I am a momentum father and housekeeper. What I mean by this is that I am perfectly good at all the little things that need doing every day to make the family run smoothly – getting the bag together, dressing the children properly, keeping track of the food, vacuuming.
But I have to work into shape. I need to build that momentum. I do not just have it.
I am, after all, a guy. And I am not culturally programmed to pack small bags of snacks.
It is, however, not a question of inherited skills, of simply being a man. I don’t buy that.
Not one bit.
I argue that it is about expectations and practice.
I got into practice during my first leave in 2008. I am less in practice now but it is coming back fast.
Over at the new parenting site parentsask.com, Rick Suvalle (who blogs under I Peed On My Kid!) wrote a whole entry on how men cannot multitask, how he basically screws up all the daily tasks of Daddyland.
Every dad I’ve ever spoken to is exactly like me. They can’t do anything but play with their kids when it’s their turn to watch them, unless it’s watching TV at the same time. Of course being a stay-at-home dad requires more than just playing Polly Pockets and watching Yo Gabba Gabba on an infinite loop. There’s laundry to be done. Dishes to be washed. Floors to be swept. The list goes on. And on. And on. I actually have an actual list my wife gives me, but it doesn’t help. Without fail, if I’m watching my kids and I try and do anything else, I will mess something up.
What I suspect (besides a good schtick for a blog) is a lack of confidence on old Rick”s part, to go with some serious soul crushing gatekeeping by his wife.
Some advice, dude. Take control of the house. You shop. You clean. On your standards. There will be mistakes. Learn from them.
What is the worst that is going to happen? You end up at McDonald’s a couple of times. A kid smells a little like pee for an hour or two.
It is all about momentum, not testosterone.
And you can still watch football and play video games and hunt deer with rocks (since this is apparently our only natural skill).
Yep, I am off to track me some elk in the winter night right now.
And I have my little bags of snacks all ready …