I am a stay at home father. I stay at home with my one-year old son during the day and I go to work in the evening. I became a stay at home father when my boy (Kyle) was two months old and my wife went back to work. My son is now nearly thirteen months old and he has taught me a great deal about how to be a father. My schedule is busy, but I believe this experience has been worth all of the work.
Deciding who will stay home
My son was born on March 17, 2004. He was a beautiful baby and it was a wonderful time for my family. My wife was on leave for two months and during this time we decided who would stay home with our son. It was an easy decision for us. We came to Florida because my wife received a good job offer as an accountant. I had been laid off from my job in Cincinnati and I had not found a great job in Florida yet. My wife's job had great insurance and my job did not offer insurance. The decision was made, I would stay home, and my lifestyle would be completely turned upside down.
Why stay home
Part of the reason to stay at home is out of necessity. In Florida many places charge nearly two hundred dollars per week to take care of a baby. To me, it is not worth two hundred dollar a week to have somebody else watch your child. I believe it is a good thing for a father to stay home with his child. This gives the father and the baby time to bond. I am not an expert, but I believe staying home is better for the child. I believe the child will develop better and quicker. I believe the child will be more secure. I believe the father can teach the child things the child might not learn in day care. I believe the father will learn many things they would not have learned if their child stayed in day care. When the father stays home, the father learns how to take care of their child. When the father stays home, the father learns how to be a better father. There are many benefits when a father stays home with his little baby.
I have enjoyed so many benefits from staying home with my baby. I have a bond with my little boy that I could never have believed. We are so close and we are so much alike. In fact, we even look like each other. I was privileged to be here when my son said his first word when he was five months old. His first word was dada and he said it all of the time. Nobody believed me when I told him or her my son said dada when he was five months old. Nobody believed me until they heard it for themselves. When people heard my son talk for the first time, they were amazed. I was here when my son crawled for the first time. I was here to take him to all of his doctor's appointments. I was here when my son learned how to play his first game. He crawled over to me and sucked on my nose and laughed at me. I was here when my son raised his arms up in the air and screamed in excitement. I was here for his first kiss. I was here when my boy walked for the first time. I was here when my son walked all over the house. I was here when he ran all over the place. I was here when my son climbed all over our furniture. I was here to see everything my son did and I enjoyed each and every minute. I am a very lucky father and I would do it all over again. It has been a wonderful experience.
It's not all cake and ice cream
Staying home with my son has not been the easiest thing I have ever done. My schedule is hard. I wake up at 7:30 every morning (Monday through Friday). I take my (nine year old) daughter to school, I take my wife to work, and my son and I drive home. When we get home, we go to work. I am a writer and I try to get as much done as I possibly can. Some days, I get a bunch done, and other days I am not able to get a thing done. It all depends on my son. He is the most important part of my schedule. As a stay at home father you have to sacrifice sometimes. You cannot always think of yourself. My son needs to be fed, he needs his diaper changed, and he needs constant attention. At two in the afternoon, we walk to my daughter's school, and we pick her up. When we get home, Megan helps me with Kyle. This is the time when I get to eat some decent food. This is the time when I get a chance to get some work done. This is the time when I get ready to work. Sometimes, I even get a chance to catch my breath. My little boy has a lot of energy and he is often all over the place. We have to pick my wife up from work at five o'clock. After we drive home, I kiss everybody, and head off to work. I took a job as a pizza delivery person because they can work around my schedule. Delivering pizza is easy work and it pays me decent money. I usually work to midnight and get into bed before one in the morning. The next morning, I wake up again, and my day is pretty much like the day before. Sometimes, I forget what day it is. Sometimes, I am exhausted. But I still love staying home with my little boy. It is worth it.
A stay at home has to be creative. When you have time to do something, it is not the time to procrastinate. Get it done and get it done now. I found my little boy has allowed me to use more of my creativity. He has given me the inspiration to write two children's books and to make up songs. I am not used to doing either. I am more of a teenage book writer and a poetry writer. I don't always have time to write down what I am thinking. My daughter helps me with this. When we drive to Tampa to pick up my wife, Megan writes for me. I tell her what to write and she writes it. We have written a short story together and she has helped me start a couple of books. During the day when my boy sleeps, I try to get whatever work done I can. My wife watches our son at night and we are like a team. I get done what I can during the day and she gets done what she can at night. It is hard work, but it is worth the effort. We know our son is safe and he is always with people he loves.
Both parents have to work together when they both work and they take care of their baby. They both have to sacrifice and they both have to give one hundred and fifty percent. If one parent gets selfish it will not work. The relationship will suffer and the children will also suffer. It is hard when my wife works during the day and I work at night. When we have time together, we try to do things together. We try to spend time with our children together. We clean up the house together. We shop together. We go to church together and fellowship with our friends together. This relationship works out for us because we are committed to each other, to God, and to our family. Both of us have to sacrifice for each other and our children. If you want to stay home with your children, you have to be willing to give up things that may be important to you. You have to realize your family is more important than anything else in the world. You have to realize God must be the center of your relationship or your relationship will not have a chance.
Staying home with my son has been a wonderful experience. Staying home with my son has been a ton of work. Sometimes, I feel like I do not have enough strength to make it through the day. You cannot be a selfish person if you want to be a good parent. You must be willing to sacrifice everything for your wife and your children. If you are not willing to give everything to your family, you better not stay home with your children. If you are willing, it will be both the toughest and most rewarding experience of your life. I promise you, staying home with your baby will change your life. When your son smiles at you, when he says I love you, it will be worth all of your hard work. I promise you no matter how tired you are; your baby will find a special way to make you smile.
by LeRoy Coffie