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Posts Tagged ‘sahd’

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As I write this I am sitting in front of a fireplace without my wife and son at a summer camp after spending the entire day working outside.  I am tired, sore, mildly under the influence and content.  I believe that it is important to temporarily remove yourself from whatever your day-to-day situation is so you can evaluate and appreciate what you have.  Leaving CT and coming here to work all day with my hands surrounded by wonderful people has given me that opportunity.  So what has this evaluation of my situation revealed?  Exactly what this picture my wife took reveals.  I have an awesome son who I get to spend every day with.  I have a loving wife who supports my choice to be a stay at home dad.  I love my family and get to spend every day taking care of them. What more could a dedicated father ask for?

I have not talked much about it but before I was a stay at home dad most of my identity came from my work.  When I first became a SAHD I was unsure of myself.  I felt like I was in limbo and while I publicly trumpeted my new role I still had a hard time letting go of my old identity.  It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this change and I believe that the struggle to do so was what drove me to write this blog.  These last few weeks it has been difficult for me to write and I have not been able to understand until now.

My writer’s block came from being too happy to write.  I think that much of my motivation to write has come from irritation and general angst.  I have not had either in abundance for a while because I have fully embraced my role as a stay at home dad.  I have always enjoyed spending time with my son but these last few weeks have been extra special.  He is doing lots of new stuff and has developed quite the little personality.  While all this is true the biggest change has been in me not him.  I was doing quite well in my relatively new role as a stay at home dad for the first few months but lately I have gone from being in a good place to being in a great place.  I went from liking spending all day with my son to loving spending all day with him.  Simply put, I am happier.

So how have I overcome this writers block?  I took time to reflect on my life and I came away with a new appreciation for what I have and what I am doing.  I discovered that if I focus on what is best in my life I can motivate myself to write more consistently.  Here’s hoping it continues to work!

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I have spent a lot of time on the road with my wife and O over the last week and I found myself getting more and more annoyed with the lack of changing stations in men’s rooms.  This got me thinking about how dads are asked to improvise if they are on their own while moms almost universally have easy access to changing stations anywhere they go.  Sometimes I just assume that a place does not have a changing station in their men’s room and awkwardly change him in my car.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know before going into a place?  I did some searching and there is a guy in New York who has put together a map of all the places in NYC that have changing stations in their men’s room.  I thought, “Why couldn’t I do the same thing?”  So I have begun putting a dad’s changing station Google map together for Connecticut with a focus on the central region.  I will put the link for the map up once I have 25 bathrooms with men’s room changing stations.  If you are interested in collaborating let me know.  You can send me the names and locations of places you have found and I can add them or I can give you access to the map so that you can put them up as you find them.  I think this could be a huge help for stay at home dads, but we are certainly not the only fathers who take their kids out without mom.  So dads out there, if you find a changing station in a men’s room you can leave a comment below, post on the Facebook page or drop me a tweet @ctstayathomedad.  Whatever is easiest!

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Babywearing

It seems like ages since I last posted despite it only being six days.  It has been an eventful period of time including our visit to the babywearer’s group, my first solo overnight with O, and a death in the family.  Currently I’m staying with family near Philadelphia so that I can attend a funeral tomorrow.  My wife is home taking care of him while I here.  I find that blogging helps take my mind off of things so I will attempt to cover all of this ground in my next few posts.  This post will focus will be on the babywearer’s group that my wife and I attended this past Saturday.

I will begin by briefly recounting our first visit to this group together several months back.  It was a small gathering of parents with at least one dad and interesting mix of crunchy and average moms.  By crunchy I mean one ha dreads and a toddler who walked over and pushed her shirt out of the way to breastfeed.  By average I mean parents who were interested in the carriers and had varying levels of interest in cloth diapers and breastfeeding.  I had some very nice conversations with the parents there and overall enjoyed the experience.  My wife bought two different carriers, uses them regularly and has attended multiple meetings since.  Neither of us has seen more than 12 people there and generally there’s a dad or two.

