The Traveling Dad

If you are reading this you have probably figured out that I am a Dad.  I’m guessing from the title of this blog and probably this post…  But is that all I do?

Nope.  I’m not a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD).  I unwillingly go to work Monday through Friday. (Unwillingly = Needs The Money).  So what do I do at work?  I’m an engineer.  Woo Hoo! (Woo Hoo! = Boring To Most People)

I travel around to different factories and fix their machinery.  I do most of my work in Ohio (that’s where I live) and surrounding states.  Sometimes however I do have to fly to other parts of this beautiful country (that I never get to enjoy because I’m too busy hauling balls to/from the airport).

I went down to Tomball, Texas on Tuesday.  Unfortunately I had to spend the night down there and fly home this afternoon.

While the one day trips are not that bad (not that bad = I would rather be at home), I do miss Momma and my little man.  With one or two day trips I am able to keep myself pretty busy to keep my mind off of missing the family. If it goes over two days I really start to get home sick.

Here are some tips to help ease your mind while traveling for work and having to leave your kids and family at home:

  1. Take pictures with you.  I have a picture on my laptop’s desktop.  I have pictures on my phone.  There are pictures on this site.  I have pictures everywhere.  I see pictures of Ace and Momma and remember that I am traveling for them.  It gives the time away from home a bit more justification.
  2. Talk on the phone.  While you don’t get to see your loved ones, you do get to hear their voice.  Ace can not talk yet, but I always hear him in the background playing and making noise.  Sometimes Momma hands Ace the phone so that he can hear my voice, but most of the time he is more interested in chewing on the phone than listening to it. 🙂
  3. Keep Busy. This is probably the technique that I rely on the most.  As long as I keep busy I do not just sit there and swim in my own pool of misery.  Mind over matter.

Being the geek/dork that I am, I have considered getting a web cam for home and one for my laptop.  That way I and the family would be able to see each other.  I have not tried this yet, but I think it is a good idea that might get implemented in the near future.

I found a good post titled, How to Cope With Travel Away From Your Kids Under Age 5.  This post will help me in the future, for sure.  It is geared towards the Dad with kids that can talk on the phone and get more involved in what you are doing on your trip.  Check it out…

Until next time…I hope your travels are safe and short so that you can get back home to see your loved ones!

Grandpa’s Glory

My Dad has never been one to be interested in babies.  I don’t know how he acted when my brother and I were little, but I never remember him purposely holding a baby.

I was the exact same way.  Ace was the first baby that I had ever held that was younger than 6-7 months.  Babies always scared me for some reason.  My wife always asked why I would never hold them.  If I broke a baby that belonged to me I would feel horrible.  If I broke someone elses baby I don’t think I could live with myself.  So I just avoided it altogether.

My Dad has always had a liking for Ace.  Ace is his first and only grandchild, and it is as new and exciting for him as it is for me!  However, Ace hasn’t always had a liking for his Grandpa… 🙁

My Dad lives about an hour and a half away from where I live.  He was born and raised in the country and not is a big fan of coming to the city.  So, Momma and I usually take one weekend a month and drive down to see my parents.  We’ll visit my Mom on Saturday and then my Dad on Sunday.  So Ace only gets to see his Grandma and Grandpa about once a month.

My Mom is a natural with kids so she has no problem, but my Dad has is the exact opposite.

When I was born, back in what feels like the stone ages, my Dad got extremely sick.  He was in the hospital for a few weeks after almost dying from pneumonia.

When he was release from the hospital I was probably a month or so old and had only seen my Dad a handful of times.  He came home and picked me up and I did nothing but scream!

Every time he has picked up Ace the same thing happens.  Ace immediately goes from happy boy, to scared shitless boy, to get-me-the-hell-away-from-this-guy boy!  I think it brings back memories for my Dad of when I was little.

I always feel bad for my Dad when this happens.  I know he feels like crap and he wants nothing more to hold him and play with him a little bit.

We went to my Dad’s house this past weekend, and Ace did the exact same thing as soon as we got there.  My Dad’s heart hit the floor once again.  However, after about a half an hour Ace started to warm up to him.  My Dad picked him up and started walking out to the barn to show him the pigs.

My Dad was so proud walking with Ace in his arm!  I haven’t seen him smile like that in a long time!  He held Ace and walked around the yard for probably an hour and a half, and there was no way that anyone else was going to interfere with their fun!

