Posts filed under ‘Mr. Mom’

Daddy-Daughter Day

Part of Perfect Moment Mondays…

Some of my favorite moments in my daughter’s life happen when I’m not even there. By design. Other special moments I’ve missed, I will grieve over, but these… I relish. Because it means a special bond is being built between the two people I love the most. A different kind of bond than I will ever have with either of them. I call them daddy-daughter days.

This weekend ended with hot chocolate and pancakes at the Rise & Shine Cafe in Winter Park. With sorting, stacking and organizing the jellies in their holder until the strawberry, grape and blackberry each occupied their own space.

But, it began with a day spent on a snow-covered hill in Hideaway Park. One that the previous year was feared when ridden with Mommy on a little red sled. We would not name it Rosebud.

This year, at the fearless age of three, another little red sled, was embraced with Daddy on the same snow-covered hill. To hear it told later, Daddy and Reagan rode down (and walked back up) 100 times. And each time at the bottom, a cheer to do it again was shouted with unbridled enthusiasm. All afternoon, while I was having my own glorious day riding the mountain, my better half and my half pint were building a perfect moment, 100 times over.

March 8, 2010 at 10:12 pm 5 comments

Mr. Mom Loses His Training Wheels

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It has been six months since I shifted gears from stay-at-home mom to working mom. The transition hasn’t been an easy one, and it just got a little harder. On Friday I started a full-time contract position with Starz Entertainment. This means, Danny is at home full-time with Reagan. Alone. Without a lifeline.

Up until Friday I had been working from home, which was easier for everyone, but me. While I love being able to spend time with my little girl any time I want, it is also extremely unproductive to be so accessible at all times for mommy duty while trying to concentrate on your work. Yesterday, Danny actually noted how much he took my presence for granted and probably abused it a little too much. Nice to hear. Since secretly I had been praying I would get the chance to show him just that. Not that I wanted to stick it to him, but wouldn’t it be nice for him to appreciate how much work being a stay-at-home parent on your own really is? He also remarked how this would be helpful for him to not depend on me so much should I return to working from home. God definitely answers prayers!

I couldn’t help from smiling yesterday when I got a 5pm phone call from Danny asking if I were on my way home yet. I don’t get off work until 6pm. Reagan was crying in the background and Danny was speaking very slowly and deliberately as he expressed his consternation at being unable to calm our toddler in the midst of one of her standard afternoon meltdowns. Usually, I would be there to console Reagan and make things all better. This time, all I could offer him was to pick up a 6-pack of his favorite beer on my way home and pray that by the time I got there, he wouldn’t need it any longer. Lucky for him, I never had to make that stop. And if I had, I’m not sure I would’ve shared anyway.

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Photo by Kate at Yr Own Risk, via Flickr

October 1, 2009 at 1:03 am 6 comments

Who had more fun, Betty Crocker or Orville Redenbacher?

tuesdayorvilleIs it a gender difference, or is just me? Are all men able to make leisure a higher priority than women when it comes to our free time?

When Danny became Reagan’s primary caregiver, truthfully, it was at first with some jealousy that eventually grew into appreciation that I noticed he was able to carve out some “me time” from his “free time.” As any parent of a toddler knows, “free time” means any time every ounce of your energy isn’t directed at pacifying, entertaining, feeding, scrubbing down or chasing down that unpredictable little firecracker also known as your offspring. This free time primarily consists of just 1-2 hours each afternoon at naptime and 2-3 hours at night. If you’re lucky. Am I right?

Whilst the primary caregiver, the entirety of my free time consisted of:

1. Picking up. Clothes pulled from drawers. Coinage, credit cards and half-chewed gum (still in the wrapper) from my purse. Books, toys and bits of dried Playdoh in the carpet. Various kitchen items strewn throughout the living room. Twice a day, at nap and bedtime. Twice… sometimes more. A pointless exercise, I know. But, I did it so I could at least savor the order of my home for a short while before my little performance artist took stage again to perform Clutter and Chaos for her admiring audience of one.

2. Cleaning. Not just the usual kitchen, bathrooms, floors, etc. but, wiping the daily handprints, food and spilled drinks from the dining room table, floors, carpets, mirrors, windows and every surface/orifice of our living room furniture multiple times a day.

