Looking Back at My Year as an At-Home Dad

Audrey Zachary Classy Chair

So I got a job.  Yup, starts today.  I’m pretty excited about it too!  But I must admit there’s a significant element of terror involved.  Not just because the role is going to serve as a big challenge for me—which it will—but also because I’ve spent the past year at home, watching the kids and keeping the house from burning down (albeit just barely).  Needless to say, this week is going to be a monumental adjustment for this at-home dad.

But before taking the plunge, I afforded myself one final chance to look back on the past year of my life; the goods, the bads, and all the other lessons learned during my time alone with the kids.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

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Lessons in Fatherhood as Taught by Eighties Movies

Zachary-Spider

It was only after I said to my daughter, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything,” that I realized I just quoted Back to the Future.  I must admit I was a little self conscious about it at first, but a 2-year-old doesn’t know a McFly from a Tannen.  And the sentiment certainly isn’t bad advice to impart on anyone.  In other words, an eighties movie just taught my daughter a life lesson.  Interesting.

This got me thinking:  What other wisdom could I glean from the films of my childhood?  How could the movies of the ‘80s shape me into a better father?  And these are pretty stupid questions, aren’t they?

Yep.  But let’s see what I uncovered anyway.

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Is the Second Child Really Easier Than the First?

Zachary-Tummy

When my wife was pregnant with our second child Zachary, various people offered the following refrain:  “Don’t worry.  The second child is much easier.”

Those people are liars.

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Five Important Rules for At-Home Dads When Mom is Home

Pirate-Audrey

Thanks to the recent arrival of my newborn son, my wife is currently at home on Maternity Leave.  Being a stay-at-home father myself, this is great in many ways.  I’m not as lonely, I have some help around the house, and I can spend some quality time with her.

But this doesn’t mean that everything’s going to be beautiful sunshine and sugary sweet lollipops.  No, a stay-at-home father can make some big mistakes when he’s no longer the sole voice of authority in the home.  I should know.  I’ve made them.  But lucky for you, friend, I’m here to share my vast knowledge, and keep you out of the proverbial doghouse.

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The Many Horrible Things That Will Happen to You When You Go From One to Two Children

Zachary Sleeping

Two weeks.  Two weeks since my family went from three to four.  Two weeks since my 2-year-old daughter met my newborn son.

A lot has happened in those two weeks.  Some ups.  Lots of downs.  My wife and I always knew the transition from three to four would be tumultuous, but predicting our new life and living it are two different things.

Still, knowing what to anticipate when you have a second child is your best course of action should you find yourself expecting once again.  So with that in mind, here is what you can expect to have happen to you upon greeting your second child:

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Dealing With the Almighty Power of “No”

Audrey-Pensive

This morning I went to the playground, placed my 2-year-old daughter on the swing per her request, and pushed it.  Pretty run of the mill stuff!  But this time she immediately became upset.  So I stopped it for her.  But to my surprise this didn’t diffuse matters.  Instead it resulted in just more kicking and screaming.

ME:  “Do you want to swing?”

AUDREY:  “NO!”

ME:  “Do you want to get down?”

AUDREY:  “NO!”

ME:  “So…do you want to just sit there?”

AUDREY:  “NO!”

ME:  (pause)  “How about the slides?  Do you want to go on the slides?”

AUDREY:  “NO!”

ME:  “Do you want to ride your bike some more?  You did so well earlier.”

AUDREY:  “NO!”

ME:  (another pause)  “The spray park is over there.  We could go get your swimsuit and go to the spray park.”

AUDREY:  “NO!”

ME:  “Do you just want to go home, honey?”

AUDREY:  “NO!”

ME:  (running out of options)  “Sesame Street is on…”

AUDREY:  “NO!”

Sigh.  Seeing the neighboring swing, I sat down on it.  Silently.  The silence lasted for seven minutes, each of us sitting in our swings.  Such is life with a 2-year-old.

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