I was excited to be invited to be a guest blogger for the one-year anniversary of GNM Parents. Heck, when you’re a stay-at-home dad, you’re happy for ANY excuse to relate to other grownups. When I go out for business meetings now, I find myself sitting at lunch with clients and saying, “My, what a pretty tie! Did your mommy buy that tie for you?”
Don’t get me wrong – I love the fact that I get to be home at 3 pm when my son Max comes home from kindergarten, and we sit on the floor, and share a cookie, and I ask him what happens at school today, and invariably he utters those wonderful words – “I don’t remember.” I live for that.
I didn’t used to be a stay-at-home dad. I used to produce a TV show called “America’s Most Wanted.” In my 15 years there, I helped put more than 700 bad guys behind bars, and brought 30 missing children home to their parents. Until I had a kid of my own, it was the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
Dads with high-pressure jobs have trouble coming home from the office. We spend our days in places of great structure, where people actually do what you tell them to do, and goals are achieved, and we come to believe that there is order in the universe.
A five-year-old takes that belief and stuffs cheese balls in its ear.
Megan tells me that one of the prizes in the GNM giveaway is a copy of my book, “Dadditude.” I’m quite honored. In “Dadditude,” I try to talk about how I made that transition – from believing in order, to accepting and embracing the chaos – and in travelling the country and talking to other dads, I’ve learned I’m not alone. The biggest difference I’ve found between dads and moms is that dads think you have to be consistent – that if the child whines once and gets his way, then you have taught him that whining is a productive activity. Therefore, we must never give in. Moms know better – they know you have to pick your battles if you’re going to survive until dinner.
My sense of “Dadditude” is learning the lesson of finding the middle ground:
It’s OK to be consistent. Just not all the time.