JUST A QUICK INTRODUCTION….
On October 29th, 2012 my gorgeous wife Allison gave birth to our first child, our son Jack. When it came time to make the difficult decision of who was going to stay at home and watch Jack and who was going to be the primary breadwinner we decided to follow an old societal norm. She made lots of money and I did not…so there ya go. And while I know that my wife would gladly prefer to be at home with our beautiful son, our need to feed this little monkey and our own material desires made the decision for us. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to truly express how much I love Allison, but I know that successfully raising Jack would be a good start.
Jack is now 5 months old and my life has changed in more spectacular ways that I thougth possible. However, I am a realistic person and a candid one at that. The bottom line is, that while I love my son and my wife, it is NOT all smiles and sunshine. You hurt. You’re tired. You get bitchy. You sacrifice any semblance of achieving personal or professional goals. But yes, THIS PART is true: the moment he looks you in the eyes and bears a huge toothless smile it REALLY DOES all just melt away. You don’t get colds anymore simply because you don’t have time for them. Your back muscles feel like they are going to push themselves out of your skin, but you will pick up and carry 20 pounds of human for as long as it takes until he’s laughing again.
Typically when you love some one they have done something to earn it. Your parents raised you. Your family and friends are confidants and they make you feel good about yourself. But then here is this little thing. This little pile of pink that craps his pants, slobbers all over you, makes your brain decide if your OCD is really worth a complete psychological breakdown or not. I mean, if anything, your baby is unintentionally trying to get you NOT to like them. If a baby was a person you knew at work, you would fucking hate them.
But you don’t. You love them. It’s probably the truest expression of love that is possible to achieve as a human being. And his existence is (from even an atheistic standpoint) a miracle. I love him.
Now that’s the good stuff.
On the flip side, one of the things I’ve come to notice is that, even under the veil of being an advanced and incredibly accepting society, there is still an inherent stigma that comes with being a Stay At Home Dad. Social acceptance is truly not fully there yet. It has barely past the point of “we’re cool with this” and tends to veer more towards “why aren’t you at work?” And yet it’s a stigma that you cannot harp on or allow others to feel sorry for you regarding. I am a white, American male in my 30s. Historically the world has been my oyster and I’m not about to press any “Oh, woe is me” button because the old lady at Ralph’s gives me weird looks because I’m singing the Muppets Theme song to Jack in the produce aisle.
The world has changed and mostly for the better. The nuclear family doesn’t really fit as well into a post-modern, post-feminist society, but as with most change it is slow goings and possibly not always in the right direction. As my good friend (and fellow S.A.H.D.) put it: “This is hardly a watershed moment for human civilization. We are simply at the right cross-section of progress and economics. A good World War could wipe this all away in a second.” And yes, the days will come where you are just waiting for that World War. Thankfully, they are few and far between.
So, here I was. A 33 year old man in 2013 finding myself sympathizing with the plight of decades of strong women that did not receive the accolades that they so amazingly deserved. I went very quickly from worrying about meeting a deadline for an illustration or putting together a display for a Comic Book Convention to attempting to fold the laundry in the 20 minutes Jack will nap after his first baba and getting mushed sweet potatoes tossed in my face. And loving it. Despite all that I’ve said, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Louis CK once said “When I found out I was going to be a father I was worried that my life would stop. And it did. But so what!? My kids love me and, even if I don’t, they think I’m a great father.”
As an artist I have always looked to my life as the first inspiration. This webcomic is just another example of that. Just another catharsis in the (so far) short life of George Ricciardella. I hope you find it funny, informative and possibly even at times thought provoking.
So, without further adieu, here is my S.A.H.D.ness. Join me.