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  • Writer's pictureStuart Sheldon

Bad Daddy!

“Did you play tennis today in gym class?” I asked my 7-yo, as we walked into the house after school.  “No Daddy. You forgot to pack my gym clothes,” he said, flashing a you dumbass grin. 

My wife took a well-deserved, girls-only ski trip two weeks ago (yes, our lives are profoundly privileged). As she carved perfect S’s on her snowboard, I did my best to keep my kids fed and clothed and deposited at school on time. Luckily, no one lost an eye. But, after only one day, I longed for my wife’s return, fully aware of what I already knew – she runs our lives and keeps us balanced.

Men of the world, whether you wish to admit it or not, I’ll bet the woman in your home keeps the wheels on the jalopy that is your life.

Keep the Balance

I’m not ashamed of it. On the contrary, I feel bone-tingling appreciation that she is both able and willing to manage the team, make healthy dinners, pay the bills, schedule the doctor appointments and put the gym clothes in the backpacks. Not to mention, instill fairness and character into our sons with pitch-perfect instincts. It was not long ago that she worked full time on top of all the above. Now, she enjoys the life of a stay-at-home mom. Were I currently in charge of our lives, given my pinball life of art-making, writing deadlines and technology consulting, we’d all be sleeping on piles of unfolded laundry and my kids would be eating pizza crusts for lunch more than once a week.

Having said that, when our first was born, I was in charge. As a full-time fine artist, I had the time to be our first son’s full-time caregiver, while Jodi ran her ad-exec gig from her home office on our Sausalito houseboat. It had to be this way, because her income paid most of our bills, and her insurance kept our teeth clean. Frankly, I was thrilled for the opportunity; as an experience collector, the thought of bearing witness to the unfolding flower of my own progeny, day in and day out, exalted me. For two years, I strapped that little guy into the Baby Bjorn and off we went, just him and me, from Mommy and Me to Gymboree. What I learned amidst the burp cloths and Wheels on the Bus was this:

  1. I can’t remember most of it but wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  2. Anyone who discounts the monumental work involved in stay-at-home parenting is a damn fool.

Women hold this job far more often than men. And I’m here to tell the husbands that you better well appreciate the sacrifice and effort your partner puts forth keeping your offspring and house from disintegrating.

The captain of our ship

The captain of our ship

Today is not Mother’s Day or Valentines Day. It’s just Thursday. That is reason enough to take a moment to give your partner the props he or she is due.

Honey, thanks for running the show. And remind me, is today a gym day?

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