Ross Good or The Stented Papa is a full-time stay at home dad of two girls. Today he's sharing how people react to his "solo parenting" when his wife is away with work.
Ok so, using the term ‘Solo Parenting’ isn’t exactly accurate here. I’m 100% not a ‘solo parent’. That said, from time to time I kind of am because The Stented Missus travels a lot with her work.
In fact, she’s been in San Francisco three times already since the start of the year and was due to fly out again yesterday morning - thankfully this trip was cancelled due to the outbreak and uncertainty of Coronavirus.
Normally I’m all for these trips as work is work but I’m delighted this particular trip didn’t go ahead. That said, on average, she’s away with work every 6 weeks roughly.
When I say that to people, the reaction is normally one of two responses:
- "Jesus, that’s a lot of travel!"
- ‘And you’re left on your own with the nips? Wow, that must be tough!"
In short, the answer to both is ‘Yes’. But it's not as tough as you might think.
Yes, it’s a lot of travel. The Stented Missus travels across numerous time zones to reach her destination which inevitably brings jetlag. When her destination becomes clear, 99.9% of people always have the same reaction - ‘Oh wow, that sounds amazing, lucky her’. But anyone who travels for work (or has done so in the past) knows that it always sounds way more glamorous when compared to the reality.
The reality is you’re stuck in an office. Four walls, ceiling, computers, meetings albeit with people from far away. For all intents and purposes, you could be in your normal office - especially with all the technology available today. That said, despite tech benefits, productivity between teams is always better when they are together face to face - hence the compromise to travel.
The major difference is that you're jet-lagged and you happen to be on the other side of the globe. Glamorous on the first impression, but peel away the onion layer to reveal the reality.
Because I’m a full-time SAHD (Stay at Home Dad), it is part of what I do. This is my job. So having the nips on my own is just another week at the office. Yes, there’s an adjustment in terms of it being only me on duty 24/7 but it’s not a huge change. I’m also doing this the last four years so I’m well used to it at this stage!
Yes, I’m left on my own with the nips but I absolutely love it and we have buckets of fun. We’re out and about. We’re at after school activities. We’re doing the shopping. We’re horseplaying and messing a hell of a lot. That said, I’m also very aware that although we’re alone, so too is Mama for the week and it goes without saying that she misses us hugely. The ‘tough’ aspect works both ways.
It bemuses me that in 2020 some people still hold a mindset of ‘Really? The dad? Left on his own minding his own children?’ or even worse when it’s referred to as ‘babysitting’. Nothing boils my blood as much as hearing that statement!
Let’s get one thing straight - I am not my own children's babysitter! I am their Dad and personally I think that reference should be eliminated from our vocabulary full stop. It’s an outdated, unhelpful a disrespectful mindset in my opinion (can you tell?).
What they are really suggesting is that it’ll end in disaster. Well, ya know what? For want of a seriously stronger word - Balls to that negative, backward thinking. I absolutely love what I do and spending time with my own flesh and blood - there simply is no better time spent.
Strangely enough - I don’t burn the house down when Mama isn’t here - imagine that! Lunches and dinners are still made. School runs are done on time. Appointments are kept. The washing is still done. It’s business as usual. This is my job.
Dads are in the mix these days. And for the most part - they don’t want it any other way. Being involved with your own children is win/win. Welcome to modern family living - it is 2020 ,ya know!
Thankfully, the negative reaction happens few and far between. What’s your experience with this? Hit me up as I’d love to know.
Chat next month folks,
Ross - The Stented Papa