Archive for the ‘Stay At Home Dad’ Category

Experiments in parenting

Posted: December 7, 2012 in Sleep, Stay At Home Dad

Max and I have accidently been conducting an experiment this week. It has not gone well.

As most of you that know me will know, I am not a morning person. I may have said before that being a stay at home dad, has forced me to change some of my sleep habits. But even when I’m up, I’m not really awake until around noon. So, needless to say, mornings can be kind of crazy.

Anyway. Last week I heard someone talking about how their kids were horrible brats when they watched TV in the mornings, and the behavior continued the rest of the day. This behavior sounded all to familiar to me and was how we’ve been spending an every growing amount of time lately. So, last Sunday Max and I got up in the morning and started playing. There were a few times that he asked about the TV, but when I said no, he would just keep on playing and forget about it. After a few hours of playing I turned on the football games, but continued to play with him and interact more with him. He was by no means perfect. But, at least to me, it seemed like a different kid in many ways.

Monday Jennifer had to stay home because I’d been up pretty much all night and needed to rest. So, things were a little different that day. But we pretty much did the same thing. More interaction and less TV. Even some more time to play Starfall educational games on the computer.

I continued this on Tuesday, with pretty much the same results. He was a much calmer kid and listened to me. It was great.

But then I hit a wall Tuesday night. I can’t even remember exactly what happened, but I didn’t get enough sleep, or at least restful sleep. So, I was exhausted Wednesday morning. I had no energy to play with Max at all. It was all I could do just to stay awake. So, I went back to the old ways. I turned on the TV and tuned out. And so did Max. He changed almost instantly. He kept asking me to play with him, but like the selfish person I can be when I’m tired, I would tell him no, or later, which means no to him. It was hard to watch. But I had no energy to do anything about it. I just told myself that tomorrow would be better. I’d get some good sleep and everything would be better.

As you can probably guess, I haven’t slept well the rest of the week and it’s all fallen apart. The only evidence there is of the beginning of the week, is that Max now asks me to play more than normal. I know that not all of his actions can be placed on the TV or less interaction. I know that there are going to be days where neither one of us are going to be up for much. But I know that I don’t have patience when I’m tired. And so, I’m sure I don’t treat him the best. It’s hard to see, because I know he is a good kid. But he’s learning my bad habits. My moodiness. My selfishness. I see all of these things reflected back to me in my son.

I know that I need to find a way to get normal sleep. He really wants to play with me now. Who knows how long he’ll keep wanting to, if I keep saying no.

Being a dad is confusing

Posted: October 5, 2012 in Stay At Home Dad

Being a dad is hard. I know most people, especially dads, know this. But it really is hard. I live my kids more than anything in this world. And would give up anything to be with them. But it’s not always easy.

I know that I am blessed with two beautiful healthy children. They are both amazing. But that really doesn’t always help. Maybe my case is different because I stay home with them, but there are days where I just don’t think I’m going to be able to do it anymore.

Lately I feel like an explosion is building up inside of me, and I’m scared if how it might come out. I find that there are days where all I want to do it put them in their rooms and walk out the front door.

But then there are some amazing times too. The last few days Max and I have been having a hard time. I’m not sure what’s been going on, but he seems to be trying everything he can to get on my nerves.

Then tonight one of our friends to him for a little bit, for which they deserve an award. When they came back I met them at the top of the stairs to our apartment. Max came around the corner and saw me and yelled, “daddy.” And ran up the rest of the stairs. I have to say that made me feel really good.

Than we spent some of the rest of the evening watching Lion King and hanging out. It’s pretty amazing to sit with your son on your lap and have him tell you he loves you. There really is nothing like it in this world.

Maybe I should have started off this blog, being a dad is confusing. That sums it up a little better. It’s great. But it’s also horrible.

I call Max the most demanding boss I’ve ever had and its the truth. No other boss I’ve ever had would wake up me up in the middle of the night or have me cuddle up with them after they’ve had a bad dream. And if they did I think I’d have to quit. That would have been weird.

