Guest Post: I Love Being a Stay-at-Home Dad

As told to Kathy by Dave, dad to Emma, 12, and Ella, 9.

Me being a stay-at-home dad was the last thing on our minds when Emma was born in January of 2000.  My wife was on maternity leave, and I went back to my job at a large company in Omaha. We had planned for my mom to watch Emma two days a week, and we would send her to childcare the other days.   But after Emma was born, I found myself thinking, there is no way we can share her with anyone else.

Then, in February of 2000, I was laid off from my job.  When my wife went back to work, I stayed home and took care of our little Emma.  Words can't describe how I loved being with my daughter when she was a baby.   My wife even said to me that she would have never believed how well I could take care of our daughter.  She mentioned to me that since I was doing such a great job, I should be a stay-at-home dad.  I couldn't believe it, and right away said yes.  And I have loved it from day one!

As a SAHD, I pretty much do it all.  I'm a great cook and grill master (according to my wife and kids), I do all the laundry, lawn work, grocery shop, pay bills, clean, and I even make the beds!

When Emma was three years old, I introduced her to golf.  In the summer, she would walk around with my sister, brother-in-law, and me.  It wasn't long after that when I let both girls tee off, then pick up their balls just to putt it in close to the hole.  Now both of them play a full nine holes with me.  They have been in a golf league for the last three years. They also play soccer and volleyball, and Emma also plays basketball and softball. Ella's favorite sport is golf. I would have to say I'm partial to golf!

It seems like the time has gone by so fast.  I often wish it would slow down.  I will have so many wonderful memories of the time I have spent with my girls.

As far as being a part of my daughters’ lives, I feel like I have given them guidance, support, and direction in a different way than their mom.  I have always taught them to say “please and thank you,” and I expect the best from my girls when it comes to manners and being polite. The fruits are being told from relatives to friends how polite and well-mannered our girls are.  I also try to teach common sense, or "street smarts," and it's coming along so-so. Sometimes, no matter how many times I tell them something about life, they just don't get it.  I know that my girls love the fact that I'm ALWAYS here for them in a "dad" way, even though I tend to let my wife handle the “girl” issues.  She is calm, cool, and collected; whereas when I try, I seem to get nowhere!

But for my part, I really hope I am showing my girls the way a man should treat women.  I treat my daughters with love and respect, plain and simple.  If they receive anything less from any other man, they should dump his ass!

Besides spending time with my girls, my favorite part about being a SAHD is relaxing if I want to or if I’m not feeling well (while the kids are in school). There’s nothing better in the winter months than watching The Price Is Right and taking it easy!  All kidding aside, I do get lonely, though.  All my friends have jobs, and I don’t want to bother them as they can't talk during the day.  So, I’m kind of starved for attention a little.   I have had other men give me a hard time about being a SAHD, but I just laugh it off.  I’ve found that 90% of dads wish they could be doing the same thing.

I believe that a father is and should be an important figure in his children’s lives.  In this day and age, being a SAHD is more acceptable and becoming more common.  Work will always be there, but your kids will not.  My advice is to enjoy this precious time with them as much as you can. I can't tell you how lucky I feel to be able to do this. There is nothing better in life than having children and being able to be there with them, guide them, and teach them about life before they reach "life" themselves!
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