Barring an afternoon suicide, I will have survived one week of taking care of Nate. If you’re a working dad, I will now share with you what I’ve learned. You know how you went back to your job last week and left your wife at home to care for the little one? And you know how you sit in a cubicle for 10 hours a day now, silently resenting her, thinking, “That b$%#@ gets to sit on her butt all day and play with our kid while I have to cold-call retirees in Florida and trick them into buying swamp land”? Well, my friend, I can now testify that there is an approximately 0% chance that your wife is sitting on her butt all day. Also, if your kid was born in the last 6 months, then “playing with him” really just means preventing him from swallowing a razor blade. Fun fun.
As for getting chores done, I’ve also learned that there are precious few that can be accomplished with an infant attached to you and that the ones that can require 3 times the time and 10 times the effort as usual. So that leaves you rotating your planet around the mythical afternoon nap — should your
baby terrorist child actually take one. And even if he does, you get only about 60 minutes to . . .
4. Wipe your ass.
5. Brush your teeth.
6. Find clothes that don’t smell like curdled milk.
7. Install child safety latches on the kitchen cabinets.
8. Install outlet covers and corner protectors and toilet locks.
9. Attach the Baby Einstein Neptune Soother you just bought to your kid’s crib.
10. Fix the light switch in your kid’s closet.
11. Change the crib mattress sheet.
12. Go downstairs and smear anti-bacterial ointment in your cat’s eye infection.
13. Clean out the cat box.
14. Do a load of dirty dishes
15. Take out the garbage.
16. Hit yourself in the face with a hammer.
Feel like taking a shower this morning? Go ahead. Be selfish. It just means that the garbage is going to sit for another day and the cat box is going to stink and your cat’s infected eyeball is going to rot out. Your call.
From what my out-of-work-but-really-hip actor friends tell me, being a parent is a bit like being an actor — the camera is always trained on you, you can never flub a line, and you can never break character. Only your close-up starts shooting at the crack of dawn and the director doesn’t yell, “Cut!” until 6 PM. And what happens if you mess up? Well, that’s the good news. Because you’re going to get to shoot this very same scene again.