Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It's a Bad Trade-off For Any Dad

My daughters don’t know it yet, but they owe their entire existence to a simple decision my wife made. What was that decision, you ask. Simple - She decided to be a stay at home Mom. That, in turn, lead me to decide to have kids with her. It’s as simple as that. (And, oh yeah, the love and deep emotional feelings and stuff also had a bit to do with it.)

I could probably be very happy spending my life with a career oriented women if there were no children involved. But, I would never-ever willfully marry and have kids with a career woman. Why on earth would I? It would be nuts for me to put myself out like that.

Look, maybe women are genetically equipped to be dad 50% of the time, but I am not genetically equipped to be Mom. Most men aren’t, I think. They just do it because – well, I don’t know why, exactly. I guess it’s because they weren’t as discerning and smart as me in choosing their spouse and plotting their life’s course. It’s kind of mean to say, but, I wouldn’t trade places with any of ‘em. I don’t care if their TV is bigger than mine and their house worth more. My life is way better than theirs.

Having my wife at home gives us tremendous freedom and takes a lot of pressure off us and the whole family. Well, except for the financial pressure. But, that’s a sacrifice we choose to make. While the dual income families enjoy the extra stuff their extra income awards them, We enjoy the quality of life our traditional lifestyle awards us. I bring home the bacon, my wife takes 100% care of the household. No rushed 7:00 AM dropoffs at the daycare centre for me; and no frantic rush hour driving to make the 6:00 PM pickup . No leaving work when one of the kids is sick.. No watching my exhausted wife stumble through the door at 6:30 PM with a briefcase in one hand and a bucket of greasy chicken in the other. No laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, shopping, or any housework. My wife does it all, baby. And not only that, she’s got a heart of gold and tremendous strength of character. She also looks half her age and has a body that I would happily die for. And, oh, she doesn’t mind when I go to the pub to have a pint with the guys. (Hate me, it’s OK, I understand.)

I have always said, and I truly believe, that any man who makes a decent living should think long and hard about having kids with a working woman. Why would any man take on so many additional headaches just to be able to buy more “stuff”? And, after all, in the end, that’s all he would get for his troubles – more stuff. He wouldn’t get happier. He wouldn’t get more satisfaction out of life. He certainly wouldn’t get laid more. (Stressed out working women make tired lovers.) He wouldn’t get more family and personal quality time (Family and personal time is much more plentiful for fathers who come home to a clean house, a home-cooked meal and a closet full of laundered and ironed clothes.) All today’s dual income families get is an extra income stream to buy extra “stuff”. (Laughably, a lot of that second income stream often gets used up paying for the stuff necessary for mommy to work outside the house in the first place – expensive daycare, a second car, transit fare, lots of nice clothes and shoes, a lot more meals out & takeout, guilt gifts for the kids, etc.)

If you ask me, it’s a bad trade-off for any dad (and for many moms, I would wager.) Is it any wonder that fewer men are getting married and many don’t want children. Can’t blame them really.

At heart, men are simple creatures. They are not prone to overanalyzing their lives like many women are. They think more than they speak and act more than they think. They are at their best when their role is clear and they know what is expected of them. Once upon a time, their world was like that. Mine still is.

I often sit and wonder why more dads don’t go off the deep end with all the gender gymnastics and parental uncertainty they have to deal with these days. It must be hell going through life not knowing exactly what the hell it is you are from one minute to the next – Momdy or Dadmy.

A few days ago, I was waiting for my morning train to work and it was delayed. While waiting, I happened to be standing beside two men who were conversing. They had apparently not seen each other in a while. One was telling the other that he had a one year old daughter and his wife was expecting their second. He and his wife were on different shifts. He would leave work, pick up their baby, take her home and spend the rest of the night tending to her. Baths, feedings, clean-ups, the whole thing. Apparently, the baby was an all-nighter. He had to give up playing hockey, he said. It was really sad. He sounded less than happy. In fact, he sounded resigned. Resigned to his destiny.

Destiny? Maybe his. But not mine.

Personally, I would never willfully choose such a life for myself. I am surprised that so many men still do. Amazing, isn’t it, how far a bit of sex will go. One day you’re having some great lovin’ and not really thinking about the future. And the next you’re munching on leftover KFC, doing the laundry and changing a poopy diaper while Mommy works late at the office with Raoule.

If I had a son I would be advising him as follows: “My son, freeze your sperm at age 18 and get a vasectomy. Then, cavort at will in the garden and pick the most beautiful flowers to decorate your bed. Never get married and never, ever have kids unless you find someone who’s willing to be a full-time Mom to your children and a full time wife to you during your children’s formative years. You deserve no less, my son. And settling for less, makes you less of a man.” That’s what I would tell him.

But, alas, I have daughters, not sons. So my advice to them will be different. I will advise them as follows: “My darlings, get University degrees, have careers and make lots of money. Then, around age 30, marry a good man and have a few kids. Then, go back to work and leave the kids with me and grandma during the day. After all, my sweethearts, you don’t need no man to support you. You can support yourself. If your husband is any kind of man, he’ll understand.” That’s what I’ll be telling them.

What? How dare you. I am not a hypocrite. Boys and girls are different, that’s all. They need different life strategies to prosper. I’m just trying to steer them in the right direction so they’ll be happy. It’s the least a good father can do.

4 Comments:

Blogger Stephanie said...

wow.

Hey...just so you know. We have fire now. Wheels, too!

5:09 PM  
Blogger djinn said...

Wow. Your poor daughters.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

And Wow...your poor sons.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Kudos for speaking the truth.

3:51 AM  

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