Recently my wife showed me this picture someone sent her of a joyous SAHM on the first day of school. After spending the end of the summer trapped in the house with all three children by the Texas heat I know exactly how she feels. When I sat down to write this post I went looking for similar SAHD memes and couldn’t find any. I’m not surprised considering only 1% of fathers are SAHDs. During my search I ran across several cartoons depicting the same meme but only with moms and decided to share them below. Someday maybe there will be enough SAHDs that they’ll make a meme for us.
But looking at these images it made me realize that the recognition is ultimately trivial. The experience itself is what matters and it’s been quite the experience so far. I am not just doing this for my wife so she can continue her career or the kids so they’ll have more time with their father and know that the old gender constraints can be cast aside. I’m also doing this for myself. Dialing back on my career and focusing on my family and the home is a broadening of my own life experience. After five weeks of spending all day, everyday, with my children I was looking forward to seeing them off to school. I understood the feeling that the mom in that picture was trying to convey.
My two oldest have been in school for a couple of weeks now, but my youngest just started school today. It’s been just the two of us for the past couple of weeks and while there were some magical bonding moments there were plenty of trying ones as well. With two older siblings and an indulgent father she has had no shortage of playmates for the past few weeks. But with her siblings off to school the phrase “I need someone to play with me.” had become a familiar refrain. And in the past, when Laura said that to me, I would have beat her back to the bedroom. But lately I’ve been too exhausted after taking care of the kids all day. Just another reason I’m glad ALL the kids are back in school.
Update: She only lasted at school for an hour today. Here’s to hoping Monday works out better.