Monday, August 27, 2012

SAHD #2 I’m scared

Sure I’m scared to be starting out as a stay-at-home dad, hereafter referred to as SAHD. Even just that acronym is full of doom. If you are a man and stay at home with your kids, you will not just be sad, but SAHD. It’s like sad, but you put a little bit of disgust into the “a” sound right before you hit the D.
      I’m scared of all sorts of things, let me try to list them for you:
      -I’m scared one of our kids will die. We’ve had some close calls mainly involving 400 E traffic in Provo. Our home area is a lot safer here, with very restricted road access, but there are plenty of other ways for our kids to die.
      -I’m scared that Cait will never forgive me if one of our kids die or are seriously injured. She worries about this so much, I don’t know if she’d get over it soon enough to save the marriage.
      -I’m scared that I will scar our kids for life, mainly through not stimulating them educationally. This is also somewhat of a transmitted fear from Cait, but is still legitimate.
      -I’m scared that I’ll hate it. 3 years old and 5 months are tough ages, especially with Tallulah still breastfeeding. I’m afraid I’ll just get overwhelmed and go into some kind of survival mode that won’t help anybody.
      -I’m scared that I’ll resent Cait for getting to go to school, or that she’ll resent me for getting to be home with the kids.
      -I’m scared I’ll get to the point where all I talk about and think about is my kids. And that my intelligence will significantly decrease.
      -I’m scared that I’ll feel under appreciated.
      -I’m scared that I’ll deserve the lack of appreciation that I get.
      -I’m scared that I’ll never get in the habit of cooking and Cait will always have to do it.
      -I’m scared I’ll never write a good book or reach my potential as a runner because I was playing with my kids.
      -I’m scared that there really is something about being male that makes you a terrible stay-at-home parent.
      -I’m  afraid that I’ll never find friends among other stay-at-home parents.
      -I’m afraid of judgement for violating social norms. I’m afraid people will see me as lazy or incapable of getting a real job.
      Yep, I’m pretty scared. I was going to post some of my possible solutions to these fears, but I don’t really have that many and what I did have pretty much comes down to this:
      -Terrible stuff might always happen, I can’t live a life governed by fear.
      -My kids are real, individual people and there’s no way I can make them be anything they don’t want to be.
      -Other people have it much harder than I do. Much, much harder.
      But I’m still scared.


  1. Oh, Tim. I hear ya. A couple of my fears would be as follows: I'm afraid of judgment for fulfilling social norms. I'm afraid of judgment for neither working, coupon-ing, nor buying our groceries at Wal-Mart. (More than one person has implied that these are the main ways for a stay-at-home parent to contribute to the household finances. hahaha! I disagree with them.) Good luck with your journey and have fun with those kids.

  2. I came to your blog via your I'm A Mormon bio that my gay loving, feminist Mormon husband sent me which was a refreshing breath of air. I can relate a lot to your feelings about the church and I am glad they have kept your ups even though it is not mainstream. We have 2 boys too - almost 2 and 6 months old. Our dream would be to both work part time so we can both live all the fears you have written about :)

    I'm sure you will surprise yourself. Good luck and thanks for sharing a piece of your honest self.

  3. Haha! that one about being scared that you will accidentally let a kid die and that will lead to a divorce, i totally have that same fear...of jon doing that. i think you could have these same fears about work as well, its just your work right now is raising two humans which is infinitely more intimidating.

  4. It's so interesting to read all those fears. I think of all the mothers who have all those same fears but don't feel like they can voice them. Because they are just supposed to loooove being a mother all the time everyday.

    We all know you're awesome, though, so I'm sure everything will turn out great.

  5. - My children are always close to death. You just have to do your best on that one and play the odds (watch them carefully in the bathtub, with choking hazards, or near moving vehicles)

    - Cait's fear your won't mentally stimulate your kids is being transmitted through our mom. You are naturally less verbal than a Carroll woman (who isn't?) and the fear is your lack of constant talking will stunt Tallulah's synapse-connecting. I have no idea if this is true or not.

    - Cooking/cleaning don't have to be difficult or time consuming. Let me know if you have any desire for advice in this area.

    - The rest of the stuff is pretty typical of stay-at-home parents in general, is it not? I often wonder if I could have contributed more to society as a doctor or businesswoman or teacher or politician than a stay-at-home mom. It's a question that will resolve itself with time, I suspect. It's not like you'll be playing with your kids forever. In fact, I suspect eventually they'll insist you don't, and you'll have lots of time for writing or running. Maybe they'll want to write or run with you.