“This Close” to Being Mr. Mom
When my wife and I moved from Nashville back to my hometown in Alabama a few weeks after our son was born in November 2010, we spent the next four months not only learning how to take care of a baby but also constantly looking for jobs. At first, we were just trying to find a job for myself.
But as the months progressed and Baby Jack’s behavior was becoming more predictable and had switched solely to formula (instead of also relying on breast milk), my wife decided to start looking for a job as well- as we were getting desperate for income. We figured if nothing else, she could get a job first, then eventually I could.
She had just got her Master’s degree in Childhood Education and had spent the past couple of years working for the glorious Vanderbilt University. It started occurring to me that my wife probably had a more impressive resume than I did. After about a week of applying for jobs, my wife was called back about a job she applied for. This particular job paid $20,000 more a year than what the average man makes in this city. If she got the job, there would be no financial need for me to work too.
We didn’t want to get our hopes up though- for anyone else who has experienced recent unemployment, you probably relate to being constantly disappointed each time a new opportunity arises. My wife was told by the potential employer that it was between her and nearly a dozen other people. Then a few days later, it was between her a few others. Eventually, it was between just my wife and one other person.
Well, for whatever unknown reason, my wife didn’t get the job. I miraculously did get a job at the very last minute, right as we had come to the reality that the best option for us was to move back to Nashville. The exact same week I was hired for my sales job at the playground equipment company I work for, I was informed I had officially been chosen as the daddy blogger for Parents.com. In other words, though I was completely willing to become “Mr. Mom” and had no problem at all with my wife making the moulah while I stayed at home with the baby, it never happened.
I never become the updated version of the 1983 Michael Keaton, overloading the washing machine with soap and having bubbles flood the laundry room. Just imagine how uber authentic The Dadabase could have been if I was a stay-at-home dad. I could have been like Tony Danza on Who’s the Boss?, wearing an apron and vacuuming the curtains. Yes, just as my wife is completely qualified and capable of being the one who goes out everyday into the work force outside the home, I could have been a stay-at-home dad. And man would I have been cool for that.
But fortunately, she and I both got what we really wanted. I get to go out and assist the sells of playgrounds to elementary schools, city parks, churches, and Jewish communities centers. And my wife gets to do all those things here on the home front which exhaust and intimidate me daily. I make a better Mr. Dad than I do a Mr. Mom. So to the Mr. Mom’s out there, you impress me. And to the stay-at-home moms out there, you obviously amaze me too.
I was this close (implying that I am making a pinching-like gesture with my thumb and pointer finger to measure a half an inch) to being Mr. Mom. But my wife didn’t get the job and I got one instead. I could have done it, but I didn’t have to. And that’s a good thing because I would rather leave the tougher job, of staying home with the baby and taking care of the house, to the professional: my wife.