Thursday, February 6, 2014

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7 Reasons Being A Stay At Home Dad Was Cool

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Last summer I had the opportunity to be a stay at home dad for three months. I’ve written a few essays about this. One of them discussed how I thought I was going to do abetter job at caring for our house and kids than Mel did, and how I quickly learned how difficult being the primary caregiver can be. The other was on how women hit on me while I was a stay at home dad. But I haven’t ever listed how cool it was. So here is a quick list.

1.     Other than when we went to church on Sunday, I never wore pants. In fact, most of the time I wore something with an elastic waist. I’d never felt so free!

2.     Mel doesn’t know this, but I took a nap almost EVERY DAY! I’d put on a movie for Norah, and give Tristan the iPad, and then it was slumber time. And seeing as how I was already in comfortable gym shorts, I didn’t even have to get undressed. I just slid into bed. It was magical. (Although I must admit that I’d gotten kind of used to mid-day naps over the summer, so once I went back to work I’d start to get cranky around lunchtime.)

3.     I found a website called Oregon Swimming Holes that gave locations and descriptions of local swimming holes. It was linked to Google maps, so I could figure out exactly how to get there. And it even told me whether or not clothing was optional (I really appreciated that part because I have little kids and the last thing they need, or anyone needs, is to be seeing a grown man naked in the woods). Although my kids bitched about the hikes to these swimming holes, I had a great time getting to know Oregon a little better.

4.     I developed an addiction to Mac-n-Cheese. This was a bit of a pro and con. I saved me a lot of money on food, but I also gained a bunch of weight and often found myself squatting in the bushes, not far from a local swimming hole, while telling Tristan and Norah to stay where I could see them, but to keep their backs to me. Sometimes I wonder if the producers of Oregon Swimming Holes found out about this and changed a few of their listings from “clothing required”, to “Clothing Optional” because of my irritable bowels.

5.     I went to the pool at least twice a week. Enough said.

6.     Sometimes I shaved my face. Sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I took a shower. Sometimes I didn’t. And sometimes Norah, Tristan, and myself hung out in our underwear until about 20 minutes before Mel got home.  

7.     By the end of the summer, I felt more connected with my kids than I ever had before. And I think they better understood me. And sometimes… they even chose me over Mel! This almost never happened before, and amazingly, it’s still happening.

I can’t wait until this summer!

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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His essays on parenting and marriage have been featured in Huffington Post Parents, Huffington Post Weddings, and The Good Men Project. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.