It's Wednesday, which means 1) the boys will arrive later today for the dadportion of their week, and 2) I've spent most of my morning eradicating all the evidence of my debauched, kid-free bachelorhood. I may raise some eyebrows when I say this, but I truly believe responsible parenting means rinsing all that caked vomit out of the drapes and recovering every bullet casing -- even the ones that roll under the fridge -- in order to be the best role model I can be.
As I was gathering up all the undergarments and drug paraphernalia from the grotto, I found myself thinking about work/life balance. It's been a huge topic among moms forever, but in this time of elevated expectations, dads are feeling it, too. I wish I could write more about it, but the truth is I'm terribly unqualified to do so.
Because at this moment, right now, pending the inevitable cataclysmic event that will screw everything up, my work/life balance is really great.
I'm not sure how it happened, but I guess it dates back to my dad, whose bankers' hours brought him home at the exact time every night. Door, kiss, couch, martini, right before dinner. The steadiness of his routine is sort of amazing, when I think about it. But that's the model I had to work with when I envisioned my own fatherhood, and I think it's served me pretty well.
I had The Crazy Jobs in my 20s and 30s, but since I've been a dad I've been a financial editor, then unemployed, then a high-school math teacher, then unemployed again, then WAHDing it up in my current gig. All of which got me home every night, kept my weekends free, and afforded me lots of time with my kids, even after I split up with their mom.
And that's a big point: It's not lost on me that a big part of this balance is being single. Frankly, cramming "engaged fatherhood" and "engaged couplehood" into a nebulous term like "life" seems terribly reductive, since each of those is a full-time job completely separate of your full-time job.
I'm grateful that circumstance has let me be such a big part of my kids' lives. And even though I'll likely die alone, it's good to know that, when my sons come home, they will find me there, waiting for them on the couch. Usually after I've just finished vacuuming all the cocaine out of the cushions.