Recently I talked about how I didn’t think I could hack as a stay-at-home-dad. A week later, if you want my honest opinion, I still don’t think I’m made out to be a stay-at-home-parent.
From 7 am to 6 pm, I am in parent mode, and no amount of coffee can help me. Changing diapers, feeding, and what are you crying about now are the things I deal with? Is it nap time? Because daddy needs one too. Mowing the lawn, the laundry, and cleaning up the mess you made at lunch can wait.
For those of you who are stay-at-home-parents, I commend you. You do something that many of us dream (like me) of being able to do, stay at home and play with our kids.
It really is a full-time job.
Two days last week hammered home what I talked about in that blog post. It was two days in the middle of the week when not one, but both of our kids have pink eye. I can feel you closing out of this post fearing you’ll get this terrible contagious disease. But fear not, I’m writing it well after everyone has been on eye drops for 24 hours.
These two days were the longest that I have ever had as a parent. You know those days that seem never to end. You are wondering how much longer it is going to be before your partner comes home and taps you out of the ring. Staying home with a sick child is one thing. Most of the time they just want to lay around and watch TV and go to sleep. But when a kid, or kids, have pink eye it’s a nightmare scenario. Your children feel fine. Their energy is at max level because they aren’t actually fighting off a cold, or the flu or God forbid, Hand Foot and Mouth (someday I’ll tell you that story).
The picture I posted on Facebook on day two in the final hours before my wife came home says it all. I’m not made for this.
But when I sat back and looked at those two days with The LEGO Batman Movie playing on repeat and our 6-year-old always asking if he could go play with his friends, I realized that these are just some of the sacrifices we make as parents. Staying home when times are hard, when you feel that all hope for you and your kids are lost, we parent on those days knowing that easier days are to come. We know that ultimately, just two long days will give us more appreciation for our kids on the good days.
Sure, by the end of that second day, I was ready just to pack up and leave the house for a couple days. I even joked with the neighbors as I headed out to pick up our youngest’s prescription, to let my wife that I love her and she didn’t do anything. But, that one hour I spent in the pharmacy, playing Angry Birds 2 on my phone without a 6-year-old and 11-month-old crawling all over me to see me defeat the chef pig gave me time to pause and actually miss that. It made me miss the fact that our oldest thinks it is funny to try and give dad pink eye.
It is those little moments we get that make us miss the moments that we want to forget. In the end, they are a memory that we have as parents. It is those moments that eventually we are going to hold on to and not want to forget, no matter how much we want to dismiss them in the moment. In that picture, sure I looked exhausted, and I was, but I will look back on those two days when my two boys had pink eye and see if for the accomplishment that it was, no one was hurt, and most importantly, I didn’t get pink eye myself.
And it makes two long days all the more worth the memory I will be able to share with them in the future.