Elli is back to school this week. It isn't nearly as much of a shift for me as it is for lots of the stay at home parents I hang out with at the school since Elli was in camps for most of the summer. School days and camp days aren't particularly different from one another. On the other hand many of the parents I talk to had their children home for the entire summer and they are dealing with a massive and sudden change in their lives going from constant parenting to empty houses.
It makes me feel a bit inadequate at times. Everybody else seems to find it easy and even enjoyable to take care of children all day whereas the idea of weeks of solo childcare fills me with dread. More than that, some of them even talk about how they will be able to put in so much more time at their job now that they aren't taking care of kids full time. I don't even manage a job when Elli is at school / camp, never mind trying it while taking care of her at home!
Realistically I know that when Wendy and I tried having both of us work with a kid around the place it was not happy or functional. I know that although my life looks decadent and/or lazy by most people's standards it is definitely the right choice for us in terms of maximizing happiness. Having that time available also lets me spend time on self improvement - because falling down the internet rabbit hole reading about feminism, social justice, and men's rights is making me a better person I guess?
It is tough to reconcile that contradiction between my immediate emotional response "Everyone is so much more productive than me, I must be doing it wrong." with the reasoned rationality of "We tried other things and this is the best thing for us." Much as I want to be the person who can take deep joy in chasing around after a kid all day I just can't make my brain do that. I have good reasons to think I will be a really good parent for Elli when she is a teenager (Thinker Myers-Briggs types tend to enjoy that phase.) but for now being a parent is just not a thing I can do extended periods of without going bonkers.
This just in: You can't have it all.