BLOG: My life as a stay-at-home dad

I have always known that one day I would be a dad. Looking back, my fantasy always included another husband; yet, I often wondered how I would make my dream a reality. My fantasy was usually abruptly halted by the reality that a woman was needed to make this dream come true. Little did I know that my dream would become my life.

My partner and I will celebrate nine years together in July. We plan to commemorate our life together by getting married. Wow…I’m getting married. How many gays and lesbians can actually say that? I digress.

When we began our adoption process in 2006, we agreed that one of us would stay home with our child for the first year or two. In Sept. 2007, we adopted our son. Up to that point, I had worked since I was 14 years old. I just turned 40 in June (2008). I hadn’t realized how much of my identity was tied to my work. I had a successful career. I worked for a large pharmaceutical/medical device firm where I managed clinical research programs and eventually moved into marketing where I managed a multi-million dollar product portfolio. I was hardly prepared for what was to come.

We got the call on Monday, Sept. 17th, that a birthmother wanted to meet with us. At the end of our meeting, we brought our son home, and thus began the post-placement process. On Tuesday, I was officially on family leave; I never went back to work.

The first three months were easy; my partner took time off, we had relatives visiting and friends checking in quite frequently. My mom, who lives just 5 minutes away, also spent quite a bit of time here.

In Jan. 2008, my partner went back to work full-time, and I began to notice that our friends and family were not around as much as they had been a couple of months back. Everyone seemed to go back to their daily routines, except me. I was left to navigate a new routine, one that included daily baths, playing, changing diapers, feedings, washing clothes, all the while trying to maintain my identity. Who was I? I felt lost.

It rained quite a bit in January, so my son and I were hold up in the house. The feelings deepened. I began to feel depressed. What? This was my dream. I was a dad. How could I be depressed? I never get depressed. It didn’t help that when I was out with my son a few women remarked, “babysitting I see.” Babysitting? My son? Hmmm.

Eventually, the weather cleared, and we got out more. I also created a mixed parents group, which helped because I was with other moms/dads who were experiencing the same thing. Then one day I noticed something different. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t bored. I was a dad. I don’t know when it happened or why. Perhaps, I just needed time to adjust to the new me, the stay-at-home dad.

I still occasionally get the patronizing, “so what is your day like?” or, “when are you going back to work?” questions. I just laugh, and think…at least I don’t have to work.

8 thoughts on “BLOG: My life as a stay-at-home dad

  • June 16, 2008 at 3:35 pm
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    Yep – I completely agree with you on the fact that society no longer values stay at home parents in the way they should be valued.

    I have a great deal of respect for any stay at home parent, bet especially stay at home Dads. They seem to have to deal with much more garbage from people’s ignorance regarding why a father would want to be home raising children.

    Being at home is such a rewarding thing for so many parents, and of course the kiddos they are raising! Props to you – being an at home parent is one of the hardest yet most rewarding jobs out there 🙂

  • June 15, 2008 at 2:25 pm
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    I’m glad you posted.

    Granted this was my story, but I found that clearly I am not alone, and was even more surprised to find that many women felt the same way. The moral for me…our society no longer values the contribution of a stay-at-home parent.

  • June 17, 2008 at 6:09 pm
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    I hope your partner finds time to get out with the kids. Also, she needs to find some “me” time even if it is just going to the grocery store, the gym, or a walk around the neighborhood. Likewise, some “couples” time with just the two of you may help. This seemed to help me. Unfortunately, we struggle to find a babysitter, so I understand the difficulties there!

  • June 18, 2008 at 11:56 pm
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    I am also a stay at home Dad. I put so much of my younger life into working I had not time to give a family any thought. I was married to a woman. Last year she left me and I had to fight for my Daugther. In Aug of 07 I came out. He now husband told her to kids (and cats) or me. That was back in Dec 07.

    It was very hard at 1st, but 7 months later its is getting easier. I now find being a full time father better then what I did before. I know I am missing things to put in this post. Oh, she has Austim also.

  • June 15, 2008 at 8:01 am
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    Wow I can relate alot to your story of being a stay at home Dad – even though I am a stay at home mom. I am sure I don’t get the patronizing comments quite as often, but it definately took me some time to adjust to just being Mom, and not focused on my career. What a great thing that you were able to create the parents group! I have often thought about something like that for myself.

  • June 17, 2008 at 5:08 pm
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    Hi there,
    I work full time and my partner stays home. When we decided to have a baby, we too agreed that one of us would stay home for the first year or so. (Basically as long as we could afford to.) Then we found out we were having twins! So, now (the twins just turned 2) my partner has been home since they were born. It’s such an amazing gift to have a parent home. I know that many parents have to work and they don’t have the luxary of staying home, but if it’s possible, I think it’s one of the BEST gifts you can give your child(ren). Our twins are very well developed, very stable, they have a routine, they are very secure in who they are and in our love for them. I agree that we as a society don’t value the stay at home parent and I think it’s hard enough for the stay at home parent to transition (as you mentioned above) into this new role. I know my partner still feels lost at times and disconnected. Because of the twin factor, it’s hard for her to do certain things on her own, so they stay home more. She struggles with feeling depressed at times too. But now, they are toddlers and are into projects and art and can do more field trips, etc…I just know I am SO, SO grateful to her for being willing to stay home and parent and raise our children. It’s hard enough for me to work and to NOT get a lot of quality time, but knowing she’s there with them at home…that helps me focus on my job and be the best “provider” that I can in my role right now. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to do it!! She is my rock and she is an amazing mama to our kids!! Way to go for staying home with your son, I know he and your partner are the better for it!!

  • July 12, 2008 at 6:31 am
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    I too am a stay home dad in Southern California- just today and had a very similar feeling in which you describe in your blog. Our daughter is now 15 months, family visits on the weekends, friends have gone about there lives and my partner works long hours. I see many groups of stay home moms meeting and wish that I was able tomeet other men whom are in a similar situation. Glad to hear Im not the only one out there…I knew I wasn’t…

  • August 19, 2009 at 1:18 am
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    My partner and I have just finalized the adoption of our second and third children. Our first child was a great and very easy child. The sisters we have adopted are much more challenging and need more parental time. At 45 I am about to become a stay at home dad. The loss of career adn the drastic reduction in household income makes me very nervous, but in the end I am sure it will be worth it.

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