4 a.m. I wake up, prepare wifey’s baon, heat up her bath water, and also start thawing one of our little one’s frozen breastmilk from the freezer.
4:30 a.m. I wake wifey up, and while she’s taking a bath while our little one’s asleep, I start preparing the car for her usage – load her things, check the B.L.O.W.B.A.G. (brakes, lights, oil, water, battery, air, gas), and do a quick wiping of the car.
5:15 a.m. Wifey leaves for work, and I lie down again beside our co-sleeping little one. More or less, she wakes up at around 5:30 a.m., fussy that Mommy has left her side. During good days, I’m able to lull her back to sleep. Most days, not. Thus, we start reading her storybooks just to distract her. Or I now feed her with her first bottle of milk.
6:00 a.m. As our little one is now bored with just reading her books, we now move on to our front porch to watch the sunrise, to watch the vehicles shuttling back and forth our street, to watch the village slowly come to life.
6:30 a.m. She now becomes bored again, and we now start preparing for our morning walk. I put on my running shoes, I put on her socks and sandals, I strap her in her Safety 1st Compa City stroller, and we start going around the village. Lucky if I still am able to log in at a kilometer or two of jogging before she gets bored. When she does, I unstrap her from her stroller, and I now let her practice walking. She could already do a fine job of walking with assistance. Pretty soon, she would be swatting away my hand already so she could walk by herself.
8:00 a.m. We go home, have a daddy-and-daughter breakfast date while listening to her Filipino children’s songs playlist, and take a bath. And yep, I do enjoy combing her hair while explaining to her that boys will prefer girls with well-kept hair (as if she already understands me hehe.)
10:30 a.m. We stay at her playpen. I turn on the TV to watch whatever is on while she plays with her stuffed toys, but as soon as I see the first signs of yawning, we now lie down again and start reading her storybooks. Pretty soon, she will be dozing off to dreamland.
11:00 a.m. While she’s asleep, I start doing household chores – clean the dishes, sweep and mop the floor, clean Charlie’s (our Himalayan cat) cage, and start cooking. All these while praying fervently that our little one will not wake up too soon so I could finish. And I start thawing her second bag of milk.
12:30 p.m. She’s awake!!! We both have lunch, and once done, I set her on her Combi high chair so she could stay beside me while I wash the dishes. We “talk” about the things we’ve done for the day so far, and when she gets bored again, I stop washing the dishes and join her again in the playpen. Oh, we also watch It’s Showtime! It’s one of her favorite songs! She becomes so happy and giddy upon hearing the theme song!
2:00 p.m. With her bottle of milk, we start reading her books again, and pretty soon, she’s in dreamland for the second time around. When she’s asleep, I continue doing the dishes, then fold her Next 9 cloth diapers, then fold other clothing items. I store these in their respective cabinets, and when done, finally get to lie down again to take a quick respite.
3:00 p.m. She wakes up, and we have our meryenda together. Soon enough, I put on her socks and sandals again, we have our afternoon walk. She actually enjoys the afternoon walk more as there are more kids playing and running around during this time.
5:00 p.m. Wifey arrives home from work, and since our little one misses Mommy so much, she wants to be with her the moment she sees her. I turn over our little one to wifey, and I start preparing dinner.
6:30 p.m. We have our family dinner while talking about our day. Here, our little one actively joins the conversation with her doo-doos and da-das and what not. We actually are excited to hear what she really is talking about, the moment she learns how to talk.
7:30 p.m. After dinner, wifey proceeds to our room to nurse our little one. I do the dishes again, and after this, I finally have my bath! Woohoo! A well-deserved bath, that is!!
8:00 p.m. After our bath, I now take my turn again with our little one. We now have our bedtime story while Mommy wash our little one’s soiled diapers. Some night, I get to lull her to sleep with just reading our bedtime story, but most nights, our little one gets fussy when Mommy is not beside her again.
