Over the last few weeks I’ve become a mostly stay-at-home-dad. I’ve been working two, maybe three days a week while my wife is crushing it in her new, fancy accounting job. When my better half and I switched roles, I knew I’d keep busy. I’ve got rooms to clean, and endless stream of laundry to wash, meals to prepare, a house to maintain, but I didn’t know that I’d spend most of my time wrestling with soul-crushing loneliness.
I Never Expected Being A Stay-At-Home-Parent Would Be So Lonely…
If you know me, that might sound weird. I don’t like people. I don’t understand most of them. I highly value alone time…when I worked. It’s easy to long for a day off where I can just kick back and play video games, because I’ve spent five other days dealing with horrible coworkers and the many mind-numbing demands of modern life. I need that quiet solitude to think, or to not think, to read, to watch some Netflix. I love being alone.
But I’ve had enough of it.
And the day doesn’t begin that way. We start every morning in a flurry of toothbrushes, uniforms, and lunch boxes. We’re like that scene in Home Alone where the whole family is bumbling through the house trying to find their luggage and ignoring the youngest child (Sorry I forgot your snack, Kate). I kiss the wife goodbye as she leaves for another exciting day at her sweet gig. I haul the kids off, one by one, to their schools. There’s so much happening in that first hour and then, suddenly, nothing. When I leave my daughter’s school I know that I’m coming home to a dark and empty house. There’s no one to talk to. There’s nowhere to go. It’s just me. Alone. All day.
You can have too much of a good thing. I actually kind of miss arguing about politics. I miss talking sports and comics. And, God help me, I kind of miss listening to the mail carriers at my post office try and pretend they’re still not blitzed on drugs from the night before. The other day, my wife came home to find me in the front yard chatting with two moms on my street. I don’t think she’s ever witnessed a more shocking sight in her life, and she’s seen A Serbian Film.
I know my situation is nothing special. Homemakers have been holding down an empty house for a long, long time. This isn’t a pity party. I just simply didn’t see it coming. I thought I would forget my kids’ basketball practice or have some comical, appliance related mishap. But it turns out that I’m on top of the schedules and I’m great at fixing things. So it’s just me and a literal ticking of the clock as I write this. What do I do? I have no idea. But the kids will be home in three hours and the dishwasher just finished. I’ve got to get busy.