With trepidation and uneasiness, I re-entered the “office” workforce yesterday. Let me expand …
Well, for the past two years I have been doing the most important work of my life – at-home daddying with my son, Jake. I was an elementary school teacher who chose to take a child-care leave to become a full-time stay-at-home dad to reap one of life’s greatest rewards – being a parent. For the past few months, I have wrestled with the idea that I love being an at-home dad so much, why should I do anything else? I spend quality time with my child, I network with & socialize with other dads in our NYC Dads Group, we have playdates, adventures, travel, and beat to our drum…oh yeah, and I get to see all of the progress my son makes (the little milestones), we crack up together about silly stuff, and I get to calm him during his frequent tantrums.
Let me be clear: Being an-home dad is real work! Hard work! Exhausting work! Rewarding work! Unappreciated work by many others out in the “office” workforce. I use the term “office” lightly to refer to people who work everyday that are not at-home parents.
Why would I want to go back to “office” work? Two main reasons. First, I am selfish. I got to the point where I was wondering “will I ever work again?”, or “if I take off for 5 years won’t I be rusty?”, and “I miss the adult interaction in the workplace.” Second, about 75% of my day with my child was spent just the two of us. Sure, we are social – playdates, parks/playgrounds, parent & me classes – but, it is mainly just us. I wanted to offer him the opportunity to be in a small group for longer periods of time.
With all of this in mind, I was not ready to jump out of at-home daddying = my internal Compromise. I am returning to teaching, but only three days per week. With this flexible schedule, I am hoping my return to “office” work will offer me everything I desire so I juggle and balance my work, my family, and my personal space. I look at it this way: I am home four days/week with Jake. I still get the benefits and camaraderie of our amazing NYC Dads Group -planning future events and participating in the fun. I get the adult interaction and enjoyment of teaching children, something I love to do. It also helps knowing that the school year enables me to be home all summer with my son as well as enjoy the numerous holidays during the school year. When someone asks me what I do, I will continue to be confident and proud stating that I stay home with my son most of the time and work a few days a week…I am transitioning from full-time at-home dad to part-time at-home dad.
I am nervous as I am relinquishing control 3 days/week of care to a daycare. I am also nervous to return to work. Will this transition be harder on me or my son or my wife (who was always comfortable at work knowing it was me in charge)? I am sure this next chapter in my life will become a topic of conversation for the blog…
Vincent O'Keefe says
Good luck with your transition! I hope it goes well. I enjoy reading the blog.
This sounds great Lance, the best for you and your family !, I think is going to be a nice return. I really enjoy doing my part time job + my classes at Bank Street, but no doubt the best part is when I play and spend good times with Emilia.
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Congrats on the new job!
frank b says
wow! congratulations lance. how time flies. i remember when this was just a thought. i wish you the best of luck. i am sure you and your family will transition just fine. jake will also benefit by interacting with a peer group on a more continual basis. i think about this all the time. we may be following in your footsteps as the work/home balance needs some definitive boundaries. as you can see by the posting time i just finished work for the night. now off to bed to start all over again. but…we love it so. i wouldn’t trade it for the world! best of luck and i look forward to seeing you soon.
Congrats on taking back a bit of your grown up life. I totally identify with the feelings of “..will I ever go back…will I be rusty…I miss adults…” Hope it goes well and please keep us posted on the re-entry!