I love my kids and I am fortunate enough to be able to spend every day at home with them. My wife has a great career which affords me this privilege. I wouldn’t trade this job for any normal career, and not just because I get to go to work in pajamas many days. But because am able to witness every accomplishment and milestone as they grow up, which is amazing. Being a Stay at Home Dad is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. But if I am being really honest with myself, that isn’t the whole story. I have the greatest job in the world, and I am bored.
That I am bored is something that is actually pretty hard to admit. Like I stated above I love what I do. One day, I know when the girls are both in school I will return to work. But for now, I am happy with all of it, and I stay pretty busy. Besides raising the girls there is the housework, the cooking, picking the girls up, and dropping them off. Despite all of this I’m still bored and kind of lonely
Bored and Lonely
First, I spend all day every day at my house. I love where we live, and the comforts it provides. But there is no change of scenery. Sometimes, I may leave for a short trip to the school or the grocery store, but that’s it. I spend most of my days inside the house. I don’t get lunch breaks and I don’t go anywhere at the end of the day. My work days stretch from when I wake up until I fall asleep 7 days a week. All in the same place every day.
While in the house, I spend my entire day with a 4-year-old whom I love dearly. But even with as much as I love her and her sister, they don’t exactly challenge me on an intellectual level. We do talk a great deal, but it is about American Girl Dolls, Disney movies, or why her sister is a butt. I have yet to meet the 4-year old that can have much of an informed conversation about politics, current events or about why I’m tired. (hint it’s their fault)
When my wife isn’t traveling I do get the chance to talk about some of this with her. But isn’t fair to dump all of this on her after she just spent a full day at work. Besides if I had to choose between us talking or her taking the kids for a bit she can have the kids. When we do talk I know my struggles at home do not match her’s at the office. For example, no one at her job has screamed for an hour, hit their sister and shit themselves before passing out on the stairs, hopefully.
This leaves me feeling isolated, lonely and bored. I have thoughts and opinions on what is going on in the world. I have stories from my day. But the lack of any readily available peers means most of these are kept to myself.
How I Fight the Boredom
Unfortunately, I haven’t solved this problem yet. I have made a bit of headway. First and most obviously, I write this blog. While not as interactive as I want it to be (please comment below if you have something to say), it at least lets me get my thoughts out. Another tool that gets a pretty bad rap is social media. I joined a few Facebook groups for Stay at Home Dads. Such as this one or this one in Kalamazoo. It helped to have other men who knew what I was going through even if they were on the other side of the country.
Thankfully, my wife understands all this. She listened to me about my struggles and makes sure to get me out of the house. Hopefully, it is both of us going out but when we can’t find a sitter she is great about allowing me a chance to watch a game or just grab a beer with friends.
I know there are other Stay at Home Dads and Moms out there dealing with this. They have the same feelings of isolation and boredom that do. I know they are slowly going insane, not seeing the outside, not talking to an adult, and listening to the theme song of Caillou. Parents make sure to take some time for yourself. Please know that there is support out there. Get out of the house. Make some friends. This will allow you to be a better parent, and able to truly enjoy the greatest job in the world.