Let’s take a break from a day in the life of a mom this week and check out a day in the life as a DAD. This next interview is Dominick, My [Christa] sister’s, [Katie, from last weeks interview] husband. Due to Katie’s incredibly non flexible and always changing schedule Dom has picked up the slack and is home with their son. When Katie went back to work Dom stayed home with their two week old newborn and has been home with him ever since.
When does your day start?
-Typically between 8-8:30am when Dom starts calling or crying from his room to let the house know he’s awake. But he usually plays by himself in his crib for a while so that gives me a few minutes to get my life together.
What is the first thing you do?
-Sit on the edge of my bed, rub my face and wish I had woken up an hour and a half ago when I first got up to pee.
What’s your morning routine with the kids before school/work? -Being a dad is my work. My morning routine consists of: holding Dom for a few minutes and whispering to him about what we see out his bedroom window and asking what his dreams were about, followed by a walk to the kitchen where I give him some water or milk while I get breakfast ready and he gets into his high chair, followed by a diaper change after breakfast, followed by changing into clothes to start the day, followed by playing. Unless of course he wakes up with a big ol’ chocolate surprise already in his diaper. Then the mornings basically the same, just putting diaper change before all else and then just dealing with the lingering stink in the air through the rest of the routine.
What is your Daily routine?
-8:30 wake up, 8:31 panic, 8:40 share breakfast with Dom, 9:00 brush teeth and get dressed, 9:05 play with Dom until babysitter arrives, 9:30 workout for an hour or 2, 11:30 grocery shopping/errand running, 12:30 arrive home to relieve sitter and put Dom down for nap, 1:00 work on projects around house/do laundry/clean/nap/watch tv/text all my friends/start dinner/think about stuff, 2:30 get Dom up from nap and have lunch, 3:00 play, 5:30 start dinner, 6:30/7 Katie gets home and we eat, 8:00 Dom goes to sleep, 8:01 think about more stuff, talk with Katie, fold laundry, 9:30-11 either bed or wasting time looking for the end of the internet or watching Netflix shows about hunting, food or building houses.
What is your bedtime routine?
-Kiss Katie goodnight, watch an episode of Meateater, brush teeth, shower if I haven’t already earlier in the evening, throw some clean clothes for morning on the ground next to my side of the bed, sleep, dream of glory.
How do you plan meals?
-I plan meals usually in the morning and make sure we have a protein, 1-2 vegetables and maybe some starch of some kind of the dish calls for it. Throughout the week I keep mental notes of vegetables we’ve already eaten that week to try and incorporate a good variety. When our garden is going, we usually try and eat whatever veggies are in season.
When do you cook and how do you make it work?
-usually start when Katie is heading home from work. We make it work by either having Katie play with Dom while I cook or by both cooking and simply enduring Dom’s antics, blabbermouthing and throwing aluminum cookware around our feet while we crank out some kind of meal.
When do you work out or do you work out?
-during babysitter time each morning and sometimes weekend mornings
How and when do you make time for your relationship with your wife?
We only get about an hour or so after Dom goes to sleep to catch up and spend time with one another. We get to go on dates typically the morning after Katie works for an entire weekend and her work gives her Monday off. So after she’s been awake for nearly 48 hours, and the sitter comes in the morning, we get a little time to have breakfast together as a “date” before she needs to get home and catch up on sleep. But not spending time together physically doesn’t keep me from thinking about our relationship. I think about our marriage and our future and all our great memories every single day. So even if we’re not sitting next to each other or going out on dates, it still feels like we’re together all the time because we always are in my mind.
When do you clean? -nap time and weekends
When do you do laundry?
-naptime, weekends, nighttime after Dom goes to bed
When do the kids go to sleep? -8pm
What is your nightly ritual after the kids go down?
-Hang out with Katie chatting about our days and how cute Dom is being, followed by breathing heavy sighs of relief that we made it through another day.
When do you finally go to sleep?
-After I’ve eaten some snacks and maybe watched some Meateater. I watch as many episodes as it takes to get Steve Rinella’s voice to replace my own as the voice of my own consciousness.
If you could tell yourself one thing before you had kids what would it be?
-Keep a journal
What is your favorite time of day?
-8:01pm when Dom is asleep and I get some alone time with my smokin hot wife to just be alone together or to talk for a long time or to reminisce about the fun things Dom is doing in his life.
What is your favorite part of being a dad?
-My favorite thing about being a dad is probably the fact that I’m not a mom. Being a mom comes with a lot of pressure. As a dad, it seems like people set the bar really low for you so it’s easy to exceed peoples expectations and be a “good dad.”
What is the hardest part of being a dad?
Hardest thing about being a dad is the isolation and constant “encouragement” to get back into the workforce. It’s not an infrequent occurrence that I’m given advice on how or where to find a job. Like they think I was hog-tied and tortured until I submitted against my will to stay home to raise our beautiful child and support my crazy talented wife. Get off me bro, this was my decision. I’ve never heard a dude tell a mom to get off her lazy can and get a job.
Then there’s the isolation. I know being a stay at home mom can also be isolating because, at least in the beginning, you’re home most of the day tending to a helpless creature.
But when I as a dad go to the park with my son, I cannot approach women and their children the way a woman and her children could. For example 2 weeks ago, my Uber driver asked me why I felt like I couldn’t intermingle with the moms at the park or in the gym or at the store. When I asked her how she would feel if a man and his kid tried to be friendly with her while she was out with her kids, she said she would probably think he’s a creep but she’d be polite. She said that even if he wasn’t acting creepy, she would at least distance herself because she wouldn’t be very comfortable be- friending a man while she was out and about. After all, that could come across wrong to her husband or others. Maybe that was just her opinion but many months ago, I had an experience that supported her thoughts. I was hiking with my son in his front carrier when I ran into a pack of women hiking with their kids in carriers as well. I tried to make conversation but was met with them just stepping to the side, telling me I could pass, not interested in entertaining conversation with me. There are many more examples, but I think the point has been made. Being a stay at home parent can be isolating whether your a man or woman because, at least while they’re infants, your time is spent on them, not social events. But being a stay at home dad is uniquely difficult due to the stigma that comes with relationships between males and females who are not married to one another. This makes it real hard for stay at home dads to make friends in the female dominated stay at home parent community. I can totally understand the hesitation, especially on a one-on-one basis. But when I was an Officer in the Air Force, I never hesitated to invite my female colleagues out to group lunches or squadron events, even when the group was predominantly male. So it’s a bummer that we have to distinguish between stay at home dads and stay at home moms. We’re all stay at home parents. We all do the same job. So we should all feel like we’re on the same team.