9:00 p.m. Finally, our little one is asleep!!! Wifey takes my place beside our little one as she also prepares for sleep. Me? I go out the house and start washing the car. Or do last-minute house cleaning.
10:00 p.m. While everyone is asleep, I finally get to have my “me time”. It’s either catching up with the several series I’ve been watching in Netflix, or if I feel like it, start doing my lesson plans.
12:00 midnight. Finally, sleeping time! 4 hours til I wake up again. Sure, I can do this!
And that has been my schedule everyday for the past week. Since wifey still needed to report for work during most days of the ASEAN week-long holiday, I’ve been a full-time dad to our little one, and a full-time husband to my wife, lately. The past semestral break and ASEAN week-long holiday had been blessings in disguise for us actually, especially with my family’s current predicament.
As we did not have any relatives who are available and willing to stay with us to take care of our little one, we hired the services of a babysitter, a complete stranger to us, someone who we did not completely know. We had her for the past eight months, but due to some issues (thank God that we have installed CCTV cameras all throughout our house!), we had no choice but to drop her and send her home before the semestral break. We went on vacation in Palawan during the semestral break, and although we were actively looking for a replacement babysitter, the paranoia of someone completely unknown to us to whom we will entrust our dear daughter plagued our minds.
Are we ready to trust again someone to be with our daughter 24/7? Will this new member of our household rear her up as how we would like to rear her with our own ways? Will this new babysitter get along well with our families (especially mine, who just live a five-minute ride away from us and who usually drops by unexpectedly just to visit our little one)? All these questions were racing in our minds when we were vacationing in Palawan.
And as such, wifey and I have weighed the pros and cons, and have agreed to a quite significant decision in our married life – that I will take a leave of absence from work and be the one stay home with our daughter. In other words, I will become, soon enough, a full-time stay-at-home daddy, homemaker, house-husband, or whatever you may want to call it. I have yet to file my formal letter of my intent to take this leave of absence from the school, but my supervisors already know of this as we’ve already had a series of discussions about my plans; it’s just that they are waiting for my final decision when will it take effect. I will be reporting for work this week of November 20-24, 2017 to turn over whatever needs to be turned over to my replacement, and come the following week, I’ll be living this new life of a full-time dad.
Of course, my family was
quite shocked shookt to hear of our decision. The image of the wife working while the husband stays home to take care of the family was the complete opposite of what we traditionally and conventionally imagine. I’ve explained to them that between wifey and myself, I had the more “flexibility” to take a leave of absence from work. Wifey holds quite a high position in her company, and we doubt that her company will agree for her to leave work for the moment. We’ve mentioned this big change in our lives which we will be having soon enough to several close friends already and they, too, reacted the same way. But as some said, wifey and I are part of the millenials (Woohoo! We’re not yet that old!!), and it is actually not a new idea for this reversal of roles anymore.
Am I really ready for this set-up? Sure, I am used to doing household chores as I was raised up as a kid to learn to be self-sufficient. Sure, with the past weeks, I’ve gradually learned to multi-task several things at a time. Sure, I got to learn how to cook better, faster, more efficiently, ala-Cooking Master Boy. But of course, I must admit that I still have some fears that I yet have to face. As wifey puts it, whatever happens, whatever challenges besets us in this new decision we have taken, we will be there beside one another.
I’ve reassured the school that I will be returning the next school year 2019-2020. Hopefully, I will still be teaching the same subject area, in the same grade level. Until then, please pray for me. Please pray that I will be be able to do my job as a husband, to my wife, and as a father, to my daughter, effectively and properly.
I will miss teaching. I will miss being with my young, bubbly, bright students, chatting with them with whatever subject, from Pokemon to politics. I actually am teary-eyed with the thought that my last few days with them are numbered already. But on the other hand, I’ve been taking care of others’ children for the past 12 years of my life. This time, maybe I would like time to take care of my own. 🙂