GTTOD: Go to the office dad (part one of three)

By kenny friedman on Monday, April 12, 2010

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About a week ago I was chatting with a friend about being a working dad. I was saying how it's not easy but we're not really supposed to talk about that...he agreed. So I decided that I'd take this week to write some posts about being a GTTOD or Go To The Office Dad.

I should start by saying I know it's tough being a Stay At Home Mom, and if you check out this great post from Heir to Blair you can see her thoughts on being a Working Mom. Then if you check out some of the comments you can see a lot of the crap she got for stating how it's not a walk in the park.

Staci now wears the Working Mom badge...it's not easy for her to be away from Miloh, but luckily in a year and a half he'll be in her school so it will make her 9-5 easier. I know that's a long time away.

Next there are the guys...there are Stay At Home Dads. Dads are in that role for various reason but since our economy has gone to shit the demographic is growing. I can't give that perspective but it is a good one...you can hop over to Portland Dad or Stay at Home Dad in Lansing to get a peek into their lives.

Being a GTTOD that's all I can speak to. I wouldn't want it any other way...I get paid to concept, solve problems and draw...not to bad. Also I like where I work so that's a huge plus, and like Staci I'm in a really supportive environment.

But as much as that rocks it's not easy being away from Miloh all day...and as a guy I don't think I'm supposed to say that. I think we're supposed to go and make the donuts, come home and shut up...but I have no filter so...I will talk about it.

I got to hang with Miloh for his first week of life, then it was back to work. The first couple weeks were exhausting. With all of the unknowns of a newborn baby and my late night shift I wasn't getting much sleep. That was expected but while my mind knew it would be like that my body didn't.

Then adding to the exhaustion was my frustration of not really getting to hang with the little dude. My days consisted of me getting up and getting out the door in about 40 minutes, although I once did it in 10 and the next day in 8 minutes. Then I'd head to work on the bus, do the work thing, take the bus home and I was on...it was my turn to hang with Miloh. (I'm using past tense here because now I get up about 15 minutes earlier and have gotten used to the routine, otherwise it's about the same.)

I was exhausted and Staci felt as if she was dumping him on me, but she really wasn't. I wanted to hang with him...I was jealous of all the time she'd spend with him. So I'd scoop him up, feed him and keep him up kind of late. I probably got a bit possessive of him, like it was my time...but I also wanted her to have a break.

Also I was being a bit selfish...keeping him up to the point of over exhaustion because I wanted to see him awake (it wasn't until later I realized he was over exhausted.) Then I'd put him to sleep which didn't work so well because of the exhaustion.

For the first month and a half one of us would sleep in his room while we were on duty because we were worried parents. But I also did it because I wanted the time with him even if he was asleep. It was hard for me to give this up because it was the most time I'd spend with him...which seems weird because I was asleep too.

I was also bummed because since I wasn't around I didn't know how to calm him. I didn't see Miloh roll to his side the first bunch of times he did it in preparation to his first rollover...I did get the videos but that's not the same. I was however lucky to be there for the first roll over, but I thought I'd miss it.

I kind of came to the realization that I'd miss so much of his life and I guess that's normal for every working parent, but it sucks. It won't be a big deal once he's in school at about 16 months, because I'd miss that anyway. It's the time until then that really bums me out, and I still get a bit frustrated because I don't know what to do with him when we're hanging...I am figuring it out.

Now I get how friends with kids get up crazy early (that's before 7am to me) to spend time with their kids in the morning. And why they go to sleep crazy early (any time before 11pm and usually 12am for me) in order to get up early. And I realize now what everyone means when they say things like "you can't imagine the was your life will change until your kid is here."

I am making those changes...I'm waking up earlier not only to help Staci out because she's back to work, but also so I can hang with little dude. And I'll get to the point where I can actually get to sleep a earlier to make that morning rise less painful.

I didn't want to be one of those "I just want to hang with my kid all day" kind of people. One who changes his life around, maybe misses out on something he wants just to put his kid to bed. But I did become that person. And right now I'd rather feed him a bottle and put him to sleep than go to a show, unless it's Iron Maiden because I saw them a few years ago and it lived up to every expectation I've had since I was 12.



14 comments:

  1. My wife leaves for work very early, so it's just me and my daughters in the mornings. That time with them is the best part of my day.

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  2. AMEN.

