Before beginning, I want to first say that I love my wife Melissa very much! She is truly the light of my life and I can’t imagine life without her. She is a very loving mother who loves our daughter Emma immensely. There is nothing both she and I would not do for our daughter and each other. For the last 8 years, while I have been pursuing entrepreneurial goals as well as being a stay at home dad, Melissa has shouldered the financial burden of our family(for more info on how we got to this point Click Here) and it has really been tough on her. Trying to balance an expanding career and family is extremely tough. She is the hardest working person I have known, second only to my Dad(who, by the way, was hardly ever home). She is an awesome person and I am truly honored to be married to her. I wouldn’t want anyone else to be the mother of my daughter.
The other day, a teacher at Emma’s school who read this blog said to me that I am very passionate about my daughter and parenting. She is the first person to say this and after she did, a spark went off in my head. With all the business training etc…one of the keys to success is passion. Well, I have been sidetracked on numerous things(funny how we all get wrapped up in the chase for the almighty dollar) the past couple years and am grateful for this woman to set me back on course, if you will(who the heck coined the term “if you will” and does it really make sense?) Thank you for your comment. 🙂 Oh, and I have had many positive comments from other female employees of Emma’s school about my situation as a stay at home dad.
Well, another 4 day, 3 night business trip for the wife has went by and I feel that I have to put my thoughts out. My reason for this is only so that Emma will know what her Dad felt and thought. It is not meant in any way to criticize my wife. The posts in this blog will be printed in a book for Emma so that she will be able to look back when she is older. In addition to that, it is a way of getting this off my chest as I don’t think my dodgeball teammates want to hear me talking about it anymore.
This year has been the worst as far as Melissa’s business travel. By the worst I mean that the number of trips has increased and, more importantly, the number of longer trips has increased. When we didn’t have Emma this was not so much an issue but with Emma it has become a huge one for us. This last one was made even more difficult since I was sick. This is the second trip in the last month that I have been sick during a business trip longer than one night. The stress of her being gone is bad enough but add to that being sick…Ughhhh!
When Melissa is out of town the responsibility for Emma, rightfully so, falls completely on me. I accept and embrace that, it is an honor for me to be able to spend so much time with Emma. The issue I have is that the more nights that Melissa is not here, the more upset Emma gets. The more upset that Emma gets naturally makes me get more upset and this process continues. I then become less patient with Emma and it negatively affects her. I feel really bad for her because of this. In my head, I can understand what Melissa’s career means and the sacrifices–and I mean sacrifices!- that Melissa makes for us. In my heart, however, I can only feel that maybe we are now paying more for Melissa’s career– the further up the corporate ladder she goes– than what the sacrifice is worth anymore. There is an old saying that you can always make more money but you can’t make more time. Time lost is time never again regained.
Now, to the critics out there, and I do have some among even family and friends, I will say this. It is very easy to criticize and call me names and state that if I don’t like it then I should go get a job(By the way, I could never get a job that would start paying me anywhere near what Melissa makes), etc….I wonder if these same criticizers would say this if Melissa and I had our roles reversed? I think that the criticism would be far less since it is more accepted for a man to be out of town working a lot while the wife stays home with the kids. There are many double standards out there against stay at home dads. Heck, when Melissa introduces me to people she always adds that I own several home businesses. Not a criticism of her but I think it is an unconscious, engrained, draconian belief that we are all taught that men are not worthy men unless they somehow contribute financially to a family.
I would also tell the criticizers(my new coined term) to look in the mirror and take a close look at their lives before criticizing me. Have you been there for your kids? How many times have you been divorced? Do you pawn your kids off on others and shirk your parental responsibilities? Do you have f’d up kids? I can go on and on about this because it really irks me. I mean, look at all the celebrities, athletes, musicians, business leaders, etc.. that are divorced? Come on now, is there a correlation? I know the rate is already high and coming from a background(law enforcement) where the divorce, suicide, and alcoholism rates are way higher than the average, I wonder if there have been studies on the divorce rates among couples that have extensive travel? Regardless, the time away does not do any good whatsoever. The term absence makes the heart grow fonder does not apply in this situation, in my humble opinion.
I wonder if stay at home moms feel the same way? I think that if you never worked full-time, and yes, criticizers, I worked full-time for 18 years before becoming what some of you think as a sponge or lazy, moocher, then maybe you may feel differently. Or, maybe it is a guy thing? I know I have friends who have told me that there is no way that they would ever let their wives travel so much, or at all–although in their case, their wives don’t work. I haven’t talked with any stay at home dads about this issue and am wondering if they feel the same way?
Another part of this issue is the fact that we really have no assistance with Emma. Some criticizers out there have shirked the responsibility of their children on other people, some have live-in nannies, some have grandparents that help out everyday(God bless them!), some stick their kids in daycare when not needed etc…..Some of them are what I consider to be more part-time parents. We do not, and have never, had this. And, this is by choice. Not to be looking for sympathy but to those people that will criticize me for “complaining” I, again, say look in the mirror! The assistance that we do have is greatly, immensely, incredibly appreciated! I have no words to express how grateful I am for your help!
Now, there is no magic solution to this and that is not the point. My primary goal is to put in writing my thoughts and opinions so that my daughter will be able to read them some day. Who in their right mind would not want something like this from their father or mother?
Anyway, I will put this out there also….To all the criticizers and interested or uninterested parties alike, whether you agree with me or not, listen to this. I have been screened for a Stay At Home Dad Reality TV show and the casting director as well as the producers love me and my family! It is currently in its formative stages and negotiations are proceeding with the TV station, producers, etc….It may still never even be produced but if it does…Here I come into your home! Ha! Too funny! It would, however, be an intrusion into this man’s very private life but it would be something that Emma would always have. And, who wouldn’t want that! So, if you see a Stay at Home Dad Reality Show on the TLC Network in the future, make sure to tune in!