For the second time since our son was born, I’ll be looking after him on my own for the week. My wife’s heading off for work, and won’t be back until Friday.
Technically speaking she could drive home each night and head back in the morning. But I’d much prefer her to spend those four or five hours relaxing, not driving.
So tomorrow night, when I pick him up from day care (assuming I don’t keep him at home—he’s got a bit of a cold at the moment), it’ll be just him and me. I’ll be feeding him. I’ll be bathing him. I’ll be putting him to bed.
And I’ll be freaking out the entire time.
I don’t know why. He’s pretty easy to look after (well, when he’s not sick). Sure I’ll be bathing him on my own for the first time (his day carer did it last time), but I think we’ll be okay. (Anyone know where I can hire a wetsuit for the week?) And I’ve sorted out bottles and lunches for a while now, so I’ve got it pretty much down pat.
I guess the issue is my wife and I have always worked as a team, and now I’ll suddenly be flying solo. And all those feelings of inadequacy about being a father will rush out of the dark spaces in my mind where I’ve kept them since… well, since last time I did this.
I like to think I’m a pretty good father. We all do. But there’s always the voice that mocks you, saying things like, “What the hell would you know? It’s not like you graduated from Parenting University or anything.”
What makes it worse is that it speaks the truth. There is no Parenting University. You don’t need to pass anything to be a parent (other than the obvious), and so you just hope what you’re doing is The Right Thing To Do.
I was hoping to talk about something else tonight, about how this blog is not only helping me find my writing voice, but my speaking voice as well. But it will have to wait for another time, because all I can think about is the little boy asleep in the next room, and how he’ll be depending on me to keep him happy, healthy and safe for the next five days.
Wish me luck, everyone.