I knew raising a child was going to be difficult, but I never realized how ill-equipped I was to assume the role of Mr. Mom. We made the decision because at the time it made the most sense. My wife's profession allowed her to find a job quickly, giving us a steady base income that I could supplement with the proceeds from my book and writings. I had always been good with kids and babies, playing an active role in our daughter's first year on earth when neither of us were working. My wife is a social creature who needs adult interaction. I'm happy in the attic, dreaming up conversations. At least there'll be one of us at home. We aren't the first couple to switch roles so to speak, nor will we be the last. It seemed like a no brainer, totally rational. What could go wrong? The natural order.
I'm chubby and sensitive, but still lack my wife's inherent softness and understanding. "Hush, little baby. Everything's going to be alright," sung in a gravelly voice scarred from too many years in smokey bars isn't the most soothing lullaby for a wound up baby to listen to. Same goes for a flabby, hairy chest for her to rest her head against. And, unfortunately, the only way to change any of this is to get testicular cancer or a sex change. But despite these inherent disadvantages of being a male, I look at our daughter, smiling and laughing, speaking three languages, amazed how she's been able to adapt to the reversal of the natural order. A quick game of peek-a-boo and a blow on the belly is usually enough to calm her, although sometimes she needs a big hug and shoulder to cry on at which point we sing Tom Waits.