Saturday, September 10, 2005

Can I speak to your wife?

I'm finding it much harder to post now that summer is over and real life has kicked in. Having said that I going to keep trying.

No one specific event or issue is nagging and/or inspiring me, but a number of small items.

I drove my son and his five other friends to preschool on Friday. I'm the only father that will take a turn on the carpooling obligations and this I love. I always wanted to participate in those moments in my kids' lives. And, while I can bitch about the pay I receive as a teacher, I do love the flexibility it allows me. Though I've had a number of odd or uncomfortable situations being a father at home, especially in the summer when I'm working from home a lot and my wife is away working. One time a woman dropped off her child to play with Andrew, my 4-year old, but didn't know I would be the parent in charge: she stumbled and stuttered but finally left her children. On several occasions women have called to set-up a play date or set-up car-pooling or to discuss something time sensitive but when I answer and tell them my wife isn't home, they usually decide I'm not the ONE to talk to about such things. Sometimes I've just let it go; other times I've tried to hint that I am indeed the ONE to talk to. Of course I don't blame these women as many (most?) men are clueless (and I still am clueless about such things as doctor appointments and school projects--last year I didn't even meet my son's teacher: what a loser). Still, it's just a bit strange being on that side of the fence, the father at home side.

I realized the other day how hard it might be to be a single-father. A friend of mine who recently moved into the neighborhood confided that it's been quite difficult to fit in as a single father with three kids; as he explained it, "how often do men get together so their kids can play?" Activity and relationships really do need containers and constructions in order to be performed. It's not good enough to just say, "I will be different" because it's nearly impossible to act in ways that are not validated or allowed in our culture. I mean sure my friend could call up some married guy say, "let's get our kids together" but it's almost impossible to imagine: their is very little, if at all, any social structure to support such an event.

Well, it seems I couldn't help but create a little theme.


Clint Gardner said...

I, of course, know nothing of parenting other than being the handy babysitting uncle, but that doesn't mean the prospect of fatherhood alludes me. Like most folks I suppose I have some fantasy idea of what it would be like, and I envy those who have it.

What does that mean? Nothing, I suppose, but I really like reading what you have to say about fatherhood and your positive way of doing it.

Counterintuitive said...


BTW I realized I did meet my son's teacher last year. It was at the end of the year (in May) when I accompanied them on a field trip to Farmington Bay bird refuge. So I'm not a total loser father, just a partial loser. Coincidentally the bay is a great, mostly unknown, place to see birds.

Clint Gardner said...

Didn't Terry Tempest Williams make use of it in Refuge.

middlebrow said...

I am sometimes the only man at the park with Son. The mothers will sometimes look at me like there's something wrong with me. They're thinking, doesn't he have a job. Isn't he supposed to be in an office, doing--you know--busines-like stuff.