Monday, June 27, 2011

And there was blood everywhere...

Now I know what you are all thinking: (1) What did I do?  (2) Who did I hurt? (3) Is everyone ok? and (4) Will my wife continue to have me as a SAHD after this story?  Thankfully, this story does not involve my son.

On Sunday, I decided to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich.  As I was slicing the bread, I managed to slice my thumb pretty severely.  Like most people who have ever injured themselves, I began flailing around in pain, screaming at the top of my lungs, and otherwise acting like I was about to die. 

As I ran to the 2nd closest sink to rinse the blood off my hand (why would I go to the kitchen sink right next to me when I could run to a sink on the other side of the apartment?), I continued to flail violently.  Unbeknownst to me, my thumb was gushing blood, and as I raced across the apartment, flailing all the way, I splattered blood on the floor, the cabinets, the refrigerator, the doors, the walls, the closets, and, even though we have high ceilings, the ceiling.  As my wife stated afterwards, if someone had walked in at that point, they would have been pretty convinced a stabbing had occurred.  We spent a good 30 minutes cleaning up blood.

Unfortunately, when you are married to someone who (1) is a doctor and (2) has given birth, your spouse just does not have much sympathy for a small flesh wound. Her advice was pretty much: suck it up, you're not going to die from this (24 hours later, and I guess I believe her).  Thankfully, the cut was not deep enough to require stitches.  Eventually, the gushing blood stopped, and we were able to go about our evening.  And the lesson learned:  Do not flail when you are bleeding out.

P.S.  Just in case you were wondering, my wife eventually finished the grilled cheese for me.  It was delicious.

Happy Anniversary!

On this date two years ago, I married the love of my life.  Happy 2nd Anniversary to my beautiful wife!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bubble Boy

One of my son's favorite things to do is to sit outside while my wife or myself blow soap bubbles with one of those wands and bubble packs that you can pick up at any drug store for less than a buck.  Sadly, this is not a story about those kind of bubbles.

If you have read this blog over the past few days, you should be well aware that my son has been dealing with a cold.  He has been sneezing quite a bit as a result, and of course, he has a runny nose.  We try to limit the damage as much as possible by wiping his nose often, but like all children I have ever met, my son hates having his face wiped.  Thus, my son's nose looks a little like a leaky faucet these days.

This morning, as my son was playing quietly with some toys, I heard him sneeze.  As has been the case lately, I got up to get a tissue to wipe his face.  However, as I turned to wipe it, I looked at my son, and he had about six bubbles hanging around his nose.  Gross! (and that's coming from a man!)  My son's face looked like a bubbling cauldron.

Of course, I cleaned my son up, and the remainder of the day was rather uneventful.  Still, twelve hours later, the image of his bubbling nose is haunting me.  I really do hope I can someday forget that image.  So the lesson for today is:  Soap bubbles are cool, nose bubbles are not.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Cottage Cheese Sneeze Version 2.0

As I mentioned in Monday's post, my son has been suffering from a summer cold.  This has made for a challenging week.  My son does not want to eat much at meals, has not been sleeping well, and he has been spitting up a lot, something he has not done for about a month or so.  To say the least, I am worn out.

But being worn out hardly describes how I feel.  In fact, I am exhausted.  How does an 8 month old with a cold cause such exhaustion?  Well, he decides to practice sharing.  And by sharing, I mean he gave me his cold.  I now also have the cottage cheese sneeze.  It is the reason I have not posted since Monday.

On Monday night, my nose and throat were a mess.  I ended up sleeping (I use that term loosely here) on the couch because it was the only place I could find relief from my burning throat and waterfall of a nose.  Thus, when my son woke up at 6:30 on Tuesday, I was not pleased.  Although he was plenty happy all day, I could barely summon the strength to lift him or move him.  He ended up spending much of the day playing by himself on the floor while I moaned and acted as if I was dying on the couch.  I felt awful for my son, but as my wife likes to preach, so long as we're both alive when she arrives home, we should consider the day a success.  Plus, it sure is nice not to have to go to an office when you feel like that.

Thankfully, my wife had a short day at work and was home around 4.  I immediately handed her our son and dove for the bed.  Three hours later, I felt much more like myself.

Wednesday was a similar day.  My wife had a half day, and I was able to relax a lot more.

We spent today with my mom and my sister, and that made for a speedy day.  Tomorrow a friend is coming over for lunch, and that should help as well.  It is really nice having so much time to spend with family and friends now.

