It has been nearly 3 months. I’m pretty used to the dadding routine. It took some adjusting, but it feels normal now. Well, normalish. There are pretty constant reminders that I’m an outlier in this at home parenting world. But it doesn’t really bother me.
I’ve realised there are a few keys to maintaining your sanity when you’re on permanent kid duty. I would be in a real battle if it wasn’t for the friends we have in the building – aka the Commonwealth Club. Some of the first people we met were families from Australia and Canada. They each have one little nibbler, both about 6 months younger than Chaos. We have a set playgroup every Tuesday, but we tend to see each other a lot more than that given we’re always trying to find ways to entertain our offspring.
Hurricane and Chaos love our playgroup. They are the big kids, so they get to be ringleaders most of the time. Our little posse all head over to a bigger community playgroup once a week too where the adults eat bagels while the kids run rampant. I am not daunted by much at all, but the first time we went there would have been 20 mums, and me. I couldn’t have been more conspicuous.
My fellow club mates were quickly brought into the fold, but I felt the room withdraw from me a bit, so I just played with Hurricane, Chaos and their little mates. I kind of expected it. Mums love to talk to other mums. Meeting up at these playgroups is a big stress reliever for a lot of them, so I don’t feel particularly aggrieved that they prefer not to waste small talk on me when they could be ranting to their friends about the destruction of their once beautiful boobs.
In the weeks since not much has changed, though I’m part of the furniture now so I get plenty of hellos and smiles. I have made friends with a Grandmother who somehow looks after a 3-year-old 5 days a week on top of having a husband with Alzheimers. We are pretty tight. She likes to talk bluntly. I like people who talk bluntly. They’re never boring. And just recently another dad turned up and his relief at seeing another Y chromosome in the room was palpable. He once played pro basketball in Mexico. We will be friends – though he’s not on permanent dadding like me.
Of all the adjustments I’ve had to make, the biggest has been getting accustomed to talking pretty much only to women from Monday to Friday. I imagine it’s what working in HR would be like. It’s not that easy. I actually have to listen. Carefully. And respond. Men aren’t really that good at it, and I’m worse than most. It’s exhausting. I feel like I’m doing a passable job. We’ll see how long I can last.