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I am Mr. Mom everyday – the story of a quitter

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Think it’s a sin to quit a job? Conventional wisdom is “never quit your job, unless you have another one.” Plus, the Bible tells us that “those who will not work, should not eat.” Yet, there is also scripture about quitting one’s vocation and taking up another. 2 years ago, I began a new journey as a stay-at-home dad. At first, my daughters were in a pre-school, but 6 months later, we brought them home. Now, I am their primary caregiver and my wife works.

Who in the Bible quit their job? No less than the closest human beings to Jesus, his disciples. “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. ” – The Book of Matthew Chapter 4. These two disciples didn’t even work a 2 week notice or train their replacements. They just dropped the nets and followed.

We must challenge ourselves to think of work roles and home roles in new ways in this ever-changing society. As the corporate world strives to balance the scales of gender and racial diversity, so long tipped in favor of Caucasian males (like me), more and more men are joining the ranks of stay-at-home dads. Why should we fight this trend? If it is better for one’s family to let the wife continue her career, may God bless that home. I cherish the extra time I am getting with my kids.

But there are some who struggle with the idea of a stay-at-home dad. Last week, the man who bagged my groceries commented “playing Mr. Mom today?” I replied, “I am Mr. Mom every day”. I could see by the look on his face, this rocked his world. He finally let loose “Oh, you are unemployed.” So, even though I told him I did this by choice and that it was mostly fun, his expression showed his doubt. I thanked him for his efforts and we went about our business. People can get locked into thinking one way, until they read some words like “They just dropped their nets and followed.”

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A typical daddy day

Posted on November 30, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I wonder how other guy’s spend their day as stay-at-home dads.  I feel alone when I take time to think about it.  I also wonder if I am doing it right.  It’s not as if I went to stay-at-home dad school and know what I am doing.  I suppose it all comes natural…  Maybe that is a fallacy to one extent or another.

Here is a typical daddy day for me (today):

6:10 am alarm clock wakes me up and I cook breakfast for everyone.

6:30 everyone joins me and we eat breakfast

7:00 I get ready for the day with a shower and a shave and get dressed.  My wife dresses the girls and brushes their teeth and hair.

7:30-8:00 I leave for the YMCA.  I arrive around 8:15 with the girls and do a 1 hour workout.  usually running and some strength conditioning.

9:15 We leave the YMCA and either run by the grocery store or library or bookstore.  I often pick up a second coffee from a drive thru coffee shop.

10:40 I am usually home and fixing lunch.  These days it’s grilled cheese sandwiches for the girls with canned veggies and/or sliced fruit on the side with 8 oz of 2% milk.  i am eating a turkey pita or wrap with lettuce and some ranch dressing and water with the same fruit/veggies that the girls are having.

11:00 we all sit down at the table and eat (after washing hands) while we enjoy CBS’ “The Price Is Right” on television.

11:30 everyone is usually done with lunch and I clean up.  The girls usually get to watch a little TV.

12:00 naptime begins.  I normally have a short nap myself or do some computer work/surfing.  Today it was really cold and rainy and dark so I took a longer nap.  Then I indulge in a computer game for around an hour.  These days it’s been Team Fortress 2.

2:00 naptime ends.  I usually let the girls get out of nap with a bit of TV or by going outside or just having free playtime.  They haven’t responded well to school work and projects right after nap.  I think they feel less alert.

3:00 afternoon snack with juice and bagels or cheese usually.  Then we read a story (well, I read a story to them).  Then, we usually let the 4 year old try her pre-school learning book (2-4 pages of letter writing practice, counting practice) and let the 2 year old pick from play dough or coloring.  Sometime we do a special project or might take a shopping trip or run an errand.

4:30  supper prep time for me

5:00 pm supper is served.  we usually watch the news or some light show but not a cartoon or kids show.  The kids don’t eat well when they are watching a favorite show.

5:30  supper clean-up and then the wife is normally home around 6:00 or 6:30.

I try to give her time to eat without the girls hanging all over her, so we might go upstairs and play or leave the house for a short trip.

7:00 2 year old bedtime and she puts the 2 year old to bed which gives them some QT (quality time) together.  I watch and entertain the 4 year old until around 7:40 at which time mom and the 4 year old get some time together with a story and some bedtime time.

So there is a typical day for us.  I hope to learn more about other stay-at-home dad’s days through the other blogs so feel free to link your stories or make a comment.

If anyone is out there….