This past Saturday was a bit different for a couple of reasons.  The first was that I was there and was quite excited about it.  I wanted to try out a structured carrier and potentially buy one, plus I was hoping some other dads would be there that I could tell about my blog and facebook page to hopefully get a ct stay at home dads group up and running.  I also pictured the small low key and not intimidating group I attended several months back.  I walked into a group of roughly twenty moms and lots of babies and toddlers crammed into a relatively small space with limited seating.  I got to try out a Boba Carrier and I loved it but O isn’t quite big enough.  Diana was nice enough to help me with the carrier, and suggested that we might be able to prop him up higher in the carrier to make it work for the next month or so.  I can’t see spending $100+ for a carrier that he won’t fit into yet.  A friend is also giving me her carriers to try so that might hold me over until he is big enough for the Boba.  My wife learned how to do a back carry with her woven wrap and he seemed to like it, but I found myself a bit sidelined because I was not interesting in the various wraps all the moms were trying out.  There were no other dads there, although one mom did say her husband was staying at home to take care of their child and might be interested in what I was trying to do.

I will go back to the group again because I have seen that it isn’t an necessarily an overwhelming experience but I can’t see myself going back if I am going to be the only dad in a sea of moms and kids.  Its a bit overwhelming to be the only guy in such a noisy and prolactin fueled environment.  Everyone was very nice but I felt more like some sort of rare bird.  Most moms I talked to thought it was great I was there, but seemed surprised at the same time.  “We want you to be an involved dad, but we are surprised when you are” seemed to be the general sentiment.  I need to get used to this kind of reaction because it seems to be a common one when I do amazing things like “show up” and “change a diaper.”  So dads out there, any thoughts or stories about showing up to a group or event and being the only dad there?  Maybe some of you have had some interesting reactions to doing basic parenting things?  Leave a your story below in the comments section or on the facebook page!

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This Saturday I will be attending a New Britain Central CT Babywearer’s meeting.  My wife and I have gone before and she ended up buying a ring sling and woven wrap.  She loves both and uses them just about every time we take O out in public.  I want to get a structured carrier to make taking him out in public easier and am leaning towards a soft structured carrier like this one but I am not sure.  Thankfully I can try a few out at the baby wearer’s group!  In addition to providing babywearing info and offering tryouts of the different types, they also host a playgroup as well.  There are usually a few dads who go so it’s not necessarily a mommy dominated gathering.

My main concern with buying a structured infant carrier is that walking around as a somewhat chubby bearded man will further strengthen my Zach Galifianakis image.  I have gotten somewhat used to being told I look like him, although I don’t really see it, but using a baby carrier might bring this to annoying levels.  I think I’m willing to deal with that because the carrier will allow me to take O hiking and it should make shopping trips much easier.  An awesome friend also offered to give me hers so one way or another it looks like I will be living a hangover cliche soon!  Well, stay at home dads can’t really party like that so maybe it’ll be like “hangover” with less partying, more diapers and no booze.

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I have noticed lately that being a  stay at home dad has altered my sense of time.  I often find myself surprised when it starts to get dark outside, or when O shows signs of being ready for his morning or afternoon nap.  It’s really easy to space out and have a whole day go by just taking care of O in the apartment while meeting his moment to moment needs.  This becomes a problem early in the week when I don’t have any set plans to go anywhere.  It seems lately that my son and I aren’t getting out of the apartment enough during the first few days of the week.  There are several tools that can help to combat this problem.

The itzbeen timer was a great gift and it has definitely helped me keep track of when O needs to changed, fed, etc.  However, it does not help the aforementioned SAHD time warp.  That’s why I downloaded the ibaby app for my android OS phone.  It does what the itzbeen does but you can create custom buttons to track whatever you want plus create quick reminders and make time stamped notes with pics and videos to log what has happened during the day.  The main advantage the app has over the itzbeen is that you can look back over the day and see things like how many oz of milk your baby drank or how long they slept or how long its been since they pooped.  It also comes with quick log widgets for android OS phones that you can put on your home screen to make it easier to quickly log things on the go.  I enjoy being able to look at the log before I go to bed and see all that I did to care for my infant son and it definitely helps to fight the time distortion that comes with being a stay at home dad!

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