    My husband could have written this post, word-for-word.

    You working dads do NOT get enough credit for what you do - you work all day, you come home & dad it up & while working moms get every social right to bitch about it, y'all are expected to take it in stride & run with it because you're "SUPPOSED" to be a working dad. Society has painted this picture of a dad escaping to work & it's so refreshing to see that it's not the case.

    But the nice thing that you just did for me? Take away the guilt of "dumping" Harry on Nate during maternity leave when Nate got home. It never really clicked that he would be EXCITED to see Harrison, even though he said he was (I thought he was just being nice). So thank you.

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  3. This is so nice to hear. Sometimes I don't realize how much not seeing the kids bothers my husband. He often gets home after the kids are sleeping. There are times when he goes all week without seeing our youngest. Thanks for writing this dad's perspective. So refreshing.

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  4. Good Post. I often felt like I was dumping our son on my husband on the weekends when my husband would get home from his work week away. Now he's home every night and helps me with everything and its awesome. No more dumping feeling. This was a great read.

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  5. Great post - it's nice to hear things from a dad's perspective. That's why I love your blog so much! It's a side you don't often get to hear about.

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  6. Fantastic post. Dads absolutely need more credit! I am interested in reading what you have to write in the next two parts.

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  7. I love this post. We were all gung ho about not changing our lifestyle because we had a baby, but we had no idea we'd genuinely want to hang out with our baby more than anything else. I love reading your perspective on all this madness.

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  8. I love so many things about this post. Topher and I were both home (he was laid off) from the time Piper was born until she was 9 weeks. We had plans for him to be a SAHD, and he got an unexpected job offer, we had to take it and he went back to work a week before I did. It was a heartwrenching experience for both of us, he LOVED being home with her and I, and she's our favorite person in the whole wide world.

    We switch off in the evenings, and whoever gets to put her to bed, makes dinner while the other one plays with her (so everybody gets one on one time) and then we all eat dinner together and we both do bathtime with her.

    Now I'm rambling but I'm just trying to say, great post, great perspective, thanks for validating the working Dad experience. It's not necessarily easier for you guys than it is for us, you just aren't as expected to talk about it, let alone agonize over it.

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  9. My husband really struggles with the whole "what do I do with him"? issue to since he didn't get maternity leave. It's a bit frustrating at times because no one taught me what to do....or teaches me now that I'm back at work. It's good to have this reminder of how removed it can feel like you are.

    Also, I think employers are really behind on dad's benefits. They understand women needing to take time off when the kid is sick (sort of) but it's a huge issue for dads to do the same. I think it causes friction in the work place and at home. I've been really lucky that my husband is ocassionally able to help out there.

    Anyway, thanks for writing...

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  10. "I was also bummed because since I wasn't around I didn't know how to calm him". feel ya on this. when ry was born i was working in a different city, so I was away 5 days a week for the first 3.5 months of her life. i had no clue what to do with her when she was upset...felt like a total parent fail

    "I was saying how it's not easy but we're not really supposed to talk about that...". agreed, it's tough. men should get maternity leave as well...i don't think it's fair we have to miss out and also exhaust our wives

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  11. "I was also bummed because since I wasn't around I didn't know how to calm him". feel ya on this. when ry was born i was working in a different city, so I was away 5 days a week for the first 3.5 months of her life. i had no clue what to do with her when she was upset...felt like a total parent fail

    "I was saying how it's not easy but we're not really supposed to talk about that...". agreed, it's tough. men should get maternity leave as well...i don't think it's fair we have to miss out and also exhaust our wives

    ReplyDelete
  12. My husband really struggles with the whole "what do I do with him"? issue to since he didn't get maternity leave. It's a bit frustrating at times because no one taught me what to do....or teaches me now that I'm back at work. It's good to have this reminder of how removed it can feel like you are.

    Also, I think employers are really behind on dad's benefits. They understand women needing to take time off when the kid is sick (sort of) but it's a huge issue for dads to do the same. I think it causes friction in the work place and at home. I've been really lucky that my husband is ocassionally able to help out there.

    Anyway, thanks for writing...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great post - it's nice to hear things from a dad's perspective. That's why I love your blog so much! It's a side you don't often get to hear about.

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  14. My wife leaves for work very early, so it's just me and my daughters in the mornings. That time with them is the best part of my day.

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