Wow, did I need this thread! I'm in the second week of care for my three kids-7,4 and 2, while my wife is away. She checked into an alcohol treatment program (she's been battling alcoholism for some time) and won't be back for at least a month.

I, too, left my traditional job about a year ago for a work-at-home one that gives me the flexibility to take my kids to school, pick them up, volunteer in the classroom, and just generally be there.

We just got back from a quick vacation in St. Augustine, exploring the fort, pirate house, and all kinds of other adventures. It was fun. When I went places with my dad, it was a chore to have us there. He did it out of obligation. He took us to plenty of places, but never asked where we wanted to go or what we might like to do. I gave my kids choices and let them pick the places we'd go, kept the schedule loose so we didn't HAVE to do anything on our vacation, and I didn't get mad when we spent a couple hours doing nothing. They were happy and needed the down time. I am never good at verbalizing things I do well or right, but I listen to my kids and pay attention to what they need. I make it a priority, and I'm proud of that.

So tomorrow, my vacation is over and I go back to work, alone without mom, and I'll be the 24/7 caregiver for these 3 awesome kids. I'm scared shitless of the next month, but after reading these posts, I remember that I am strong and capable enough to handle this. I'm a good dad and I love my kids and family. Being a dad is the one thing I've done in life that I feel 100% positive about.

Thanks for this thread!