I’ve been at this stay-at-home dad job for a little more than a year now. I have to say that during this time I’ve learned a lot, but I’ve also gone through some major changes without even realizing it. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not your typical “man’s man.”
I don’t like fishing, camping, hunting, beef jerky or sports. The only Detroit Tigers players I’m familiar with are from the 1984 World Series team, like Chet Lemon and Lou Whitaker. I think the best part about going to a sporting event is the food. Everything seems more exciting with a big bowl of nachos and a hot dog.
However, I do like going to museums, cooking, gardening, writing about my feelings and posting them on the Internet, and I prefer a good piece of fish over a steak any day. My “manly” side enjoys black coffee, the Die Hard movie series, cutting the grass and playing with power tools. So it all balances out, right?
Whether my interests are “macho” or not, I can’t help but notice that my “wants” and “needs,” among other things, have been changing as I get deeper and deeper into becoming “mom.”
For one, with Father’s Day coming up, I imagine most dads will probably be getting neckties, coffee mugs, action movie DVDs, golf balls, polo shirts or grilling accessories as gifts. The Father’s Day meals will probably include bacon or ground beef in some fashion. ESPN will probably be involved, and a car wash somewhere in there, too.
But me, all I want is to go to brunch. Not breakfast, brunch. Not a Big Boy breakfast buffet, but a fancy brunch buffet. I want pancakes with a side of cocktail shrimp, and mostaccioli next to some fruit salad, and dainty blueberry muffins. I’ve been dreaming about it since Mother’s Day.
I also want a mandolin slicer.
Last year, I had no idea what that was. This year, I not only want one, but I need one. I need to be able to have matchstick-cut carrots and other things cut julienne. I don’t know what julienne is, but I want to cut things that way. This slicer will make it happen!
When I’m out at Target with Ellie, I always find myself in the kitchen section wanting new placemats and cloth napkins for the house. I look at the same ones every day. I just want to switch things up and add some excitement to the dinner table. New napkins! And then I think about how new plates would help make certain meals I cook look better.
“Some cucumber gazpacho would look really nice in that bowl.”
But I never buy them, so IÂ move over to the towels section and keep dreaming. I’m embarrassed to say how many times I have bought and returned towels because I can’t find the right color for the bathroom. Target, Meijer, JC Penney, I’ve been to them all. Some of them even twice.
Not only have my needs been changing, but I’ve also picked up some sweet “mom” moves.
Like when your kid has some dried food on their face and you lick your finger and wipe it off. Yep, I got that down. I think mom spit is a stronger formula and works better though. As long as I just do it to Ellie, I should be OK. I don’t want to lick my thumb and reach across the table to wipe something off of my wife’s face while we are out to dinner. “Hold still you have something on your face.”
The one thing I’ve picked up that has me worried is “mom hip.” This is that move when you’ve been holding your kid for awhile so you stick your hip out to act as kind of a shelf to help support your kid. I try to be all arms, but somewhere along the way, I started doing this. And since I don’t have nice childbearing hips, I think I overcompensate and stick mine out further. I didn’t even know I did this move until I was looking back through our family photos and there it was. Boom! In photo after photo. Make way for my sassy dad hips! As long as I steer clear from mom jeans, I think I’ll be alright.
I often wonder what other things I’ve picked up and just haven’t noticed yet. Just as the people who don’t know about mom jeans are most likely the ones wearing them. What else do I do and not know about? I already avoid words like “binky” and “tinkle.” I don’t mind when other people use them, I just don’t want to.Â I’ll come up with my own crazy words instead. Bippy, bonky, wonky, tonky, whatever. I’ll figure something out.
As I venture further into stereotypical momville, I hope in becoming “mom,” I don’t lose my identity as “dad.” As much as I like taking care of and hanging out with Ellie all day every day, there is something special about being a dad that I feel like I’m missing out on. You know, the rock star factor. Like when my wife comes home from work every day and Ellie freaks out in excitement. I want that. She’s never done that with me, but who knows, maybe one day she will.
But until then, I’ll continue my quest for the perfect bathroom towels while rocking my mom hip. And hopefully this Sunday on Father’s Day, I’ll be at Fratello’s brunch buffet eating pancakes and shrimp. To even things out, maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a coffee cup that says “World’s Greatest Mom”… I mean Dad. “World’s Greatest Dad.”