3. Laundry. ‘Nuff said.

4. Stain removal. Deserves it’s own category.

5. Cooking. Reagan still does not eat meals with us because she is the pickiest daintiest eater ever deserving the last name of Bird. Just getting her to eat something, ANYTHING, requires your full concentration and effort for a full hour at every meal. Therefore, having our dinner ready before 10pm each night, after Lady Bird is fed, bathed, read and put to bed, means preparing it at naptime. (The inventor of the crockpot is my hero!)

With so much to do, I was never really able to figure out how to convert any part of my free time into me time, unless it meant forfeiting precious sleeping hours necessary to start the whole process over again the next day. So, how is it that my husband, now in charge of the nest, is able to enjoy much more of his free time as me time than I was?

Answer: It’s his priority. This means that whether it’s going to the gym, TV, reading, surfing the internet or just relaxing on the deck watching the sunset, it all comes first. Seems so simple, yet, impossible. Granted, the house isn’t as clean and orderly as it once was. And, cooking? Well, if it can be grilled or nuked, then it’s dinner. Otherwise, you’re on your own. There’s the can opener. But, for a man with scarce domestic skills to begin with, he has made tremendous strides. And, for a man who just beat cancer, he has his priorities straight.

Watching my husband not only regain his strength, but gain more energy and balance in his life than I’ve been able to muster these past few years has been a growth process for me as much as him. So much so, that I am now following course. Yesterday, instead of starting my day at my computer, I attended the first fitness class I’ve been to since before Reagan was born.

Whether it be because of gender, or a new appreciation of life, Danny’s order of priorities, while different from my own, are proving to pay off for him. I look at the price I paid for a clean house and dinner on the table every night and wonder, was it worth it? Am I happier or healthier for having sparkling floors and Betty Crocker-approved meals on the table? I don’t think I need to be a man or get cancer to know the answer to that. Do you?

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July 21, 2009 at 12:13 am 6 comments

Jon & Kate Take the Easy Way Out

gosselinenoughWhile listening to Jon and Kate Gosselin say over and over again in last night’s TLC one-hour special episode of “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” that they were both “thinking of the kids,” while choosing the divorce route, not once did I hear mentioned that they had been to counseling. “We’re doing what’s best for the kids.” Are you? Do you really think that your kids want to be from a broken home? The two of you are really going to spend all the holidays together with your kids… together? Really? How long will that last once you both start dating other people and want to include them in your holiday celebrations? How’s that going to work? Is having both your parents and their boyfriends/girlfriends all together in the same room at Christmas really what’s best for the kids? Sorry to get so judgmental, but I was very disappointed to not see what I had hoped the announcement would be last night: “We’re going to end the show to work on our marriage.”

Instead, we learn that divorce papers were filed yesterday, June 22, 2009. Done. Wow. That was fast. No couch time with Dr. John Gray? I’m sure he’d be more than happy to donate his time like so many other “sponsors” of the show have for such incidentals as hair plugs, tummy tucks, teeth whitening, all-out kid’s days at you-name-it theme park or zoo. Not even some visits to your Pastor? Maybe some of this did happen, but you’d think they’d mention it. Since the Gosselins’ have chosen to share their faith on their show and how it has guided them in raising their children, should it not be guiding them now in their time of family crisis? Kate has written two books quoting Biblical scripture throughout, sharing her beliefs as the basis for how they raise their kids and building a very wide and deep Christian following as a result. I am shocked that they are now not checking themselves when they most need to and asking “what would Jesus do?” Doesn’t the Bible tell us that our marriage is to be put first and foremost before our kids? As parents, we are to be a model for our children to follow and a strong foundation upon which our kids can flourish, feel safe and loved. Destroying that foundation puts at risk a child’s fragile sense of security in the world. I kept waiting for them to say they were in counseling to repair their marriage…  waiting… waiting… waiting… DIVORCE! It seems too quick. Too simple. Too soon. Please don’t tell me you are “doing this for the kids!” That phrase was repeated so many times it started to sound like an annoying jingle I then couldn’t get out of my head. Is this something you are both now telling yourselves just to “make it okay?” Please excuse me for making presumptions, but, now that you are both financially free and already have your own lives apart from each other, isn’t this really just the easy way out?

