When we started this blog there were three stay at home dads in the Revolution but now that the dust has settled a bit I find I am the only one still going. I feel like I need to stand strong and represent the cause in a sea of great working dads, but at the same time the numbers seem a bit more balanced. While there are more and more men staying at home to raise the kids, whether by choice or necessity, the numbers are still pretty low. So as one out of the ten dads here at DadRevoltion being a stay at home dad fits more in line with the country as a whole. So far you have read some posts on balancing kids and work or balancing kids and your spouse but as an at home dad that balance looks more like balancing kids with a life outside the house. So far I have to say I am failing at finding that balance but there are a couple of reasons for that.
First off from some of my previous posts you probably worked out that I live in Portland Oregon, but that hasn’t always been the case. I was born in Portland but grew up in Southern California. I moved back to Portland two and half years ago after living the previous five years in Indianapolis, Indiana. While living in Indy I was also a stay at home dad and finding that balance of kids and personal time was much easier. I had friends that I hung out with, community projects I was involved in, and plenty of sporting events and concerts to attend. Here in Portland I haven’t found those friends, time for the community involvement, or extra money for various entertainment options. I know that all of those things will come eventually but right now my free time is spent at home reading or on the computer instead of out of the house. That always being home starts to manifest in a feeling of being trapped or stuck. Those feeling build on each other and bleed into my interactions with the kids and with my wife and I am far less patient than I should be.
Adding another kid to the mix has played a big part as well. When we just had one, and a baby at that, it was much easier to get out and about with friends. Now with the two boys it becomes more work to go out with them, and a good deal of planning to find a way to leave them at home. I am also a lot more worn out from caring for my two boys plus the third little monster in the mix that I look after during the week. After a long day of running around with them, cleaning the latest art project, or coming up with three meals a day I don’t have a whole lot of metal energy to come up with something for me to do on my own. I feel like a lot of my creativity is taken up in the day to day tasks of raising the boys leaving me void of ideas for things to do myself. Trying to think of what to do is much harder then just not doing anything so apathy wins out and I pick up the computer instead of meeting a friend for coffee and conversation that doesn’t involve me asking anyone to take their hands off their penis.
When Beautiful comes home from work I don’t want to just clock out, slapping her hand on her way into the house noting that it is her turn to get into the ring and wrestle. I know you working dads know what I mean here, that transition is tough and as much as you want to get right in there and get your parenting on you need to shift gears and ease into it. I feel guilty turn the kids loose on my wife so I stick around too long instead of finding time in there for me. I need to be better at successfully making the hand off and then getting away, even once a week, to recharge. When every minute is about the kids I come to resent them for not having any time for me and that isn’t fair to them. They need me to get away and find more outlets to recharge as much I do. That balance will always be weighted far more in the direction of home but I need to be better about finding those times away that really are for me. Now I just need to come up with ideas for what those are.