Monday, September 26, 2011

Daddy Daycare

Today I am getting ready for our first roadtrip as a threesome to Massachusetts for the week. This is a trip Michael and I have been making six to eight times a year, but never with a little one. Making lists of everything we need for Vedder, I feel like we are packing the entire nursery!! But as first time parents, I'd rather be safe than sorry. ((Even though I know that packing stuffed animals for a seven week old is a little much, but I just cannot seem to get myself to take them out of the bag.))

Taking a bit of a break this morning, I picked up my Parenting Magazine and began to read. Skipping over some articles (("Family Unplugged," because I'm denying all thoughts of how my attachment to my blackberry may be borderline unhealthy)), I came across a page titled "The Okay Dad." Written by a father, it talks about how most fathers just consider themselves to be "okay" at parenthood. In a big orange circle in the middle of the page, reads a very frightening statistic: 6.5 HOURS - AVERAGE TIME MARRIED FATHERS SPEND CARING FOR THEIR KIDS PER WEEK. This makes me so sad!!

The article also pointed out the fact that the percentage of fathers who do not live full time with their children has sharply risen over the past 50 years. This statistic made me even sadder!! Both my husband and myself grew up in what some people call "broken homes." Divorce, custody battles, visitation, splitting holidays, fill memories of parts of our childhoods. Fortunately, my mother remarried to a man, uniting two families and fixing our "broken home." ((Little Known Fact: At the age of 13, I went to court to legally change my last name from Turner to my "step" fathers last name. More Widely Known Fact: I hate writing "step" because I consider him to be the only father I have ever had.)) I also think this is why both Michael and I put alot of pressure on ourselves to be the absolute best parents we can be. I especially think my husband is his worst critic.

Getting back to the article, it also stated "More than half of dads say fathers are replaceable by mothers and other me." MORE THAN HALF!! I see my husband everyday interact with our amazing son and to think that he could be replaced my anyone upsets me. Especially having a son, I consider the father's role to be even more crucial. I think already the time he has had with his son is critical to the growth of both Vedder as a child and Michael as a father and man.

After this vacation in New England, we will head back to New York and I will head back to work. As much as I am going to miss my daytime with my already chatty newborn, I am very excited to get back to work, even if it is only parttime. Whenever this topic gets brought up, the first questions people ask are "Where will Vedder go? Will he come to work with you?" I respond with "He is staying home with daddy." As awful as it is having opposite schedule from my husband, it allows us to save on childcare and offers the opportunity for Daddy Daycare three days a week. It warms my heart to know that we have been giving the opportunity, for atleast Vedder's first year, that Mama and Daddy will be doing the raising. I know this is not the case for most families ((my job is being a daycare teacher)), that is why I feel so fortunate to have our situation. It makes me so happy after reading this article to know that Michael will be be blowing the daddy care time statistic out of the water. Three days with Daddy, four days with Mama, six nights together as a family. I am so excited for the childhood memories that will be made with both of us and Vedder, together and separate.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Dating Scene

Four years ago, I was newly single and enjoying my first few months of freedom to their fullest extent. Friday nights were dedicated to my girls. After a long week of work, getting dressed up and my drink on was the highlight of my week. I was 23 years old and soaking up all the bar scene had to offer. Meeting guys, exchanging numbers, going out on dates. The single life dating scene was fun and carefree for me. I knew I didn't want to get serious, especially so soon after ending a very long term relationship, so there was never any hesitation. I dated here and there and just enjoyed each day ((or night)) for what it was. The only draw back was how exhausted ((hungover)) this type of dating scene got after a while.

In February 2008, I agreed to go on my first real blind date. Having absolutely no clue what this guy looked like, or really anything about him besides he was 6 years older and from New York, it was the first time a date actually made me nervous. Long story short, the date went great and we saw each other three more times that week. Then five months later we were engaged and a year later married. Now three years later we have a beautiful baby boy. Having those single days far behind I have found that the dating scene doesn't really go away. It just changes. Instead of purses and heels, it's diaper bags and flats. Instead of bottle of jameson, it's bottles of formula. And instead of meeting guys that could be prospective dating material out at bars, it's meeting moms that could be prospective playdate material out at baby classes or the playground.

The biggest difference between these two dating scenes for me is that the latter makes me nervous. The whole playdating scene is a bit uncomfortable for me. Years ago I was open to dates with any type of guy. I had no real "type" ((except in my single days the bad boys were always much more appealling)). Now I feel very concerned already about who I will chose to have playdates with. My concern is not really for me. I love meeting new people and can hold a conversation with a wall. But for my son. Who is this mother? How does she raise her children? How will our families click? Will this relationship encourage or stunt my child's growth? Those once "bad boys" I would gravitate towards were now what I worried my son will turn into if he hangs out with the "wrong crowd." Granted I am very well aware that he is only six weeks old. I just tend to over think things now and want what's absolutely best for my son. ((Boy, don't I sound just like my mother!!))

I have left the dating scene of "me" and ventured into the dating scene of "we."