5:30 came early to our household. Potamus had been up aproximately 167 times in the night, and we alternated nursing and bouncing, like always. But something was different this time; Boof wouldn’t be able to sleep in once I got Potamus out the door for daycare. The transition from stay-at-home dad, for the past year, has come to a close, and we will all be up bright and early starting our day before the sun (which never shines here in Seattle).
I made sure to tell Boof I wanted a picture of the two of them before he left for the day. There’s something about a man in a suit and tie that brings back memories of my own childhood, and I wanted to document the end of a great era. While this job is temporary for tax season, we’re hoping it turns into a full-time gig later in the Spring. Boof’s worked so hard to overcome the shitty experience in his last job, go back to school, hold down a few part-time gigs and be the primary caregiver to our sweet Potamus. And while it’s been hard for all of us, I am so thankful that we got to experience it (I’m also thankful for in-laws who helped keep us afloat for the last few months).
I don’t know what Boof learned during the time as Daddio Numero Uno, but I have enjoyed seeing the bond that he and Potamus have. He was worried when Potamus was born that he wouldn’t feel like a dad until he was 8 and could throw a baseball, so it’s nice to see this relationship and ease in how they interact. There’s a rhythm and routine that our future children won’t get to have with their daddio, but it’s okay, it’ll be different then anyway. I’ve learned that our roles are fluid and that our kid handles transitions much better than either of us adults. It’s been sweet, even when it’s been hard.
I’m trying to remember that this transition will be like all the others, hard and then not-so-hard as we get in a new routine and rhythm. I worry that Potamus will miss Boof terribly, but then get excited thinking about how he’ll probably be all smiles when daddio comes home right before bedtime. I worry that I’ll have to pick up the cooking/cleaning slack and that will make me tired, but know I am also kinda excited and up for a challenge. I see that just in 1 month of daycare Potamus has gone from sad to happy(ish) when I leave him and happy(!) when I pick him up. We will all adapt.
So on his way out the door, to catch the light-rail into the city, I snapped that photo, on my cell-phone, in one try. No wriggling or reaching for the camera or funky red-eye. Just a beautiful smile and a snuggle up into his daddio. A picture to capture the 1,000 memories of the year of stay-at-home dadness. It’s beautiful, really.
I just stumbled upon your blog today and I love this post. As a former stay-at-home dad myself, I went through this transition myself, returning to the working world. I remember how hard it was for me to head to work and drop my daughter off at daycare for the first time. I wondered how much I was going to miss her, how would some stranger I didn’t know take care of my child? It was hard for me. But, as time passed and the new routine became, well routine, things definitely got easier. My daughter is about to turn two and I love the feeling of coming home and seeing her light up and run to me when I come in the door screaming “DADDY!!!”
Thanks Nick for stopping by the blog! Yes, he texted me already from work (where he has his own name-plate on the cubicle, woot!), and I think we will all take a little time to adjust, but secretly I am SO excited for those moments when he walks in the door and Potamus runs (or crawls) over to him in excitement! I’m glad to hear the transition for you all went well!
Thumbs-up for getting his own name-plate! That is something I didn’t receive. Those moments really do make going back to work worth it. It makes the time after work even more enjoyable, I was lucky in a way. My wife used to work on Sundays, so I would still get my daddy-daughter time. That made my transition a bit easier, for sure. I hope your transition goes just as well!