How to get promoted to “stay at home dad supervisor”

by doodaddy on April 14, 2010

I never lie about my work. Except to my daughter.

Some dads do stretch the truth about their job titles, I’ve noticed. Either they’re stay-at-home dads who still pretend to be working — heard as “I’m doing some consulting” — or they’re mostly-working dads who take a day off and think they rate the SAHD title.

Dads, especially, fall victim to the myth that our worth hangs on our career and our ambition and, let’s face it, our salary.

Not me, though: I’m at home with the kids, by choice, and proud of it.

Except when it comes to Fern. I do volunteer work one night a week and to her that’s me “going to work.” It’s kind of cool stuff — wild animal rehab — and when she tells her friends about “daddy’s job” I get all proud.

Except that’s not daddy’s job, and daddy’s real job should be just as pride-making. But I too fall into the trap of so many stay-at-homes: loving the job but undervaluing the profession.

* * *

Last week my mom asked me what I’m going to do when the at-home parent thing runs its course.

The question that dare not be pronounced: what next?

Jeez, I’m a homemaker: if I can answer “what next” for more than, say, one night’s dinner, I’m doing well. Scoping out a five year plan, though? That’s about four years and fifty weeks beyond my capacity.

The idea of grasping at a career — the very notion of training and meetings and (god help me) cubicles — can’t find any purchase in my list of daily concerns. I can just keep cooking and teaching and mixing bubble solution until the girls go off to school, right?

Kindergarten for the baby is only forty months away. Quick enough that I’m getting a little scared already.

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in stay-at-home guilt,the future,what's it like to be a stay-at-home dad,worry ·

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

PJ Mullen April 14, 2010 at 6:25 am

I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than go back to the corporate world. I’m a SAHD by choice, but I have roped a few people into paying me for some social media work. The extra money is nice, but what I do for them comes after my family. I know that I’ll never make nearly what I used to make before I left my “career path”, but I’m not willing to compromise my family’s needs.

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doodaddy April 14, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Well, I never worked for a for-profit corporation, just nonprofits and schools and such. So I really loved my work — I just don’t know how realistic “getting back to it” is going to be after 8, 10 years.

Kevin Gainey April 14, 2010 at 7:47 am

Because I do consulting a lot of people ask, “So you work from home?” I tell them my top priority is hanging out with the kids and taking care of them. The work comes second. I get some strange looks, but I too am proud to be a SAHD. I’ve got 4 months until the youngest is in kindergarten, so I’m trying to imagine what my days are going to look like. No plans to go back to corporate life, that’s for sure!

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doodaddy April 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Exactly… it seems like when a mom does two days of consulting from home, she’s still a stay-at-home mom, but when dad does a half-day per month, he calls himself a consultant. It’s all words, I suppose.

Kevin Gainey April 15, 2010 at 6:47 am

Lots of men do like to use the “consultant” tag. I guess it helps them “manage” the perception of being a SAHD. I wouldn’t ever want my kids to think I wasn’t proud to be a SAHD or didn’t love staying at home with them by hiding behind some wordsmithing.

Rayne of terror April 15, 2010 at 6:14 pm

I’m home full time but if anyone asks I’m a gov’t lawyer. I’ve done about 90 minutes of lawyering in the last 8 months 😉 I can’t commit to SAHM in my mind.

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mom, again April 28, 2010 at 9:15 pm

we finally settled the where shall we live the rest of our lives question. we might have returned to the UK, or stayed in California. I just kept telling my husband I had future career ideas for both places, he should choose. either way, we live thousands of miles from my family–so if being close to his mattered more, fine. anyway, the plan is to stay here. Soooo, with pre-school starting in September, I guess I need to look into maybe considering how my future working in california plan can be implemented.

anyone need a chef? no nights or weekends please. yeah, right.

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