I think this was the day that Grandpa has been waiting for the past seven months!  I’m sure Ace will grow up and have a lot of good times with his Grandpa.  Grandpa is a fun guy, but he can be a little scary when you first meet him… 🙂

Money Matters

A while back I wrote a post explaining how Momma was going to be quiting her job and staying home with Ace during the day. Momma has not worked for a few weeks now, Ace is not going to day care anymore, and we have figured out one very important thing…we can’t afford it!

We could do it if we really wanted to, but things would be tight…really tight! It all comes down to making sure that one simple formula is true…

Income > Expenses

I’m a mathematical kind of guy, ya know, the kind of guy that draws up a spreadsheet to calculate everything. After a few spreadsheet calculations I discovered that if we stuck to an extremely strict budget, had absolutely no surprise expenses, and never did anything fun, we would have like $20 left every month. Not going to work…

So Momma has to go back to work part time. Her income will cover some expenses and all fun activities. My income will cover the bills.

She put in a few applications at some of the local clothing stores nearby where we live. She got a job in no time, and will be working evenings. This is what she wanted and it will work perfectly for us. The money she will be making comes no where close to what she was making before, but since she will be home during the day, Ace does not have to go to daycare and I will be there with him in the evenings while Momma is working.

Our plan is for Momma to work part time until baby number two is born. Hopefully we can get a few bills paid off and get into a better financial situation so that Momma can truly be a stay at home Mom in the near future… Wish us luck!

Fatherhood 2.0

Jared and AceTIME put out a great article titled Fatherhood 2.0.  Now you have probably heard the phrase Web 2.0, but do you know what it means?  Nothing is different about the technical aspects of the internet, just the way we use it.  It is kind of like a new way of thinking about the internet.

This article is making the same implications about fatherhood.  The original version of Fatherhood is going out the door and a new way of thinking about fatherhood, simply called Fatherhood 2.0, is rolling in.

Think back to how different you are as a father than your father was, or your father’s father.  Most likely many things have changed.  Do you think that your Grandfather was a Stay At Home Dad while Grandma was out bringing home the bacon?  I highly doubt it.

For years the man of the relationship was the bread winner and the woman took care of the house, but not anymore.

In the recent past women have gained more respect in the workforce.  They are moving up the corporate ladder and no longer are companies ran by just men.

During this transition period for women in the corporate world, many households have had both the man and woman at work while the kids go to daycare.  I myself live in this very category. 

My wife and I have always worked until recently.  My wife quit her job to stay home with Ace during the day.  The reason she is staying home and not me is because I make more money than her.  What would have happened if she made more money than me?  You bet I would have quit my job to be a Stay At Home Dad!

This mentality is what I believe has coined the phrase Fatherhood 2.0.

The article from TIME also brings up another good question.  Does Fatherhood 2.0 make a man less manly? 

What defines a man?  Better yet what defines manliness?  All men are men by default, but there are manly men and then there are not so manly men.  Does the definition of manliness change as society changes?

I consider myself to be a manly man.  I like most of the manly man things.  I like to work on cars, get dirty, drink beer, etc, etc.  However I also like to stay at home and play with my son.  I like to change his diapers and get up in the middle of the night to give him a bottle.  Does this make me less of a manly man?  I don’t think so.

What does society think?  Does society think I am less of a man?  Is society catering to the Dad that has upgraded to Fatherhood 2.0?  In some ways it has and in others it has not.

When Ace was first born, people, including my family, were completely shocked to see me change a diaper.  They were awestruck to see me carrying Ace through the grocery store while giving him a bottle.  Some people looked at me like I had a second head. 

On the other hand I got many smiles and looks of acceptance, almost as if they were telling me that what I was doing was extraordinary.  They were accepting and embracing the fact that I am an involved father.

I think this makes me a better man, a more well rounded individual.  I think this makes me a man and father of the 21st century, and I hope my son will turn out to be a better person because of it.

In the end it is not about me.  I don’t care if people think I am a little wuss for carrying a diaper bag.  So what if I need a day off of work to take my son to a doctor appointment.  Who cares that I have created a blog that has nothing to do with technology, sports, or cars?

As far as I am concerned, Fatherhood 1.0 is outdated and has been discontinued.  I’m upgrading to Fatherhood 2.0!

Where’s Daddy At?

Ace is learning that he has a voice and likes to exercise his right to speak! While he has yet to say a “real” word, his favorite way to express his joy for Daddy is shown in the following video…