Thoughts while at the mall

Kevin, my mother-in-law and I went to the mall today. The basic idea was that I would watch him at a play castle while she did some shopping, and then she would watch him for a minute while I looked for a couple movies.

I did find the movies: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Yankee Doodle Dandy. I found them both, but not at prices I was willing to pay just now. But, that's not the main point of today - just an endorsement of two classic films. (I was looking for them yesterday as well, but "settled" for several others.)

For those readers who do not know, I am a full-time, stay-at-home dad. My wife and I are fortunate enough to be in a position where we could make that choice, and since she was making more than I was (and would, barring a minor miracle), I got to stay at home.

Now, being home all the time is pretty odd. For most of my day, I don't converse with adults - and since Kevin's language skills are pretty limited still (uck, ba-ba and ma-ma are pretty much it), I just don't get to talk about much of anything. Try it for a while, and you'll understand why much of my postings are likely to be semi-rambling - there's just no normal ebb and flow of conversation to help maintain meter, style and verbal poise.

But, I digress. (Big shocker, considering the above, I know.) Where being a SAHD is rough is that, many times, when you take your child to a playground, or out to a park, or a play area in a mall or other locale, you're the only adult male. If you're lucky, there might be a couple others somewhere, but they never sit in a group, and rarely talk to each other - or anyone else for that matter. If you look at the women, they're sitting in a group, offering tips on child care, comparing stories, and generally helping each other out.

So, it can be kind of lonely.

I have found that some women are more than willing to talk with a dad who is there with his kid(s). They love that there are guys out there who are willing to do a job like this. And then there are the ones (sadly, the majority) who view your exit from the workforce as something involuntary. As though you lacked the skills to hack it in the real world. And everytime I run into one, I want to ask them why their decision to devote their lives to their children is noble and self-sarcificing, and why my decision is because I am a failure.


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