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Phil Slaght starring in “the greatest gift”

July 29, 2013

I recently attended my high school reunion and reconnected with many of my friends, recounting where we have been over the last few years, and where we think we are going. It was a great time and it reminded me how many great friends I made in high school. It also reminded me why I constantly strive to stay young in spirit. While holding a professional job and being a parent requires the utmost maturity and personal responsibility, taking time out of every day to act unequivocally immature is necessary, if for anything to laugh and retain just a bit of your youth.

Reader: “Where the hell is Phil going with this…ugh.”

So, back to the reunion. Sarah joined me at the party, and she did her own mingling with several people she also knew from over the years, and she met other too. Some of them discussed our arrangement with me staying home with the kids. Inevitably the comment of “it is really something for Phil to have quit his job and be a stay at home dad,” or “its really a great thing that Phil is doing, setting aside his ego to care for his family.” Now for all of you that have thought that or said it, I thoroughly appreciate your sentiments. And trust me, taking care of children is quite comparable in extent and magnitude of frustration, anger, and helplessness that I felt many times in my professional life. But with that being the case, I have to come clean: Its not all that bad. Yup. You heard it hear first. Again, I appreciate the kudos that people have bestowed upon me, but its not like I gave someone a kidney, or administered CPR to revive someone (however, the day is young and Brian is awake). Really, Sarah and I made a common sense decision, but because it is inconsistent with the “traditional” family model that has been expected since the beginning of time, people find it crazy, fascinating, intriguing, and perhaps inspiring. Jack Bauer breaking into a bunker of two dozen terrorists with an automatic pistol and a couple extra clips to rescue one person is crazy (sarah and I have recently gotten back into watching 24), me staying home…not so crazy. In fact there are some inherent perks that make staying home very palatable.

Anybody remember that show a few years back, where the masked magician showed everyone how to do certain magic tricks, and every other magician hated this dude? Well, I’m going to blow the top of off the secrets we SAHDs have guarded for centuries. I risk getting kicked out of the SAHD fraternity because I swore I would never reveal our secrets, but full disclosure is more important. Hold on to your hats:
1. SAHDs (stay at home dads for those of you who are not fluent in acronyms) don’t shower everyday. Now, I know plenty of dudes I used to work with that clearly did not shower daily, much less have a reasonable minimum limit of hygene. We dont have anyone expecting us to shower daily.
2. SAHDs more often than not wear their pajamas (or whatever they wore to bed) well into the day. In some case all day long. However, there are strict rules regarding wearing pajamas out of the house, especially to Wal-mart or Target. That is a big no-no.
3. SAHDs play video games with thier kids. Hey, c’mon, Madden 2014 has some redeeming educational qualities, not to mention building up thumb muscle dexterity.
4. SAHDs can eat whatever they want, whenever they want. Feeling a little hungry? I’ve heard that sometimes what you’re really feeling is thirsty. Well, better not chance it, have a big bowl of cocopuffs at 2:30, on top of the left over pizza and cheddar harvest sun chips you ate at lunch.
5. “Its five o’clock somewhere”…do I really need to explain this one?
6. While this one is gender specific, playing with your kids toys can definitely time warp you back to your childhood. My kids are huge into transformers right now…AWESOME!!!
7. Yard work sucks. Teaching your kids how much fun yard work is does not suck. “Oh boy, I’ve always wanted to cut the grass.” “Don’t tell mommy though (wink, wink).”
8. Swimming is an excellent way for children to stay healthy and burn energy. It is also an excellent way for daddy to catch a mean tan, and meet some new friends (mom at pool: “oh, you are a stay at home dad…aw, good for you. your wife is so lucky to have a husband who prioritizes his family”; me: “why thank you…and do you know where the cocktail waitress went?”).
9. SAHDs get to harass telemarketers. This has been a perk that I would have never thought of. In fact, when I first started staying at home, I hated these people. Then I realized, these people are just doing their job, trying to make an honest buck. I shouldnt just hang up on them. Their call statistics will be terrible. Instead, I strike up conversations with them:
TM:”Is Philip Slaught…er…Slate there?”
Me:”why yes, this is he”
TM:”how are you today sir?”
Me:”hey, where are you calling from?”
TM:”um, uh, Seattle”
Me:”does it really rain there like every day? I couldnt handle that man…forget about it.”
TM:”sir, Im calling from Chemlawn and we are setting up appointments for our fall aerating service, and I want to know…”
Me:”ha, ya know, I never get that aerating service.”
TM:”can I ask why sir? It has many beneficial effects on your lawn.”
Me:”I think it is a waste of money, plus it looks like a million little tirds on my lawn. Make me laugh every time I look at my yard.”
TM:(silence)
Me:”you know what I WILL get my yard aerated this fall”
TM:”great, just let me confirm your address”
Me:”sure, its 207…*click*
Now, you may think that is mean…I dont.
10. SAHD have plenty of time to write a blog. This can be tricky though. In the time I have been typing this, each of my boys has run up to me crying at least twice. No blood, no foul, I always say.

Now let me be very clear, being a SAHmom may be much more difficult, as they may take a much different approach to caretaking than a SAHD. Please dont take this as some callous, irresponsible, insensative undermining of the struggles of a stay at home parent. That is not my point. But at the same time, I have not made up anything above.

Some may say that I am understating the stress and burden of being a stay at home parent. I am not. I am simply shedding light on the fact that it is not always so difficult. Let me offer a comparison to the professional world: a coworker stays at work until 8pm each night, and makes sure that everyone knows they work into the evening. However, that same person didnt volunteer that they came in late, took a two hour lunch, played on the internet for four hours, and talked on the phone for another two hours. So while they were physically at work for 10 hours, they actually only performed 2 hours of productive, useful work.

Well, now that the vatican has postponed my sainthood, I shall go make my children dinner…but first I will make myself a cocktail. It’s five o’clock somewhere.

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From → new career

4 Comments
  1. Shana O'Patry Hughes permalink

    Absolutely love it!!!! Would kill to sit down and share a proper happy hour with you.

  2. Thanks for the laugh. Wish I could have made the reunion for the simple opportunity to discuss staying home. I’m a part-time college professor, and a full time SAHD. Your list matches up well with mine accept instead of video games, I drop my daughter off at the gym daycare while I workout (workout clothes were what I slept in and I didn’t shower before going).
    I’ll be sure to read some more posts.

  3. Shamus permalink

    Phil – just the verses….we don’t need the whole damn bible…..said differently…….keep’em comin.

  4. kitty murray permalink

    You made my day, Phil. I love your saber sharp wit.

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