June 1, 2013 by Dadinator
I’ve started reading around and following a bunch of “SAHD” blogs since I started writing this thing. SAHD stands for “Stay At Home Dad”, or Househusbands if you prefer that term or watch that show (I don’t I’m afraid). It is a growing demographic in society reflecting both a growing involvement of fathers in parenting, and a growing interest in fathering by men. It also reflects a kind of 21st century pragmatism in which a couple can stand back from their careers and nut out who will maintain paid employment and who will look after kids based entirely in what’s best for the family, and relatively independent of ego and traditional gender roles.
Among the growing permutations of the word “family”, our situation is different again.
I spent last year working full time, I spent most of it longing for weekends and hanging out for school holidays. I did not like being away from my family, especially The Lad, and I resented bringing work home. My pattern was to come home, play (meaning watch TV I was usually that buggered) with The Lad, eat with the family, bath him and then work on the laptop till bed time. Sometimes well past it…. To cut a long story short I was not renewed at the school this year, in fact I applied for another contract role but was rejected. I was devastated. I felt like a failure as a husband and father, worried about money and I was left questioning my career choice.
These days I earn a reasonably stable income for our family as a Casual Relief Teacher (Emergency/substitute teaching). It’s usually between 3 and 4 days a week, and it’s kept us out of difficulty. The Mamanator recently started a home business doing a sales job through a company called Thermomix and has pulled in a few commissions in her first month, and will be contributing to the family coffers in that way. We are financially less stable, and neither of us are advancing careers much at the moment.
For us parenting is a job-share arrangement. There are days where The Lad is with his mum until I get home, which is mostly week days. There are days when The Mamanator is out demonstrating, so The Lad is with me until she gets home. There are also days where we are both home and able to care jointly for our boy, and there are days when The Mamanator needs a day off her feet (because of this).
This has meant that we are both close to our boy, we both spend lots of time caring for him and we both trust each other absolutely with him. For The Lad it means his support network is just that little bit broader than it would be if either of us worked full time. It also means that no one person has the entire burden of parenting on their shoulders so it helps prevent things from getting monotonous. It also means we both have a life outside of parenting, and we have a stronger relationship with each other.
Last year I felt like a responsible adult, but this year I feel like a real parent. The cloud of late 2012 had a silver lining. Whatever the future holds with jobs, finances and the like, no one can take the past 6 months of active involvement with my son away from me. I’m glad this is the way things have panned out.
So whatever circumstances are thrown your way, you find a way to make them work. You may even find they make you happier than you were before.