The Joys of Parenting, from a Stay-At-Home Dad

I got this after I read a letter from a stay-at-home mom on my radio program:

Dr. Laura:
I am a 26 year old Stay-At-Home Dad who never wanted children, and until I saw my daughter for the first time, I was terrified that I would resent her for changing my life in a way I’d never planned (and yes, I do appreciate the irony of my situation).  I have served in the military, managed people, and worked as a laborer.  I have done many difficult things in my life, but being a full-time parent is easily the most difficult (and most rewarding) job I have ever had.  My daughter is the light of my life, and, despite my earlier fears, has only helped to strengthen the relationship I share with my wife.

[Recently], you read an email on your program from a stay-at-home mother titled “Staying Home is NOT a Sacrifice!”  I was awestricken, and admittedly, at the end of the letter, I cried.  I’ve been described as “unemotional” on more than one occasion, and was even surprised at myself with the chord that letter struck for me.  While I have never considered giving up my career and my life as a childless young adult a sacrifice, I’d also never put it all into perspective for myself.  I am surrounded by people who have shown nothing but great respect for my wife and I for the fact that we live a much different lifestyle than we did prior to our daughter being born, so I am personally (and thankfully) unfamiliar with the hostility that stay-at-home parents receive.  And while I doubt that the people who would hear or read this woman’s letter would disagree with her, I, as a man and father, would like to add a little reinforcement to this woman’s declaration.  Staying home is NOT a sacrifice!  The reward of staying home with the kids is not only the end result of children having full-time parents, but in the act itself.  We are not giving anything up to be with our children; we are getting so much more from them than we would otherwise.

It’s unfortunate to me that not everyone can enjoy the special bond that a stay-at-home parent forms with their children, and I wish that the whole world could see my little girl run at me full-bore, and crash head-first into my legs, begging to be picked up, so that she can give me a big sticky kiss and bury her face in my neck.

Yes, I do sometimes miss skipping town for the weekend on a moment’s notice to go drinking or fishing.  Yes, I do sometimes miss having the money to go buy a new toy whenever I feel like it.  I do sometimes miss being able to make love to my wife anywhere in our home at any time.  But one sticky kiss from my daughter is worth infinitely more than every beer I don’t have, every record-breaking fish I don’t catch, every new toy I don’t buy, and every intimate moment that has to wait until the baby has gone to bed.

A proud, stay-at-home Dad