Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I think everyone who should know already knows so I can go ahead and post about this now, but WifeRat is pregnant again. We're all excited and happy to be adding to our family, especially BabyRat who is eagerly anticipating her new role as a big sister. WifeRat's baby bump is noticeable now and BR & myself spend a good part of each evening rubbing on it and telling "Sprinkle" (so named because that's how big the baby was, the size of a sprinkle, when we told BabyRat) how excited we are to meet them when they arrive the first week in July. I use a gender neutral "they" 'cause we keep it old school and don't find out the baby's sex until they're born.

I'm not a weird-o with a pregnancy fetish, but my wife is never so beautiful to me as she is when she's pregnant and aglow with the light of a new life inside her.

The life of a family man who is doing right by his fam is not an easy one. One of the advantages that men have over women is that we have the luxury of acknowledging our conflicting feelings about family life without being made to feel guilty about our occasional ambivalence. Unlike my wife, I have no problem saying, "Yo, shit is too hectic for me I'm going out with the fellas for a couple of cocktails tonight." I feel no shame for saying that my wife and kid are getting on my nerves and quite honestly I don't know why any woman would have a problem saying that either, but it seems like they do.

Right now I'm worried about what this second child is going to cost me. Not financially (I already know the answer to that: a fuckload), but in terms of how much of my life is left for me. Part of my feelings right now have to do with the time of the year. When rugby ends in the Fall sometime in early November, the holidays follow soon after, and then the NFL playoffs come right after that. The holidays and football provide me with some built-in excuses to go chill and get a couple of hours to myself every week, but once football season is over there's usually about 4-6 weeks before rugby starts up again where I'm just kind of stuck in the house all the time and tend to get a bit stir crazy. But there's more to it than just that right now.

I've got a pregnant wife, a three year-old who's getting ready to lose her status as the center of the universe, and a Mother who is grieving the loss of her husband of over 40 years. All of these people need me right now and they all need a lot from me, more than they usually do. I work hard for my family and to continue to work hard for them I need time and space to recharge my batteries, those things are in short supply these days. I feel as if I'm no one's priority right now; I'm getting ready to have a second kid and I'm still dealing with my Father's death, but that seems to pass by most of the people in my life almost without notice.


Nylonthread said...

Congratulations, HR! The most excellent thing about having two kids is when they realize they have a built-in playmate and stop relying on you for entertainment. We (the Strings) do go out less since we've had two kids, but honestly, it's fatigue that keeps us in more than anything. Don't make it a man/woman thing though, seriously, it's personality. I (and girlfriends) make time to go out with friends, but at the same time, Monkey (and their DHs) does not. He's ok (mostly) with me going out solo, but if he takes an outing, he wants me along.

No disrespect to your situation, but I think we all could use time and space to recharge our batteries. Being someone else's priority is hard to come by when you're an adult with dependents.

Hill Rat said...

Being someone else's priority is hard to come by when you're an adult with dependents.

True, very true; but I don't have to like it. Funny cartoon you tweeted.

virginia said...

keep rant/writing; it will keep you sane.

yeah, it's not a man/woman thing. some see it as home and some see it as four walls.


Hill Rat said...


Please don't misunderstand, I love my family and home more than anything else in this world; I'm just trying to figure out how to care for them without giving away every last piece of myself in the process.

I guess I wasn't clear in the point I was trying to make because both people who commented seem to have misunderstood. As a general rule men don't have "Daddy guilt" when they fall short of some unattainable ideal as husbands and fathers in the same way that many women have "Mommy guilt."

virginia said...

understood, and i guess i didn't make my point.

i enjoy your frankness...believe me, your absolute commitment to family comes across. that's why i read you, and link to you. you're blunt and refreshing, and your wife is going to know when you need a break. i have an idea you chose someone who's just as straightforward, and, i'm also certain that you would never say anything here that you wouldn't say to her face...that's a great marriage. she knew what she was getting, and she's lucky.

when my husband bitched about what he wasn't able to do, sometimes i screamed back, and sometimes i just said: batman costumes and ninja turtle cakes have to be my outlet now, find yours closer to home. you're from a different generation, but somehow tradition rears its ugly head, and jobs still fall into the blue or pink box. yep, instead of telling my husband that his home office was a pigpen, my mother said: why don't you organize it for him? that is where mommy guilt comes from (i also cleaned her house)...

shit happens. one of my favorite stories from those years before over-planning, dad-aided delivery, ultra-sound and amniocentesis: a woman and her husband were given the news that their newborn had down's syndrome. she later described it as getting on a plane bound for Paris, that landed instead, in Holland. laid-back holland wasn't romantic paris, but it turned out to be a wonderful trip. maybe you'll land in barcelona, where parents have healthy kids, no time, but great food...

we survived, the kid is nearly 28, and works for Marvel.

Hill Rat said...

i enjoy your frankness...believe me, your absolute commitment to family comes across. that's why i read you, and link to you. you're blunt and refreshing . . .

I could spend all day responding to this and never quite capture how much those words mean to me, so I'll just say thank you from the bottom of my heart and leave it at that.

clara said...

Congratulations to you both!
I agree that writing about all of it is healthy & I also appreciate your honesty.

I do think men feel less "daddy guilt" and I don't know why that is. I take lots of breaks during the day, I waste tons of time doing what I want to do & yet I am a stay at home mom who secretly has no real breaks. I feel the guilt when my own mom comes over & reminds me of how much more awesome she was at housekeeping! Its hard to explain, but its always scary adding a new kid to the house, on many levels.

on a different note, we will have kids very close in age & that can be fun! Karl still mentions babyrat and asks about her from time to time.