What kind of world do we live in where stay-at-home parents have crises of confidence, wondering if their contributions are worthwhile, and are being noticed and appreciated? When did we all get so focused on getting ahead and bringing home the bacon, that we forgot about how important it is to shape and care for other people? (I guess it has been as long as teachers have been near the bottom of the salary scales.)
I embarked on this experimental "vacation" mostly on a whim. Jessica had to leave town and I had some days off. Why not spend some time with the little guy, and see how the other half lives? It turns out that the other half lives mostly exhausted, but with a full and happy soul.
Hollis is Entropy incarnate. I'm proud that my son is helping to increase the overall disorder of the universe, but I wish he'd settle on a specific time or something. You know, Breakfast Time, Nap Time, Destroy the House time... He's like a 25-pound self-propelled wrecking ball, if wrecking balls had little hands and made cute babbling noises. His hand-eye coordination is so good now that I can't even hear him fumbling for things before he's gleefully shredding and spreading debris around the house.
Yesterday, I looked up after focusing on email for maybe 60 seconds. Hollis was walking toward me, shredding kleenex and chewing on something unidentifiable. I swear that not a minute earlier, he was safely digging in his box of toys.
Today he ate cat food at least once. I'm a little scared that I have to say "at least."
Yep, it's a marathon workout, staying at home with this little guy. I totally understand how Jessica can get through the whole day without being able to do one thing around the house that isn't related to picking up after the toddlin' tornado. I'm totally whupped. Tonight, I fell asleep before Hollis did. I fell asleep once while rocking him (he woke me up by giggling and poking me in the face). Then after I put him in his crib, I fell asleep on the couch while he was still rolling around and playing. I don't know how Jessica does it every day, and I sure don't understand how single parents do it.
Still, I envy Jessica her job. It's so good for the soul! Don't get me wrong... there's a certain amount of satisfaction that comes from knowing that someone, somewhere got their $0.99 song refunded because of the work that I do. But it really doesn't hold a candle to walking to the mailbox with your toddler hanging onto your finger yelling "bah! bah!" at the neighbor kids playing football. Or having him tear around the house learning new things, then come running to you to be held for a minute, before running off again on some personal 15-month-old mission.
I'll have to make sure I do this Mr. Mom thing for a few days every so often, just to recharge, and to remind me why I'm doing it all.