STAY-AT-HOME HERO’S ORIGIN STORY
Four years ago, my daughter was born, and I found myself to take on an unexpected role: stay-at-home father.
I realized very, very quickly that despite reading some parenting books and mentally preparing myself as best as I could, I really didn’t know what the heck I was doing.
One day, my wife went back to work, and I looked down at my little infant and then around my empty house and realized that suddenly I have total responsibility. While my wife is away, the life of a human being is in my hands. Taking care of our home is in my hands. There was a distinct moment when I looked at my daughter’s toothless grin and thought: Now what do I do?
Before I figured out what to do, I thought about what I wanted to do.
PARENTING RESOLUTIONS OF 2011 (and ’15…and beyond)
I resolved to be the type of parent who doesn’t just plop his kid in front of the TV all the time. And trust me, I’m a guy that loves TV, movies, cartoons, video games, but I know when enough is enough and that you can’t do these things every waking minute of every day (despite times when that’s exactly what I wish I could do). I figured out other things to do to entertain her and help her learn. TV is fine and dandy and even GOOD for your kids, but like all things, best in moderation.
Despite it being “easy” and “cheap” (which you’ll find on my blog this is not the case at all), I was not going to pop open premade processed meals and feed fast food to my kid and family all the time. I was going to cook almost every meal, save money and provide more nutritious meals.
I vowed to instill a love of sports, exercise and fitness in my child. This is something I was not taught as a child and wish I had been. As a result, it is something that I still struggle with to this day. Over the last few years, I started being more physical and exercising, and this is something that my daughter has taken notice of. By showing that fitness is fun and exciting, it creates a great foundation for the rest of her life.
Rather than always paying full price for groceries and other expenses, I’ve found ways to save money while doing necessary things that we do every day (and there’s nothing sweeter than shopping in a huge sale, using killer coupons, then getting cash back on the deal.)
I decided to preserve my century old house without relying on a slew of repair men. I grew up in new houses, so when my wife and I acquired our current house, it was a new experience. Being a stay-at-home, I found that I needed to not only be a father, but also a house husband who cleans the house and a Mr. Fixit for everything on the fritz that needed my attention. .
I did these things. It’s been a challenge. Every day can be a challenge, but with time and practice, I went from feeling stressed about cooking for my family to making up my own recipes which my family loved. I went from thinking “uhhh…okay it’s 9am, and I ran out of ideas” to planning out activities in advance. I went from passively watching cracks appear in my concrete, bricks fall out of place, toilets backing up, and claw foot tub going off balance, to actively fixing these things with a little research and effort. I went from being overweight and so out of shape that I got winded walking around the block too fast, to just being overweight and…not in too bad a shape, who can play soccer and yoga with my daughter.
When my wife looks to me, I know that she feels pride towards what I’ve been able to do in the last four years. When I look into my daughter’s eyes, she is happy, smart, kind and she makes me feel like I can do anything. The times have been rough, and I’ve been far from perfect. But my failings and mistakes have given me a chance to grow and feel that I can be a great husband, caretaker, and father.
The other day, some doohicky broke, and my daughter said “Daddy can fix that.” At dinner, on several occasions, she has said “Daddy, you’re a really great cooker.” When my wife comes home, there’s a lot of “Me and daddy” and “Daddy taught me.” Even though my wife wishes she could be the one at home instead, she knows that our little one is in good hands. I feel good enough to say that.
My daughter once told me that I was a super hero. Looking back over the last four years, I feel that I am. A Stay-At-Home Hero.
WHO ARE YOU ANYWAY?
No. Not really. I’m just a guy named Rob who was placed into this role unexpectedly when my daughter was born. In fact, the plan was going to be that my wife stayed at home, while I was at work, but you know the best laid plans of mice and men, right?
You probably are wondering where I get my super hero street cred. Here’s the thing…I don’t have any. My heroics have strictly come from fatherdom. I’m not a ninja, fire fighter, or high school athlete. My wife and I are both teachers. I’m a theatre teacher with a master’s degree in education, so I have an educational background which has helped, but it isn’t everything. I used to cook for fun, but nowhere on the level like today. I’m just a normal, albeit dorkus, kind of guy.
WHAT’S THE POINT OF YOUR WEBSITE
I want to share my stories. I want people to know what has worked. Some things have worked so well that I feel the need to spread it around because sometimes I cook something, accomplish something and think “Holy crow, someone else needs to TRY THIS.” Whether it’s some recipe that tastes friggin delicious or “Wow, who knew basic masonry work is pretty easy”, I want other parents in my situation to know that great things can be done by you as well.
I also want to share my mistakes. I’ve tried plenty of things that just didn’t turn out right. Maybe I need some help, or maybe it is a mirror up to your life and you’ve made the same mistake. You will feel like you’re not alone. If anything, my mistakes might be funny enough for you to get a good laugh out of them at my expense and my effort was not in total vain. I’m good either way.
I think this website is a great way to reach out to other parents, staying at home or working. We can share and learn from each other in the comments and on my social media pages.
If you don’t have kids, and you’ve stumbled on this site because of a Pinterest recipe hunt or whatever, welcome! Hopefully the other home and cooking tips will help you on your path, and I’d love to hear from you too.
I went from being a dorky dad who didn’t cook, didn’t know how to fix anything, couldn’t change a diaper, and had zero parenting confidence to someone who cooks every day, can fix almost everything when it goes awry and having great confidence in my ability to be a stay-at-home dad and house husband. Plus I don’t even need to change diapers anymore, so that’s just bonus points.
Was I a hero at first? No. But sometimes, when things get rolling, when everything starts to click into place, then I feel that I really am a Stay-At-Home Hero.
And so can you.