 

 

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After Thanksgiving Day debrief

Posted on November 27, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Well, today is the day for all the sales and lines and big box stores.  I am staying away from the crowds.  It’s hard enough to get parking places and wait in normal lines with two girls, age 4 and 2.  I don’t think we are up to the challenge of going shopping today with the rest of society.  I think I will let those folks have a little more space and time to get theirs done.  I have an abundance of time to do our shopping before Christmas.

I am thinking more about what to buy.  I have a list of some things for the girls and I am getting ideas for the rest of the family slowly.

I spent some time yesterday cleaning and serving food.  I am reading the book “Sink Reflections” by a woman who calls herself the fly-lady.  My daughter picked the book out for my wife a mother’s day or two ago.  It’s got some good ideas about clutter.  I am going to use it as an excuse to make some change (hopefully, positive change) around the house.  If I will be cooking and cleaning more as I intend, then I want to exert some control and get some efficiency going in the places where I will work.  I guess I feel as though now I am entitled to start being the boss in the kitchen, laundry room, and other places.  Others will sort of have to work with my system rather than the other way around.

I did “shine the sink” last night which is part of the book’s “baby steps”.  Hopefully I can create some helpful routines for me and the rest of the household.  I already have some routine around the feeding times and shopping times.  But the cleaning and laundry stuff is not very well scheduled and it gets neglected the most.  My wife ends up doing the stuff when it gets piled up and that’s just not right.  She has the job and I don’t.

Along with this, I am really considering putting my little worthless side business aside and in mothballs for the foreseeable future.  I think having it hanging around is like a millstone on my neck and just a constant source of reminder of something I failed at.  If I can’t be a small businessperson and a stay-at-home dad, then time to resign from the business and do a better job being a househusband.  So, when people ask what I do, I just tell them right out front, “I am a stay-at-home dad”.  That’s right, NO job, just puke and poop and tantrums and lots of special moments that will be gone forever any minute now.  So, I think doing that will be my way of “manning up” and facing whatever criticism or judgement call that people will make about me.  If that doesn’t fit into their ideas of how a man should contribute to society, then I guess they will have to judge me.

When I do share about my stay-at-home dadness, most people have been nothing but kind and complimentary (at least to my face) and I guess I shouldn’t really care in the first place.  So, here I come, stay-at-home dad-dom, I guess this is my time to claim the title without shame and without my little “side business” to show everybody that “I’ m still a working man”.

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Yet another stay-at-home dad blog

Posted on November 25, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Yes, I have decided to contribute my 2 cents to the growing number of bloggers who discuss their experiences as a stay-at-home dad.  I don’t want this to be a vanity blog, all about me.  I want to have a online “home” that I can use to interact with the other stay-at-home dads and rebel dads who dared to leave their jobs and care for their kids.  I really didn’t show any bravery in my journey.  Like some dads, I sort of “fell into” the job.  More on me later…

I want to give a shout and some thanks to a few of the stay-at -home dads or rebel dads who have helped me understand this role a little better:

First, Jeremy Adam Smith has this great book, “The Daddy Shift“.  He also has a cool blog.  After reading the book this fall, I got some real inspiration from other stay-at-home dads who are men among men, while being proud and human all at the same time.

Featured in Jeremy’s book is a dad named Ta-Nehisi Coates who also has a cool blog.  Ta-Nehisi is a New Yorker, watches football, plays video games and cooks for his family.  Oh yeah, and cusses like a sailor.  Did I leave anything out?  I guess I don’t aspire to all those interests.  I don’t live in NYC, watch very little football, and I don’t really cook much.  I plan to learn how to cook more.  I do play video games and try to take good care of my kids.  Having good role models or online friends, if you can it that, isn’t about enjoying all the same things.  I want to learn from folks both the same and different from me.  How can I guy do this gig in NYC?  And still be hip?  I mean, anyone who is playing Dragon Age_Origins a few weeks after it is released has got to be kinda cool and smart.

I am exploring more of the stay-at-home dad blogs.  Rebel Dad has a great long list of SAHD blogs.  I like his idea that we should call ourselves Rebel Dads.  Although people will call us what they will.  We can make a dent in that by calling ourselves something different.  Mostly, people just call me “hey you” or “thank you (time for you to go now)”.  🙂

So as to not make this too wordy for a first post, I will conclude here.  I hope to connect with other dads and families who have this new challenge (or gift or blessing) of the stay-at-home dad.

Oh yeah, and I MUST link this cool video and song which I found on Jeremy’s blog.  It really made me smile.  And yes, you can buy the song on i-tunes.  I recommend it highly for all stay-at-home daddies.

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    A rebel dad's blog (a.k.a. stay-at-home dad). A wiper of noses, I cook and I clean.

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