Wednesday 23 May 2007

Hitting a Dip

I’ve had a bit of a mid-week lull. It started with my last post. I started thinking about the working dads and suddenly I wanted to have it all. I wanted to be out there wearing a shirt and confidently swapping banter and actually opening my bank statements, for goodness sake. And that sent me spiraling morosely downwards.

Then yesterday, after I had finished my one day’s paid work a week (which finishes next week), I took my daughter to the local playground again in an attempt to de-programme her from CBeebies. She’d been watching for too long with the glazed air that you have when your boss is telling you about his new marketing strategy or you’ve just woken up at 3am in front of a quiz show with the remnants of a cheese toastie in your lap. The trouble is I have to finish off after she’s come home from nursery, so I sit upstairs in the grip of guilt and corporate news, as she sits downstairs crunching party rings and watching Lazytown (again) then SMarteenies then Bobinogs then Numberjacks etc…

Anyway we get to the park and it’s the usual 5.30 selection of mums dads and kids. Not the weekend variety; low key. A couple of blokes reading newspapers, a mum helping her toddler walk. Kids of different ages expertly swinging around the garish equipment and bouncing on the rubberized trampoline that is the ground in play areas nowadays. There are also two boys, bigger than the rest. About 10-ish probably. They’re booting a football around, but that happens, and even though it’s patently too small a space to do that in, people let it go. Then the ball gets booted in our direction and hits me as I am bouncing my daughter on the see-saw. The boy near to me looks worried and I say:

“Look it’s really not a good idea to kick the ball here.”
“There are small children around.”
I start pointing and then he grins in an immensely irritating way.
He’s 10-ish and he’s taking the piss out of me!
“We’re going anyway” he says smugly.
“Good.” I say.
“What?” he says menacingly.
Now he’s threatening me!
“Good” I say, more uncertainly, having never been menaced by a 10 year old before. Not since I was 10, anyway.
I win the staring battle, not unsurprisingly since I’m twice his height and he exits with his friend, muttering about “dissing” and mentioning brothers or dads. I have visions of relations sprinting into the playground armed with knives and guns.

And on top of that, it may or may not be coincidental but since my wife gave up smoking on Saturday (well done her) we have been arguing constantly. By text, by email and then when she gets home in person:

“Well I wish I’d never ...”
“Well I wish you hadn’t either.”
“Is that how you feel?”
“Is that how you feel?”
“Well if that’s how you feel …”
“Doesn’t it look like it?”
“Well I will, then.”
“Well do …”
“Do you want me to?”
“Do you?
“Right …”
“What do you want for supper?”

I hope to recover my poise soon and post some emotive descriptions of countryside flowers.


Drunk Mummy said...

Dear SAHD - there are times when communicating openly with one's spouse is not such a great idea. I suggest you get down to the nearest offy and buy a bottle of something delicious to have with dinner tonight. Sharing a bottle of wine is always better than sharing hostilities (sounds like a bumper sticker!).
Besides, if your wife has given up one vice, surely she deserves to indulge in another?

Bogger Blogger said...

Interesting to hear (read?) that as I expected as much myself. I'm due to swap and become the stay at home in a few months and was just curious as how often this feeling kicks in and how long it took to first surface? I'm not going into this with rose tinted bi focals on but feel we are in a posiiton to manage it and also feel like I should grab the opportunity.

So, the next question then would be, any survival hints/tips/packs available?

debio said...

Gosh - glad I'm not the only one intimidated by children.
Anyone know what 'diss' means? My daughter uses this at every opportunity and for every eventuality so I can't even guess.

Stay at home dad said...

DM, I will take up your suggestion at the first opportunity. And you are absolutely right, that would be the perfect bumper sticker for you!

Bogger Blogger - hi. Will check you out asap. It took a while for that feeling to make itself felt, although there is always a nagging thought, if you've worked full time, that you should be somewhere else. Mind you, compared to the consistent tedium of life-in-the-office it's a relative joy!

Survival hints? Hmm. Thick skin. A couple of male friends who aren't working and a couple of female friends with babies. There are some forums for sahds on my links section and probably some more but really it's like starting a job and finding your own pace. A bit of part-time work helps, but not so much that you find it competing for time with your child.. Good luck!

Stay at home dad said...

Debio - I'm sure you're not. Seeing aggressive children instantly takes me back to childhood meekness. Diss is short for disrespect. Once you have been accused of this there is nowhere to go, as everything you say will be taken as yet further disrespect.

