I’m now a proud parent of a kindergartener. A KINDERGARTNER! While I’m very excited for Ellie and this major milestone, I’m completely caught off guard of with how unprepared I feel about this. Yes, I have all of her school supplies and I pack her lunch and all that, but emotionally, I’m a wreck.
*photo byÂ Ksenija Savic Photography
This week I celebrate five years as a stay-at-home dad. FIVE! While five years might not be that big of a deal to some people, I found it worthy of a celebration. If I was at a professional job for five years, I’d want to acknowledge it. Just a simple lunch with a few coworkers is all I’d want.
I went into this job energetic, excited, and a bit naive. At the time, my paying job wasn’t very fulfilling. The economy had tanked and so did our industry. My company was handing out pay decreases instead of raises, and instead of doing my job I was archiving in the basement. I knew the inevitable was most likely going to happen and I nervously welcomed it. I wanted control of my every day, and of my life. I knew staying home to take care of Ellie and manage the house wasn’t going to be easy, but I was excited for the challenge and was ready to go all-in.
Well, here we are. The beginning of a new year and hopefully a fresh start. I have to say, I’m not sad to see 2013 leave. While nothing bad happened last year, it has been one long struggle. It’s hard to acknowledge the things I’ve accomplished because they haven’t come easily. From house projects, parenting, managing the household, nursing myself and my family back from a million colds, to trying to maintain inner peace, this year has left me thoroughly drained.
I really am looking forward to 2014. To have a new outlook and to set some realistic tangible goals. But before I set myself up for failure, I have to reflect back and ask why I struggled so much last year. What was this never ending obstacle I felt I was always trying to overcome?
If you are a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t written much in awhile. It’s not that I don’t have anything going on or anything to say, I have plenty. I’ve just been struggling lately. Stuck. I’ve been feeling depressed and feeling lost. Lost my outlet. Lost my voice. Lost myself.
I know having and caring for children requires sacrifices. And it’s a sacrifice I welcome, but I also think it’s important for me, and my family, for me to maintain a sense of self. I am a father. A stay-at-home father, but that’s not all I am. I’m finding it’s really difficult trying to find that balance.
The day to day routine of staying home can become monotonous at times. Â Okay, more than “at times.” Every single day I can always count on Ellie protesting what to wear, what to eat and what to watch. She’ll say one thing, change her mind five minutes later, and then change back again. It’s amazing that in this chaos a “routine” even exists.
I consider myself to be a really easy-going, laid-back, patient person. But this dreary hectic day-to-day routine is really starting to wear on me, and I think Ellie is starting to notice too.