I brought my laptop to Funtropolis thinking I would be able to write this blog while the kids played. But I quickly realized that it wasn’t going to happen. As is usually the case, I tend to end up having more fun than the kids during these types of outings. So now I am back home trying to get this post out of my head and into the internet ether. Some kids are watching Kids Baking Championship, and I am stealthily surveilling the youngest through the reflection in my computer screen as he tries to pry a slipper from the mouth of one of our dogs.
It’s a feeling that has been overwhelming me on a daily basis these days – all the more so on four-day long weekends with kids. I feel like can’t get anything done. I reassure myself that at least there are weekdays when the kids are at school and daycare. Except during seasonal holidays and flu-season, a time of year when there will literally be weeks on end when there is at least one kid at home. Except during spring break. And the summer. The reality of being a parent is that I can’t get anything done.
The problem might be one of perception, and not reality. On paper, I know I do a lot. Get up. Rush a semi-paralyzed dog outside so she does her business on the front steps as opposed to in her bed (I’m batting under 300 on this…). Take three kids to school in succession. Eat breakfast. Do my best with the 6-hour window of opportunity that awaits. Pick up the kids. Exercise. Dinner. Baths. Bedtime. More work. Sleep. Get woken up three times. Switch beds. Wake up in a kid’s bed spooning a French bulldog. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Being a parent is an endless stream of motion coupled with the feeling that you’re never actually getting anything done…
Pause. If you can believe it, it has been (literally) one week between this sentence and the last paragraph. And while I just couldn’t get this blog done, in that time, I took two kids and one dog on a road-trip to the Big Apple.
It’s a weird thing… I’m a “stay-at-home” working dad. I say “stay-at-home” because I don’t really stay at home, but in the tag-team parenting my wife and I play, my schedule is flexible to the point where I have assumed the tasks of drop off and pick up of three kids. This freedom comes with certain compromises (or sacrifices), but I am lucky enough to be able to be productive while not delegating to third-parties the better part of my responsibilities as a parent.
But being a parent requires personal sacrifice. My wife and I could delegate many more of the roles we assume as parents to a third-party. And I don’t have an ounce of judgment for the many parents that do this. It’s a decision that parents have to make (or one that is made for them sometimes). Compromise in career… Compromise in family life… Or lesser of a compromise, but a compromise in both… That is the dilemma of being a working parent. And although being a parent sometimes makes me want to jump in a car and drive far, far away (in hindsight, I may now understand why my father worked seven days a week!), I don’t want to work just so that I can make more money to pay someone else to raise the kids I willingly brought into this world.
I am lucky, at least for the time being, to be able to work all the time, even with the kids, doing something I love. Many people don’t understand that it is work. Many people think that you can’t love your work. Many people think you can’t turn a pastime into a job. And many people think that unless you make a certain amount of money from something, it’s not a “real job”. Which brings me to my next realization of people’s expectations when it comes to what makes something a job, perfectly illustrated in this chart:
This blog has gotten too long and meandering, I forgot what the point was (above and beyond cathartic relief), so I’m going to check out. Next blog will be much more concise and unroll what I have been working on for the last year. In the meantime, here’s someone else’s blog that will give you a sneak-peek: https://storyful.com/blog/2018/04/12/interview-vlogger-determined-viva-frei-viral-videos/