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

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.