Monday, September 5, 2011

Daddy. Why do you have 2 beards growing out of your nose?

Old make-up mirror.It's been a long time since I last posted anything on this site.  I kept meaning too and there's been a lot going on that I could have written about.  However it took my 4 year old to spur me on with the title of this post.  You see, this blog is mine, but it also belongs to my boys.   Without them I do some interesting things, but it's my boys who provide the real challenges, fears, frustrations, joy and, well... damp shorts!

So it now occurs to me that this blog might be breaking the Trade Descriptions Act (a UK law that forces advertisers to only make claims that almost, nearly, perhaps, slightly resemble some form of truth).  I had already slowly eased away from being the stay-at-home Dad, but I was still the one dropping off and collecting the boys from school, buying the groceries and making dinner.  Not so much now though, since Lynn, my dear wife, gave up her job!

This wasn't just an 'on a whim' decision.  My wife had managed to do her job well, but it hadn't prove to be her passion.  Lynn's met lots of wonderful people here in LA and has lots of great projects to do, but when you've sold nearly all of your time to making 5 hours of TV a week, then you have very little space left to do anything else.  We have our Green Cards now, so we can stay in the country permanently and can work for anyone without an additional (read 'expensive') visa.  When we came here, we had only ever intended for Lynn to do that job for a year.  So the question inevitably became, "If not now, when?"

It seems that big decisions are easier to take, than to explain.  Lynn enlightened me to the mirror concept.  For example, when you tell someone that you've lost a parent, they'll look at you with the feeling they had when they lost their parent and then they'll tell you their story.  The same goes for those other big life events; child birth, weddings, relationship break-ups, etc.  With resignation from a job it's no different, except generally people have only considered resigning and then held on till they found something else.  So most react with shock and statements like, "you are so brave" or "don't you worry about providing for your children?"  Not exactly confidence inspiring statements, no matter how unintended or heart felt.

The only exception to the mirror concept, was from agents.  Both UK and US agents responded with, "Congratulations!"  Though I could be cynical and point out that neither agent was taking a cut from her salary and now that will likely change. ;-)

Enough about Lynn, back to me, myself and I.  Suddenly, I felt I was going to have to earn some 'proper' money.  That it was all on me now to ensure the family's financial security - just like it was in the UK.  An understandable reaction perhaps, but not exactly helpful.  You see Lynn and I are a team and although we swapped roles when we moved here, something else irrevocably changed too.  The balance of our roles may swap many times in our future, but now we both bear the financial and child rearing responsibilities, no matter what role we are presently occupying.  You can't un-know what you've learned; so taking on the stay-at-home role will not leave me, just as the financial responsibility will not leave Lynn.

There's a phrase used a lot here, "Living the dream."  For us, that dream involves finding an equilibrium; where both of us enjoy our work and both of us get to share a good proportion of our time with our family.  It's not the glitzy Hollywood dream that many seem to aspire to, but it's no less attractive to us.  And every time we get to jump in the pool, either after work or after the school run, we get more of a taste for it....
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