Hi there, just thought i’d drop a line to give you an update of my life as a stay-at-home-dad, because it has now been nearly 19 months and amazingly, Im still here!

Well, the past 19 months have been fantastic. When I say fantastic, I haven’t said ‘easy’, or ‘a walk in the park’, or ‘without its challenges’. In truth it has been exhausting, thrilling, rewarding, sad, lonely, frustrating and emotional, to use a few adjectives. Im not saying I use each of these feelings every day, but on the whole, it is a roller coaster ride that I’m learning to endure and roll with (no pun intended), knowing that (sometimes)’ every day’ is a new day.

I still have 3 amazingly different children with whom I love and a very loving and supportive wife. I have days when nothing seems to get in my way and I get heaps done, and others when nothing will go as planned. Being a project manager, I like to solve problems and get a solution or outcome, but Im learning that some days it’s better to let things go and fight the battles I can win. I heard or read something once where the person said ‘I make my bed as soon as I get up each morning, at least then I know I’ve accomplished something for the day’. As simple as it may be, I started doing this every day too and it does help, particularly being someone who is driven by writing a comprehensive list of things to do and ticking them off as I go.

I have to say, one of the hardest things I deal with on a daily basis is the social aspect of this role as it is often a lonely job.  I am a dad who takes 2 of my 3 kids to school each day. I have done so for 19 months and unfortunately being a male, in a generally female dominated area, has its challenges. If I was a woman (mum) and took my kids to school, it would be nothing to stop and have a conversation with another mum and talk about what I was doing for the day, ‘oh and I have half an hour free this morning, lets grab a coffee’. But unfortunately being a man (dad), Im alienated from being part of this social aspect of being a stay at home parent. I understand the perception that a man and woman, who are both in committed relationships going for a coffee, could be frowned upon and get front page in the school gossip column, but sometimes it would be just nice to have some adult/friendly conversation during the day on purely a platonic level…

Watching my children getting a bit older has been a real blessing. I get to listen to them read, do maths problems and work them out, watch them try and succeed (and sometime fail) at their sporting or extra-curricula activities and see them explore and work out where they fit into their little world, it is great! When my older 2 children were young, I spent a lot of time away, late at the office, leaving early in the morning and only really seeing them (to be honest) for about 45mins – 1 hour per day. Enough to say good morning… and then bathe them and put them to bed in the evening. I missed out. But with my youngest one, I get to see him throw his first massive tantrum (terrible 2’s) experience gravity with his food (yes, it drives me nuts) and be defiant and push the boundaries (and my buttons) but that’s just it, I get to see it!

In reflection, over the past 9 years, we have had every form of child minding available, we’ve had nannies, aupairs, baby sitters, mothers-in-law, child care, day care, after school care… with the aim of providing some financial security for our children and our future. But in the end, all our children want is time with us, and to have us (parents) around. I highly recommend, if you can work it, and do away with some creature comforts, take a step back, and have at least one parent home with your kids at all times (even dads). You will never regret it. A wiser person than me once said, ‘on your death bead, you will never wish you had worked more…’

So all in all the past 19 months has had its challenges, but its a time that I will always remember and time that I will never get back!

Leave a Reply