We’re finally settled back into our routine after our Costa Rica trip. RB40Jr started preschool in early September, but we went on a two week vacation so that was a big disruption. Thanks goodness for preschool because blogging is so much more manageable now. RB40Jr goes to preschool 4 days per week from 9 am to 2 pm and that gives me just enough time to work. He is sick this week, though. That’s the only problem with preschool. A few kids are always sick and it just goes round and round. Anyway, I haven’t written about being a stay at home dad in a while so I thought I’d share how things are going.
One of the biggest problems of being a stay at home parent is the feeling of isolation. This was a problem when I first quit my job to become a SAHD. RB40Jr was just 18 months old and we didn’t really get out much. I rarely had contact with other adults and it was a little lonely. It was practically impossible to set up playdates with other kids at that age. Our neighbors with kids had busy schedules and we never synced up. I met other SAHMs at the library and the playgrounds, but it was still difficult to get together for a playdate because we didn’t know each other well. RB40Jr only made one good friend from the playground who has since moved away.
Now that RB40Jr has been in preschool for a while, I don’t have that problem anymore. He has a few very good friends at school and we get together regularly. It’s much easier to make a connection when you see each other at school.
I also try to get us out of the house as much as possible. We walk to the bank, grocery store, post office, parks, library, museums, and run many errands together. I feel like I have enough human interaction to avoid feeling isolated. That’s a nice improvement from when I started being a SAHD 3 years ago. Actually, I’m an introvert so a little human interaction goes a long way.
Still no baby 🙁
A few days ago, RB40Jr complained – “I still don’t have a baby! I’m sad.” All his friends at school have a sibling or two so he wants a baby, too. I usually tell him to go discuss this with his mom when she gets back from work. I wouldn’t mind another baby, but Mrs. RB40 is adamantly opposed to it. I had two younger brothers when I was growing up so I know it’s a lot of fun to have siblings. I’m a little sad for junior, but it’s really up to Mrs. RB40. On the other hand, having just one kid is so much easier. We don’t have to deal with the sleepless nights and dirty diapers. We can concentrate on just one 529 account instead of two. We’ve done the most difficult part and we don’t really want to go through it again.
Being a stay at home dad isn’t all fun and games. We have a lot of fun, but we have our problems, too. RB40Jr frequently acts out when he gets frustrated. He bangs on the wall and punches other kids when things don’t go his way. Okay, that sounds worse than it is. He is only 4 years old so his punches don’t have much power behind them. They don’t hurt much, but I don’t want my kid to behave like that. At home, he’d bang on the wall or table with his fist.
We are at a loss on how to deal with this. I usually send him to timeout in his room, but he’d bang things on the way there and that would escalate the situation. We’d have a talk after he calms down and I would tell him to not bang around or throw things. He’d say okay, but it doesn’t stick. The next time he gets mad at something, he’d bang around again. He just can’t contain his frustration. I try my best to stay calm during these episodes, but sometime I’d lose my cool, too. A few days ago, he hit the TV and I got pretty mad. I yelled at him and sent him to his room without dinner. Mrs. RB40 had to step in to defuse things.
Anyway, I’m trying out a new strategy. I’m going to have to be proactive and be on the lookout for these frustrating moments. As soon as I see him starting to get mad, I will remind him not to act out. Disciplining him after he acts out doesn’t seem to work. It just makes everyone angry.
At school, when he acts out, the teacher would have a talk with him. She assured me some kids go through these phases. I just hope he figures out a way to contain himself soon. If you have dealt with this issue before, please share some ideas on how to help him.
RB40Jr has one more year of preschool left. Next year he will go to a public kindergarten full time and life should be much easier then. As mentioned above, this year he goes to preschool 4 days per week and it costs about $560 per month. That’s not too bad, but I’m looking forward to not having this expense in our budget.
Once he starts kindergarten, I’ll probably sign him up for some extracurricular activities. I want to send him to learn martial arts and piano or violin. He’s really good with controlling his body so maybe he should try gymnastics also. We’d do only one activity at a time so he has time to be a kid as well.
Earlier this week, I mentioned that life is too busy in Is Contentment The Enemy of Progress? One reader responded – “how can you feel busy!” You know, I never thought being a stay at home dad would be so busy either. I imagined I’d be able to work online while junior plays with his toys. Alas, we didn’t raise him to be independent enough so he needs a lot of attention when he’s at home. Let’s take a look at what we did on Thursday, RB40Jr’s day off from preschool.
7 am: Woke up with 2 little feet by my face. Junior came to our bed last night because he was cold. He was a little sick, too. Mrs. RB40 left for work about 7:30 am.
8 am: Made breakfast – eggs, sausages, and bagels. Watched the local news to see what the weather will be like.
9 am: After breakfast, straightened the place out a bit and vacuumed. Logged on and checked emails, approved comments, responded to VA, and general blog related tasks. RB40Jr watched Peppa Pig cartoons on YouTube next to me.
10 am: Drove to Walmart to pick up some groceries, a pair of jeans for the kid, and eye drops. We also went to play in the toy aisles, but didn’t buy anything. RB40Jr wants a light saber toy and I want some classic Lego bricks.
Noon: I made gyros for lunch.
1 pm to 3 pm: Played with some toys, read a bit, and watched cartoons on DVD.
3:30 pm: Drove Jr. to get a flu vaccine sniff at the hospital.
5 pm: Neighbor kids dropped by to play just as we got home. I did some prep work for shrimp tacos.
6 pm: Mrs. RB40 arrived and helped make dinner. Once dinner was ready, we sent the neighbor kids home. They’ll be back tomorrow to help us carve a pumpkin.
6:20 pm: Dinner. Mrs. RB40 cleaned up the kitchen and gave junior a bath afterward.
8 pm: Bed time for Jr.
9 pm to midnight: Worked on the blog. Finished writing, sent to Mrs. RB40 to edit, found the appropriate image, edit image, final edit, and scheduled for publishing. Read and relaxed a bit after work is done around 11:30 pm.
Whew! The day went by very quickly. RB40Jr is a little sick so we stayed home and watched more TV than usual today. I think he will be well enough to go to school on Friday and I’ll have a little more time to myself. It will still be pretty busy, though. I’ll meet a prospective tenant at the duplex, go to the post office and bank, and make a couple of pizzas for dinner. Friday night is my night off and I’ll get a chance to relax after junior hits the hay. What do you think? Is this a busy day? It’s not full of meetings and deadlines, but I didn’t have much time to myself, either.
Well folks, that’s a glimpse into a life of a stay at home dad/blogger. Life is pretty good, but it could always be better. I’m looking forward to full time kindergarten next year. Hopefully, I’ll have a little more time to myself then.
If you have any tips on how to calm a kid down, please share them with us. By the way, counting to ten doesn’t work. He’s never calm enough to do that.