Warning: Flying can be Dangerous for Stay-at-home Dad Families!

by doodaddy on April 11, 2007

Airplanes are not just incubators for germs. They also incubate discomfort, and fear, and insecurity.

In case you missed it, I’ve been gone for a week;
the past few posts were pre-written so
I haven’t responded to any comments
for a while; sorry, and I’ll get to it presently!

Boobaby did really well on the plane, but her parents, not so good. The last leg, Chicago to San Francisco, I felt like I’d completely checked out: I’d been up too long, was on Benadryl myself — the grandfolks have three cats and a house jam-packed with dust-collecting knickknacks —, and had been up a couple times with Boo the night before.

It wasn’t until the last hour of the flight when I got my second wind and was able to spell Working Mom for a bit, as she’d had her hands really full keeping Boo occupied and happy. For the record, even though it was Boo’s worst flight, we got compliments from our seat-neighbors about how little noise she made — she cried a few times, but not for very long, I guess.

So all in all, I was thinking we were doing not-great-but-all-right, until after the flight, WM breaks down and tells me “what a failure” she feels like, like I’m “so good with her” and that she doesn’t know how to make Boo happy. Right there waiting for the cabin-checked stroller, the orange warning signs started flashing through my head.

Yield!

Falling Rock!

Parental Insecurity Ahead. Steep cliff!

My Park Buddy’s husband loves to work. He wouldn’t want to switch places with his wife even if finances allowed. That seems to be (roughly) the case with (roughly) most of the working dads who have stay-at-home wives that I meet: they love their kids and are plenty involved with them, but are happy being the bacon-bringer.

Not so for the SAHDs I know well (which is just me). My wife loves her job, too, but has a huge set of anxieties about what she’s missing with Boobaby. Every time Boo reaches for me when mom is nearby I see a twinge of it. I know a lot of calming techniques (from much use, of course!), but when I use them I know my wife wishes it was her with the bag of tricks.

The funny thing is that I truly don’t think that Boobaby has an overarching preference for me. She reaches for me when she’s in WM’s arms, but does the same back when I’ve got her. Boo more often chooses me for roughhousing and music, sure, but picks her mom for reading and crafts. Not to mention the fact that from everything I read, Boo will go through “mommy phases” and “daddy phases” no matter what the caregiving arrangements.

But that’s really beside the point, which is this:

I want to be and need to be a loving support for my wife during the challenges that crop up in her life.

I’m pretty good at that when the challenges are with work, or some friend, or paperwork, or, shoot, picking furniture.

With this particular challenge? With convincing my wife that she’s the fantastic, competent, loving, giving, wonderful mother that she is? Well, I suck at that.

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tagged as in stay-at-home dad,travel,Working Mom ·

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

aimee/greeblemonkey April 12, 2007 at 11:31 am

oh man, where WERE you people two years ago??? I was soooo Working Mom, and Bryan was sooo Doodaddy.

Reply

Chris Wondra April 12, 2007 at 1:20 pm

Hey Doodaddy,

So I’m surfing this new cool mybloglog thing (just signed up yesterday) and I bump into a familiar name.

Howdy!

Anyway, great post here. I can totally relate. My wife is at home with the kids now, but it didn’t used to be that way. And I can totally relate to the “twing” you talk about.

This is a delicate dance isn’t it. Great observation

Reply

doodaddy April 12, 2007 at 2:38 pm

@aimee~ I know it was a rhetorical question, but why not answer? Let’s see… we were a typical thirtysomething San Fran childless couple, going to nice restaurants and plays and museums, spending tons of free time in the wild outdoors, hanging out with our urban friends, discussing art and politics and being mildly activistic, going to Sonoma for a wine weekend at the drop of a hat.

In other words, we were NOTHING like we are now, 180 degree turnaround!

@Chris~ Hey, Chris! Nice to hear from you… I’m impressed that you’d remember one random commenter among all who read your excellent blog. (I feel almost like a groupie, actually — it’s a lifelong dream of mine to teach middle school science.)

Anyway, thanks for dropping by… See ya!

Reply

Chris Wondra April 12, 2007 at 5:34 pm

Doodaddy,
I normally don’t double dip into a comment stream, but I just had to ask: Did you say “teach middle school . . .” and “lifelong dream” in the same sentence? You sure? You feeling alright? Maybe you just had a long day. 🙂

Kidding. Just kidding. I always wanted to teach High-School. But Middle Schoolers are cool too–in a funny, hyper, moody, one-track- hard-to-focus, what the, you gotta be kidding me, kind of way.

Quick example: the science teacher took the class out to do a lab today. There was a little creek in this area. There was also a vine hanging over the creek (can you see where this is going?) Yeah, one kid just couldn’t resist, went in head first and soaked himself.

Anyway, nice blog (and perspective) you have here. Love it. Keep up the good work.

Chris

Reply

doodaddy April 12, 2007 at 6:50 pm

Yeah, I know, it’s weird, but that’s me all over. I taught outdoor education for 10ish years, mostly kids in that prime field-trip age of 3rd-6th grades. I did programs for older kids, too, and I always enjoyed middle school the most. I groove on the hormone-driven festival of the bizarre that is any group of early teens.

If I had my dream-of-dreams, actually, it would be to teach in a multiple-subject middle school (not that those exist any more). Or maybe be one of a two-teacher team for a 6th or 7th grade.

But many, many things will come before that day!

Ta,

Dd.

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