Single Minded Moms: Routines and Realities…a Single Dad’s Perspective
By Matt Logelin
Monday, October 6th. The day I have to return to my reality. I never intended to be out of work this long. Two weeks with my wife while she was in the hospital on bed rest and one, maybe two weeks at home after the arrival of our baby girl. That was my intention, but things changed after Liz died.
If she were still here, our reality would have been far different. We both would have been back to work months ago. Madeline would have been placed in a daycare and we would’ve established a shared routine for dealing with drop-offs, pick-ups, sick days, doctor visits, etc.
Without Liz, there has been no real shared routine, only the routine established by my baby. I wake up when she wakes up. We leave the house in between her naps. My main responsibilities have been to make sure Madeline is dressed, fed and clean. I don’t get much sleep because I catch up on our bills, respond to e-mails, write, and mourn the loss of my wife while my baby sleeps. I do it all one my own, but it’s been easier than I ever expected because I’ve been able to spend all of this time at home with Madeline, devoting mostly all of my attention to her needs.
It’s been almost seven months since I last stepped foot in my office. The only spreadsheet I’ve analyzed is the one documenting Madeline’s height and weight statistics. Without a job to go to every day, the life I’ve lived since Liz died feels like one long, never-ending day. I often have no concept of what day it is because my sole focus has been my daughter. The time at home has been amazing. It’s allowed me to develop an indescribable bond with Madeline. We’ve become closer than I ever could have imagined…and for this I feel more than fortunate. I know that most fathers don’t get this kind of opportunity. Hell, most working mothers don’t get this opportunity.
But now it’s time for us to establish new routines. Not going back work is not an option, which means that I need someone to watch Madeline. She’ll start daycare the same day l return to work. These new routines will be a huge change from those I’ve lived since March 25th, but they are not a complete shift in my world view.
I know two other widows whose world views changed even more significantly than mine on the day they lost their spouse. Both were stay at home moms, neither of them had any intention of returning to the work force. I find myself wondering how they’re going to get by without their husbands. How are they going to support their families? How are they going to reconcile the expectations of the past with the reality of the present and future?
I feel lucky that I have a job to which I can return after such a long time away, a job that’s familiar to me, a job with friendly faces awaiting my return. I feel lucky that I’ve found an affordable daycare that’s close to my office, a place that is a perfect fit for Madeline. I feel lucky that I’ve been given the necessary time to deal with the huge life changes I have experienced. Mostly I feel lucky to have such an amazing daughter. That’s a lot of luck for a guy who lost his wife a little more than six months ago.
What can I say? I’m trying to stay positive.
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