Wednesday, December 06, 2006

6 Months

My life is now measured in the milestones of Finn's life. When he was born we were asked the weight and height and various other newborn stats. After a couple of weeks we are asked if he is smiling. Next comes the sleeping question, how long does he sleep? when does he go to bed? do you have a routine? Grabbing for things and head control are measured and then the laughing and babbling start. I am at the point in my life now where the next big milestone is teeth. He does not have any at the moment but all signs point to there impending arrival. Finn gums on anything he can and drools like a rabid dog. Lately he has enjoyed taking my finger with both hands and scrapping my finger nail on his gums. I instinctively feel like this is a bad idea but the kid loves it. He will itch his gums for up to 45 minutes if I let him. I spend my days charting these many other milestones in our lives and each day has it's own ups and downs. Yesterday after a check of our bank account online I was knocked around emotionally. It seems whenever there is a financial issue that comes up in our lives I feel deeply responsible and lose sight of the value in what I am doing at home. I think that if I just went back to work we would be better off, more stable. These feeling washed over me so roughly yesterday that I was worn out and tired. Sleep seemed like the only thing for me at the time. When Kate got home she knew right away that something was wrong with me but instead of asking me over and over what it was she let me know she was there when ever I figured it out myself and left it at that. I did eventually figure it out last night and talked it out with Kate. I know there is value in my decision to stay at home, I know I am not responsible for every emergency that comes up, and I know that there is no where I would rather be then here with my boy. In many ways it was an easy decision to come home while Kate went back to work. Kate is better suited for the working world and I am better suited for raising kids. That is us, that is how we break down as a couple and each couple is different. But this decision has lead to some really tight times and forced Kate and I to be vigilant with our time and money. There is very little margin for error and small variances cause big problems. We have become infinitely better with our money the less of it we make and for all of the belt tightening and penny pinching it has been the right decision. I can't tell you where a man's place or a woman's place is but my place, me personally, my place is in this house with Finn. Cooking and cleaning and changing diapers, I am valuable to my boy and I am valuable to my beautiful wife and that is more valuable to me then anything else.


Anonymous said...

So glad you are able to identify and verbalize this now instead of when you are 65 looking back on how things "should" have been." You are inspiration. We are proud of you both.
Jen (and Ben)

Jamie said...

Okay James, here are some of the developmental benefits of what you are doing. Finn is receiving one on one nurturing care which will help his brain development and his social development. He will be more secure later. However, remember play dates are extremely important for that peer socialization to prepare him for Pre-School and Kindergarten. Even if you choose to home school him he will need some form of routine and interaction with peers. This is where he learns about sharing and other people’s feelings.

I agree with your idea that there isn’t a set place in this day and age for a “man’s role” or a “woman’s role.” Our roles are to be what is best for our families, not to meet some convoluted idea of what is “right” in society. What is right is what makes our own families work.

You’re right though it is hard to make ends meet when only one person is working, but as you get more adept at budgeting and making do, it will smooth out. A less bumpy road is around the corner as soon as you’ve figured out what’s important and what you can live without. I still remember those days! Believe me we all had them in the beginning.

I will tell you this though, you wouldn’t have much more money if you were both working and paying for quality licensed childcare at $30 a day. Besides Finn would probably have diaper rash and be sick all the time from shared toys so your Doctor bills would sky rocket. I’m sure if you put all this to paper you would realize that working probably wouldn’t help that much, only tightening and budgeting would work. So keep up the good work and pat yourself on the back for the job you are doing, which, by the way, is full time work and has a job title. Domestic Engineer!!

Love you!!