up to Leinie’s and seeing how beer is made…didn’t happen.
I lost weight! It was kind of a personal goal to try to walk as many places as possible, and it ended up paying off quite nicely. Actually, between the tan and the slightly slimming waistline, I’m feeling happier with my appearance than I have in quite some time. But even more important was that my kids lost weight. My kids weren’t, by any means, dangerously overweight, but they’ve all started with a good bit of chunk and never really gotten down to the tiny sizes of their cousins. What can I say, they’re good eaters. But all the walking I made them do this summer means that clothes that were too tight at the start of the summer are having a hard time staying up at the end.
I got reacquainted with the local library. I mean, I’ve always loved libraries. I remember as a young one getting quite excited every time my parents would drop me off at the library. I could explore that thing for forever. But as I got older, specifically once I got my kindle, I found it easier to just click the one-click button for anything I wanted to read. But, of course, that meant that I wasn’t really being introduced to as many new books as I would normally like. It was usually indie lit that I was asked to review. I have to admit, right at this very second, that I have a difficult time not going down to the library every day and just perusing the shelves. I know…a little nerdy, right?
But even more importantly than any of this was that I got to spend some really needed time with my kids. The past few years were difficult. My job really sucked the life out of me. That meant that once it came to family time, my brain would usually shut down and make it difficult to enjoy it nearly as much as I would like to. My interactions with my kids, while still fun, were beginning to look like those of the sitcom father…you know, where the kids run around in the background every once in a while, but they’re mostly just stage dressing. That’s an exaggeration of course, but it felt that way from time to time.
In fact, I remember having intense feelings of overwhelming sadness overcome me every morning as I dropped the kids off at daycare. This feeling that I was losing my connection to them.
My summer as a stay at home dad (although, for the record, I was at home much less than when I was employed…) may have begun as something that we didn’t necessarily want or plan for, but it worked out quite amazingly in the end. It was precisely what I needed to get back into the game, to refresh and really try to get back out into the job market appropriately.
Which is what I’m doing right now. After six months of mostly focusing on just getting through the days with enough energy to sit and talk with my wife after bedtime, I’m finally looking at getting back to work. Technically, I’ve worked on it a bit over the past few months, but nothing quite felt right. In fact, just a couple weeks ago, I was offered a job, but it’s wasn’t the right fit for my family. But there’s some great prospects that have been opening up, things that I think would work out pretty awesomely, should they happen for me.
But if they don’t, I’m having a great time getting to just play with a 10-month old who doesn’t seem to stop moving.
And the occasional nap…
Have fun out there!