You know the story. You've worked all day. You're exhausted. You're hungry. You just want to go home, curl up with a good book and relax. Before that, though, there are things to do. Olivia needs to be picked up at field-hockey practice. Jamie needs a ride to play rehearsal. The baby. Almost forgot that the baby is at day-care today; can't forget to pick her up. Then there are groceries, and the mail, and those couple of errands that you didn't get to when you ran out on your lunch break.
Finally, you're home. Time settle down on the couch, right? Wrong. The kids insist on being fed. Didn't they just eat last night? Meals lead to dishes. Washing dishes reminds you there's still laundry to do. The baby is crying. Again. The house is a mess. The phone rings. “Aren't you going to pick me up?”
More of us working dads are out in public, taking care of our kids, stressing about dinner, and wondering if they can get it all done.
– Elroy Davis
Right. Play practice is over, Jamie needs a ride home. Bundle the other kids up, pack them in the car. Forget about the laundry. Probably should have cleaned up the yard while it was still light out. No time. No energy. Better put gas in the car on the way, and swing by the store since you're out of bread again. Not enough time. Gah! The kids are both crying now. Their seat-belts are too tight. Finally at the school. Jamie's standing out there all alone, waiting under the streetlight. You feel like the worst parent ever.
You can't do it all though. You're a working mom, right?
You're a working dad.
We're out here.
That book? Yeah, it was about power tools. Those errands at lunch? Had to take my wife's car to the garage, and then pick up some lumber to fix the fence.
I see articles all the time about working moms. They're frazzled, trying to balance home life and a career. They're under-appreciated, overworked, and stressed. Ladies, you're not alone. Every morning at daycare I see a herd of men dropping off their kids. Some arrive in construction pick-ups, others in three-piece suits. They're wiping tears (sometimes their own) as their kids beg them not to leave. They're laughing as their child hands them a lump of fired-clay with the word “Love” raggedly painted on it.
As one of these working dads, I often wonder if the moms see us. They certainly don't seem to write articles about us. I admit, when my first daughter, now almost 17, was small, it was pretty rare to see a father at ballet rehearsal or cheerleading practice. Over the years, though, I've noticed a trend. More of us working dads are out in public, taking care of our kids, stressing about dinner, and wondering if they can get it all done. We do it for the same reasons working moms do. We love our kids. We want them to grow up to be amazing people. And the screaming baby that kept us up all night? Yeah, she smiled at us this morning.
So why aren't there articles about us? Well, either no one has noticed us, or, as I shrugged to a friend of mine “We're guys. We don't talk about stuff.”
So here's an article for all you working dads out there. Take heart, you're not alone.