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The Memoirs of a stay-at-home Dad Episode 3

March 21, 2023
In Demand For Househusband Allowance.

Gather around people. 

Can anyone help me understand why I do not get ‘househusband’ allowance as my ‘FELLOW’ housewives do? I mean, in the name of gender equality, even though all I do is watch the child whenever the madam is at work, I deserve to get an allowance too. 

At this point, some people will ask:

“Which housewife gets allowance?”

Let me explain.

 Men give their wives money for housekeeping, right? This money gets spent without a receipt or change, but we look away. 

Trouble dey sleep

So if, for some reason, men get involved in this “PROFITABLE” housekeeping business, shouldn’t they get some sort of allowance? Okay, let me stay out of trouble and call it "change." 

I hope that with these points of mine, I have been able to confuse you...  lol

DISCLAIMER: As much as this post is a solidarity call for men who work from home to be appreciated and commended, it is also a recognition of the importance of women and an appreciation of how much they do to keep the home together. It is so easy to get on social media and debate gender equality and fight gender role wars when you haven’t actually had a little experience of what it takes to actually “keep the house."  I have come to appreciate my wife and how she effortlessly pulls it all together. You see, as I reflect on my experience, I can't help but marvel at how my wife has been able to juggle work, career, self-growth, and domestic responsibilities. She makes it look so effortless, and I realize now that it is anything but easy. 

I hope this disclaimer will help convince these "some people" that I mentioned earlier not to come for me again. 

With that out of the way, being a stay-at-home has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of  my life. True, it also comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to maintaining a balance between work, self-growth, and managing a toddler. I’ve had the misconception that it would be easy to juggle everything. You know, the same way in-person workers think remote workers have it easy, I had thought that working from home would give me the extra time advantage to take care of my son and still have enough time for personal growth and development.

Becoming a primary caregiver, albeit temporarily, means that I am responsible for not just my son's physical needs but also his emotional needs. This often means that I have to put my own needs aside to tend to his, which could be mentally draining. Nothing can prepare you for the drama of a toddler. While they are adorable and sweet to strangers, they can be very nasty at home. 

Toddlers can be the sweetest creatures on earth, with their cute little laughs and their adorable attempts at mimicking our behavior. But oh, when they turn on the waterworks, it's like the world is ending! They'll scream and wail at the slightest provocation, sometimes even for no apparent reason at all. It can be a little frustrating when you can't figure out what they want, but at the same time, you can't help but melt at the sight of those little tear-stained faces. It's a bitter-sweet experience, knowing that you're the only one who can calm them down, but also feeling like you're at the mercy of their whims. It's just a reminder that as much as we try to be in control, sometimes the little ones hold all the cards.

I have figured that every card they play just prepares you for the next card, even though they never run out of the joker.

You see, once beaten, twice prepared for a rematch.

I won’t forget one of the earliest experiences, this happened at the beginning. 

It was in the middle of a virtual meeting with the project team when I heard the familiar “blackmailing” cry of my son. I tried to downplay it, offering him toys, paper, and all sorts of things - he had made it a habit to go through my drawer and play with anything his tiny hand would grab - hoping he would calm down on his own, but the cries only grew louder and more desperate. I quickly clicked the mute button and excused myself from the meeting to attend to him. As I tried to console and reason with him, things got worse, so, I picked him up and tried to strong-arm him, but he was inconsolable. As I tried all the options, I noticed that he kept pointing at the computer screen, as if he wanted to join the meeting himself. I knew that wasn't an option because we were working with numbers and and quantities, and I couldn’t manage to hold him with one hand while switching multiple windows and pulling data from different files with the other. So I tried to distract him with snacks and a change of scenery. But no matter what I did, the cries continued.  

All the while, I could still hear my team talking and laughing through my computer speakers. I was sure I had clicked the mute button, but for some reason, it didn't activate. I knew they couldn't proceed without me, so I had imagined they were just chatting away while they waited for my return.

I tried to negotiate with my son, offering to give him a seat next to me, with the possibility of him playing with his toys as he watched what his Papa did, but he wouldn't budge. While I was desperately trying to calm him down, not remembering what I had said, I heard a sudden burst of laughter from my computer. I realized that the rest of the team had been listening in on my struggles with my son. They were thoroughly entertained by the whole ordeal. They were parents too, and they knew exactly what I was going through. It was a small comfort, but it made me feel less alone in the chaos. So even though it was a little embarrassing to be helpless against a 20-month-old ‘terrorist’. It was relatable to be up against a familiar enemy. 

Eventually, we decided to let my son join in, as it was our fastest option to return to work. I turned on my video feed so that my colleagues could see him, and they all greeted him with smiles and waves. We spent a few minutes chatting about their own experiences with their toddlers, and it was a nice break from the stress of the workday. 

This was just another day in my life as a stay-at-home dad, a role I never expected to take on but now enjoy and can't imagine giving up yet. Managing this change has been a full-time job, but it's moments like these that make it all worth it.  

In a not so distant future episode, I will share how the small man showed me pepper while hosting a client presentation. But till then, I’m really learning how to keep up with the cards and all. For now, I work in a separate room, cordon-off my workspace to reduce his access, wear headphones for my meetings, and always move the meeting tab out of the screen. When everything else fails and I have to succumb, I find comfort in the fact that his mom doesn’t even stand a chance. He bosses her every chance he gets. 

LMAO… and I love it.

Finding balance working from home has been a constant struggle, like trying to juggle multiple full-time jobs simultaneously. There are good days, and there are other days when I feel like I am in a never-ending cycle of keeping up with conflicting schedules of chores and work. It's a daunting task that leaves me feeling drained and exhausted at times.

In order to keep up with all these while keeping a firm grip on my personal goals, I often find myself working late into the night just to catch up on lost time during the day. It's a delicate balancing act, one that requires me to be constantly vigilant and adaptable to the ever-changing demands of my family and work. Even though household chores have never been a big issue for me, thanks to my upbringing, where I learned to do everything from cooking to taking care of my younger siblings, I underestimated the sheer amount of work required as a stay-at-home parent. I quickly realized that it takes more than just resourcefulness to keep up.

Meanwhile, it is not just the workload that is challenging. I mean, having grown up in a country like Nigeria, where the economy is tough and resources are limited, I've learned to be resourceful and adaptable. However, being a stay-at-home in a new environment, especially, requires more than just resourcefulness; it goes beyond the physical acts and demands a level of mental and emotional strength. I have had to navigate the emotional and mental challenges that came with the switch. 

Thinking about it now, I realize that the entire transition has both psychological and physical demands. Adjusting to a new environment, making sure work doesn’t miss a beat while taking care of a toddler is a bit of a rollercoaster. And being a parent, whether as a mother or father, comes with its own unique set of challenges and rewards. It requires patience, flexibility, and a whole lot of love. It is important to recognize and appreciate the hard work that goes into keeping a household running smoothly, whether it is done by one parent or both. 

While the idea of a "househusband allowance" may seem like a joke, it highlights the need to recognize the valuable contributions that stay-at-home parents make. As we continue to navigate the complexities of modern-day parenting, it is important to support and uplift each other, regardless of gender or role. Ultimately, it is the love and dedication that we put into raising our children that make all the difference.

In Demand For Househusband Allowance.

If you found this post informative, please consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues. And don't forget to leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts or ask any questions you may have. Thank you for reading!


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