Having kids has been a really strange experience for me. I feel like, in so many ways, I’m watching myself in Max. And that makes me so scared for him. The things I’ve been through in my life have been crazy. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. Yet I wouldn’t change them, because, as they say, those are the things that brought me here. But I’m really not looking forward to my son having to go through any of those things.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to try and keep him from most of the things that I’ve been through. But I know he’s going to get hurt. I look at him, and he’s so innocent. I don’t look forward to the first time he realizes that the world is not fair and he’s not the center of it. I dread having to pick him up after he’s lost something and have to tell him it will all be ok.

But I know that’s my job. I wouldn’t want him to get everything he wasted in life. I wouldn’t want him to be a jerk who thinks he’s the king of the world. I don’t want him to think the world owes him something. So, I guess that means he’ll have to fall on his face at some point. I just pray that I’m there to pick him up and dust him off when he does.

Sorry if this post was a little somber. Just the thoughts that came into my head, when I sat down to write.

Sleep

Posted: July 30, 2012 in Sleep, Stay At Home Dad

If you know much about me, you know that I have always had a problem with sleep. Not that I don’t like sleep. I love sleep. I just have never been able to get enough. In fact if you look at the times that I’ve been posting blogs lately, you might think that I’ve timed them to go out in the middle of the night. Unfortunately that is no the case. Every one of these blogs has been posted right after writing it.

I truly think that something is wrong with my inner clock. It seems like it’s on a different cycle then everyone else’s. I’ll be fine for a while. Than all of a sudden I won’t be able to sleep for a night. Which leads to some interesting times while taking care of the kids. But then I have to go to bed early that night. And it leads to my days and nights being switched.

Before we had kids I actually thought some of this would help me. Most of my life, I’ve been able to function on very little sleep. In college most of my papers were written in the middle of the night. It’s always been when I do my best thinking. For some reason, my mind thinks a whole lot clearer with little sleep. Maybe that’s another reason these blogs are written in the middle of the night.

But, as it turns out, kids take so much more energy to raise then sitting through a class, or stumbling through another day at work. Max is up and ready to take on the world most days at 6 AM. Before kids, the only time I saw 6 AM was on the end of an all-nighter.

Part of the problem might be that I’m a night person, and in order to be up and moving at 6, I have to go to bed way before my body would normally want to. Plus, after the kids go to bed is the only time I actually get to hang out with just Jennifer. So, it’s not like I just want to rush to sleep as soon as the kids are down. But most nights I’m not too far behind them.

Then it seems like a night will come along, and my body will rebel against this trend and keep me up. Even if I’m in bed. Than the whole cycle gets screwed up, and I’m just trying to tread water to keep up with my kids all day.

Another part of the problem is that I’m getting older and cannot go as long without sleep as I used to. My body knows this and will eventually give out. But my mind hasn’t fully wrapped itself around this idea yet. So, I go into a night like I’ve had the last few nights, where I’ve slept for a good portion of the day, and think I’ll just stay up and then all day tomorrow and I’ll be fine. I might have to go to bed a little early, but nothing major. Then morning rolls around and Jennifer and the kids are wanting to do something, and I’m a zombie sitting in the chair. So, I will eventually head to bed and then I’m up all night again.

Yeah, not a very good way to live. But until my body and my mind both realize that I’m not in my twenties anymore and need to sleep when normal people sleep, I guess this is how it will have to be.

Tonight, my wife, mom and I, were talking about memories of being a kid. Everything I remembered about my child were these big reckless abandon moments. I was a carefree kid who would run head first into almost any situation with a smile on my face. The problem was, that I was also somewhat accident prone. So these memories also centered around injuries that I had sustained. Like the time I slide my bike under a parked dump truck on my knee. Fun times. My mom even said there were many times that she wasn’t sure I’d make it through childhood alive. Let alone with no broken bones at all. But I did.

This brings up several thoughts for me. First off, I’m scared for Max. He’s already showing a reckless side. Plus he’s inherited a double dose of the accident prone part. This will make his childhood very interesting and eventful, I’m sure.

