Posts Tagged ‘stay at home dad’

Morning Victories!


The day starts off great when I get up early enough to get dressed and let the dog out before I have to begin the process of waking my daughter. Then I have to negotiate enquiring if her hair is brushed and her face is washed without her getting made at me (Dad! I said I’ll do it!).

If I also get the dog fed and medicated (she’s old – it’s two medicines a morning now) before my daughter comes downtsairs I start to feel invincible! And if I make my daughter a good breakfast (instead of just a slice of apple as we run for the bus) that she likes – that feels like a gold medal performance. If I also manage to boil water and have at least a sip of tea BEFORE we rain-coat up for the walk to the bus stop – well, now I’m just on fire.

The final trick is the most difficult- leashing the dog up, so her walk starts on our way to the bus stop. If we’re late, back to the car for the drive to school, the  dog back in the house until after I get back. Not good. Morning routine extended for another 20 or 30 minutes. But if it all works – I’m at my desk by 8:45 feeling like there is no morning routine I can’t handle.

Now, what am I supposed to do today?

And for you folks with 2 or 3 kids – I don’t know how you do it!

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My daughters drawing in chalk on the sidewalk and a camera filter make for a great image.


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My wife And daughter recently took a trip leaving me at home with the dogs and time to catch-up on work and house repairs. It was a vacation that I was really looking forward to. It was the first week at home without my daughter since she was born. I’ve been a stay-at-home, work-at-home dad for almost 7 years now.

And it was a surreal week. It took me a day or so to relearn what life not associated with having a kid was like. I reverted to my preferred schedule, working late into the night. I kept busy until 3 or 4 in the morning. I’d be back up by 9 in the morning and walking the dogs without an extended discussion about why we have to walk dogs.

I had no one asking for lunch, so I often skipped lunch. I wasn’t worried about preparing dinner so I ate when I was hungry. It wasn’t a return to the schedule free days of my youth, I still had two dogs to keep happy. But I was able to work a more organic schedule that saw me writing in afternoons, dealing with emails and taxes and such in the evenings and drawing all night.

I admit feeling a bit lost without the need to pick up my daughter from school, or drive her to swimming or gymnastics or a play date. Time didn’t move in the staccato rhythms of caring for kids. It flowed and surprisingly It felt like I had many more hours in each day.

Of course I missed them, and I’m not saying it was better. But only now can I clearly see how much my life changed since my daughter. These slow changes in life, like gaining a pound or the graying of your hair, aren’t appreciably day by day. You become something different without realizing it.

I hope to combine a little more of the old me with the new me as my daughter gets into full time school. I have some learning to do. Again.

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too many books illustration. Mark Fearing

too many books illustration. Mark Fearing

Here’s an update on my book-letting. Two months ago I wrote about my need to get rid of books. That perhaps being buried alive by books in my studio isn’t the way I want to go…though honestly, it’s not a bad way all things being equal.

And now for some blog-honesty…I haven’t gotten rid of one single book.

I tried. We had visitors for Thanksgiving and I tried to talk them into taking some books with them to read on the way home. But they already had plenty of books.

It gets worse…I recently purchased three new books and my bet is the Holidays will see me get at least one or two or three or more. So I am losing the ‘war on books’. I may never move from this house. I don’t have the energy to box-up all these books…

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I couldn’t find our mailbox key. I looked everywhere. I spent hours running up and down, searching every corner of the house. I grew more frantic as the hours passed.

I took the garbage from the kitchen to the garage, dumped it on cardboard and dug through it. I’ve been know to accidentally toss things away when I’m in a hurry or distracted, which is most of the time. But I found no mailbox key in with the banana peels. I looked through the drawer where we keep the dog leashes used on walks. The key has landed in there a few times when I get back from walking them and jumble the extra poop-bags up with their leashes and whatever else is in my pocket. It wasn’t in there.

So, what about pants pockets? I started the day with black jeans. It was cold. But after dropping my daughter off and walking the dogs, it was warm so I switched to cut-offs. Then, mid-afternoon I had a meeting so I put on big-boy-pants. Black dress pants so I looked semi-professional. (key word being ‘semi’ professional…).

After the meeting I switched back to shorts and picked my daughter up.

Hours were passing as I ran around. My wife got home. I was still looking. Cleaning out drawers. My daughter built an entire Lego camper van or something (these aren’t the legos I had as a kid!) and I was still looking.

Looking under car seats. I started to wonder how I even go about getting a new key. Does the post office help in such cases? What if by some miracle I actually get a check this week? What if someone found the key and takes that check? (after the disappointment of stealing a check from a kids book illustrator/author sets in the thieves would have a good laugh…)

I finally sat down and zoned out and realized something funny about the good old human brain and its short-cuts. I had worn two pairs of black pants that day. Each time I went upstairs and dug through the pockets I was digging through the black jeans, which were in the laundry basket in the bedroom. I had folded the dress pants up and hung them in the closet. Each time I walked into that room my brain checked off the ‘look in the pockets of the black pants’ and I never made it into the closet.

The mail box key was in the dress pants. So much for me trying to look respectable. All it did was make a mess out of my evening.

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Summer has kicked in. Travel, pic-in-ics, yard work. Driving kids to Safety Class. Amputations. Coyotes.

So I will be an absent blogger until the leaves start falling. Or the rain starts falling. Whichever comes first. And here in Oregon I think you know…

I’ll be posting weekly and/or announcing particular things that demand that I waste 30 minutes in front of a computer or iPad. But it will be far less frequent. Here’s to not looking at the computer so much!

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