And I Used To Be So Gruntled: Three Lost Days From My Life as a Stay-at-Home Dad

by doodaddy on October 26, 2007


It’s been a rough week.
(Mike took this photo, by the way.)

I was well into my 30s when I became a father, so you could say I’d grown up a bit. My pre-Boobaby days have faded under a sea of poopy diapers, but in what little memory I have of those halcyon days, I recall feeling really comfortable with just about everything. Not “in control” — I worked with kids and animals, so I was never “in control.” No — more like “confident”: I competently met every challenge that my childless life threw up at me, most of the time.

I was always on kilter.

I felt ept at everything.

I woke up gruntled every day.

The last three days have been off kilter, inept, and disgruntled. And, I should add, not very kempt or gainly, either.

I am loathe to go into details because I hardly remember any. The images swimming around in my mind from this week are…

  • Baby not sleeping.
  • Arguments with Working Mom about housework, respect for my “work,” and god knows what else.
  • Hunger. Not taking time to feed myself well.
  • Worry about moving.
  • Falling asleep on the kitchen floor. Yeah, that was intelligent.

…and, the kicker…

  • Running out of coffee.

Now, in those pre-baby days, I would have been able to handle any one of those things without a blink. Toddlers magnify trivial challenges ginormously. I think it’s simply a matter of accumulation: a little lost sleep isn’t that big a deal, but when it happens every night for a week, well, that’s something. Behind on the laundry? That used to be a task for a couple of hours on a Sunday; now it’s a three-day epic, and by the time I’m done, the hampers are full again.

So you see, I’ve been desolately tired, haggard, strained, and starved for the past few days. There have been bright patches I’ve wanted to write about — a lovely hike with Mike and Emmeline, for example — but I’ve been prevented by my overall exhaustion.

I’m disappointed in myself. I feel like a yogurt cup Boobaby smashed under her foot at the playground: helpless, wasted, and a little gross. Babies are hard, parenting is hard. Having a life-long relationship with another person is hard. And all those things are incomparably wonderful, too. Going through a stormy patch doesn’t mean there’s no calm port ahead: it just means that the sailing gets tough for a little while.

What a crappy week. I should try not to be so domitable.

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tagged as in failure,stay-at-home dad,Stuff You Feel ·

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

cryitout October 26, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Oy, buddy, the kitchen floor. That sounds like the kicker. I wouldn’t think there’s any reason to be disappointed. This thing IS hard — all of it– but like you said, there’s calm ahead. Somehow. Just need to fill up on coffee.


Johnny October 26, 2007 at 7:45 pm

Children and sleep deprivation singularly make any situation worse, but when combined it’s very tough time. Hang in there; it’ll get better.


Xbox4NappyRash October 27, 2007 at 12:08 am

You’ve done this now for nigh on two years and done it well.

That alone speaks volumes, when you think things aren’t going as you expected, have a look at your accomplishments, worthy of a pat on the back anytime.

Chin up!


Dawn October 27, 2007 at 4:22 am

I just send my husband to bed in the other room. I hope he sleeps till noon and wakes up ungrizzled.

May there be enough sleep or downtime to refuel yourself for the next week.


Dawn October 27, 2007 at 4:22 am



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