I’m going to be honest – I don’t know if I could handle watching my kids 24/7 because I think around day 4 I would be diagnosed clinically insane.
Don’t get me wrong … I love my kids, but frankly I don’t know how my wife does it!
Recently I found myself trading places with her for a couple of days and needless to say, by the end of my time being a stay-at-home dad, not only was I pretty darned eager to get back to work at the office, but the cashier who had been selling me wine by the box at Costco had started making house calls just to check up on me and make sure I was ok…
For starters, I don’t know how she does all of the running around that she does.
Namely because 100% of her errands involve having a minimum of two kids in the car, which is awful. Driving around with kids is like driving a taxi, except that everyone is crying, and nobody pays their tab, and you’re constantly getting hit in the head with chicken nuggets.
And getting out of the car is even worse because you can’t just unbuckle and go – not if you don’t want to be madly chasing a toddler across the parking lot, both astonished and also terrified by how well they are at playing this life-size game of Frogger that you’re suddenly both a part of!
Unpacking a carload of kids is even more daunting when you’re by yourself, trying to figure out how to load onto the stroller a Babies ‘R Us worth of supplies just in case the apocalypse comes during the 3.5 minutes while you’re inside the 7/11 trying to grab your Slurpee fix. Of course, the kids will each want one too – not to drink, but because they make an impressive mess when thrown across the van while Dad is trying to drive down the freeway in a rush to get to interpretive dance class without causing a 118-car pile up…
The thing is, 84% of the time my kids are great.
But kids have a way of making that last 16% of the time feel like a million, bajillion percent of the time, and when they’ve already got you stressed because you’re running late and you didn’t put their socks on like Mom always does, they can have this not so subtle way of making you want to stick your head into a bag filled with angry beavers and just scream.
It’s truly amazing how that woman shuttles kids to far corners of the earth, and feeds them, and clothes them, and doesn’t end up abandoning one of them in a shopping cart at the grocery store for 15 minutes because her body subconsciously just takes over and goes, “We’re going to get some caffeine – NOW – Tony the Tiger and Dig ‘Em can supervise until you get back!”
There are normal days when I leave the house with the kids that I’m lucky to have a matching pair of shoes for each of them, and yet she’s somehow got them all in color-coordinated outfits, each with their own preferred snacks and toys and a book to read in case they get bored. And then she gets them where they need to go – on time – and they sing songs and learn things and it’s somehow or another a generally happy experience for everyone involved!
It’s also insane, and I think if I had to care for our kids all by myself on a regular basis, within about two weeks I’d have just moved us all into a single padded room where Amazon Prime can deliver us Goldfish crackers for the kids to graze on directly off the floor, and I’d have a little pillow to weep into in the corner … at least when the kids hadn’t stolen my pillow to pummel me with it instead.
Some people give stay-at-home moms a lot of grief because they think they just sit around all day eating bon-bons while their perfectly behaved kids quietly wait for General Hospital to be over so that they can play, but the truth is during my brief tenure I didn’t get to eat a single one.
I may have gotten hit in the head with a few, but it’s really hard to tell when you’re driving 70 mph at the time.