Have Jon and Kate become so much like every other Hollywood couple now that even their eight kids aren’t enough to keep them together? My heart went out to Kate last night who seemed to be the only one in the marriage who was interested in saving it. I usually put my dukes up for Jon, but after hearing he’s not even interested in talking about their problems, there is no more defending him. No matter how emasculated he has felt since becoming a stay-at-home-Dad and seeing his wife in the limelight (see prior post here), there is no excuse for walking away from a ten-year marriage and eight kids because you feel you’ve “had enough.” Yes, Kate is overbearing and sometimes even unfairly belittles you, but, man up, Jon! Walking away only confirms that you are as weak as you appear on TV. Being that you are only 32, it is still possible that you may one day grow up and realize the 20-something life you may think you have missed out on… isn’t going to bring you the fulfillment you are seeking the way living up to your promises, being an honorable and dedicated husband and father will. Hopefully, when that does happen, it won’t already be too late.

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June 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm 10 comments

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

58757764_e384192d83Drifting. For the past year and a half. Life definitely has a course of its’ own and we have no control of the rudder. What is the lesson here? Still trying to figure that out. For every lighthouse in the distance, a new reef has emerged.

Truth? After two months of working from home, I miss being a full-time Mom to Reagan. I’m good at it. Not liking this role reversal thing. It’s just not me. And, no surprise, it’s not for Danny either.

I came back to work kicking and screaming, but have given it my all because I have no choice. It’s either earn a living or see my family become homeless. Now, as I had feared, the results have not been good for any of us. I know there are families out there making this work. I wish I knew how. It has only caused us much strife, stress and malaise.

During this past weekend away from home, I spent much time pondering and praying the answer be revealed to me and came up short. All I know for sure is that Danny and I are definitely happiest in our traditional roles of Ralph and Alice. Does this mean that will happen? Not for at least another six months when Danny may be medically allowed to return to his job as a glorified bus driver (pilot). So, how do we get through our time adrift on this great, big ocean of crashing waves and scorching sun? I don’t have an answer to that. I’m just leaning on God with all my might and praying He put the wind back in our sails and send us in the direction of safe harbor once again.

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Photo credit: Dbuc

June 10, 2009 at 1:33 am 3 comments

1st Day of Summer Preschool — It Ain’t Pretty.

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So, while other mommy bloggers post beautiful, professional-looking photos of their children that could occupy the pages of Pottery Barn Kids, I just post what’s real. This is my kid home from her first day of summer preschool. Her first ever class that isn’t “Mommy & Me.” She’s all on her own. And while I had no worries about how she would handle that, or if she would cry, I was worried about how her Daddy would handle getting her to her 9am, bi-weekly, hour-and-a-half-long Summer Fun Club. I told myself to have a little faith in my husband before going to bed late last night/early this morning after finishing up a project. After all, I’ve neatly folded and paired up all of her new summer preschool clothes I just bought and told him where to find them in her drawer. I gave him the name of the class, time, days, a map and directions. Still, I imagined all the possibilities of how this could turn out, and was glad I was going to be sleeping through it in the morning. At least that’s what I thought.

If only I had hung the car keys by the front door where they belong, Danny wouldn’t have had to wake me from my coma to ask where they were and I wouldn’t have noticed while looking for said keys that it was already 8:55am. Reagan’s preschool class is a 15-20 min. drive from our house. If only I had hung the car keys by the front door where they belong, I wouldn’t have noticed Reagan’s Flock of Seagulls hair and her… oh no! That’s what she’s wearing! Are those her only-wear-around-the-house and for-rolling-around-in-mud-like-a-piggie play clothes?! But, I did notice. I saw it all! “Alright Reagan, say good-bye to Mommy,” Danny said. And in the blink of an eye, she was headed towards the front door holding her Daddy’s hand. In my still groggy, state of shock, I froze up. Knowing she was late and that if I said anything about anything, I would be the one hauling her to class while still wiping the sleep from my eyes, nothing came out of my mouth but a hopeless “gufaww.” Mouth still open, I waved bye-bye to my Princess as she walked out into the cold without a jacket, excited as can be and looking like Nick Nolte meets Richard Simmons. If only I had hung the car keys by the front door where they belong, I would’ve slept right through all of this and never known the extent of my humiliation until I awoke refreshed and mentally prepared for it upon her return.

