In 2005, I took a year off of work to be a stay-at-home dad after my son, Kristian, was born.
Words cannot explain what a rewarding experience it was for me personally to have that one on one time with him every day all day. Our time together was incredible, the reactions to the change were laughable, and the endless diaper changing was forgettable. 2005 was the year I became a Dad…
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I should have seen it coming when I tried to take two weeks off when my son was born. I was working in an outside sales position at the time. My boss’s reaction was “why take work off? Just do your calls and orders from home.” Didn’t he understand that that was exactly what I didn’t want to be doing? I mean, this was my son. I didn’t want to be stuck in my office talking to clients when I could be holding him discussing all the Timberwolves games we would be going to and that we would be backpacking the entire Appalachian Trail when he was older!
Needless to say, I pretty much got a blank stare reaction when I put in my two weeks’ notice a few months later. My wife is blessed to have a very good job that she is able to do out of our home. How wonderful would it be we thought if I was able to be home too! We rearranged the budget, rearranged priorities, and made a commitment – let’s try being a Stay-at-Home Dad for a year.
“It must be so nice not to work!” This was a common reaction from many of my friends and former colleagues. Really?? Really!! “If it’s not work, why do they pay other people to take care of their kids,” is what I always thought. If cleaning puke, changing diapers and spending 24 hours a day making sure your child doesn’t swallow something he found on the floor isn’t work, I don’t know what is.
“Those other Moms must love it when they see you at story time.” Um, no. It’s an urban legend that other moms will flock to you when you are out with your boy in the stroller. Doesn’t happen. In fact, I had a really hard time finding any sort of support network. I tried story time at the library a few times but we just didn’t fit in with the other moms. It was uncomfortable.
“Did you get fired?” Seriously! No! If I got fired, I would be looking for another job. I chose to do this and don’t call me Mr. Mom. I am a Dad. We are parents too.
The Best Year Ever
Stories – We probably read on average 20 books a day. “Good Night Moon” and “Click Clack Moo” will forever be in my subconscious. If there is ever a Broadway production of either, I am sure I could stand in and nail the lines.
Lunch and baby food – this was the best part of being home. Since my wife works from home we were able to eat all of our meals together as a family. How awesome is that? Even cooler is I stepped up my baby food game and prepared all of Kristian’s food from scratch. I still feel that’s a new business opportunity for me if I had a lot of little jars.
Basketball – I am very proud to say that within a month of learning to walk Kristian was dunking on his children’s basketball hoop. I am quite sure he knew how to play horse before any of his classmates today.
Fast forward to 2013
It has been nine years since I went back to work and a lot has changed in our lives since then. I am working full time and we have another son, Sawyer. Last night at the dinner table, the boys were talking about way back when they were kids. Quite funny considering they are 9 and 7 years old! I told Kristian that when we moved him from a crib to bed he wouldn’t go to sleep unless I was with him. His reaction – “Not Mom?” The years have faded his memory of our time together. I miss being his go-to guy.
Being a Stay-at-Home parent is one of the hardest, rewarding, and best JOBS ever. I have nothing but respect and a hint of jealousy for all the hardworking moms and DADS out there. You are my idols!