Poundage and Staying-at-home

25 07 2010

Ah, the stresses of moving.

My diet and my lack of exercise over the last month and a half of stressing over the move have resulted in a weight gain of somewhere between 10-13 pounds. In a month. Ugh.

So, now with the prospect of being a stay-at-home dad for a little while longer, we have a gym we’ve joined and I’ll be taking advantage of the free childcare for a couple hours everyday. Of course, a big source of the stress is I’ve never really been super-comfortable with defining myself as a stay-at-home dad, either. Even though I’ve been in most respects the primary caretaker for our kids for the last 7 years or so, as my schedule even when I was teaching was the lightest and most flexible and I had summers off, I’ve never fully embraced the role and truth be told, I’ve always been pretty embarrassed by it. In fact, it provoked a rather major stress attack on Friday and I only really stopped freaking out about the prospect yesterday. This article by Kari Henly about the Benefits of Stay-at-Home Fatherhood is a good one and is quite calming, at least as it considers the psyche of the children, but I find myself thinking also about my own well-being (and I don’t mean that in a selfish, what-about-me way as much as it might sound). As she points out:

In so many ways, raising a family remains slanted in our collective psyche towards the more feminine interests and styles. Full time Dad’s often feel awkward at the library “play groups” and feel like an outcast on the playground.

Now, the goal here is obviously that we, as a society, have to adopt a new perspective and I believe on an intellectual level, most enlightened people share the view that there’s nothing to stigmatize about fathers staying at home. Yet, I think there’s still very much an almost visceral and primal reaction that says that the hunter-gatherer better get his ass out and hunt. Hence, the stress.

Maybe some positive news will open up for me on the job front soon as we can reevaluate our situation. Until then, I suppose it’s fortunate that staying-at-home will give me a little time to work my ass off and drop this weight I’ve gained. Plus, I get to play Superman a lot more.

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