Word from my Brother (a Stay-At-Home Dad, Sort of)

The bottom shelves are personally dusted by my niece.

The bottom shelves are personally dusted by my niece.

My brother is the primary caregiver in his family. He lost his job just before his daughter was born, and hadn’t been able to find something until recently. My sister-in-law had a great job to go back to after her maternity leave, so she’s back at it, and her benefits sustain the family. My brother was a stay-at-home dad until just recently, when he bought a liquor store. The neat thing is, aside the fact that he bought a liquor store and we are all super excited about this, that my brother really enjoys raising his daughter full time. His daughter is not quite two years old.

In his and his wife’s mind, they are lucky enough that one parent can stay at home to be with the little one, not have to put her in daycare, or have a nanny come in to take care of her. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but my brother and his wife like that one of them is the primary caregiver. Certainly, my niece is a wholesome, cheerful, cherubic thing. Frankly, I do believe that she is better off for being raised directly by my brother, and I think that their model of raising their daughter works. And works well.

My mum stayed at home to raise my brother and I until I was about eight or nine years old, when she returned to work (teaching). She said that it was a mutual decision made by her and my dad, to sort out which of the two had the better job and which one wanted to job of raising the kids.

Anyhow, my brother recently wrote the following, and I’m sharing it as a measure of support for him as being that primary caregiver to his daughter. I’ll just add that my niece has her own bed in the back of the store, for nap time, and a shelf behind the counter with all her toys. I’m hoping that a bit of the Bordeaux influence will rub off and she learns French at an early age. She’s with her father all day, sometimes has play dates before ‘work,’ and is with her mother all evening. Weekends are nuclear family time.

I really hope to bring out some dialogue on this so if you could take a moment to share your thoughts using the form below, I would appreciate your time and effort.

“So my life is divided into two major epochs: BC and AD. No not CE and BCE but BC and AD. What is that you may ask? BC – Before Child and AD – After Daughter. I’ve notice that in BC I had more free time to fritter away on deep conversations regarding the winner of a battle between Superman or The Hulk, Batman vs. Captain America, but AD my time is a premium commodity devoted to keeping a highly active skinny mini entertained with martial arts, chasing and painting. To my friends with whom I am in a limbo here is my apology and reply;

I’m tired of hearing how mommy’s have it hard, how there are great divides in sleep training and raising your kids blah blah. Try running a retail business, raising a kid and getting the “oh your a dad raising a kid? You must be a f**k up” look from almost every mom I run into at play group, the mall at my own store.
I’m busy fixing a broken business (which is lucrative now), teaching a toddler how to run said retail operation (yes Eve sweeps, mops, dusts, stocks, counts, speaks in Polish, and helps customers carry wines to the front) and still trying to have a life (coaching mma, sparring with friends, and hiking).

Yes there are tons of parenting choices to make, tons of advice I’d love to give out, the truth is really quite simple : you disagree with someone or they decide to judge you, f**k em do what feels right for you and you can find your own path.

Best part of my day is when a new customer doesn’t know Eve and freaks out when Eve shows that person her favorite bottle of wine (Crazy Life Pinot Grigio ). And then that person comments ” My kid/ my relative / my friends kid would destroy this place, you can’t have children in a wine store”. I’ve shattered more bottles at higher price points than Eve ( Dad: two bottles of $180 cognac and $60 Amarone Eve: $21 Bourdeaux).

If your frustrated with your kids you let your kids frustrate you, that’s on you, a decision you made, I choose to make everything a learning process to get along with my midget, mood swinging, hyper active co-habitor.

To the sleeping debate: we let Eve cry it out and it worked, twelve hour sleeps, a one hour nap midday and lower cortisol levels than average kids in her age group (yes I know how to measure that, the stress hormone). Eve is throwing tantrums but those last less than ten seconds and she usually hugs me after their done and we are good.”

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