In my household we knew that to adequately provide for our family we would both need to work. We also believed that having one of us home all the time was a top priority. Everyone needs to make this all-important decision for themselves, but we did not want our sons to be raised by daycare. Luckily, with a modicum of cajoling, we were able to change my wife’s schedule to part-time and enlist family and friends for aid.
I work a typical (whatever that is!) Monday-Friday, 40 plus hour work week. My wife’s schedule is twenty hours a week; half a day on Thursday, all day Friday and all-day Saturday. My mom is able to watch the boys on Thursday afternoon, our friend watches them on Friday and Saturday, Saturday is Guys Day!
Born out of necessity, nurtured with love, raised amid a smattering of successes and failures, these Saturdays have become the most rewarding and challenging days of my week. Forget sales presentations, budget sessions, reviews and client meetings. Nothing compares to the challenge of four wide-eyed youths, combined age nineteen, inquiring “What are we going to do NOW???” Not everyday goes smoothly, but every Guys Day is a roller coaster of events and emotions. We have all learned from it and although I miss having a normal weekend with my wife, I would probably continue the Guys Day tradition in some form even if my wife were to quit work.
THE BIRTH OF GUYS DAY
I remember my first Guys Day vividly. My wife resumed some semblance of a work routine and left me alone with our two-month old son. She worked fifteen minutes away, was coming home at lunch to nurse him and my son took a two-hour nap in the morning and afternoon, yet I still felt as if I was Tom Hanks in Cast Away! I would often ask Wilson for advice.
I was petrified. Guys Day did not just provide me with added appreciation for my wife, it taught me how precious, precocious, loving, laughing, considerate, conniving, incomparable and incorrigible our sons are. Without this experience of firsthand, solo parenting, I might not really know my children in the intimate sense I do.
I might not know one of my boys isn’t as intense as he appears, he just needs help keeping his emotions in check. He can be as playful as his brothers with a little help and direction. I would not have realized that my other son is just being obstinate for obstinance sake. He does the same thing to his mother at times, so I don’t take it personal.
The importance of not praising one child over the other might have alluded me. Or that incredibly sensitive point in the mall, when, for whatever reason, one child is garnering all the attention, while the resentment is building in the other ones. Without Guys Day, I might not have been able to divert a potential brawl simply by praising the other boys myself.
I see Guys Day as the first step in a lifelong, educational process. Learning their traits, characteristics, likes, dislikes, tickle spots, strengths, weaknesses and sensitive areas. This will aid me as they grow and mature, be it helping them with their homework or sports, knowing when to encourage them in their pursuits or lead them down a different path. Ultimately it is all about building our own individual bonds. (Bonus points if you can connect all the images in this post!)