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

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.