The Solitude of Being a Stay-At-Home Dad

Solitude

Solitude

My Fortress of Solitude is a two-story home on a dead end street. Sorry, “no outlet” street for the pc police. I enjoy my children. I enjoy what I do as a stay-at-home dad. I enjoy being able to get things (not everything, but some things) done around the house during the week so that the weekends can be enjoyed with my family instead of spending them cleaning, organizing, fixing. Although big projects are usually saved for the weekends so I have an extra set of hands and eyes for in case I truly mess up.

Play Ground FunI also get to enjoy play video games with my oldest, help my youngest with his alphabet. I get to bring them to the play ground to play (during the week while other dads are working). I get to go on field trips with my kids. I get to take part in class activities. Best of all I actually get to laugh, play, bond and watch and help them grow into the little men they are becoming. I do not have to let someone else raise them while I work a job I do not enjoy. Being a dad is the greatest job in the world. Luckily, that will never change, because I will always be their dad.

Often times, dads are on the sideline as mom does the majority of the work with the house and the kids. They have a back seat role in parenting. As a stay-at-home dad, I have the wheel most of the time. Although, I will admit that there are times when I need to let my wife into the driver seat because there are things that mommy just does better. Let’s just admit it, moms and dads parent different.

FieldtripThe thing is not that we as dads parent different; it’s that being a stay-at-home parent can be a solitary endeavor. As an introvert it only makes it that much more difficult when you do want the social interaction. I am sure that being a stay-home-mom can be solitary as well, but a search of my local meet-up groups shows numerous ones geared toward moms, one geared toward parents, and none for dads only. Here’s the thing, dads parent different, so I want to get together with other dads who stay home and do the majority of the care-giving to their families. I want to hear about their achievements, their failures, their fears. As a dad, I want to feel like I belong. I do not need a fortress of solitude, I need a League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

Fortunately, there is that. It is called National At-Home Dad Network and there are many great dads who are members. Every year they have a convention and a bunch of dads get together, bond, learn, laugh and find out that they are not alone. I have never been. This year is their 20th convention. Yes, Twenty Years! I would like to go. However, because I am a stay-at-home, it means we are mostly a single income family. I do work 2 days a week. So, money is a major concern when it comes to that. Every year, these great guys give out scholarships for dads in need to help cover the cost of entrance into the convention. I have applied for that. But that also leaves the cost of travel, hotel, and food for the time I am there. Which is why I set up a gofundme page. I am looking to break out of my fortress of solitude, connect with other dads, share, and learn a thing or fifty. Please help me get there.

I am a good dad. I want to be a great dad. The best way to get better is to learn from others what works, and what doesn’t. It also helps to teach others. I did not have anyone to learn from growing up. I get better every day because being a parent is learned on the job. There is no manual. I just hope that when my kids look back at their life they think great things of the time they got to spend with their dad as they were growing up.

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Being a Parent is Like Being a Homeowner

I love being a parent more then anything in the world. I hate being a homeowner more then anything in the world. Are you are really confused now? So, “how is being a parent like being a home owner?” you are asking yourself. Ah, more then you know young padawan, more then you know.

fatherhoodWhen I first became a dad, like all of you dads (and moms), I had no idea how to be a dad because I have never been a dad. I have never held a baby as I was scared of dropping it or even worse, making it cry! Which I guess would come with dropping it as well. What I am trying to say is, I really didn’t know anything about caring for a little person. I didn’t know how to change it, clean it, make sure it was safe and healthy, and how to make sure it stayed that way.

The WallWhen I first became a homeowner I had no idea how to be a homeowner. I have always lived somewhere where someone else took care of the property. Growing up I mowed the lawn and things like that, but I have never really worked with my hands and built anything. I never worked on cars, power tools or anything that needs maintenance.

The finished wallSo I came into both with the same amount of knowledge. None. Zip. Zero. Being a parent is like being a homeowner because you learn as you go. With my two boys I am learning every day what it means to be a dad and how to care for them. It felt natural to hold “A” for the first time. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t worried. Changing that first diaper and all the ones after that wasn’t a challenge. Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of challenges. I don’t always know the right ways to do things. I do make many mistakes. Figuring out what to make a very picky eater every day is a challenge. Figuring out how to keep a four year old entertained when he always wants to be doing something, is a challenge.

It is the same with owning a home. Mowing the lawn is easy. Cleaning the bathrooms is easy. Vacuuming and doing laundry  is easy. Fixing things and building things when you have never done so, is challenging. Putting in new light fixtures, and changing outlets, is difficult. Building a new coat rack is difficult.

But, above all else you have to be willing to give up things to be a parent or a homeowner. I don’t remember the last time I bought something for myself just because. But if the boys ask for something or need something I will go out of my way to figure out how to get it for them. If the house needs a new bath tub because there is a crack in the 6 year old one I have, I will give up my savings to fix it.  Kids and house come before my needs and wants.

So, hold on tight, they are both going to take everything you have, but they are both worth it. I wouldn’t change either for anything. Oh, and remember, they both cost you a lot. Always more then you think. But both are worth everything you put into them.The Joys