Monday, July 26, 2010

The End of an Era

The thought is scary.
It terrifies me more and more.
I am uncertain what to do about it.
Is it inevitable? Or can it be stopped?

My kids are starting school and I will have to go back to work.

Now don't get me wrong, I love my current job.
Taking care of the kids is the best thing that I could have done.

But that job is going into the part-time slot.
I will still get them up and ready.
But now, instead of Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer.
I am going to drop them off at school and pick them up after seven hours.

Getting school supplies instead of diapers and wipes. (My wallet thanks me)
School uniforms instead of the Thomas the Tank Engine shirt three days a week.
Backpacks, not diaper bags. School lunch, not happy meals.

I have been a SAHD for NINE YEARS.
From the first breath to the last scraped knee of the summer, I have been there for my children every step of the way.

When my first child went off to school, I enjoyed my time alone.
Caught up on the TV shows that I missed, rented movies galore. Played video games until my finger were sore. Just killing time as she soaked up the world.

Then the second child came along and BAM!! I had a full-time job again.

Now this is my second and last child to go off to school.
I am going to have to figure out a way to earn a little more money than the pocket lint I bring home during the week.

I have had a part-time job for a number of years now. Serving tables and tending bar at a restaurant on the week-end. This brings home some extra spending cash.
But here comes the real challenge.
Am I going to keep doing this? Go full-time.
Or, am I going to try and find another job that pays well, but lets me out early enough to pick up the kids from school.

This is what has me worried. And here are some starting points.
  • New job or keep current?
  • Start at the bottom, or climb corporate ladder?
  • New people, or familiar faces.
  • How much money will I make either way.
  • Will it be easy to leave or hard to say goodbye.
  • Will I have to grow up too?
  • This will change my marriage .
  • This will change the time I spend with my kids.
  • This will change the amount of time I have for myself.
  • This will change EVERYTHING.
The decisions I am going to have to make will change my life, and effect the people around me.
Am I ready to make the changes that need to be made, or am I just going to cower and run away from them.

Thankfully, I have two years to ease into the decisions and to think about the final outcomes.
I am going to ask a lot of questions and chew the answers over.

To leave with some honest parting thoughts:

The future scares the hell out of me.
I am going to spend a few uneasy nights thinking about these questions and choices.
I am going to shed a few tears for the days gone by.
And I am going to gather courage from my friends and family along the way.

My kids are growing up. And I don't know what to do.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Am I Raising My Kids Right?

As a stay at home dad I have had a thought that just won't go away.

Am I doing the right things so my kids will be the best they can be?

In this posting, I will take a look at the worries I had about being a Stay-At-Home Dad raising a little girl.

Let's start with a little background on me.

I am not a flowery person. I am not into dresses, makeup, Barbie, My Little Ponies, or anything like that.
My favorite color is NOT pink
I was as rough and tumble with my daughter, as I am with my son. I would throw her on the bed, toss her in the air, pick her up by the straps of her overalls, (This works! And gets great looks from moms out there.) and tickle her until I was sure she was going to either puke, or pee.
But I do like human contact, and will give my wife a hug and kiss whenever possible. (She's my wife, and I kinda like her.)

So how my daughter became the little girlie girl she is, must have been beyond my control.
She likes Barbie, My Little Ponies, Littlest Pet Shop, and all the other toys. She will wear a dress when the weather is cold and rainy. But then, she won't get her face wet in the pool when swimming.

A couple odd examples:

My daughter never had the "Fear of Strangers" stage. Okay, she did.
But only for about a week.

She would talk to anyone. Give the business women out to lunch a kiss on the cheek when we went out. (at about 2years old)

While at a sandwich shop, she walked up to every table along a wall and introduced herself.

If we were out shopping, we would turn around to find her walking away from us with a different family.

If we started talking to anyone, she would jump into the conversation and say "Hi, my name's Princess, and this is my daddy, Chuckles.
This got slightly embarrassing after everyone at McDonalds knew my name.

Here are some bad examples:
And some might be my fault, I spoiled my daughter. (She was cute!)

She will whine about the food you give her.

She will ask me for candy, and when I say no, go across the room to ask her mother.
Yes she did this. Wife and I were five feet apart.

I caught her sneaking candy out of the kitchen. (Yes dear, the wrappers make noise.)

At age three, walking through the mall, she says her feet hurt and doesn't want to walk anymore. Until you pick her up and carry her.

Starts crying when you tell her "no". About almost anything.

Poured water on her nightstand lamp. Straight on the light bulb.
The flickering lights gave her away. Along with the sound of electricity grounding out. And that smell when something electrical shorts out.

But then there are the good examples:

While at a park, we saw a little girl, slightly younger than Princess, trip while walking down a hill. Without being asked, Princess walked quickly over to the little girl and helped her up, then asked if she was alright. (Awwwwww.)

She will help with her little brother.

She will help little kids at a playground or at a friend's house.

But she is also the biggest Drama Queen, I have ever seen.

So, I have seen my little girl be her best by helping others, and at her worst when she doesn't get her way.

So I guess I will take the good with the bad. Hope for the best. Then do my darnedest to try and show her the best path to take.
With either a little nudge, a time out in her room, or let her enjoy the consequence, good or bad.

And I know that she is now, only eight.

The worst is yet to come.