Just 15 Minutes

I am hiding from my children.  It's not a game of hide and seek.  It's not in an effort to jump out and scare them.  Nope, I'm just hiding from my children.  I am not ashamed of this.  I find it necessary.

This is not a post bashing children.  This is also not a post claiming that being a stay at home dad is the hardest job in the world.  It's not.  Most times, it's down right awesome.  It's fun, it's rewarding.  I am my own boss.  I am the master of the house.  I am the Captain to my own group of mangHoms.  See what I did there?  I wrote Klingon.  I don't do it often, but it comes out of me at times.  I'm bilingual in a made up alien language.  I might write the rest of this blog in Elvish.  I could do it.  I'm not a proud man.

That is not to say that the being a stay at home dad does not have it's challenges.  I usually don't speak of it so much because the good far out weighs the bad.  The biggest one is that you are always "on".  You are always "at work."  Imagine that for a minute, you working stiffs, or what I call "weekenders."  I call you that because you fuck up my weekend grocery store runs.  I never wait in line until the weekend comes and you people flock to the store with your bad manners and poor parking.  You don't even know the name of your check out lady do you?  Mine is named Danielle and she has a coworker named Linda.  They are very nice.  We chat.  Weekenders don't chat unless it's in the middle of the aisle and you have forgotten that everyone around you still needs to get by but no, you must make a Les Mis style barricade.  If you bust into song I'm going to punch you.  I kind of hate you people.

But imagine with me if you will, if you had no lunch break.  That you had to consistently give orders, take orders, make conversation about things that are not intellectually stimulating.  Imagine that day in and day out.  Ok, a lot of you probably do that.  Now imagine doing that while one of your dining companions just took a dump in his pants and the smell won't go away.

Imagine your work commute.  Stressful?  Hateful?  Tiresome, annoying?  Have I hit all the right words?  What you fail to realize is that in that period of time, in your anger, you have freedom.  You are listening to your music, your news radio.  You are checking out the sports channel.  You are mentally preparing your day.  Imagine doing that while someone is headbutting you in the nuts.  Say all you are trying to do is to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while you mentally schedule your day.  Bam, headbutt to the balls.  You react but when you do, you smack your head on the counter.  As you collect yourself, someone yells "stop hitting me!"  You don't care, you just tell them to find their shoes and you know for a fact that they are not in the shoe basket because that would be too easy.

There is no alone time, there is no time to collect yourself.  You have to wake up that way and have to stay that way all day.

Sure, you can take a break.  But in my world taking a break means I sit on the floor while a one-year-old scales me like Mount Everest and only when he summits  do you realize that he has crapped his pants again.  You know this because he is now sitting on your head chirping like a monkey that has found a termite colony that is in your ear.

Like I said, this isn't the toughest job.  I don't make decisions that will cost millions and I don't fire people and send them home to sad families.  I no longer confront perpetrators and it is nice that no one has chased me with a crow bar in 6 years.  But it is constant.

From 6 in the morning to about 8:30 at night (sometimes longer, sometimes earlier), I am on.  It's a bit like Chinese water torture.  The first 1000 drips are fine, no big deal, a day at the beach.  But the 1001 you start to think, hey, this is kind of tough.  This is kind of constant.  This is always.

Now add to that that you control the future of three very little people and the things that you do over the next 18 years will determine their quality of life.  They end up in therapy?  Your fault.  They end up in in a bell tower with a high powered rifle?  Your fault.  I find this true with all parenting, this constant sometimes over whelming responsibility of the future, not just at home parents.  The difference is that I rarely get a chance to escape it. Some days I would kill for an hour long commute.  I would love to be able to fire someone.  That sounds horrible but think of it this way.  When you fire someone, it's over, your responsibility to that person is over, done.  It's thoughts like these, that I have in my late 30's that make me want to call my parents and thank them profusely.  I get it, it just took me 30 years to get there.

I have done the working dad thing in the past.  I have gone to work and did daycare.  I have worked at home, late nights, etc.  I must admit that I prefer the at home life much, much more.  The perks are unimaginable.  Yes, I go to the pool a lot, I take road trips with me and just the kids on a Tuesday.  I see the wacky and stupid.  I'm going to visit Monkey Island just because we can.  And I can see my children grow up, first hand.  I get to share in every single victory and fall in every single failure.  Those experiences and feelings are amazing and unable to replicate.  I realize that this is a gift that has been given to me and one that I am very sure that I will never take for granted.

But sometimes, you just need to hide, you just need to be by yourself and live for yourself, even if it's only for a short time in the evening when everyone has gone to bed.  You need to be able to watch something stupid without anyone telling you about the gigantic turd they just laid and dear god come see this I don't think it's going to flush DAD DAD DAD DAD.  And as much as I appreciate the ability to lay a giant poop sometimes Dad would just like a whiskey and some quiet. 

On those days, and they are not often, I hide from my children.  I go into my room and I lock the door.  This does not reflect poorly on them, my family is pretty god damn awesome.  But I just need a few minutes where I don't have to stitch a torn slipper or wonder about what we are going to have for breakfast.  I just need to sit.

Then I realize that my daughter has a spelling test tomorrow and it's a bit tougher than the ones she has had before.  We also have a birthday party at an indoor pool, I have to get swim trunks ready.  I also have to go shopping for a gift.  I think Bacon Hoss is teething and he's been waking up nights again, I need to have a back up pacifier ready.  Two kids start soccer next week, need to get our gear ready and perhaps get some drills ready as well.

Breaks over.  And gladly do I step back into their lives because without them I would be forced to go to work and make million dollar decisions and fire people.  That would suck.

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