My wife is half way across the globe for work for a week an a half. Singapore to be exact. That’s a 13 hour time difference. That also means when we are going to bed, she is waking up, and vice versa. On top of that, it’s summer so both boys are here all day with me. No breaks, no halftime. For anyone entertaining kid’s a challenge. How do you balance a one year old and a soon to be six year old? They are in two very different stages and at two very different levels of playing. Usually when my wife is here she asks me what we should go do for fun. At this point I’m usually in what I call, “dude brain”. I can’t think of a thing to do and usually agree with whatever it is. I’m sure it will sound familiar in a few minutes. Being alone with the boys for a week I have been forced into the very opposite of dude brain. This state of mind my friends is “dad brain”. That means “meh”, is not an option.
What is Dude Brain?
Dude brain is almost a type of safe space created by all men. I’m sure wives all over know too well what it is. All though it is often mistaken as selective listening, it truly is our safe space. While in dude brain, we are in survival and defense mode. A lot of go ask your mom stems from this state of being. We tend to not know much but are very agreeable to what you want to do. We are happy and comfortable with a beer and a chair any where a TV can be found. Questions like, Where should we go to eat?, or What can we go do to get out the house?, are often answered with one or two things. I don’t know honey. or What do you wanna do baby? If it helps, you can think of it as energy save mode. Guys spend a fair amount of time in this mind state. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s just that we don’t care. Confusing I know. We want to think of something awesome to say, or find a place to go, but our brain is dead. We love you and the kids, but right now we just want this sofa or beer and no questions. Heck if we are real lucky maybe a chance to actually get lucky with our wife when the kids go to bed. I know it doesn’t make since, but its guy logic, and it won’t make since. I can hear the, If you just would pick a place then maybe she will give you some, comments already. We do pick places. Just not good ones in this brain setting. The couch is the place. Nothing is the thing we want to do.
What is Dad Brain?
Dad brain is the mind, body, and soul that has waken up at sunrise. This animal has had two double espresso shots in his coffee. He has searched Houston on the cheap, planed, and fully mapped out whatever is about to happen. The water cooler is iced and backed. So are the snacks. Men in this state are adult boys scouts on steroids. You ask a place to take the kids, they know it and will go happily with you. They have an seemingly endless amount of patience with savage kids. He even takes the kids away while you take a nap. This guy is making you pancakes while you sleep and saving the bacon for last so you wake up to that smell. He may have on cargo shorts, glasses, and flip flops but he is sexy. Dad brain operates on the pleasure of others. Seeing others happy, especially his kids, and enjoying themselves is his fuel. He understands that right now it is about fun. He lives in the now. This is the functioning brain that see’s the big picture and just wants to have fun for the funs sake.
As I mentioned in my opening statement, my wife has been gone for work travel. During this week and two days it has been me, the boys, and the dog. Not much help on this deployment, but I went in with dad brain! After helping my wife pack her things, the first night for me and the boys was already planed. Simple, easy, and fun. A movie night in our big bed with dad and popcorn. I slept in crumbs for a week but we had a blast watching Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows. It was the perfect start to the week long venture. The next few days we battled rain but were able to find adventures at the mall play place. We braved trampoline park, where I was beat in soccer by a 3rd grader. Grandpa even came along. As Michael calls it, eat all you want pizza, aka the pizza buffet. We did an NFL play 60 with former Houston Texan, Amobi Okoye. We swam for three hours, watched kung fu movies, went to new parks, dog parks, caught fish at Bass Pro. We looked at boats daddy can’t afford, ate more pizza, and looked at bacteria in the microscope. It was pretty epic. We even made it to church two Sundays in a row. That was kind of so I could get at least an hour without children. Don’t judge me service was good too. The point is, without fuss I found countless things to do. It didn’t kill me either. Something’s we didn’t even make it to because I had found so much to do. No nudge or suggestion from my wife needed.
Every night, as I dragged my tired body to bed, it was beautiful positive vibes sent to my wife abroad. It put a smile on her face and in her heart with each shared picture. I know this time spent in dad brain has been great. I understand that this is the mindset most moms are in 24/7. God bless you single parents that do this all day everyday. It takes a lot of work, but the reward is so wonderful. The peaceful serenity as they fall into a deep sleep, and stay sleep even into the 7 o’clock hour because they are so tired. It’s magical. I wish I had the will power to stay in this mode all the time. But, I don’t. Oh what, you thought I was about to say how this week has changed me? I’ll stay like this all the time? Ha ha! No, no, no, don’t be silly. I wont, but I will try to be less in dude brain. Being in the now was worth it. We did make amazing memories that we will share forever. I learned about myself and more about my kids. We all learned about our city and what new secret places it has. But for now I need to recharge. It’s been a hell of a week.
Places we went: (I don’t get paid for any of .)
Levy Park Houston, Bounce Bounce, Memorial City Mall, Marry Jo Peckham Park, Katy Mills Mall