Why I Became a SAHD
I became a stay at home dad (SAHD) for many reasons. I did not start out in life thinking I wanted to be at home with my children, but I'm certainly thrilled that it worked out that way! Here is how things came about.....
When we had our first child Gwen, I was working in a hospital as a Unit Coordinator in a pretty high pressure situation, lots of excitement and death. My wife (Susan) was in graduate school and still had a couple of years to finish up her Ph.D. she also held a supervisory position at the university. Our intention at the time was to have a child and put him/her in daycare as needed. It didn't work out that way at all.
I didn't take much time off for Gwen's birth, because we couldn't afford it, and my Mother-in-law came out to annoy me (err.."help us" I mean.) Life was awfully busy then. Susan went back to work after six weeks and we began to juggle our daughter between us. I was working second shift or nights and some weekends at the hospital and Susan, of course, worked days. Our usual routine was for Susan to get up early and got to work, while I cared for Gwen. We would often hand Gwen off as Susan came home and I went to work. "She didn't poop yet today. I love you!" was said more than once. As you can imagine, this was really wearing us down and taking a toll on our happiness. Time to find some daycare!
Guess what? I couldn't do it. We couldn't do it. I enjoyed my time with Gwen so much I couldn't let someone else take care of her. My wife is more practical than I am, and was willing to give daycare a try longer than I was. She still wanted to put Gwen in daycare until we actually went and checked out a provider, then she decided there was no way a stranger was going to raise her daughter! It was back to the old busy routine.
Two years later we had Ian, due to faulty logic. I must take the blame. I really wanted another child and convinced my wife that "since we are home with Gwen anyway... " Stupid, stupid, stupid. (Here is a hint for all would be parents: Child care is exponential. Two kids are four times as much work as one kid. Really. 1+1=4!) I don't wish to leave the impression that Ian was a mistake (he's an incredibly beautiful child), but the timing could have been better.
When Susan was writing her thesis, teaching a class and looking for a job, I quit my job because she had to many demands on her time (and of course, she never got a good nights sleep either.) Money was scarce, but Susan is very employable (she is a brilliant Computational Chemist) so we scraped by for a while until she finished her thesis and got offered a job as a Chemistry Professor.
So, I somewhat just fell into being home with the kids, but nothing could have been more to my taste. I've started a small business as an independent Web Designer (who hasn't?!) and I absolutely love my children. I can't help thinking how fortunate I am to be in this position. I can't imagine missing the first word or the first step or any of the other wonderful occasions my children experience. I've never been more happy or content. I have strongly bonded with my children. My wife and I have more time to devote to our marriage. I feel a bit unsettled in that I wish I could make more of a financial contribution to the family, but money isn't everything, I know I'm supporting my family the best way possible.
Now, if I could just figure out some way to make my Mother-in-law happy....