Omega Mum said...

Horrible children. It's the only time being a teacher comes in useful because you get 'the voice' that many children (not all) obey. Oh, and which shirt are you after. Not Thomas Pink, I take it (mind you, could look gorgeous with your skinny jeans.....). Am going to link you, incidentally.

Anonymous said...

BB - I feel the same about loss of respect/no obvious position in the world/lack of income/not wanting to open bank statements etc as you and SAHD - and I'm a girl.
I guess it's magnified for the boys among us owing to external expectations, but I think it probably feels the same on the inside.

Mutterings and Meanderings said...

SAHD, the first 3 months of stopping smoking is the worst, then it gets better. Has she got an inhalator? That worked for me.

We're all allowed to get down on occasion and have career envy ;)

@themill said...

Said it before, but time you took to the country!

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Omega mum. Yes, the teaching voice, I imagine that'd help. Together with the puce face and whirling arms. No, not a Pink's shirt, something, er ... skinnier perhaps. Very kind I will link back; am very behind with my linking and anybody I haven't added recently will be done at the same time...

Beta Mum - yes, exactly the same; maybe worse since mine is probably assumed to be a temporary state.

M&M - 3 months? Tell me what an inhalator is I beg you.

@TM - at the weekend we're going to have a look at a couple of places somewhere I feel I could intimidate children more effectively.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

SAHD that was ace! I'm on a post-run high and that was what i needed to carry it on!It really made me giggle. You were sailing a bit close to the wind with the 10 year old, remember you live in LONDON. It might be the leafy bit, but it's a short hop on a bus from the not-so-leafy bit...

Anyway, thought of you last night as I read one of my favourite books to two of the features a stay-at-home Dad (i think...if not why wasn't he out earning a bloody living?)anywyay they have a lovely day all together. Here's a link to amazon...

Better go, somehow I have inhaled crushed chilli powder and my face and nasal passages are really beginning to burn...

Stay at home dad said...

Running and chilli snorting? Are you having a mid-week crisis?!

Thanks, I'm always on the look out for dad books. That will do nicely.

You're right about London. They're probably combing the streets for me as we speak...

bobbins said...

Just stumbled in here - I am *so* envious of you! I'd love to ditch the day job and spend more time with my kids - enjoy it while it lasts!

Heh, I know what you mean about the lippy 10-yr-olds. Round my neck of the woods they hang around the off-license and ask me to buy beer for them :-)

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Bobbins. I know what you mean, I am always stumbling around the blog world too.

I do enjoy it and also feel a certain responsibility to all those dads who don't get the chance.

Gwen said...

Just found your blog SAHD and I'm enjoying it. There are many times when I would love to be "stay at home." If I ever have a day off I go out and about, imagining, as I do that I am not tied down by the strictures of office life as I mingle with others who are not. It's a lovely feeling of freedom, cruelly cut short by the return to work.

Elsie Button said...

some kids can be so annoying. teenagers are the worst. gangly, awkward, spotty, raging hormones, thinking that everything they do has never been done before, so unoriginal. i've got to get over it and start liking teenagers, as i will soon have one of my own. i was a horrible, ghastly teenager. gave my poor mum hell. (i'm only saying all this out of revenge, because i got stuck behind a load of school kids the other day while pushing Betty in her pram, and they started picking on me and making bizarre remarks like 'ooeerr look at you with your pram'. i got really scared). some teenagers are nice though. and they are just growing up into adults. it's hard. it's not their fault. oh my god, sorry about the rant, which isn't even related to your post.

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Gwen. Thank you. Yes I remember the feeling, exactly as you describe it. This is more like freedom, but in many ways it has its similarities...

Elsie. Go ahead and rant! I was a Godawful teenager too. But my wife wasn't. So maybe we'll be ok.

Mutterings and Meanderings said...

SAHD, the inhalator thing is like a pretend ciggie that has mentol and a bit of nicotine in cartridges you fit into a plastic ciagrette-holder type thing.

Not a very good description - you can get them at Boots and Inhalator in the correct name - they are nicotine replacment therapy.

Stay at home dad said...

Aha. I know what you mean. Mind you though, on an aesthetic basis I might choose not to tell her!

Andres, JCT said...

i enjoy your writing- i follow and i understand and i want to read more. cool. you have a new reader.

Stay at home dad said...

Thank you. I will call on you too.