By David Quisenberry
I never thought I’d be a stay-at-home dad when I became a father in October of 2008. I worked in midtown Manhattan for a large financial firm that invested hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth across the United States.
I worked a lot. My train left at 5:47 a.m. and took me home at 5:42 p.m. to make a 6:30 dinner. I thought my job was to provide for my new family.
Fast forward a move, an exploration and social entrenchment into Portland, Oregon, the launching of a wealth management practice, and a divorce, and I find myself today someone who both works part time and primarily takes care of our two daughters.
What is it like to be a stay-at-home divorced dad?
A lot of laundry. For some reason, everything keeps getting smaller and smaller in size. Several trips to the grocery store each week. A Odyssian quest to find nutrition among the aisles of Fred Meyer, New Seasons, Safeway. Falling prey to the siren call of hamburgers, burritos, and chicken nuggets. Feeling guilty.
Learning about hair. How to braid, make buns, do fancy braids, do fancy buns. Trying to get my youngest to let me brush her hair or at least brush her own. Hoping they can get out of the house without looking like Pippi Longstocking. Feeling guilty.
A deluge of papers. Nowadays (or perhaps this has always been the case since the papyrus), schoolchildren bring home at least five pieces of paper a day from school. Information from the teachers, fact sheets about summer camps, charity fundraisers, artwork, homework, book lists, school supplies, field trip forms, etc. It’s like going twice to the mail box.
My car is a mess. Kids sit in it. They eat stuff. You know where that goes.
Matchmaker. Maybe it’s just me, but my experience (generally) as an adult in a new city is if I want to make friends and do something with someone, I have to make it happen and take the initiative. It’s the same way with kiddos. If I want my daughters to have friends they play with outside of school, I have to take the lead in helping them write little notes to put in cubbies and connect the parents to arrange the play date. It’s just one more thing I’ve got to do each week and stay on top of or the time drifts by and playdates don’t happen.
All that said, I love it. I love the conversations with my daughters in my messy car as we come home from school and I hear the whir of their brains, and feel the giggle of their toes. I love the feeling of their Lilliputian hands inside mine as we walk to school in the mornings. I love being around them and hearing their free play in the background while I do dishes, laundry, my other job.
And it doesn’t hurt that I get to wear yoga pants more often either.
David Quisenberry is a father of two daughters, an independent financial planner/advisor, and a past board member at the Dougy Center for Grieving Children where he met George.
Editor’s note: Aside from being a great dad, David is one of the most cerebral people I know. He is a Voracious reader (with a capital V) and a former hockey player who grew up in the Midwest. Next season, I look forward to going with him to another Portland Winterhawks game or two.
Tomorrrow: “What we’ve lost” by Gil Rubio