Emmeline and I were on the afternoon show View from the Bay yesterday — right after a segment with Joan Rivers. You have no idea how difficult it was not to bag on her outfit.
I can’t seem to make the video embed here, and after a billion attempts, I’m chalking it up to a problem with their web site, not my skills.
So here’s the link to the segment if you want to check it out.
We were on to talk about a few out-of-the-way, fun, cheap things to do in San Francisco with kids. The segment was live and filmed at the Seward Street Slides, which you may remember caused some serious familial discord. But we made it out alive this time and I think Emme did a fantastic job, despite the fact that she talked the whole way over to the shoot about finally getting a chance to sing “Defying Gravity” on TV. Seriously, for half the interview, I was waiting for a tiny voice to hit full stride and take over.
In retrospect, that would have been a whole lot more awesome. Because I always forget that the show trots me out there and then tries to make me feel like a miserable man for staying home while my wife goes to work. Here I thought we would talk about cool things to do with kids if you’re in town, and then I get hit by the stay-at-home dad questions. I should have known they were coming. But I’m basically a moron.
I looked at the video later and was surprised to hear that I was at least semi-coherent, because I don’t really remember what I said. I remember saying something about Colonialism and remember cringing when I said it, but I was grasping at straws. But then I got home and it didn’t turn out half as badly as I thought it would. Thanks, Jeremy Adam Smith, for writing a fantastic book on the history of fatherhood — it totally saved my ass.
There’s a French phrase called esprit d’escalier that translates roughly to “wit of the staircase” but basically means you think of better things to say later, after the conversation has already taken place. Anyone ever cut you down and you just stood there, fumbling for the words only to remain silent and then think of something brilliant to say afterward? That’s what it means.
If I had it to do over and was faster on my feet, I’d answer the question about “how do I juggle it all?” with something along the lines of this: It’s not rocket science. We try to do fun things every day and we try to learn something new every day. I squeeze in work when I can and enjoy hobbies when I can. Everyone “juggles.” When I was young and single, I juggled work and friends and softball and hangovers. Now I’ve chosen to juggle different things and try to have as much fun as possible doing it.
The question about throwing my wife “over my shoulder” and heading out to work was just … odd. Do they expect men to carry around clubs and hunt animals? Maybe make neat minimalist cave drawings in the apres-meat hours of evening? It was such an odd question that at first I thought he was joking, and only later did I realize what he was trying to get at: I’m a man — shouldn’t I be the one at work?
It’s nearly been four years now since I started staying home with Emme and the bottom line is, this works for our family. Not all the time, but most of the time. Seriously, I fucking sew and listen to show tunes and mourn the end of the Girlmore Girls and watch Parenthood religiously only because Lauren Graham (whom I still call Lorelai) is in it. If you’re looking for someone to comment on the role of males in whatever century we’re in (I also get confused with numbers), then you’re asking the wrong guy. We’re happy and what else is there?
I really hoped these questions didn’t take away from the tips on cool things to do in San Francisco with kids. I get emails all. the. time. asking about fun, cheap things to do here and genuinely wanted to share some of our favorite hot spots. I’ll be doing more of these in the future and next time, I’ll be more prepared. And make sure the kid gets a chance to sing.