All-in-all, a few lousy days in there, but I'm feeling better and glad to be back.  My son and I both survived, so we consider them successful days.  And the lesson learned: Not all things are meant to be shared.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Cottage Cheese Sneeze

My little boy is sick.  Nothing too major, just a little cold.  But as a result, he isn't sleeping well, and his nose is running and he is sneezing quite a bit.  Thankfully, he has remained in a happy mood through it all, and that helped today to pass without anything too eventful happening.

That said, I did learn an important lesson.  When you have a child who is sneezing a lot, do not give him food that could be extremely messy when it comes back out.  Don't get me wrong, I understand that any food coming out in a sneeze will be messy.  But cheerios (even the chewed variety), bread, etc. do not look too bad when they come back up. 

Cottage cheese, unfortunately, falls on the messy side of the line.  And of course, I gave my child cottage cheese for breakfast.  Nothing like cottage cheese getting sneezed all over the table.  What a mess!  It took awhile to clean everything up.

Sadly, one would think I would have learned my lesson at breakfast, but I did not.  Smart guy that I am, I decided to give my son a few bites of the sloppy joe we had left over from dinner a few nights before.  Of course my son sneezed again while eating the sloppy joe.   By comparison, the sloppy joe made the cottage cheese look like nothing.  Thankfully, I had remembered to put a bib on my son.  Otherwise, I'd probably still be cleaning.

All-in-all a good day, but I'll be much more cafeful the next time my son has a cold.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dad's out there.

A picture of us at my son's first ever baseball game.  Best Father's Day EVER!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Three Day Weekend

Just a quick post to let you know what is going on.  My wife was off of work today, so we have a three day weekend to celebrate Father's Day.  My wife claims to have something special planned for Saturday (we're spending Sunday with my parents), and I am really looking forward to it.  Depending on how busy things are, maybe no blogging until Monday.  Have a great weekend and great Father's Day everyone!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 2 - Finding An Identity

The first half of today was largely a repeat of yesterday.  Breakfast, walk, nap, lunch - simple and relatively easy.  Even better, my wife only had a half-day at work, and was home by 1 in the afternoon.  This made for a quick day.

This evening we went to a barbeque with other medical residents at the hospital.  My wife knew some of their names, but overall, we did not really know anyone.  Of course, when you introduce yourself to someone new, inevitably the first question the new person asks is "What do you do for a living?"  For the first time in a long time, I could not figure out how to answer that question.

For the past three years, I've been an attorney both professionally and personally.  Prior to becoming an attorney I was in law school, and college before that.  It has always been really easy to say, "I'm an attorney," and even though I did not generally care for the work, I was always happy and proud to say it.  And when I told someone what I did for a career, one or more of the following responses was always generated: (1) An attorney married to a doctor, you're going to be rich!; (2) An attorney, eh?  Us doctors don't really like attorneys; and/or (3) What type of law do you practice?  To which I would always respond (1) Yes we are, if we ever get our loans paid off; or (2) & (3) I practice estate planning, which is pretty tame, so you doctors don't have to worry about me.  Yes these are canned responses, but they worked 95% of the time.

Today, for the first time, I had no idea how to respond when asked about my career.  Do I mention I am a former attorney, and thus open the door to the typical questions and canned answers?  Do I simply say I'm a SAHD, and see where that goes?  Do I try to finesse my response, and say that I was thinking about shifting careers, that this gave me an opening, and go into a full blown diatribe about the situation?  Do people even care enough for me to spend time explaining?  It is like I have lost a part of my identity.

Now I must pause here to say thanks to all of my family, friends, co-workers and readers who have been so supportive of these changes in my life.  Almost everyone I have spoken with has expressed either (1) a desire/wish to do something similar; (2) congratulations on making such a difficult choice; or (3) a statement about how he/she could not handle being a stay at home parent, but thinks it is a good decision for me.  Nearly everyone believes that I will really enjoy being a SAHD (and I tend to agree with them).

Yet, telling my family, friends and even my co-workers at the law firm was relatively easy.  These people all know that I am not lazy, that I am not a bum, and that I am not making this decision because I want my sugar-momma doctor of a wife to support my early retirement (at least I don't think I was making the decision for any of those reasons).  In fact, everyone that I have previously told knows me to be a hard worker, extremely disciplined and loyal, and deeply motivated by a desire to serve my family. 

My wife's new co-workers have never met me before, and although I pretend not to care about what others think of me, I am deeply concerned about my appearance to others.  By mentioning that I am a SAHD, even mentioning that I am now a former attorney, would the co-workers think I wasn't good enough to make it in the legal profession?  That I am a lazy bum?  That I am somehow negatively judging those who choose to place their children in daycare?  Obviously, these are all false assumptions, but assumptions that could quickly be made by someone with less knowledge of the situation.

