Like many Dads, I get up in the morning, shower, dress and go to work. I spend 40 minutes or so on a bus checking emails, reading blogs and playing words with friends before grabbing coffee from my favourite cafe and walking into my office. I spend my day with grown ups, attend meetings and tap away on a keyboard.
Disasters for me are rare and normally limited to disgruntled team members or the wrong biscuits being put in the office biscuit tin. I get home after another 40 minutes or so on a quiet bus, reading more blogs and playing more games before walking into the accurately named “witching hour” when our nearly three year old has run out of enthusiasm for abiding by rules and our 9 week old is just… plain… cranky…
As I was bathing my slippery, hyperactive toddler the other night I looked over at my wife and saw that look of fatigue that I am sure only stay at home parents of toddlers and babies can muster. The one that’s a combination of “I’ve forgotten what sleep feels like” and “I’ve lost the will to give a shit” with a bit of “yes, these ARE the same clothes I woke up in!” thrown in for good measure.
The look got me pondering how very, very different life as a stay at home parent is from that of a full time working partner. Needless to say my wife caught me pondering and reminded me that part of bathing a toddler is keeping more water in the bath than on the floor but later that night we sat down and discussed the reasons that being a stay at home mum is not like having an office job
My Office has HR. SAHM’s have time out. HR works.
Just try telling a child that their behaviour may result in file note! Yes, in an office there’s a standard, understood way of handling disputes which is rarely used because a majority of people follow the rules. In our house there’s the timeout spot and the timer and the first, second, third… fifteenth reminder that something is not allowed.
Tantrums are (generally) frowned upon in offices.
Co-workers generally don’t respond to bad news (“sorry, we’ve run out of the nice tea bags”) by throwing themselves down of the floor, pounding their hands and feet into the carpet and screaming like a banshee. I don’t spend a lot of time wiping snot from hyperventilating team members and I’ve never had to stop everyone looking at me by giving an employee a biscuit to silence them screaming.
Tired? Bored? Lonely? Call a meeting!
Every office worker has been guilty of this one, breaking up the day with a few meetings that achieve little more than a catch up on what you all did on the weekend. My job allows to me to schedule lots of these “meetings” as well as time to catch up on emails (Facebook), read documents (online news site) and answer messages (twitter). My wife however, with two kids under three struggles to answer a text message within 6 hours of sending and can easily go a week without watching the news.
Even if I am talking to the most boring person in the office about the most boring subject known to mankind. I’m still talking to a grown up.
“Can you take that fairy wand out of your ear please”?
“because you could trip and hurt yourself”
“just take it out please”
“I’ll be careful mummy”
“that’s not the point… just take the wand out of your….” and so on and so on and so on
Bored work colleagues will generally refer to point 3
At no point in my working day do I have to think of the next activity to do for 5 minutes to entertain a hyperactive nearly three year old, only to get all equipment out for said activity to find her in the bathroom smearing ridiculously expensive moisturiser through her hair.
The list isn’t exhaustive. What it does do is remind me that no matter how stressful my day might have been, no matter how hard my trip home on the bus was or how much my colleagues may have annoyed me, someone else has put in a pretty big day… again.
Kevin works full time, is husband to a SAHM mum and Dad to two beautiful girls. He started writing his blog The Illiterate Infant at a work function thinking he was the first Dad to ever consider blogging. He soon found he was wrong and now finds himself an integral part of the newly thriving Australian Daddy Blogging community. Kevin’s blog is a generally humorous perspective on the adventure that is, having kids.