Downplaying and… I dunno, “Up-playing?”

I hugged Park Buddy today.

It wasn’t what you’re thinking — there’s none of that, thank you, despite the opinions of a couple of sanctimommies at the playground.

No, we just both needed a little reassurance today that even though Buddy Boy is going off to school next week, Buddy and I will still be buddies. We’re friends, we love each other’s kids, and we really enjoy our mutual outings. So we hugged, and there’s no reason I should feel guilty about it, right?

I’m not telling my wife about it, though.

Do you think you’ve caught me in a lie of omission? Well, ’tain’t the only one: I downplay the wonderful things about my life every day. I gloss over all sorts of stuff:

  • Outdoor adventures on beautiful days — my job is to go to the zoo and the beach and whatnot
  • Meandering (if interrupted) conversations with Park Buddy and my other (mostly female) friends
  • Those moments — like finding bugs together, or laying on the sand, or dancing — when I feel a deepening connection with my daughter

And then again, I emphasize parenting’s challenges:

  • Crying jags
  • Sore shoulders
  • Exhaustion
  • Isolation

I have no idea what drives me to do this, when the reality is exactly the opposite: I am generally thrilled with my life and career as a stay-at-home dad, and only occasionally do I feel the strain. And if it were any other job, I’d be likely to share with my wife all the things I love about it.

Why on earth do I downplay the very things that make me the happiest? I guess I’m justifying my cushy job… and rationalizing away the guilt I feel for depending on my wife to enable me to do this.

Do stay-at-home moms of one feel guilty like I do? Does it get easier when you have more kids?