So I know you are all dying to know what happened.  Well, nothing happened.  Because we had the baby with us, and because people were so focused on him, my line of work never came up.  A few people did ask what we were doing with the baby now that my wife is back at work, to which we replied that I was taking care of him.  But none of those conversations ever got past that statement.

In the end, I know I am going to have to just face my fears and tell people that I am proud to be a SAHD, and that I feel like I am doing what is best for my family.  If people want to judge me, so be it.  If I did not have a child, I would probably negatively judge the SAHD as well.  But at the end of the day, the only opinions that really count are those of my wife and son.  So long as my son is happy, and my wife has peace of mind knowing that I am at home taking good care of him, then that is enough for me. 

The purpose of my SAHD experience is to serve my family in the way I feel best, irregardless of society's views.  If I was beholden to the whims of modern culture, then I probably wouldn't be in this position to begin with, and I'm sure I would be having a lot less fun. So bring it on world, I am a SAHD.  It is who I am now and who I want to be. And if you don't like it, too bad.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 1 - The Golden Ticket

As you all know by now, yesterday was my last day at work, thus making today my first full day as a SAHD.  Oh what a day it has been!

To begin, let me talk about how nervous I was going into today.  What if I did something wrong?  What if my son missed his mom too much?  What if I was overwhelmingly bored?  What if, after one day, I determined I just could not handle it and realized I made a huge mistake quitting my job?  What if, what if, what if???  Well, after one day, my fears are largely relieved.

My son woke up just after my wife left for work (check out her new blog), around 7:15.  Thankfully, he calmly played in his crib for a few minutes while I brushed my teeth and otherwise got ready for the day.  I then fed him some breakfast and took him on a walk around our apartment complex.  By 10:00 a.m., he was exhausted, and ready for a nap.  He then proceeded to sleep for TWO HOURS.  Thankfully, I sure do enjoy the Price is Right. 

By the time my son woke up, the day was half over, and I was rolling.  I then had an attorney friend over for lunch, and the baby enjoyed the attention.  The day was going great.

Feeling much more confident, the baby and I went out to run some errands, and that was when it hit me:  Having a baby with you, especially a cute and friendly one, is like having a Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory... on steroids.

One of our stops was the U.S. Cellular store.  While I readily admit U.S. Cellular generally does a great job, especially in customer service, the service on this visit was amazing.  Although I only needed a slight bill adjustment and small modification to my phone, I had FOUR customer service representatives helping me.  They opened doors, they smiled and entertained the baby, and most importantly, they somewhat ignored other customers while I was there (ok, maybe not ignored, but I guarantee you they were not giving those customers the same service I was receiving).  It was like I was a rockstar and they were my groupies. In the past, I've noticed people being extra nice when I am out with my wife and child, but it is not quite the same when we are all out together.  The treatment today was simply incredible.

After we returned home, my son fell asleep for another TWO HOUR nap, and by the time he woke up, my wife was on her way home.  I had more energy this evening than I have had in years, and so we went for a jog as a family.  It was a great way to end a great first day. 

All in all, I really enjoyed the day, and it made me confident I can do this again.  I know not all days will be this easy, and some will be downright challenging, but I am more confident than ever that I can handle this for awhile longer.

I think tomorrow the baby and I will visit a bank.  In light of our treatment at U.S. Cellular today, I'm hoping they will just throw money at us.  It never hurts to try, right?

P.S.  Do not, and I repeat, do not take your child out for a walk, even at 9:00 a.m., without sunscreen.  If you do, your wife will come home in the evening and wonder why your child's cheeks are cherry-colored.

P.P.S.  Do fathers really know best?  The Today Show thinks so.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Some Clarifications Regarding Yesterday's Post

After my last post (here), I have received a number of inquiries in person, via email and via text regarding yesterday's post.  Here are answers to the most common questions.  If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

1.  Are you being forced out/let go?  Absolutely not.  The partners at the firm were quite surprised when I tendered my resignation. 

2.  Were there indications that you might not ever make partner or otherwise achieve long-term success with your firm?  Again, absolutely not.  The firm has roughly an 8 year track for associates to develop into partners, and (from what I understand, although I have no direct knowledge) a generous buy-in arrangement for incoming partners.  5 of the 14 partners started as associates at the firm, and another senior associate is on the cusp of being promoted to partner.  All indications were that I was firmly on the 8 year track, and many of the partners have expressed their disappointment that I am leaving.

