I am not “Mr. Mom.” Please don’t call me that, thank you very much.
Actually, those who know me personally or professionally understand it doesn’t really matter what anyone calls me, I am rarely offended. Unless of course it’s a threat, that’s a different matter.
I am currently a stay at home dad. I’ve been doing it for a while as my partner completes college full-time in pursuit of a nursing career while I draft a fictional novel series. I have my three girls at home with me during the day. My oldest son is away at UF. Number two son is attending the local community college finishing up his high school requirements pursuing an A.A. degree. And number three son attends the local public HS, and plays drums and bass guitar in the band. I play the role of “band dad.”
After nearly 30 years in higher education, I desired a change in venue. My creative muscle atrophied from too many years in a corporate management role. Ironically enough, my last education gig after leaving higher education management was teaching third graders full-time one year, and middle school the next (Science / Math / Social Studies). My jaunt into K-12 was unplanned and certainly unexpected. But my time teaching 3rd grade and middle school was a tremendous experience. It lasted until the locally launched arts charter school lost its battle with the school board, and ultimately its funding (another article coming).
A good part of my higher education career included running multi-million dollar college campuses and corporations (non-profit, privately held, & publicly-traded proprietary).
Writing at home is a pretty good gig, and I fully expect to be making a decent living at it soon enough. Once I complete my novel series, I will take my hat in hand and go searching for an agent. For now my days are spent pounding the keyboard and hangin’ with my three girls. I enjoy them around all day. They are so much different from my three boys in many ways, and that’s one point of this long-winded editorial.
I am dad, not mom, and not a mom substitute. I am much different from mom in many ways.
I bring to the table many ingredients that mom doesn’t. The guidance the children receive from either of us isn’t world’s apart, but there are different emphasis each of us lend to the mentoring stew. The differences leave long-lasting impressions on the kid’s souls, I am certain of it.
So, I’ll list some. A great number of articles will cover this topic. Tune in now and again for more.
Let’s begin with some dialogue, shall we?
Mom: “Please do some more laundry during the day and keep up with it.”
Dad: “Did you get a load started yet? Why not? I shouldn’t have to ask you.”
Notice the subtle difference. Both directives desire to accomplish the same task as translated by teen, and preteen brains. But the subtle difference is right in your face. Catch it?
Mom’s open-ended request is a general statement related to a desired environment, the laundry-done-put-away-neatly-folded-nirvana she is dreaming about. She gently asks her children to share in this cozy vision by sharing her request. Gentle and nice. All great and everything, until it doesn’t get completed in a timely manner, and then all hell breaks loose with the follow-up.
“We are three days behind in the laundry. I can’t do it all myself,” delivered in a heightened tone with additional volume and a look on her face that sends the spine of all children into convulsions.
Mom’s laundry vision involves some kind of Bed, Bath, and Beyond heaven where linens are crisply dressed on perfectly made beds, smelling of cinnamon and drier perfumes. Pillows are perfectly plumped, resting on flower-patterned quilts, and little fairies sprinkle spicy smelling invisible dust on the perfectly folded, squared, and cornered undies, socks, shirts, skorts, and pants. All are lovingly placed to perfection behind sparkling, dust free dresser drawers. The clothing and linen calls out to their owners in melodic tones, “please choose me today.” Hear the music playing?
Okay, we get the picture. Yes I exaggerate a bit, but it’s my story and I’m going to be entertaining about it.
Dad doesn’t hang at the Bed, Bath, and Beyond nirvana.
In boot camp, dad endured weeks of learning to fold clothes in one prescribed manner, and then placing them in the locker in a required way. The distance from the sides of each metal shelf is measured by the drill sergeant. The bed is inspected and done according to exact specifications. Underwear is folded according to the uniform code of military skivvies – or something like that.
Clean clothes, sheets, and folding are part of the living hell in boot camp. And if it isn’t done perfectly, the pain arrives. Much time is spent on the floor pushing up and down as puddles of sweat drip from the nose onto the freshly mopped and buffed surface. Fear of linens and clothes leads to sleepless nights for many recruits. And if one’s bunk mate gets it wrong, or some yahoo down the bunk row doesn’t fold their socks just right, everyone is screwed.
Who came up with this concept of psychological conditioning in the clothes folding hell of boot camp? And why the fascination with perfected underwear and sock arrangements? It wasn’t a woman that devised this torture, that’s a certainty.
Dad’s in the house. Occasionally the laundry builds up. “Get it done, now,” comes the order, as visions of push ups flash across his mind.
“Copyright © 3MAR17 by Steven A. Schwab”