Being a stay-at-home dad is a privilege and a joy. I would not trade places with anyone if it meant not being able to parent my kids on a full-time basis. I am absolutely, perfectly content.
Well, most of the time.
I think most stay-at-home parents have those moments when they feel a bit envious of those who command respect and authority through their jobs. At home, our authority is always in question by belligerent children, while respect is… well, mostly non-existent.
I have a friend who is a well-known TV news anchor. He gets to interview politicians, celebrities, and business leaders. Viewers trust and admire him. From the outside, his career seems exciting and challenging. It’s the kind of life I had once envisioned, before the children came along. I’ve had those moments, when talking with my friend, where I wished I could trade places with him and experience some of the prestige and energy of a job like his.
So it came as kind of a shock when my friend sent me an email expressing his desire to trade places with me! He wrote: “I work hours you would puke at. I’m known around the company as the Devil Who Wears Prada. Everyone’s scared of me around here. It’s all about BS on the air and stroking egos. I envy your life, you’re my living example of Adam@home. You’re doing well, my friend.”
Maybe he was just telling me what I wanted to hear. Or maybe he was having one of those moments where the grass looks greener on the other side.
Or perhaps he’s realizing that when his kids are grown, he’s going to wish he’d spent more time with them instead of at the office where friends are few and memories are trivial at best.
There’s nothing about my life as a stay-at-home dad that I would trade away. Even in those fleeting moments of “what if” I never forget the value of my experiences with my kids. Hands down, it beats anything a career can deliver.
This is how my family watches movies together. Sitting down for a viewing of the 1964 Disney movie The Three Lives of Thomasina…
Me (pausing DVD): “Hey, look, it’s the girl from Mary Poppins!”
Me (pausing DVD): “Cool. Her father is Patrick MacGoohan from The Prisoner.”
Me (pausing DVD): “Kids, see that little boy? He played the girl’s brother in Mary Poppins.”
Me (pausing DVD): “Whoa. You know who that is? The vet’s assistant? That’s the actor who played Paul’s grandfather in A Hard Day’s Night! He looks so different.”
Me (pausing DVD): “What? I don’t believe it. Honey, do you recognize her? C’mon, we just watched the last season of her TV show. Hello? Monarch of the Glen? That’s Molly McDonald, only 40 years younger.”
Me (pausing DVD): “Did you know that the girl playing Mary is the daughter of…”
Everyone Else: “Somebody take the remote away from Dad!!!”
Being a dad is tough work. There are down days and bland days. Every now and then, however, you get to have superhero days.
A superhero day starts off like any other, but then a situation or opportunity arises where you have to call upon every dad skill you know, and some you didn’t even know you possess.
You’ve been there. Maybe you crawled up a play place slide to rescue your stuck toddler, or you drove to seven different stores to get materials for a school project due the next day, or you made pancakes for dinner.
Superhero days are actually kind of mundane to most folks. To your kids, however, there’s nothing more amazing than a father who is willing to step up to do the things that need doing.
And what a great reminder of dads as superheroes than the new Marvel Collection from Cross Pens.
These top quality pens feature the most prominent icons in the Marvel Universe: Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. They’re perfect for those days when your to-do list is extra long. Seeing this cool pen in my hand as I cross chores off my list is a great reminder that I have it within me to be a superhero to my kids. Check them out here.
It doesn’t take much to be a superhero dad. Be present, be patient, and do what needs to be done. Your kids will look at you like you’re Captain America.
Thanks to Cross Pens for partnering with me for this post.
Becoming a new father changes you in ways that you could never imagine. When a baby is born, a dad is born. I underwent the transformation from dude to dad almost 18 years ago, and most of the changes have settled in, while a few still seem strange and new.
But change is a good thing and, when it comes to fatherhood, change is absolutely necessary. Just don’t be too surprised when you feel them coming on. It might happen the first time you hold your new baby, or when someone refers to you as “daddy,” or in the middle of a particularly messy diaper cleanup.
