I do not write much about my daily life in Daddyland, you know, that I clean less this time around, that the Swedish sidewalks are covered with gravel from melting snow and all of it gets into the hall, that Baby B walks and how the way he learns to walk is so different from his big sister, that NK was up for two hours last night, that we all roughhoused so much the other day that Baby B got a happy heat rash.
This is partly because I am trying to focus on Daddyland, the journalist and former peace volunteer trying to make a point about families and the safety net and all that.
But – just a little – it is because life in Daddyland is home parenting-lite. And it just doesn’t feel right to obsess over my kid’s puke when there is a blogosphere of stay at home mom and dads who juggle many more kids and are doing it indefinitely. And, you know, I wasn’t pregnant either, and haven’t gotten the hang of breast feeding …
Get this. I take care of one kid full time. The other one is at daycare about 20-25 hours per week. My wife is going to take five or six weeks off in the summer. She is home by mid-afternoon most days anyway. I will be back at work by September or October.
My sense of who I am as a man is not tied up in the job that I have or the work I do. Being home raising my boys gives me more fulfillment and sense of accomplishment than I ever had in the software industry or working offshore building oil platforms. If you find your identity tied up in vocation then you are going to have a hard time being at home whether you’re a man or a woman. It takes a certain type of person and a level of sacrifice to be a stay at home parent but those characteristics are not uniquely feminine. The truth is I am as much of a man as I ever was before being at home; vocation and masculinity are not linked in my mind.
This is the beauty of Daddyland, the reason I love it so. I experience hundreds of times a day those flashes of joy that you get when your child just breathes in their sleep. I get that gift. I get that deepened sense of parenthood. I get to separate vocation from masculinity, which is incredibly freeing.
And I get paid to do it.
Then I get to go back to work.