Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | February 16, 2010

Proof of Concept: Dad Takes the Kids

The kids have off school this week.

I suggested to Penny on Sunday night that I should take care of the kids Tuesday while she attends to working at our business and sending out her resume and all those other things she never has time to work on because of the kids. She was taken aback by the notion, but she adjusted quickly enough. When I spoke with it earlier tonight (Monday night… yes, I know, it’s almost 3am on Tuesday, but it’s still Monday night in my head), she seemed to be looking forward to it.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of work to do, myself. In fact, I have a tight deadline coming up for a project on Wednesday. But this is more important.

It’s important that Penny has the space to do what she needs to do to move forward.

It’s important that she gets comfortable with the idea that I am not a back-up parent; but, rather, I am a co-parent. While this has always been true, this has not always had the same… weight that it does now that we are heading toward divorce.

It is important, likewise, that I get comfortable with the idea of being more than a back-up parent. It’s been too easy lately to just let Penny take the lead in caring for the kids. In the past, I’ve had a much more active role in taking care of the kids than I’ve had these past few months. Time for me to step back up to the plate and start figuring out how I want to parent as a single Dad, since that’s going to be the case, soon enough.

(Well, it won’t be soon enough for my tastes, but you know what I mean.)

So, Tuesday morning, Dad takes charge of the kids while Mom goes to work. I think this will be good for all of us. I already have some goals for what I want to do with the kids; goals that I know Penny would not prefer. But I also know why she wouldn’t prefer them: because it’s my idea, and not hers. We’ll see if the timing works out to allow them. In the meantime, and either way… I’m looking forward to this practice run.

It’s yet another baby step along the path toward single Daddihood.



  1. Baby steps are the best way to get anywhere. When we rush, we stumble we fall, we get hurt, we break things. Take time. All forward motion is good motion.

    Thinking of you!

  2. Good luck with your practice run and this is a big step in the right direction. Keep moving forward even though there will be a lot of bumps in the road and stick to your guns. I am two years out and it is still difficult at times.


    I remember clearly complaining to my mother about how T was not folding the towels “right”. Her response, “Do you want to be the only one responsible for folding the towels?” By demanding that it be done “my way”, I was a) impeding the process, b) not allowing him to do housework and c) starting trouble where none was needed. LOL. (BTW, we still fold the towels differently, and it doesn’t matter as long as they get where they belong).

    Sounds like this is the case with you and Penny. Actually, I know this is the case with A LOT OF SAHM. She wanted to be senior partner on child rearing because she was right and it was HER job, and you took the back seat not only because it was her desire but because it also made life easier for you. It fit in with the narrative you two had created together about post-feminist mothers and fathers.

    BTW, I still find the assertion about “not wanting others to raise our children” to be a VERY WEIRD ONE. Since you’re looking back, why? Money driven? Ego driven? Bad past event? Because this is what it looks like from the outside: Wherein outside help is eschewed so your already fragile relationship can wither and die while the children learn its better to work 24/7, different time shifts, be snappish to each other, and lose everything than to have other people care for your children. You two may find in this split that OTHER PEOPLE will have to play a part in rearing your children or helping you. Are you ready for that?

    I applaud your stepping back up to a plate you never should have left or got pushed off of (did that sound passive-aggressive or what?). While you go on about romance, it’s very clear in many cases (business and child rearing most noticeable) that you and Penny were NEVER on the same page. You were merely committed to not sinking the ship.

    I hope you have a fabulous day with them. Since this is newish (?) to you, and they are off this week, I want you to set up one more day this week where you take over. Then you need to set up two days next week so that you are senior parenting on a school day (with all your deadlines). While you’re at it, plan a play date this weekend, and take the boys to the park if the weather is good.

    I know these are important because they are all the things my husband wishes I would do. LOL, GIGGLE, CACKLE! 😛

  4. Good for you.

    And yes, I do agree with the above comments…

    Baby steps. Definitely.

    Stick to your guns. Absolutely.

    Continue to take steps toward single dadhood, observe when you feel its Penny’s job to do something. Chances are, that could be your job one day. It sounds like you both have a good enough relationship to continue to share responsibility civilly after the divorce.

    Awesome to see a dad step up… especially when you really don’t have to at this point.

  5. I’m sure your boys are looking forward to a day alone with you more than you realize!

  6. This sounds like a great plan! Hope you’re having a good day.

  7. I too think that it is great. It is nice that you are thinking about Penny and what her needs may be right now. Even though I am guessing that she doesn’t reciprocate that often!

  8. Have a great day with those boys! It will make you feel great!

  9. You’re thinking so clearly about this whole thing. You should, like… write a blog so others can learn from you 🙂

    I hope it was one of those wonderfully magical Daddy Days that made a happy imprint on their souls…

  10. […] Alas, the same cannot be said of my day as Daddy on Duty. […]

  11. I like that you’re putting so much thought into your parenting role and getting prepared to be with your kids single-handed. It’s definitely different from having two parents on call. I ended up trying to make sure I could get the kids to their activities without help from my ex- he’s is typically late for everything and also just forgets to picks the kids up. It was just easier for me to do it on my own than have to continually remind him. Cell phones were life savers on a few occasions.

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