A Look Back On My Time As A Stay-At-Home-Dad

I don’t know if I have formally said it here yet, but if you follow me anywhere on social media (I’ll make it easy for you: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) you are probably already aware, but I am now back working. It took close to 5 months, nearly twice as long as it had before but I am now gainfully employed. It feels sort of surreal almost because I am now working for a place that I have looked up to and respected my entire life. I now can sit in my office, look out the window, and stare at the beauty of the organization that I work for.

I knew that eventually, the day that I would be back to work would be upon me, much like the day that I sent our youngest back to daycare when we thought that I would be working. But the reality of it was that there was someone or something looking after us. Everything worked out the way that it was supposed to. I’m not going to say that it was all easy, I’m sure that many of the things that you read from me while I was at home you concluded that I was not having fun as a stay-at-home-dad.

I can see how many of you would come to that conclusion. I wrote about how I couldn’t hack it as a stay-at-home-dad, I talked about two of the longest days that I have had as a parent, and I wrote about how I was conflicted as a stay-at-home-dad. It wouldn’t be hard for one to think that I wasn’t enjoying my time as a stay-at-home-dad.

I Couldn’t Hack It As A Stay-At-Home-Dad

I couldn’t. I don’t know what gave me the grand illusion that I could either. I remember thinking while my wife was going through law school that once she graduated and was earning the big bucks, that I’d be able to leave the working world to stay at home with the kids.

These last 5 months proved to me that it wasn’t the case. There was no way I could be a full-time stay-at-home-dad. I actually commend those that are because without the support network of dad’s (i.e., Kansas City Dads Group part of the City Dads Group network) and the friends that I made there, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my sanity.

Two Long Days Five Hard Months

Here is the deal, the two days I spent at home when both kids who were sick with pink eye, alone, was just a subset of issues in my time as a stay-at-home-dad. For one I didn’t feel like my time as a stay-at-home-dad was a permanent thing so I never really settled into that type of life. Pile that on top of it still being new to the whole SAHD thing and that I couldn’t take the two kids anywhere while they were contagious and you can understand just how crazy those two days might have been.

I kept praying, “Dear God Please Don’t Let Me Get This” and even though the idea of becoming a stay-at-home-dad was something I had toyed with, even more so while my wife was going to law school, I look back at these last 5 months and wish that I hadn’t been so hyper-focused on the negative. Looking back on those two days, I should have realized that if I were going to be able to hack it as a SAHD, I was going to have to make it through those two days with my sanity in place.

I Was Conflicted

Here is the deal, much like I talked about, I never saw permanence in being a stay-at-home-dad. That was part of the reason why I never really made too much of an attempt to make it all work. I knew that eventually I would be headed back to work and that even though my kids were relying on me to be the best stay-at-home-dad that there is, I didn’t really push myself to be the best that there is.

I looked forward to nap times more than I did when I was a full-time working parent. I was more annoyed when I wasn’t given the opportunity to drink my morning coffee without any interruptions. I couldn’t wait to get caught up the latest show that I was binge watching on Netflix. I was looking forward to the opportunity that I was going to have some peace and quiet in the house, even though I was only watching one child.

The reality of it is though that these last 5 months are going to be a time that I look back at and start to see them as one of my greatest accomplishments. When you look at everything that I was posting over the last 5 months, you might think that I was complaining, A LOT, about being a stay-at-home-dad. Sure, there might have been some of that, but I wish that I would have taken it more in a positive light. It might not have been a permanent thing, but I should have taken it and gone with it. I shouldn’t have been staying home every day thinking that it was only going to be a short 1 or 2-month stint.

I wish that I had enjoyed my time more. I wish that I enjoyed being there watching my son go from crawling everywhere to walking. I wish that I had been more with it seeing him fall asleep with me on the couch for our afternoon naps. I wish that I enjoyed it. And maybe in a way I will. Maybe I’ll look back at these last 5 months and realize just how much of a better dad I wanted and still want to me. Maybe I’ll look back at my time as a stay-at-home-dad and use it to drive me to be a better dad going forward.

Those 5 months, I might not be able to put on my resume, but it was a time that I grew as a father and as an employee. That drive that I had to get back to work has translated into a better work ethic in my new position. And depending on who you really think was the “manager” of the house during the summer, it has made me a better supervisor to my employees.

Maybe just maybe, these last 5 months of the darkest time in my life, will only help to turn the next months and years into the brightest that I have ever seen.

The Rookie Dad

The Rookie Dad is father of 2, husband, TV Producer, runner, and co-founder of Dads Round Table and a contributor to Traveling Dad and Good Men Project.

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