But, it also brings up feelings of the things I’ve lost. Somewhere along the way I lost that reckless part. Worse than that, I replaced it with an extreme fear of doing almost anything remotely dangerous. I’m not even sure when along the way I lost this part. But at some point I stopped putting myself out there. I stopped making friends. I stopped trying new things. I moved into my little box and stayed there. I almost didn’t go out on the first date with my wife, because I was so scared.

It makes me wonder how many things I’ve missed in my life because I’ve been too scared to step out and try. I’m not saying that I want to go back to that total reckless abandon. But I really do wish I hadn’t lost that crazy streak. I think life would be a lot more fun if I were willing to try new things and step outside my little comfortable box once in a while. I might fall down sometimes. But I would at least be moving and hopefully in a forward direction.

So I think I’ve decided to try to write a little on here every night. Can’t promise it will happen. But I’m going to try. It may not always be coherent either, but that’s because I might be doing it in the middle of the night while everyone else is asleep. I’m also going to be trying to keep these fairly short. I read a lot of blogs and there are a few that just seem to get too long sometimes and I just don’t feel like reading all of that. So, I’m going to try not to put you through that either.

But what am I going to write about? I’m still not entirely sure. I know that I’d like to talk about my life as a stay at home dad, but I’d also like to talk about some other things.

Tonight I think I’m going to talk about the dreams that I’ve always had for my life and where some of them have gone off track.

I can honestly say that I never thought I would be where I am today. To be honest, I didn’t even think about the future very much until I met my wife in college. I never really wanted to be a dad. I truly didn’t even know if I wanted to make it to my 30th birthday. But that all changed when I met my wife. I could see myself growing old with her. I could see myself getting married and having kids. I now looked forward to the future and what it might hold.

But there is one thing that I think I forgot along the way. Finding a career path. I’ve never really known what I wanted to do with my life. And so as I’ve grown a little older and made it into my thirties, I find myself kind of floundering. Not sure what I want to do, or what I should do.

I was working part-time at Borders when we had our first kid. There was no way that with my ever lower hours there, that I would be able to even come close to paying for day care. So, we decided that it would be best for me to stay home. I can honestly say that this was probably the second best choice that I’ve made in my life. The first being to ask Jennifer to marry me.

But at the same time, I went into it very naive and blind. I’ve always had a passion for writing and playing music. So, I thought I would have all of this free time at home watching my son, that I would just be able to write music and stories. Start a blog or two. I would eventually start making a living doing this and be able to contribute to my family finances in some way.

But, as you’ll know if you’ve ever tried to get something done with a kid around, that was next to impossible.

Well, I think it’s time for me to head to bed. Need to get some sleep. I’m sure I’ll come back to this topic at some point in the future. But that’s all I have for tonight.

Thanks for reading.

New start to blog

Posted: July 25, 2012 in Stay At Home Dad

Well, I guess it’s time to get this thing started. I’m not sure how to really do that, but I’ll try and get through it. If you don’t know who I am, my name is Geoff. I’m married to my amazing wife Jennifer and am the father of two beautiful little kids, Max(3) and Chloe(7months). I’m a stay at home dad, which means I have the most demanding job I’ve ever had in my life with the most amazing bosses in the world. Plus what other job do you get to wrestle and have tickle fights with your boss at.

I love what I do. But as you’ll likely find out, if you keep reading that is, it’s not always easy for me to do this. I’m an extreme introvert dealing with some severe depression and thrive on having a lot of time to myself to think through things. Which is not so easy with little kids running around. That might be the reason I’m writing this at 11:30pm.

In this blog I’m going to be trying to tell my story, both past and present. It may not always be easy, and I may not share everything. But I’m going to be trying to tell things how they happen. I’ll try and add some good times in with the bad, but I’m not sure how this will all go. I’m going to try and not make this just the place I come to vent about my life and kids. I wouldn’t want to read that and I’m sure you don’t either.

Plus I love what I do. I’ve never felt better about anything in my life. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. It’s been a very hard road so far, and I’m sure there will be even more bumps along the way.

I hope you’ll come back and hear more of my story as it unfolds. It would be great to have other people along for the ride. Plus you might be able to help me figure out what I’m doing.