And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
And you may ask yourself, well...how did I get here?
(1st verse of “Once in a lifetime” by David Byrne and Talking Heads)
I suspect that all first-time parents, mothers and fathers, have thoughts similar to the ‘how did I get here’ line. Parenthood full stop messes with your head, challenges your world view. House parent and in my case, House Dad, can be altogether bizarre. Bizarre in the fact it’s so important to get right but you don’t have to do any training to do it. Then again, maybe we’ve been training our whole life-time.
So, how did I get here?
In some respects there wasn’t a deal of conversation about our decision, in others there was a lot. My Sweet and I both valued the arrangement that if possible, it would be our preference for our new-born to have one of us at home full-time. The sums were done and the numbers crunched, a job completed by My Sweet as she is the one with experience with numbers. And it was revealed that if I controlled my exuberance towards turning our home into the Taj Mahal, then it would indeed by fiscally possible for one of us to stay at home full-time. The decision as to which one of us it would be was an economic one and as My Sweet brings home more of the coin than I do, well, I could do the math on that one.
In actual fact, it wasn’t really a news flash. The number crunching had occurred some time ago, so, I knew it was the plan … we knew it was the plan … our families and friends knew it was the plan. Now, we men, by and large, are simple folk and I am a good example of that. So, when the trigger was pulled, so to speak, and My Sweet and I discovered that we were to be parents, well, I began having some doubts about the plan. A bit too late I know. So, as the timer counted down and there was no way to reverse the process that nature had taken responsibility for, well inside I began to fret.
Most of the time I was able to use logical, rational thought to override any sub-conscious fears, and when that didn’t work, I did the male thing of busying myself and burying my head in the sand. And everybody we discussed the plan with were always supportive. We and in particular I, received positive affirmations for our family choice each time it was raised. We were told how common this parenting method had become. Everyone seemed to know of someone who had taken the role of ‘house dad’ or one of its various derivatives, i.e. ‘house husband’, ‘stay at home dad’ etc … etc …, and that helped my uneasiness.
I had readied myself to the idea, or so I had thought. In the final weeks I found myself full of optimism and positivity for the challenge ahead. Mates had congratulated me on finding ‘the loophole’, the key to the gates behind which was fun times ahead, they had wished ‘if only’, but then I too found myself wishing ‘if only’, but my ‘if only’ also included the asterisk of ‘if only someone else was going to join me on this journey.’
And then on a Thursday afternoon last November, IT happened. I WAS joined by someone for this journey. I hadn’t figured on it until just now, but I’ve actually had TWO people with me on this journey, My Sweet and Baby James. I shouldn’t take either of them for granted. They’ve been with me every step of the way. When I’ve felt melancholy I’ve had Baby James to make me laugh and smile as he does his monkey impression or as he follows me around and he burbles conversation which I understand perfectly. My Sweet has been strong for me too, provided a shoulder for me to lean on, has been patient with me and most of all has understood the huge mental adjustment involved.
So, how did I get here? Good fortune got me here and I am thankful for that.