Just to help you out, here are five surprising ways that fatherhood has changed me.
1. Most bodily fluids no longer bother me. It might not have been during the first diaper change, but it certainly happened soon after. Babies poop a lot, and you just have to deal with it. Your brain quickly adapts to the mess by downgrading its perceived toxicity. What you once saw as a biohazard requiring a Level 4 containment system, you now view as nothing worse than rancid chocolate pudding.
Babies also throw up a lot, usually on your shoulder, hair, or face. Again, your brain takes over to calm you with the thought that the vomit isn’t too far removed from being food in a dish or breast. And, of course, babies are mucus-producing machines. You will be wiping your child’s nose for the next decade. Get used to it.
Blood? No, you never get used to seeing blood come out of your kid.
2. I’ve lost all control of my emotions. That’s right, once you become a father you are no longer in charge of being happy, sad, angry, confused, scared, and all the other myriad of emotions that you haven’t even discovered yet. Who’s in charge? Mostly your child. They will push your buttons in weird and wonderful ways. You will never see it coming, and you’ll have no idea how to make it stop. They will drag you through the day like a stuffed animal on a leash, completely in control of your various feels. One minute making you cry with pride, the next making you cry with fear. Oh, you’ll also laugh hysterically, bristle with anger, and pull out your hair in frustration, sometimes all in a manner of minutes. Your new baby is in charge of you now, and they won’t even realize it until their teenage years.
3. I know things I never thought I wanted to know. A huge part of fatherhood is introducing new interests and experiences to your kids. And I don’t mean wine tasting or skydiving, although those can certainly come later, much later, on. From day one of being a new dad, you want what’s best for your child. Suddenly, you have to know the nutritional value of baby food, how to change a diaper, and the effects of sleep deprivation. As they get older, you learn about children’s literature, kindie music, and why some poor animated kid named Caillou is so reviled. Before too long, you’re learning the difference between a tenor saxophone and an alto saxophone, and which type of earplugs works best for you. Without my kids, I might never know Lin-Manuel Miranda, Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Gerard Way, all of whom I follow with great interest now. My kids have given me an education greater and more varied than any college degree.
4. I’m broke. I knew children were expensive, I just never realized how much. At first there are all those necessary baby gadgets, like a stroller, crib, and high chair, but then you start filling your home with toys, stuffed animals, and Dr. Seuss books. Me, I got hooked on kids’ books, bringing them home new, used, and in between. My attitude was that books were an excellent investment for a child’s education, which they are, but a costly investment nonetheless. And then you have to feed and clothe your kids. And take them to the zoo. And out for ice cream. And to Disneyland. It never ends, and it’s never as cheap as you budget. So, in the end, despite the best possible financial planning, you’ll be broke.
5. I’ve become a neat freak. Everything must be in its place. That’s the “neat” part. But things are never in their place. That’s the “freak” part. Basically, fatherhood has brought out the part of me that needs order. I want my kids to be safe, free from worry and illness, and focused on personal growth. How can any of that happen in a messy house? I see dishes piled up in the kitchen and think, “There’s an incubator for disease.” I see toys strewn across the living room floor and think, “There’s a tripping hazard.” I find books stuffed onto a shelf upside down and turned around and think, “There’s a waste of knowledge.” The struggle against chaos began even before my first child was born, as I surveyed our home for dangers and baby-proofed everything I could find. Over the years, my pseudo-OCD has only grown worse. And it’s a losing battle, one in which I refuse to wave the white flag.
There are so many other ways in which fatherhood has changed me. Some were expected, some were not. All of them are a part of me now, for better or worse. A man who is not changed by becoming a dad is not much of a man. Diapers are not the only thing that need changing when a new baby comes into your life.
