As a lot of you know, my husband Chris, is a stay-at-home Dad. In recognition of Father’s Day, I asked him if he would be willing to share his perspective on taking on that role in our home. After he sighed and “thanked” me for the “homework assignment,” he apparently got to work! (because he just sent me the dissertation below!) I hope you enjoy his point-of-view…
In December of 2006, I was laid-off from my Sales Rep position- during my wife’s maternity leave after the birth of our second child, B. I attempted, briefly, to find a similar job, but the market was slow at the time. Lindsay and I decided that this would be a great opportunity for her to go back to work full-time (she had been working part time) and for me to stay home and take care of the kids. Although both of us being “out of work” for 6 weeks together was a little stressful at the time, the experience forced us to make a decision that has turned out great for us.
I have been a stay-at home Dad now for over a year and a half, and I truly enjoy staying at home. I realize that I am lucky to have the opportunity to spend this time with my children. It is only because my wife is so good at what she does that I am able to do this. (I swear I didn’t make him write that!) I very easily could have been forced to get another, uninspiring sales job, been miserable and mostly likely put back on the 30lbs I shed after I stopped working- for that I am thankful. We obvioulsy don’t have as much money as we did when we were both employed, but we both agree that we are much happier (and our daughter has very rarely been sick!)
My goal each day (yes, I have a goals) is to make sure that when my wife gets home from work, she doesn’t have to worry about much besides hanging out with the kids. I take my role seriously and although I may not run my day as structured as my wife would like, I do take pride in teaching the children new things each and every day. In addition to reading stories, we do all kinds of different activities that engage their minds- things like puzzles, sidewalk chalk, number and letter games, etc. I’m also big on manners and teaching the children how to interact socially in public. In addition to all of this, we have tons of fun. We recently installed a slide off the back of our deck and once the weather got hot, I put a slip and slide at the bottom…it is awesome! (and the kids love it too) I have to say- I am constantly coming up with very cool and fun activities.
One thing I have a total appreciation for, after being a stay-at-home Dad for a year and a half now, is that being a single parent must be incredibly challenging. I experience it in short stints when my wife is away on business. I can’t imagine that being the norm. I really appreciate the simple fact that each day around 6 O’Clock, after I have had enough of my son asking me “WHY” and my daughter pleading for me to pick her up, that my wife returns from work! We are also very lucky to have both set of grandparents close-by to help us quite often. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I didn’t have that kind of support.
This is the part where he went into details about his daily chores (it seems to me that this might be a bit defensive-perhaps he’s trying to prove something but we’ll let him continue!)
MY PERSPECTIVE ON HOUSE CHORES
Cleaning – I need improvement in this area. I need to dust the house and clean the bathrooms with more frequency. I am great (as is my wife) at straightening the house, I just need to clean it more. The best way to get to a clean house, is to invite a friend over (not too close of a friend, someone you want to impress!) Seriously, it gives you motivation. Our house is never more clean than right before company arrives (I am sure that is the case with most people.)
Vacuuming – The easiest chore there is. If your husband or wife tries to impress you by saying they vacuumed….let them know that it’s no big deal.
Dishes – Let the dishwasher work for you! I don’t do anything by hand and I run the dishwasher every single day! (my wife is working just to pay our water bill!) I try to have the sink empty at the end of the day when my wife gets home because that is how she likes it. (this is true!)
Trash – once a week, not a big deal
Cutting the Lawn – I enjoy this. I have started to break it up into two days. A little each day while the kids are napping. The goal is to not have to do it on the weekend when we are all home.
Dogs – They annoy me! They bark too much! “Crate it up!”-this is the command I yell to alert the dogs to get into the laundry room where their food, water and crate is. Poor dogs…
Laundry – Anyone can DO laundry, that is the easy part….however, not everyone can PUT the laundry away, that is the hard part. It doesn’t help that my wife insists on hanging everything up. My suggestions are simple- stop buying clothes and let’s fold these things and put them in a drawer! It annoys me that I have a huge basket of kids clothes to put away and the closets and drawers already seem to be full. We are very lucky (and apparently rich!)
Groceries – I recommend doing this at night- alone. If you go with your kids you have to do it really fast and forget trying to use coupons or trying to save money, plus you will forget important items, like toilet paper. After a couple trips with your children, a trip alone is so very relaxing. I recommend it! I am also now super-fast at putting the groceries away!
In addition to this I feed, clothe, change, wash, teach and entertain the children, as do all stay-at-home parents and it is far more rewarding than any sales position has ever been, although I could use the company car and gas card right about now!
HOW I KEEP SANE
Excercise- I like to swim, lift and run. I do it early in the morning before the kids wake up. When I return from the gym at 7:15, I get the kids their morning “juice” and then we wake the kids up. It is a great way to start the day. (I tend to get de-motivated later in the day or at night)
Music- Each Wednesday night (except for tonight because my wife is traveling) I attend and preform at a local open mic night. I play acoustic guitar and sing. It’s fun and I have made a lot of nice friends.
Blogging- Lindsay and I started our family blog shortly after GRACO started its blog but I have since taken it over. I found it to be a great way to share our children’s lives and activities with our family and friends (and anyone who might stumble upon it) I try to post every week day but it’s getting a little harder now that the warm weather is here and we tend to be outside every waking moment.
(apparently Chris doesn’t realize that giving advice isn’t always that popular but again, we’ll let him continue)
1. Only straighten up the house once or twice a day (and make the kids help.) It got really old trying to continuously keep the house neat.
2. If you have 2 kids, have 2 of everything, it is just easier that way! (remember- we’re rich!)
3. When leaving the house, be prepared for everything. Have juice, snacks, toys, diapers and blankie’s ready. My wife is great at filling the emergency kits we keep in the car (and I always forget to refill them!)
I hope you enjoyed reading this! It took forever!!!