By Tim, Adoptive Dad -
This month marks my 1-year anniversary in my new job and like with any job I took some time recently to reflect on my 1st year’s performance. I tried to ask for my boss’s feedback, but since she cannot form a sentence yet she was not much help. Her beautiful smile though reassured me that I am exceeding expectations.
Parenting has come easily and naturally to me. I feel I’ve excelled at establishing a consistent routine, exposing our girl to new experiences and providing for a lot of interactive playtime together. Oh, and I know how to rock a man’s diaper bag! Where I know I’m failing is with the “girly stuff”. Raising a daughter has me venturing into foreign territory and I know it will only get more difficult as her hair grows longer and more accessories become involved in her wardrobe.
My wife always handles bath and pajamas at night, because as I like to remind her, I’m off the clock. Ok, off the clock from daughter duty, but usually doing dishes, putting away toys or packing the diaper bag for the next day, the usual stuff every other parents does. My wife usually picks out our girl’s outfit for the next day during pajama routine and lays it out for me to dress her with in the morning. I usually comply with her subtle suggestion, but occasionally I go off script with the clothing, to mixed results. I think she looks good, but I also think I look good when I dress myself. My wife disagrees on both counts. Outfit matching is definitely not my strong suit but I like to think it is in my realm of abilities and try to make an attempt. Let’s just say more often than not that what gets left out, gets put on.
Along with clothing, hair care is rough terrain for me as well. Our daughter has beautiful curls, which makes combing and brushing a challenge, I’m still afraid I’m hurting her with every knot. My wife also likes to suggest hair accessories, I am not a fan of the hair bows. When she was a newborn I was convinced the hair band would squeeze her delicately developing head. As she’s grown and become a little more durable, I’ve realized I just simply do not care for the flair. My idea of doing the girl’s hair consists of applying some water to wet it down and brushing it until it is good enough.
I like to keep my wife included on our girl and I’s daily happenings by sending pics and video throughout the day. It’s a simple way to have her be a part of the action while she’s at work all day. I know mommy guilt is real and it is upsetting to hear my wife say, “she always sees me leaving.” These text messages are my way of trying to alleviate the guilt. I know how busy my wife’s day is by the speed and length of response. Most often I get reactions such as; “awe”, “love it”, “love her”, etc. On the days I go rouge with our girl’s attire, I instead get messages back asking “What is she wearing”, “What is she doing” and “Oh Goodness”. In addition, since my wife is a worry wart, I sometimes get a “please be safe” or a note about why what she is doing could not be safe. I’ve now learned to prescreen all outgoing messages to determine those that won’t go over well and they don’t make the cut. Some shenanigans are best kept between our girl and me.
One take-away I’ve learned from this first year as a stay at home dad is you are more prepared than you expect. It is perfectly healthy to be nervous but you must not be afraid. Let common sense inspire decisions and rest assured that crying does not mean anything. Well it could mean something as it is a pretty good indicator that something is wrong or needs attention but it can also mean absolutely nothing. The thought here is to check out and not freak out over the tears.
I cannot wait for next year’s performance evaluation to see where I stand and reflect on our adventures. Hopefully the boss keeps me around.