They say "behind every great man is a woman." Well, I'm far from being a great man, but I do have a great woman at my side.
At times I wonder if these "Daddy Diaries" give the impression that I'm somehow doing this baby-care thing all by myself or that I haven't had a ton of support these last ten months, but let me set the record straight: there's no way I would have ever survived as a stay-at-home dad without the help of my awesome wife, nor without the faithful dedication of my mother-in-law, nor without the powerful legacy of my own mother.
On this Mother's Day weekend, I just want to take a few moments to honor these amazing women in my life.
Much of what makes the days go smoothly with Gregory is that there are always clean dishes in the cabinets, always plenty of folded clothes in the dresser, and the diaper bag is always stocked with fresh supplies. Sure, I do much of the diaper-changing and feeding during the day, but I've never had to worry about running out of wet-wipes or not having a clean bib ready to go.
And it's not like there's some Pampers Fairy that visits our home each night while we sleep and magically restocks all these things, but obviously it is the faithful and loving devotion of my wife who does all of the behind-the-scenes chores that makes my day with Gregory go so smoothly.
I get all the attention because I write a blog about my experience where I get to whine and complain about how hard this all is, but meanwhile my wife quietly just does the work that needs to be done without much fanfare at all. I'm so thankful and proud to have such a wonderful partner—who happens to also be my best friend!
Having to put a child into a daycare program is a necessary reality for many working parents, but my wife and I really wanted to avoid this if possible. Not only is quality daycare expensive, but the first few years of a baby's life are so formative that we really didn't want to pass off the raising of our child to a stranger.
It has been the amazing commitment of my mother-in-law that has made avoiding daycare a reality. Three afternoons a week Sue comes over to watch Gregory while I go to my part-time job as a guitar teacher. Every time the door bell rings, Gregory's eyes light up because he knows it's his grandma who has come with some kind of treat, such as a banana or Cheerios! It's so cool to watch these two interact and I'm still not sure which of them is having more fun.
Maybe it's a bit of a cliche, but it really does take a village to raise a child. I'm so thankful to have family that lives close by and who loves being with children, which makes this whole parenthood experience so much easier.
My only regret from this entire past year has been that my own mother never had the opportunity to meet Gregory. My mother died in 2008 after a short battle with cancer, and there's not a day that goes by where I don't think about her. It stings a little to think about how much she would have loved to hold this little guy and be a grandmother to him.
My parents divorced when I was five, and it was my mother and my grandmother who worked together to raise three boys. My mother worked two jobs and would come home exhausted but still manage to have the time and energy to help with our homework or go to the park to play catch or attend all the back-to-school nights.
And it's not like she complained or begrudged any of this. Rather, my mother, who was an accomplished singer and pianist, always did everything with a song. And while Gregory will never meet her this side of heaven, the legacy and spirit of Marjorie Cox continues to influence how I interact with him everyday.
The truth is the real strength of our culture is found in women. Seriously, men look tough on the outside and talk a good game, but all it takes is a slight fever or a small cut on the finger for men to snivel and think about staying home from work. But when the hard and messy and thankless things of life need to get done, it is women who step up and show their true grit. Dads may try and take the credit, but it's the unselfish devotion of mothers that is the bedrock of our culture.