By some random luck, I turned out to be a great stay-at-home dad. And while I often make bone-headed mistakes, I’ve helped raise the most polite, well-behaved little munchkin in the world. Like all parents, my journey has included plenty of struggle. But I was thoroughly surprised to find my biggest challenge came not from parenting, but transitioning back into the business world now that my son will be starting preschool.
Originally, I had this grandiose idea to somehow work a full time real estate business, while being a full time stay at home dad, while taking care of the house, and while writing for my blog. I might have been high on baby powder the day I came up with that plan. After five solid years of real estate success leading up to the birth of my son, I positioned my business to work from home so that I could focus on being a full time dad. The first year of parenthood (before my son could walk) was great. I was able to continue my real estate business—and being “Dad the Mom” was like discovering you could ask for extra butter on your popcorn at the theater. I’m a hands on, teach everything, sing and dance while loving every minute of it type dad. This rewarding, full time parenting approach, sadly, doesn’t seem to be business friendly once your kid becomes mobile. So I started doing less and less business to focus all my time on my son. I also started to write a parenting blog and books as I noticed a huge gap in helpful information for parents and teens.
Well, fast forward a few years. My son is going to start preschool, and I need more money. My wife has done an amazing job supporting us, but we have more expenses now that my little man is older. Trying to work my business while being a full time at-home dad is proving to be a real struggle.
I told another parent it felt like I’ve been living in isolation—like I’m stranded on planet toddler trying to work a full time business on nap time hours.
I keep on thinking it would have been easier to run my business as a part time parent with my son in daycare, rather than staying at home. Every professional setback or opportunity missed from a lack of time makes me question my decisions. But how would my son have turned out if I didn’t stay home with him for the past 3 years? Would he still be the super smart little man he is today? Would he have flourished this much in daycare? How much money could I have earned to justify not giving him the head start he now has for the future?
Answering that last question reminds me I made the right choice. Investing in my son and giving him the attention only a stay at home parent can, was worth more than money. I believe it’s hard to have something truly great, without great struggle and effort. My heart breaks for parents who don’t have the means or options to stay at home. Our country needs longer paid maternity leave, more options to work from home, and more benefits to help parents invest time in their children. I’m truly grateful I decided to stay at home and be “Dad the Mom”.
What a great piece Chad about your stay-at-home-Dad experience. No doubt your thoughts will resonate with many parents. Thank you for sharing your insight, and revelation. You have planted seeds in Oliver which are priceless!! How fortunate he is to have a dad like you and a supportive loving Mom!