An Ode to Stay-At-Home Dads

It’s Saturday. You are at a family function and your brother walks in the door with two toddlers in tow and no wife in sight. You know your brother looks forward to this event every year, and you can’t help but wonder why he brought his kids? He walks up to you and a group of family members and someone asks, “Just you and the kids? Where’s your wife?” Your brother smiles politely and says, “Hey, I work all week. I didn’t want to miss a day with them and Mama needed some time to herself. Win, win!”

I know what you’re thinking:

 “OMG What an AMAZING father!” 

“I wish my husband did that for me!!” 

“How sweet of him!” 

“Good Job Daddy!!!” 

What if this scenario was exactly the same, except it was a “working” mom coming in alone and the “stay at home” husband who stayed home to have some “me” time. Do you have the same reaction?  I didn’t think so. 

“Where is your husband?”

“Why isn’t he helping you?!”

“I don’t care if you work, you need time too!”

“You deserve a break from these kids!”

The above scenario was completely made up.  I don’t even have a brother. What I do have is a full-time job and amazing husband that chose to be a stay at home dad to help support our family. I have a man in my life that goes against what feels most natural to him and cares for a very dramatic one year old little girl and a four year old little boy with Down syndrome. I have a husband that has watched Trolls 748 times in the last two months and knows all the words and dance moves to every Wiggles song. I have the joy of watching my man, through a baby monitor, read The Tickle Monster with the best dang tickle monster voice you’ve ever heard, while I get my work done and support us financially. 

Why is he always criticized by friends and family members for needing some time to himself on the weekends when nobody would ever DARE to criticize a stay at home mom for the same? My husband is picked on by his friends and strangers. He is emasculated and chastised. He is constantly asked by everyone we know when he is going to get a job.

He is struggling with the feeling that he is “failing as a man” because he’s not supporting our family. The reality is that he is supporting our family as much as, if not more than I. 

To my husband specifically, and as a nod to all the other stay at home parents out there, I want to thank you for everything you do for us.

I am a better employee because of you. I am able to focus at work, and provide for our family better than I ever could if someone else was watching my children. Because of your choice to stay home, I am able to relax and know that my babies are with their Daddy. 

I GET to spend time with my children on the weekends, as opposed to catching up on all the housework, because of you. I can put all my focus on the one true thing I am missing in my life during the week, which is being a mama to those babies, and not worry about what needs to be done in our home. You take care of that, of us, and I can never put a value on that. You allow me to spend my free time doing EXACTLY what I want to be doing. 

My stress level is significantly lower because of you. SIGNIFICANTLY lower! If I wake up and the kids are sick, I am not split in two with guilt and panic over who I will get to watch the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I still want it to be me, but I know you are going to take care of them as well as I could. 

I am able to care for my babies during my breaks and lunch because of you. I work from a home office, and because you stay home with the kids, I get to see them whenever I take a break.  This means everything to me, and this would not be possible if they were in daycare. 

To anyone and everyone that is helping to support their family in all the ways a family needs to be supported, I salute you. You are amazing. To the stay at home dad and working mama power couples out there, you are teaching your children that a marriage is a partnership and gender roles are crap. You do you my friends, because you are doing a great job!

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2 Responses to An Ode to Stay-At-Home Dads

  1. Brock Lusch March 9, 2018 at 12:40 pm #

    Thank you for writing this article. As a Full Time Stay at Home Dad, this is exactly why my wife and I have the same family arrangement. She is great at giving me time to myself and is very proactive about my feelings.

    • jfreeman
      jfreeman March 9, 2018 at 2:16 pm #

      You are welcome Brock! I commend you. Stay at home parenting is a tough job, and i love seeing more and more dad’s rocking it these days!

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