I wasn’t sure I could make it four days alone with the children and the house when my wife went on a business trip. Honestly, it’s a bit selfish of her to think of her career and actually trust me with raising the family without her supervision. I don’t think she is reading enough of the mommy blogs that say that husbands are helpless and cannot be counted on to watch their children.
At best, I’m a babysitter that happens to share DNA with these little people. But I made it through. It wasn’t easy, though.
I was able to get up in the morning and remember that I had children that needed to get to school. This was my first victory. Most days, I just forget about that part. That led to my next discovery: the children needed to eat before school. I almost missed that one and for ten minutes I just stared at them wondering what they would do next. I was able to cook breakfast but I almost burnt the house down.
Men aren’t made for cooking, it’s not a manly thing, it has put no hair on my chest. That’s how men judge activities and making pancakes made me feel tingly. I think my testosterone got a little weak there.
I took a shot of whiskey and moved on. After breakfast, they dressed themselves which was a huge weight off my shoulders. As their father, I have no idea what is appropriate for kids to wear to school.
Somehow, we were ready for school thirty minutes before the bus came so I went back to staring at them. I accidentally gave one a hug and told her to have a good day. I have no idea where that came from.
During the day, I cleaned the home which felt weird. Should I get an apron next? Women’s work always makes me uncomfortable. It’s unsettling how vacuuming has a female gender role. I mean, I called my duster ma’am all day and asked if it needed some taxes done or something. I don’t know how to do taxes, but I figure that as I’m a man I’m probably pretty good at numbers.
At night, the kids came home and we ran into the trouble of cooking again. I asked my daughter what I should make, hoping that as a female she would just take over the duties. She said she would like sour cream enchiladas, made from scratch. I gotta admit, I almost called it quits then and put the kids up for adoption.
But then I found this thing called a cookbook that basically tells you how to cook things. Wish I would have known about that before. By bedtime, I had to make the kids take a bath which is very weird. I’m their father, not some bath person. Then we did stories and I had to cuddle.
They said that they loved, me and I guess that is a good thing?
Started off just like day 1, but a little harder. My six-year-old wanted me to tie his shoes. I couldn’t find my apron, but I still managed to do that. Once the kids were in school, (again on time!), I needed to do laundry. I felt like I was somehow violating the washing machine because as a man, I was putting things inside of it. I felt gross.
I wish my wife would hurry home. I also had to volunteer at the school for a little bit and help kids learn to read. I kept looking at the female teacher to see if she was ok with this. She didn’t say anything.
By that night, I was able to somehow cook a meal again. The cookbooks are really saving me, I wouldn’t know what to do without them. But then I noticed that the one I like has the name of Betty Crocker and that’s not good. I need to check my T count again.
Day 3: No problems in the morning, and I can’t understand how I keep getting them to school on time. I have been told, by numerous parenting sites, that a man shouldn’t be able to do this type of thing. It’s because when we are left alone with the children, hijinks happen and the kids are always dressed in mismatching and dirty clothes, with pajama bottoms as pants. And dad can never get them to school on time, that’s what the articles tell me. I think I’m getting a bit cocky here, but so far so good.
During the day, I cleaned the house again and took my son to a doctor’s appointment. The check-in desk asked if my wife knew where I was with the children. I forgot to tell my wife that I had made his yearly check-up appointment, so she probably doesn’t. We both agreed that if it happened again, that child protective services should be called. I will also inform the mommy sites of my transgressions.
Day 4: School went fine. I spent my day reading parenting advice columns and books. They all talked about how I could make parenting easier on my wife by supporting her with kind words and doing the occasional task. I’m going to keep that in mind and make sure that I wipe down exactly one counter a day when my wife is home. It’s good that the children have one parent.
The articles I read were very complicated though and used big words a lot. Then they reminded me no one can love a child like a mother and that its best if I just go to work and forget about things for a while. This one hit home for me because I’ve been an at-home-dad for eleven years. I never realized that it had obviously taken such a large toll on my wife before this.
I don’t think these articles were insulting at all, nor do I think they are letting dads off the hook. Let’s face it, fathers are clueless when it comes to children. The websites say so.
My wife came home and was disappointed to see the children clean, the house in order, and a dinner waiting for her on the table. I imagine she doesn’t have anything to tell her friends now. There is no story about how dad was a bumbling idiot that couldn’t manage to feed the dog much less the kids.
I’ll work hard on being a worse husband. I won’t comfort my children as much. I’ll expect my wife to work and do all the parenting. It’s the least I can do.
And I’ll read a lot more stories that are condescending to fatherhood and treat me like an idiot.