Scott and I married young and waited ten years before we decided to have a kid. We were busy building careers, drinking beer, and hanging out with friends. We had a lot of friends. We tried a lot of beers.
When we finally decided to get pregnant we agreed that Scott would stay home with the baby. This seemed like a brilliant idea for all sorts of reasons. I had a good paying secure government job I liked with all sorts of cool benefits, and at the time Scott worked as a programmer, so he could easily work part time from home. Plus Scott had always been the better chef and master gardener, as well as the alpha dog to our two adorable Labradors. Scott’s just one of those annoying people who is good at everything, so obviously he was going to master parenting too.
Weren’t we cute? Because despite our education and experience, we both failed to understand that a baby is not a pot roast, a plant or even a dog. Did we learn nothing from the time Scott tried to take our yellow lab to his dog-friendly workplace several years prior? Yeah, she got fired…
But armed with our ignorance and enthusiasm, we forged ahead and Scott became a Stay at Home Dad (SAHD)/Work at Home Dad (WAHD) in 2000 before it was all the rage. Of course, now every household has one, but Scott was a trendsetter! Oh I’m sure there were other dads doing what he did around that time, but it certainly wasn’t even close to the norm, and there didn’t appear to be a bunch of blogs or dad support groups to turn to. At least ones Scott cared to participate in. He’s never been one to ask for help. That would be impolite. Plus Scott likes to figure stuff out on his own.
I went back to work when Finn was three months old, and Scott went to work caring for a baby full time while subsequently realizing that taking care of a baby is pretty boring, pretty all consuming and effing hard. Kind of like computer programming. Which is why you can’t program and take care of a baby at the same time. Who knew?
But we muddled through those first several years just like all new parents. We made adjustments to our routine until that routine didn’t work and then we made more adjustments.
Scott has always been the primary parent. He changed way more diapers, administered more medicine, and tediously prepared more toddler snacks than I ever did. He’s been woken up more in the middle of the night (sucks for him that he’s a light sleeper, no?). He has taken Finn to all of his doctor appointments, dentist appointments, and eye exams. He has attended numerous birthday parties, volunteered weekly in several classrooms, and driven on field trips. He helped coach basketball, baseball and soccer before Finn finally convinced us his disinterest in any and all things related to sports wasn’t just a phase. He’s sat through piano lessons and struggled with homework. He’s played drums and endless hours of video games with the kid. He even took Finn to a Skrillex concert for crying out loud. That alone should get him Honorable Mention for Father of the Year.
In retrospect, Finn was an easy kid, but no kid is easy when you’re in the weeds. Finn never had colic or threw tantrums. He typically slept through the night like a champ, and woke up cheerful. He’s just a happy kid. But he never liked to nap, never liked to sit still, and ALWAYS liked to chat. He talked early and often, and his chatter/singing invaded every one of Scott’s waking thoughts, which can be a little disconcerting for a guy who is pretty quiet and introspective.
Pretty sure Finn is chatting or singing up a storm in this photo right here.
Scott has had his parenting ups and downs, but in all that chaos he also discovered he really didn’t like his programming job, and embarked on a career in photography. Who knows if he would have discovered his passion had he not opted to stay at home with Finn?
Over the years father and son have had their battles. It took me a long time to let Scott and Finn have the relationship they needed to have instead of the relationship I thought they should have. Butting out is not my style. I like to run things, remember?
But now that Finn is a teenager they’ve settled into a very comfortable and loving relationship that I deeply admire and appreciate. They still have their moments, but it warms my heart to see them laughing at internet memes, talking about girl problems or working on photography projects. They have a lot of fun.
Probably too much fun.
I know dads have been taking care of kids for years. It’s not like Scott invented fatherhood. But it takes a man who is very secure in his masculinity to be the primary caregiver. He was and is pretty special. And I think our kid is turning out pretty special as a result of having Scott for a dad.
I mean, he taught Finn how to do his own laundry last year. I’m STILL trying to figure out what all those settings do.
And as a result of our parenting style Finn believes moms and dads do anything and everything. How wonderful is that?
Except turn on the grill. I’ve convinced him moms don’t do that. We like our eyebrows too much.