The Soul-Crushing Reality of the Stay-at-Home Dad
When I resigned from my job to care for our son, I fancied myself the perfect father. One year later, I’m an isolated, energy-sapped, and diaper-dodging mess.
Illustration by Clayton Thompson
I bounce Henry on my shoulder at two o’clock in the morning. He moans and raises his head to survey the dark living room. He stares over my shoulder, eyes wide open, examining the shadows. Breast milk soaks my t-shirt, along with drool created by tiny, jagged teeth piercing his gums. I push his head back down with my palm, but he resists and releases a defiant scream. I bounce. I bargain with myself. I would donate a kidney for a full night’s rest. I would empty my checking account for a nap. I would never eat again at Five Guys Burgers for a few moments to shut my eyes.
Outside, the red line train hums at its stop near our fifth-floor apartment. My foggy brain registers the conductor’s muffled voice echoing from the speaker. Chicago stills during the early morning hours, but our living room remains active; a street light glimmers between the blinds. I bounce. Henry’s hot breath rushes from his lungs. The train departs, humming northbound into the night.
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