We all got sick this weekend. This is what happens in Sweden in the fall and winter. People get sick in droves.
I got sick too, but I recovered quickly enough to more or less take care of a sick wife and daughter and an exhausted son all weekend. I worked from home on Friday, while sick, staying with the boy, and I worked at home today, staying with his feverish big sister. I actually got a lot of work done too, dare I say it, more than at the office.
It focuses the mind when you know you’ll soon have to make lunch or change a diaper or play spaceship and have to somehow steer the spaceship to China when so far we can only get as far as America but America is no good because the good robots (later to morph into good monsters) live in China. Duh.
Now that I am done playing Nurse Nathan, I realized how the Daddyland dividend is so clear. For it was no role reversal for me to care for everyone while my wife was sick. No one reacted. Why wouldn’t Daddy be the one cooking and putting us to bed and running to the store? Why wouldn’t Daddy be the one to stay home and make me mad because he’s pushing the drinking thing too hard when I’m not thirsty and not hot anymore?
I’m still only a few weeks out of Daddyland so this role is an easy one, a relief almost. But I think it is a role that will stick. I think that in ten years I actually still will be Nurse Nathan when my kids and wife get sick. Of course, if I had never gone on paternity leave, I would have still taken care of my sick family. But Daddyland is about degrees of change, not the radical change.
And this is a shift of a few degrees, between Daddy stepping up into a gap and Daddy just being Daddy like always, taking care of us.