100 Days, Day 007

Stay-at-home dad.

A couple of days ago I posted something on Micro.blog, and a conversation started with TimeAffluent that got me thinking about a lot of things, but at the beginning of the exchange I thought about Marco.

A few years back, seven to be precise, I went to Luxembourg on a press trip. One of those in and out in three days things, running around the place trying to get to as many landmarks as possible in each of those days. Usually they're put together by the local tourism board, so they make an effort to take you to the nicer spots, eat at a couple of fancy restaurants and stay at an upscale hotel. One thing they also set up is a local guide, greatly responsible for the success, or not, of the whole trip.

This time we were lucky, Marco was assigned to our group.

Marco was in his late fifties, and he had a voice that could be heard a mile away. He spoke with a tone that made you stand in attention, and this was (as usual) a group that did not like standing in attention.

He was very knowledgeable about the whole country (it's not a big country, but still) and had a dry sense of humor that quickly won us over. We liked Marco.

When we got to know him a little better, or as well as the three-days-in-and-out routine would allow, he told us part of his life story. He hadn't always been a guide, you see ?

Grown up life for Marco had started drawing projects in an architectural atelier. He got married and soon he became a father. When the time came for the couple to decide how things would work out in the future, they decided he would stay at home taking care of the baby, and his wife would go back to work. He spent the following eighteen years doing that, taking care of their children.

When they went away to college he decided to get a job, and found out drawing was all done with computers by then. He didn't particularly like computers, so he thought about finding another occupation. He became a tour guide. He liked history, he liked walking, he liked talking, so why not ?

I had never thought about becoming a father by then, and both my parents had jobs while I was growing, so this issue never crossed my mind. It's not that i assumed the mother should stay at home, I didn't, or even thought she should, I didn't, I never thought about it, that's all. Now that I was confronted with this, thinking about it for the first time, I found this to be a very interesting idea.

I quickly went back to my old self, not giving it a second thought, for the same reasons as before: didn't really matter, since I was not going to be a dad. One less thing to worry about.

And here we are, covid lockdown, stuck at home with a new baby, no work for months. I discovered I don't mind it that much. It's great being able to spend all this time with my wife and the baby, not worried about having to leave early tomorrow, or the day after, on some assignment. Sure, the money situation is not perfect, money has to come from somewhere, but, in a perfect situation, I wouldn't mind spending a few years doing nothing else. Just caring for them.

Waking up in the morning, knowing she, they, will be ok, maybe better than if they had to spend the day on their own.

Knowing that I will be ok because I can spend every minute of the day by their side, watching the baby grown, learning how to care for her a little more every day.

Marco was right, and I should have known this already. Babies are better than work.

This is day 007 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.