3.  Did you have concerns with the firm (work product/ethics/etc.)?  None whatsoever.  The firm produced quality work in a timely manner and is extremely responsive to clients.  I am proud to say I was an attorney at this firm, and would highly recommend them.

4.  Were the hours bad? Yes and no.  In January, I was frequently burning the midnight oil.  In April, I was leaving at 5p.m. just about every day.  But therein was the problem.  I never knew what was in store for me.  I could expect a day without much work and end up there till midnight.  With my wife's crazy schedule, it was just too much for us.

5.  How are you going to handle this financially?  My wife's job will mean a significant pay cut for us.  However, without getting into too many details, we have solved that difference by restructuring some loans and paying off a few others.  The biggest savings though, is that my wife will receive free healthcare for herself, our child, and me.  A savings of about $5,000/year over what we were paying.  We also expect our debt payments to go down next year, and my wife's salary to go up.  All in all, we actually expect to have a little more take home pay at the end of the day than we do now.

6.  Was this a mutual decision?  100% yes.  Without both of us being in total agreement about this, there is no way it will continue to work.  I actually proposed the idea to my wife after talking with an attorney friend of mine about daycare and being able to stay home.  My wife was receptive to the idea, but we had to sit down and take a long hard look at our finances first.  After much discussion and many calculations, we determined that I could become a SAHD without having to financially sacrifice much of anything.  Once that was decided, it was merely a decision of whether or not I thought I could handle being a SAHD, which I believe I can.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Big Changes Ahead

This week is the beginning of big changes in my life and that of my family.  Hopefully, after several years of what feels like constant changes, our lives will see a little more consistency for the next few years.

As some of you may know, my wife and I married in 2009.  I had been practicing law for about a year, and she was beginning her 4th year of medical school.  Our plan was for her to enter a medical residency program in the area upon her graduation which would allow me to retain my job.

Funny thing is, life got in the way of our plans.  In late January 2010, we discovered my wife was pregnant with our first child, and she was due in October of 2010.  After much reflection, prayer and discussion, my wife made the difficult decision to take a year off between graduating medical school and entering residency.  This decision turned out to be a huge blessing, and my wife has been fortunate to spend the last 8 months with our son, who was born on 10/10/10.

However, all good things must come to an end.  Beginning tomorrow, my wife will begin her residency in pediatrics.  Although this residency is not as stressful as a surgical residency, it will still require her to frequently work 60 hour weeks.  It will be an immeasurable change for her, one that she both equally desires and dreads.  Yet this was her dream all of her life, to someday to be a pediatrician, and she is now ready to finally realize that dream.

That brings me to the biggest news of all.  After much discussion regarding what daycare we would place our son into, we have decided that because of our frequently conflicting schedules and highly demanding jobs, it was best if a family member was always available.  Thus, after three years of engaging in the practice of law, I am leaving the legal field to be a stay-at-home dad (or SAHD). Tomorrow (June 14) will be my last day of work.

The decision to leave my job was not an easy one.  However, I was at a crossroads in my career.  If I did not leave now, I would be in for the long haul, too close to becoming a partner to likely ever get out.  Yet I know the legal field is not where I am meant to be long term.  With my wife's return to work, this provided me with the perfect opportunity to move forward and pursue other career options and goals.  I have enjoyed being an attorney with the education, the rush, and everything else that comes with it, but it is now time to move on.

Again, I emphasize that my decision to leave my career was not an easy one.  Had my hours or those of my wife's job been less demanding, or had I been involved with a career that I truly loved, I do not believe I would be leaving.  I highly respect any parent that chooses to place his or her kids in daycare.  That decision is also not an easy one, and one that I doubt any parent truly wants to make.  Still, it is a decision that must be made when one needs financial stability, truly enjoys his or her job, or simply knows that he or she cannot find satisfaction in spending all day with little or no adult interaction.  My wife and I are blessed that she has a good job, that I was looking for a career change, and most importantly, that I do not generally enjoy adult interaction. 

Will I go back to work?  Likely yes.  When?  Maybe after my wife finishes residency, maybe sooner, maybe later.  What type of work will I do then?  Maybe teach or something else outside the legal industry.  I do hope to go back to school at some point.

I hope to use this blog as a guide to my transition from full time attorney to full time Mr. Mom.  With any luck, I'll be able to daily post about something interesting, exciting, or simply new that I have learned that day from my experiences as a SAHD.

Now let's SAHDle Up, and get ready for the ride.