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Becoming a stay-at-home dad

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In August of 2018, I officially became a stay at home dad.

If you asked me how that happened, I might not be able to tell you. Everything happened so fast (and slow too; funny how that works) and before I had time to process it, I was responsible for two four-year old girls and a baby boy every second that Stephanie worked. Which, when you add her hour-long commute (each way!), has been quite a bit.


It seems sort of odd to tell you the truth. After all, I’m the dad that didn’t change his son’s diaper for the first four months he was alive. Back in my other life I helped manage a grocery store. My hours where everywhere, from early mornings to late evenings. I worked weekends. I worked hard. And I worked a lot. I would race home after work so excited to see the kids. I would pop home on my lunch break to spend time with them. I literally saw my kids 5% of the time I see them now.

So, it's been an adjustment to say the least.

But I AM adjusting. I’m learning too! I’ve found out how extremely difficult it is to be a stay at home parent. And it got me thinking about my old job. So I asked myself this morning which job is more demanding. Read on and find out!



Like my daughter Aviana, I’ve never been a morning person. And I worked some early mornings back at the store. I mean, twice a week I was setting my alarm before 4 AM. But I was able to get up, make coffee, take a warm shower, run through Dunkin’ Donuts, and work basically alone for the first several hours. Once I got used to it (and I was pretty much left with no other choice) it became routine.

Here? Not so much. My day usually begins at 6:15 AM and more times than not I'm wiping Rory's buns before I'm making coffee. I'm scrambling to get Avi out of bed, pick out their clothes for the school (Lord help me), and get them dressed. If I shower and put on a normal pair of clothes before noontime, I consider it a big time success.

More demanding: stay at home dad


A popular phrase we all hear at grocery stores and I’ve heard it a thousand times. Truth is, during my career as a manager, I was responsible for this sort of thing about 2% of the time. Normally, that was a bagger’s responsibility. But when I made a mess myself or when there was no one else to clean said spill in aisle 9, I never had a problem taking care of it. As long as I wasn’t behind in my day, having some sort of odd job was always enjoyable.

Here? Not so much. There are plenty of 'cleanups' going on all day and everyday. And here, I’m responsible to clean it up 100% of the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s spilled milk (Rory’s transitioning from a bottle to a sippy cup), band-aid wrappers all over the place (do your kids love band-aids like mine do?), or Rory deciding to take a #2 in the’s MY problem. Always. And oh it’s painful sometimes.

More demanding: stay at home dad



At Graves’ Shop N Save I sat down for every meal! I ate in peace! I had a break in the morning, an hour lunch break, and an afternoon break as well. Plus, being the manager and all (not to mention the owner’s son), I could pop into my office whenever I wanted to. I got A LOT done while I was working at the store and I worked HARD. I was always a step ahead.

Here? Not so much. I haven’t sat down for lunch or dinner in six months. It’s not that I can’t, it’s just that I’m desperately trying to stay ahead. In between bites, I'm begging them to eat, doing a couple dishes, refilling their milk, putting things away, begging them to eat, sweeping underneath Rory’s high chair, wiping Rory’s hands, wiping Rory’s face, trying to find what Rory wants to eat, and still begging them to eat.

More demanding: stay at home dad



Back at the store, I was responsible for running the grocery department. I was the boss. I would assign daily tasks to all of my associates and make sure their work was done. It always was. Rarely did I ever have any problems with this. I got along very well with my co-workers and always tried to set an example by working hard myself.

Here? Not so much. Aviana and Adalyn don’t consider me 'the boss.' They don't usually do their daily assigned tasks unless I threaten to throw away one of their precious stuffies. My hard work every minute of everyday doesn’t set an example. All it does is add to my frustration. I love my girls and I know they're only four, but goodness, I’m ready for them to actually start listening!

More demanding: stay at home dad


As I had said, it was hard work back in my former life, especially around the holidays. But it was always predictable. I always knew how much freight was coming in and which items were on sale. I knew what season it was and which holiday was approaching. I knew how to forecast sales and schedule accordingly. And when things got complicated (a call out or a snowstorm) I could always find help.

Here? Not so much. It’s never predictable. Ever. My morning might start with a screaming baby boy or a wet bed. Some mornings the girls want to wear a t-shirt and a tutu even when it’s 25 degrees outside. Some mornings no one wants to eat breakfast, brush their teeth, or brush their hair. Truth is, there is absolutely no way to forecast anything. Yeah, I know school is at 9 every morning, piano is on Monday, and dance is on Tuesday, but that’s basically the extent of it. Every other moment is as unpredictable as the weather. And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. And help? LOL! The only one that can help me is God!

More demanding: stay at home dad


Ten plus years at a grocery store means I pretty much stocked everything. This includes Desitin Diaper Rash Cream. I never even knew what it was. Nor did I care. Why would I?

Here? Not so much. I deal with Desitin Diaper Rash Cream on a weekly basis.

Me, Desistin, and Rory's buns have gotten to know each other very well.

More demanding: stay at home dad


I took pride in my work and really enjoyed what I did. One of my favorite things that came with the job was building seasonal displays. As spring turned into summer or as fall turned into the holiday season, there was nothing more gratifying than building a fabulous display. It added excitement to my job and I became quite good at it. I remember admiring my work before I left for the day.


Here? Not so much. The work day never ends. Ever. It's a vicious 24/7 cycle that makes it extremely difficult to take time to 'admire my work.' Sometimes I spend an afternoon cleaning, mopping, vacuuming, you name it, only to find out five minutes later it was a tremendous waste of time. It didn't take me long to understand that 'admiring my work' is virtually impossible here.

BUT, last Wednesday I celebrated a birthday. I woke up to Adalyn rubbing my back. The girls' drew me pictures while they were at school. I spent some quality time, alone, with my son. That afternoon we were able to all get outside and ride bikes, play soccer, and roll around in the grass. And later that evening, the four of us enjoyed a cake that the girls picked out, and they all sang Happy Birthday to me. I think about times like that (and they happen much more than I may have led on) and realize how lucky I am to be able to spend this time with my children.

Sometimes, I look at them and think: I get to be your dad. How cool is that?

Being a stay at home dad is the hardest job I've ever had and it's certainly more demanding. But there is absolutely nothing more gratifying.

I'm a proud stay at home dad!

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