I’d like to thank Pampers for giving me reason to celebrate these changes, and the incredible feeling that goes along with being a dad. Fatherhood is the biggest, and best, role a man will ever take on in his life, and it’s important to recognize that. Whatever changes may come your way with becoming a dad, embrace them. You’re helping your baby have a better, more fulfilling life.
For more than a decade, I’ve watched a good number of my fellow mom and dad bloggers take their hobbies to the next level, landing book deals and realizing their dreams of seeing themselves on book store shelves and Amazon pages.
I’m happy to announce that it is finally my turn to make the transition from computer screen to printed page. Continue reading →
After seventeen years of being a stay-at-home dad in a stay-at-home mom world, I’m used to it now.
Back when I first adopted this role, I would easily get flustered and angry.
But now I just laugh about it.
We were at an end-of-the-year homeschool picnic when one of the organizers started calling up the kids by grade so we could give them a round of applause.
After she finished up with the high schoolers and we clapped, she looked around and said, “And now, let’s hear it for the moms who worked tirelessly all year to teach these wonderful children. Yay moms!”
And that was it. She thanked everyone for coming and told us all to have a good time.
I looked around to see if any other dads were thinking what I was thinking, but then I realized there weren’t any other dads at the picnic.
Dove Men+Care has a cool new ad lined up for this year’s Super Bowl. It’s refreshing to see the message that caring for your children can make you stronger as a man.
Well done, Dove!
By the way, I’m a loyal user of Dove Men+Care products, especially their Fresh Awake Body Wash. Aside from the smooth, cleansing feeling of the body wash, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the design of their bottles. The product doesn’t squeeze out in huge, wasteful amounts as other body washes do, so it ends up lasting longer, saving you money in the long run.
My first experience with shaving was trimming a few chin hairs with a pair of dull safety scissors. I was 14 or 15, and my cheeks were slow to start growing any kind of facial hair. The scissors sufficed for a few months, but eventually the 5 or 6 stray hairs turned into dozens, and then hundreds. I found my brother’s old electric shaver in a bathroom drawer and started using that to groom myself. 30 years later, I still value the speed and efficiency of an electric shaver.
Now, my son has signaled that he’s ready to join the long line of electricians in his family with a request for a shaver of his own. Luckily, Philips Norelco was willing to set him up with their new Click & Style. It’s an all-in-one shaving and grooming tool and, quite frankly, it’s the best shaver I’ve ever seen.
The beauty of the Click & Style are the three separate attachments. First, a shaver attachment, with rotary blades. Second, a beard trimmer. And third, a foil style shaver/trimmer. That really covers all the bases for whatever body hair needs to be groomed. All three attachments give you ultimate control and precision for a clean, smooth shave.
My son is finding it much easier to “manscape” with the Click & Style. So easy, in fact, that he can even multi-task while using it. Apparently, this is a thing. People don’t just stand at the mirror and shave anymore. They eat, brush their teeth, read, text, and play video games while grooming themselves. Continue reading →
There was a time when I cared about the clothes I wore. But then children came along, and then homeschooling, and suddenly there was not even a minute of the day to think about clothes beyond making sure they pass the smell test.
Actually, I do put some thought into fashion when it comes to my kids. I make sure my daughter doesn’t go out of the house half-naked, and that my son doesn’t show up at soccer practice in a Wiggles t-shirt.
But me? Psshh. Who cares. Seriously, who cares how I look?
I’m showered and shaved. Deodorant liberally applied. Hair, ummm, under a hat.
You will not be frightened as I approach from one end of the cereal aisle at the grocery store.
You will not pass out as I reach for the Frosted Mini-Wheats on the top shelf.
Stay-at-home homeschooling dads do have certain standards. What we don’t have is the time, inclination, or money to regularly shop for clothing when there’s a perfectly good pair of Wrangler jeans from 1999 in the closet to go along with our comfortable collection of sports team t-shirts.
Am I alone here, or are there other stay-at-home dads who have sensibly given up on the fashion game?