Watching my two littlest ones was the most challenging thing that I've ever attempted in my life.
I remember when my wife came to me with the idea that I could be a stay at home dad while I work on my business. This idea was presented to me in April 2017 just two months after Daisy was born. As she presented the idea to me, I thought to myself, oh hell no. I don’t have the energy to watch kids AND do my job to the best of my abilities.
The fact was, Daisy seemed to not be the most difficult newborn we’ve had. She was extremely colicky. It seemed as though she cried over everything. She was a breastfed baby (like our other kids) but it seemed that Michelle had such a strong connection with her that I had zero chance of replicating that.
I know, I know, a child will be more connected with her Mom than the dad but let me make something clear: Daisy didn’t like me. Okay maybe that’s a bit extreme but I could never get
Daisy to calm down when she was upset or crying.
This never happened with my other three kids. I was always able to calm them down at some point but Daisy didn’t seem to do that. We had no real connection.
So fast forward to the idea that Michelle wanted me to be a stay at home dad and I figured it was the absolute wrong idea.
Why would I do that to myself. I need to be in a work environment. I need to have my time away from the kids. If I do this, it’ll be the hardest challenge of my life.
Yikes. I was scared like nobody’s business. And I had reason to be. I never watched our kids for a six hour period all by myself.
Sounds crazy right?
They’re my damn kids and I’m afraid to watch them. But us dads take our awesome wives for granted when they take care of the kids needs on a daily basis.
Let’s face it, my wife was doing most of the work. I’m not going to act like it was a 50/50, I’m an honest man. It was more like 70/30.
I knew I was in for the battle of my life but I agreed to it. It was a lot better than replicating our situation we had in Illinois. In Illinois, we were both full-time working parents. We had to put all of the kids in some form of daycare because our work hours didn’t allow us to be home when our kids got out of school.
In total, our daycare bill was $1400 USD/month. To put this in perspective, our rent for our house was $1350. $50 less than the damn daycare. So to avoid paying money for someone to watch our kids, my wife suggested that I work on my business from home and we can have one less worry. Needless to say, the money aspect is what I jumped on.
To be honest, we both worked but one of our paychecks was going straight to daycare. It was maddening.
I’m not going to paint a beautiful glorious picture like I all of a sudden had awesome days with my kids and nothing went wrong. Oh, hell no. It was incredibly challenging for the first three weeks. I remember being offered a job position to work as a paraprofessional at a grade school and turning it down. Only to think three weeks later hey, maybe I should consider that job because this shit is hard as hell.
Just to paint the picture: I have four kids - Trey (9yo), Ellie (7yo), Skylar (3yo), Daisy (11mo) - current ages.
I had to take Trey and Ellie to and from school and manage Sky and Daisy at home with feeding, playtime and naps in between. Oh yea… and don’t forget, find time to work on my business.
Maddening enough for you?
The Feeling of Being Scared to Death
The following is what transpired since Daddy Day Care began in September 2017:
I had many days where I felt I had lost control. I constantly would question if I was doing the right thing
I felt like I was going to die. I don't know if it was sleep deprivation, the kids taking advantage of me or both.
I snapped (yelled at the kids) at least 6-10 times a day. Yelling usually was a 30 screaming at a child to do or not to do something. This usually happened while other kids were fighting or creating new meshes for me to clean up.
I would send text messages at least 3-5 times a day of how I wish I didn't do this to myself to my wife.
I would send 3-5 texts of forgiveness for sending such messages to my wife.
I would send messages saying that I alpreixated her and loved her dearly for all the work she does for the family.
I curse too much.
I didn't realize how hard it was to clean the house with kids.
I thought I was going to die at least 3 times a day. Not literally, figuratively.
The Feeling of True Accomplishment (Slaying my Fear)
It’s been four months since I began. I feel accomplished that i made it this far. Literally. You have no idea. But I learned a few things about myself.
I learned to make quicker decisions when it came to bettering a situation.
I learned to apologize to my kids right away for my bad behavior (ie yelling, screaming, cursing).
I understood how to create a schedule so I could stay in front of things as opposed to falling behind and hoping things will change.
I realized the importance of getting as much work done early in the morning and during their nap times.
I have and reached a new greater appreciation for my awesome wife.
I learned how to be a much better dad.
I learned to not send distressing messages to my wife.
I realized when my optimal working times were during the day.
I realized that I wasn't going to die. And when I felt like I was going to die, it just meant that I was being emotionally and physically challenged to the utmost stress level. When I got through those periods is when I felt like a true winner.
My little girls are precious. They are the ones that I’ve spent the most time with in terms of Daddy Daycare. I’ve had to watch my big kids before and after school but the fact that I was able to take care of my little girls has truly made me feel awesome.
The business on the other hand? Yes. The business has flourished as well. I’ve utilized time like no other. I was bale to find pockets of 15-30 minutes throughout the day to get shit done. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish when you know that you have two hours to grind because your kids are napping.
The challenge that I said was the biggest challenge of my life is one that I can truly say that I’ve defeated. I feel like I can do anything. Why? Well, for starters: up the back poop, broken blinds, red juice stains on the carpet….
Be awesome all day, everyday.