For the past year one of my roles has been as a ‘stay at home dad’. It started with our ‘road-schooling experiment‘ August to October 2016, then once our kids started ‘regular school’ in November 2016, it gave me some time to learn Python programming, Machine learning , chatbots and more recently about blockchain technologies. Now that I’ve started a full-time role in a new company (here) – I wanted to jot down my thoughts related to being a ‘stay at home Dad’, with a simple totally subjective scoring – A to F – about how this experiment has worked out.
Financial – C
Not having a consistent, solid income has been stressful and the heart ache of not having your own income can be strong. It has made me feel like a ‘kept man’, useless – for not providing more monetary value to my family, to society. I know the days / stereotypes of men being the ‘primary bread-winner’ are gone, but stereotypes die hard and the fact is that we all want to ‘get ahead’ financially -not just tread water.
While giving us the time / flexibility to take road trips, for example with Sam’s soccer – we’ve missed travel – as longer, bigger trips would tap into savings.
On the other hand I feel energised by the break, I’m really enjoying the new gig and I know that the new technologies / methods I’ve learned will be very valuable. Already in my new role the things I’ve learned about machine learning, chatbots etc have become useful.
Parenting – A
The best part of my day has been meeting my kids after school. Walking home with Kate, with her holding my hand. Sam always cool and enthusiastic when he gets home, wanting to discuss my day.
It’s given me time to find out how new technology is impacting kids and adults alike, as Simon Sinek discusses here re: millenials. And not only to tell them ‘get off the phone’ – but to have the time to sit down and play a board game, take a swim or just chat. Really it comes down to having the TIME to support the kids fully – listening to them, discussing with them, supporting them.
It’s given us time to cook dinner as a family – with ‘Hellofresh‘ we’ve been getting two meals per week. The packages include all the ingredients you need to fix something a bit more fancy than what a ‘normal parent’ (ie me) would be able to pull off. The easy to follow recipes have given the kids a good start in their cooking skills.
Daily routines – B
Any ‘non-work’ tasks in the home that need to be done – those have largely fallen to me the past year – picking up kids, groceries, fixes around house, drive to practice, etc etc. Of course Jolene did a bunch too, but with her work being a priority, it’s been my work that gets interrupted, takes second place – which hasn’t felt great. However it’s also taken a load off Jolene so she’s relatively less stressed.
Health – A
It’s given me TIME to focus on my health, try out Crossfit. Health = Wealth in some sense, and I’m happy to have found CrossFit. I’ve been training about 6 times per week during this year, and I feel really great about having found a ‘practice’ that will keep me strong, energetic and mobile for many years to come… Three hard workouts per week, three easy (stretching, mobilizing, getting blood going) workouts is just good for staving off mid-life bloat and identity crises..
Overall (one C, two A’s, one B ) – a B+ average, which is not too bad. Would I take this type of a ‘creative / family’ break again if given the opportunity? Right now I’m not sure. However, give me another 3-4 years in technology (project management / innovation / HR) and I just might need it 🙂
Thanks for reading,