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Challenge: What Do Fathers Do Best?

Our Stay At Home Dad

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As a millennial I'm finding that our generation is very rapidly redefining gender roles and opening doors to a kinder, more accepting world. When I was growing up my dad went to work and my mom stayed home with my sister and I, and I was always so grateful that we could do that! Having my mom at home made an otherwise rocky childhood stable and solid, and even today she continues to be my rock.

And now that's how my daughter will feel about her dad. Before she was born my husband had a hard time finding work, as so many veterans do, and so it was up to me to carry the home financially. When we found out we were pregnant we decided that his job would be Stay At Home Dad, and after six short weeks of maternity leave (all we could afford) I put on whatever clothes would fit and left him to fend for himself.

When you understand the concept of giving all of yourself, you think, hey no problem! I can do that for my kid! After about a week of being so focused on keeping your baby happy, comfortable, and not screaming, and realizing you haven't showered or really eaten in all that time, the reality of such a task hits you like a tank. And my husband took on that task alone. We have few family or friends where we live--I like to say we took the Oregon Trail and are fending for ourselves out here--and so Evelyn's father fights on like the soldier he once was. Only now, at nine months, he's fighting to keep her from falling as she tries to climb ALL OF THE THINGS! Especially things with wires, or the fireplace!

Last week he broke his nose playing town softball, and while I could only take a few days off work to let him heal, he is back on duty this week caring for our little girl. Full day childcare is really, really hard. Most people can't handle being alert and aware all day long trying to make a baby giggle or keep her from spitting out all her fruit at snack time, or making sure she doesn't break her napping schedule and scream all afternoon. When he goes to library story hour, he is often the only man there. When he takes her to the doctor, all the pamphlets are addressed to mothers only. Rarely will you find a changing table in a men's bathroom.

Being a stay at home dad has many challenges, but he's always there for our baby, making her feel safe and loved, and I know when I'm at work that she's in good hands getting all the love she needs. Shout out to all those dad's knee deep in poopy diapers and formula--you guys ROCK!

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