The Second Third, Week 22: Stay-At-Home Dad, Part 2

Last week’s Second Third post (posted just yesterday) touted the family-related advantages a new job that will enable me to telecommute. As the count currently stands, this new opportunity will give me a flexible schedule in which to complete some of my own writing, and will substantially cut down on time stuck in traffic and away from home so I can do more of the fun fatherly things I ought to do with my brood.

In this post (Part 2 of yesterday’s), I turn from my brood to my bride.

I’m not the perfect husband and father. (I know: shocker!) I generally think I’m right, I’m overly emotional, I change plans only with reluctance, and I like to be in charge. I can be diplomatic (with effort), but can also have a short fuse. And as I’ve said before, I’m also a bit of a navel-gazer — I know these things about myself because I spend a lot of time snooping around the corners of my mind. But I’ve been a bit near-sighted for a long time now, so I see things through my own lenses, and assume that others see and react to situations the same way I do. And I’ve never been quick, so when I make a cosmic leap — such as If I were in that situation, I’d be irritated, therefore, she said that because she’s irritated! — I usually realize 30 seconds too late that I’ve reacted wrongly, or at least prematurely.

Unfortunately, my current job demands extraordinary levels of restraint, consultation, and patience. Everyone has an opinion, and at a university, multiple opinions are given more or less equal weight and consideration. This can be a great strength, but it also exhausts the mind and saps the soul. I’ve trained myself to jump through hoops during my work day, with mane neatly combed and a domesticated grin. As a result, I come home with much roaring and gnashing of teeth. The best of me is spent on my colleagues and the issues of the day, and my bride gets the leftovers. Not pretty.

It’s not right that my very best friend takes the brunt of all my worst characteristics. It is a strangely beautiful thing that I feel comfortable enough, confident enough, loved enough to let down my guard and turn off my filters around her. But I should love her better than that.

So here’s the theory: if my work is at home, and my circle of colleagues is reduced, I will spend less on others and have more…tact? discretion? charity! to spend on Jodi. In my Second Third, God willing, I’ll treat at least as well as my co-workers…and hopefully even better.

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