It’s been two days since I’ve reported back to work, and the first day wasn’t admittedly as horrible as I thought it would be despite the fact that my credentials didn’t get activated until nearly 1:30 pm despite me following all proper protocol to come back to work, but on the second day, I’ve already had a ten hour work day, where I had maybe 45 minutes before my child was ready to go down for bed.
After she goes down, I have some errands to run, and then when I’m back home then I have to run, because it’s good for my health and I don’t want to ever be at risk of ending up on My 600 Lb. Life no matter how stoked I’d be to be able to meet Dr. Nowzaradan, and when I’m done with that, I have a litany of little chores, cleaning and baby prep to do, before I go upstairs to shower and then finally sit down to relax.
It’s practically 10 pm at this time, and I’ll have less than two hours before the smart move is to get ready, and go to bed, but not before waking up my child for what mythical wife and I call the nightcap, which is a miniature feeding, in order to tide her over through the entire night despite the fact that on this specific morning she awoke at 5:11 am screaming bloody murder to which really was just, hunger. We’re hoping this is a growth spurt or some aberration, and nothing that will become an ordinary occurrence because 5:11 am is frighteningly insane.
So what do I do to unwind starting at 10 pm? Watch something else on Netflix or Plex? Burn time browsing through YouTube and instead inevitably watching video clips I’ve seen hundreds of times? Nope. Brog about all of these slice of life experiences and inevitably end up sitting on my recliner and doing internet surveys for 42¢ for 15 minutes (I’m currently at $569.99 made through internet surveys). Because when the day is over, that combination of activities seems remotely more productive and self-gratifying to me than burning brain cells looking for something to watch and inevitably finding nothing, plus I’m still building towards the inevitably blet fund for a blet that will never ever be released so maybe it can go towards a fancy vacation or something in the future instead.
A long time ago when I was in the midst of my life of freelance, I developed a pretty good working relationship with one of the account managers of the agency in which I temped through. She was really nice, and one quality important to me, which was loyal. We kind of lucked into each other when I came aboard their roster, and within days of starting up with them, I was immediately placed with ScumTrust, which at the time was a massive career upgrade for me, but was more importantly, an open-ended contract with no definitive end date, which means we were both getting paid as long as I did good work, which I did.
Throughout the years, we worked together on-and-off, where she’d place me here and there, and I’d represent her and the agency well. She liked me, and I liked her, and we both got paid, and she eventually became a VP, but still personally handled my assignments despite the fact that it technically wasn’t her job to manage talents. One day, we came by to one of the businesses she staffed freelancers for, and I happened to be there, and we got to chat briefly, but in the midst of it she reveals to me that she’s pregnant, and I’m happy for her. She tells me that I shouldn’t worry while she’s on maternity leave, and true to her word, I’d still been staying employed for months beyond.
Out of the blue, months later I get a phone call from her, and surprisingly her voice is making it very clear that she’s upset. While holding back tears, she tells me that she’s leaving the agency, and that after coming back from maternity leave, she just didn’t have it in her to work, but wanted to personally tell some of her long-time talents this news. I told her that I understood, and that I was happy with her decision and that family comes first, and wished her nothing but the best moving forward. I haven’t spoken with her since then, although I’ve heard she’s back in the recruiting and staffing game, and I hope that she is doing well.
The point of all this is that having come back from my own paternity leave, I can definitely see where she, and probably many other first time parents who return from leave feel, which is a tremendous reluctance to work instead of continue to take care of their child. Now I’m not saying that I’m going to abruptly quit my job and become a full-time parent; as much as such sounds like a dream, mythical wife and I need both our salaries to survive.
But I understand when parents who have the means or capabilities to do so, do so, because I can think about the most trying days as a parent during the last six-plus months of being a new dad; sleep regression, teething, just a general endless fussiness, blowing up diapers, throwing up on me. I’d take my kid’s worst days over a leisurely, no-stress day at work, even if I do get to work from home and have plenty of access and capabilities to see my daughter throughout the day. That’s how much I’ve learned I prefer being a dad over working, but I have to work in order to be a capable, providing dad.
This is why I often daydream about winning a lottery, and humorously plan my life as if it is going to someday happen. If I didn’t ever have to worry about money, sure that would be great, but the biggest incentive to it all is that it would mean I could be a full-time dad. Sure, it’s easy to scoff that that’s my biggest incentive, but at this juncture of my life, there’s little else that I really want than to just spend more time with my child, and if it weren’t for the fucking coronavirus, my paternity leave would’ve been definitely filled with way more exploration and outdoor excursions than what little there was.