Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Year one as a stay at home dad

As the calendar turns to August it marks the first anniversary of our family’s decision to have me resign from my job and become a stay at home dad. As I look back on my year, my first observation is simply how fast the year went. It feels like it went really, really fast. I anticipating blogging this same feeling after year two and beyond.

My other observation about the year is that it was marked by multiple transitions. The first transition was the adjustment from working to being at home. At Smith & Nephew (my former employer) we had a team sales call every Monday morning at 8AM. Not getting on that call and putting Lucy in the bike trailer to ride to the park that first Monday morning was awesome and odd at the same time.

Although there was much discussion and anticipation around this switch (I am even more confident now than then that we did the right thing for our family), looking back I think I underestimated how big the work-to-home transition would be for me. I have had multiple days were I miss interacting with co-workers and customer. I also have had days were I have miss receiving a pay check, and the bi-monthly validation of the value of your work. I’m not sure if “getting settled in” is the correct term or not, but I know I have grow more comfortable and confident in my role and in answering that commonly asked question of, “So, what do you do?”

The second transition was the arrival of Paige in March. This transition had less to do with me being a stay at home dad as it did with being a father of two and a member of a new four person family. Paige’s arrival felt different then Lucy’s because we had been through it once before. It was still very special and unique. The new baby fog lasted about 4 or 6 weeks, I am not really sure exactly how long because it was pretty foggy. We had lots of help from our parents and “big sister”. Like many things in life, especially the addition of a new family member, you get adjusted and quickly can’t imagine life without the new addition.

The final transition of year one as a stay at home dad, was when Libby’s maternity leave ended. After the 4-6 week fog lifted the rest of Lib’s leave was quite enjoyable. We had a routine, we got some sleep, we went on walks, and even a couple family outings. As the end of her maternity leave approached I remember asking myself how I was going to do it with the two girls by myself.

Libby working from home certainly added flexibility to this transition, but she was going through a “getting back to work” transition of her own and need time to work. Ultimately, Paige and Lucy proved to be my saving grace. Paige, thank you for loving the front pack, for being easy going most of the time, and for being a good daytime sleeper. Lucy, thank you for being such a loving big sister and for taking so much interest in your little sister. Your willingness to go inside when Paige has a blow out diaper is greatly appreciated.

Since May, when Lib went back to work, we have come a long was in developing a routine that works for us. For example, after breakfast Lucy loves to get a neighborhood run/walk/explore or bike ride in just to make sure everyone knows she is up and ready to play/socialize. Around 10 Paige is ready to sleep and Lucy is ready for a snack. Conveniently, Sesame Street starts at 10, so between Elmo and cut up apples Lucy is happy. When Paige wakes up, we go bug mom for some Paige food and I start making lunch for Lucy. I will spare you additional blow-by-blow details of our day. The point is that figuring out a routine has been very helpful for everyone.

Other less “big picture” transitions/milestones that have happened during my first year: we successfully planted a garden, Lucy taught me how to use mommy’s smart phone, Lucy learning to ride her bike (with training wheels), Lucy learned to spell her name, we got a van (more on this in a later post), and Paige rolled over.

Some transitions/milestones that I anticipate during year number two: expanding our garden, Paige turning one, Lucy turning three, Paige starting to eat solid foods, Paige crawling and walking, Lucy officially becoming a better speller then me (if not year two, definitely year three), Lucy potentially starting pre-school (currently considering one day a week starting in January), and Lucy and Paige becoming best friends.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Paul!! This year really did fly by! Can't think of a better Daddy.

    Love you bro and can't wait to see you (pretty) soon!