Rejoining slumberland proved futile at this point. I tried to push out of my mind the images of the other parents looking at my kid and instructing theirs’ to be nice to her, “she’s special.” I tried not to imagine the teacher’s reaction to her late arrival and appearance, “poor, neglected, little girl, I’ll have to be sure she gets some extra attention.” I told myself, no one is going to care, only YOU care! Just go back to sleep! But, it was useless. I called a friend to vent. That made it a little better, but I was still awake. Might as well get up now. The Type-A Mom in me just could not let go! I wish I could have Jennifer Gardner’s attitude about this, but that’s just not me. Hey, at least Ben Affleck makes an attempt with the two sad little barrettes in Violet’s hair!

By the time Reagan returned home with that big, goofy grin on her face, arms outstretched, running towards me for that I’m-so-happy-to-see-you hug, I was pretty much over it. Besides, now I knew what I was going to write about today! I’ll just be getting Reagan a long-overdue haircut tomorrow and lay out her clothes from now on.

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June 1, 2009 at 6:36 pm 3 comments

Jon and Kate’s Final Curtain Call?

kateonpeopleYeah, I watched. But, I haven’t gone so far as to read any of the tabloids. I don’t know what the mystery woman looks like and I don’t care. What intrigued me as I watched the 5th season opener of Jon & Kate Plus 8 was how I could in an “Off-Broadway sense,” empathize with Kate, a woman who makes me cringe every time I see part of myself in her “Type-A Mom” personality. Intrigued, not because my husband has gone off and done something untoward (at least not in public) for which I can never forgive him (get over yourself, Kate), but because of the underlying role reversal challenges that the two of them hinted at, in between all of the innuendo of an alleged affair. Has anyone else caught on to this?

She’s now the breadwinner while he stays home with the kids and resents her for being away while wishing she’d stay away at the same time — loosely translated from Jon. Anyone else experiencing something similar who doesn’t also have eight kids, full-time staff and a major prime-time hit television show? Direct quote from my husband: “Men just weren’t made to do this.

Now, before anyone takes offense to this, of course there are some terrific stay-at-home Dads out there who can run circles around many of us Moms. But, please, let’s be real. Most Dads when put to the test aren’t going to last long at cleaning up after pre-schooler playdates, preparing three square meals a day, activity schedules, bath-time and just the general noise level of it all. Then there’s the housekeeping, grocery shopping, cooking, Dr. appointments and errand-running. Did I mention laundry? Now, most likely Jon doesn’t do much of this by himself; did I mention the full-time staff? But, he is used to being the provider, not the caregiver. To me, it was detectable throughout the interview that Jon just wasn’t comfortable staying home while Kate traveled earning a paycheck on her book tour. He quit his job to stay home with the kids, because “Kate can write and he can’t.” Ergo, if he could provide in that way, he would choose that role. Don’t underestimate the sense of pride and accomplishment being the provider carries with it, most especially for men.

The challenge for Kate, is to not be overly critical of the job Jon is doing when she returns home. And, if you’ve ever watched the show, you can just imagine how this is playing out. Kate has decidedly defined for all of America what a “hen-pecked husband” truly looks like up close and in his own natural habitat. While I pray that my husband would never describe himself as a member of the hen house, I empathize with Kate’s challenge. I find myself biting my tongue a whole heck of a lot more than Danny probably realizes, because I know he really is doing the best job that he can do. While we haven’t chosen our new roles, the parts we play are similar to those of Jon and Kate in that they require perspective on what is important as a family, not on who does what.

Has Jon finally had enough? Many of us have wondered when Jon’s breaking point would be reached. Is it possible that now that Kate is no longer in charge of her castle, the scrutiny she inflicts on Jon combined with a general distaste for the life he gave up for her has upset that delicate balance they’ve maintained through four seasons of TV-dom? It was clear at the end of last season, Jon was no longer on board with a public life. Has he made his final stand? I hope that family wins out on this one. In the best interest of those eight precious young hearts, I pray that the curtain is never called on this marriage.

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May 28, 2009 at 3:07 am 9 comments

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A half-hatched role-reversal takes flight on a wing and a prayer.

Life is a misadventure mixed with mayhem.

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