When my wife and I first got married we had a clear understanding of what we thought we wanted based on our prenuptial agreement. Among matters of money, marriage, and everything else we agreed there should always be a parent at home, and I wanted it to be me. Wanting to become a professional outside the home, she liked this idea very much.
Having been home for two years now I can safely say that I was wrong about many things. First of all, I thought that being home would be easier than being at work, and that I would be better at it than my wife was. It’s not, and I’m not.
Secondly, I thought I hated working outside the home. While there are many aspects I don’t enjoy, I can’t say I have a profound hatred for it, especially since I’d become fairly good at it.
And lastly, being a homemaker is a serious profession, which is something I had not considered.
Becoming a Stay-at-Home Dad
When I first came home, I thought I had it made. After all, I’d been pretty good about taking out the trash and doing the dishes while working. And when my wife helped me transition out of the military by taking a night job I had the kids on a set evening schedule.
On top of this, I could do all the laundry (minus putting it away) while watching tons of television.
Staying at Home Is Not Always Satisfying
After being home for more than a year I found that I was not entirely satisfied. I could never keep the house clean simply because I wasn’t going to make it the top priority.
I’m in school full time, working on a novel, and am a columnist here at UTH. Plus, the children have certain obligations like
- Martial arts
- Tee ball
- Learning to crawl
- Occasionally wanting to eat
And if all this isn’t enough, my wife wants to spend time with me, too.
Doing something poorly is a certain way to find displeasure with it, and my wife helped me understand that I wasn’t happy being at home, and that she understood the guilt I felt over it. I felt as though not being happy at home made me a bad parent until I realized that being at home is a serious profession.
Homemaker Is a Profession, Not a Vacation
There are some moms I’ve known, like my own, who make home life wonderful for their children. While my mother had a home-based business the house was always immaculate.
Having grown up seeing this, I thought it must not be that hard. Over the years, I’ve found that my mother accomplished this by running non-stop everyday. The laundry, dishes, vacuum, broom, and everything else was always in full swing. And this is the rule, not the exception, for homes that always look great.
For me, I’ve found that I need to be expecting company to really get the house in order. This is where the guilt comes in. Shouldn’t my children be reason enough to have a home that’s always clean? They should be, but it’s not the case, leaving me to wonder why did I want to be a stay-at-home parent? And what did I expect it to be like?
A Profession with No Prerequisites
My conclusion about parenting is that so many people think they want to do it simply because they dislike what they are currently doing, and think that being at home would be easier and, in some cases, more fulfilling.
Just as many would like to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, and writers, most are not going to obtain positions as such given the serious amount of money, regimen of study, and hard work required.
Staying at home, though, requires no such study or work, just a baby, or in some cases just a home.