Confessions of a Stay at Home Dad

Thanks to everyone for their comments, well wishes, and overall support from my previous post about getting laid off. An extra special thanks to Des at Half Banked for featuring my post twice on her blog. Losing your job isn’t easy, but it’s nice knowing that I’m not alone. Quite a few of you have also been laid off at one point and have shared your stories with me. Some even reached out to help me look for work which has been a pleasant, but unexpected side effect of me blogging about my experience.

Photo Oct 31, 10 01 02 PM
Halloween 2015. The Doctors and our Tardis

I gotta admit, being a stay at home parent is pretty cool. I know that it’s only temporary and sooner or later I’ll be back in the workforce, but for now I am enjoying my time off. In the few weeks that I’ve been out of work, I’ve spent more quality time with my family and being more productive around the house. I’ve also learned a few things about being a stay at home dad.

I Have Never Been More Exhausted
An office job is easy. You clock in, do your work, and go home at the end of the day. I spent most of my days sitting in a chair staring at a screen while I type away. Watching a toddler is 100 times more exhausting. There are no breaks, no going out for lunch, and no coworkers to shoot the breeze with when you want to chat.

There’s only my little monkey who is a bundle of energy from the moment she wakes up at 6 am to when she goes to sleep around 8:30 pm. When she takes her naps during the day, I usually spend it cleaning up the whirlwind mess we created, washing dishes, folding laundry, and preparing her next meal. The only moment I get to myself is when I throw on a Mickey Mouse cartoon when I need to take care of something really quick. Thanks to her cousin, she is also fond of the song “Watch Me” by Silento. My daughter calls me “babe” more than she calls me “daddy” because of my wife. So I’ll hear “babe, NAE, NAE” about twenty times a day. That damn Nae Nae song will buy me another few minutes.

Watch me whip....
Watch me whip….

It would be easy to sit my daughter in front of the TV and have her watch cartoons all day. That would only be cheating my daughter and myself of this bonding opportunity. We’ve gone out daily to parks, gardens, took walks, and explored our city. Doing this on the cheap, mind you – her daddy currently doesn’t have an income to be shopping all day! I’m trying to figure out some creative projects at home that we could do rather than play with toys all day. I even made some home made play dough made out of bananas, cornstarch, food coloring, and flour that she could put in her mouth (not that she should). Smells just like banana bread!

Photo Nov 10, 5 44 56 PM
High stakes game of Risk going on here. Featuring home made play dough.

A special shout out to all full time stay at home parents. I don’t know how you have time to do anything productive like keeping a clean house, running errands, cooking meals, all while keeping your little ones entertained throughout the day. I have a lot more respect to those parents who choose to stay at home to take care of their kids. You the REAL MVP.

MVP
makeameme.org

Staying Productive
Since I got laid off, we’ve cut Addie’s daycare from 5 to 3 days a week. We didn’t want to lose her spot and still wanted her to be around other kids. I don’t want Addie to grow up socially awkward like her daddy ;). Our daycare is pretty inexpensive, so it doesn’t put that big of a dent in our reduced budget. It also gives me time to work at the home and look for jobs.

If you think me getting laid off means I can collect unemployment and play video games all day, you haven’t met my wife ;). I don’t even turn on the TV until the end of the day. I’ve cleaned the house inside and out, maintained the cars, ran most of the errands, did work around the house, and read. I worked with a recruiter to update my resume and get tips on doing a better cover letter. I’ve also attended a few webinars about finding a new position.

Job Search
Searching for a job is a job in itself. All the online listings to wade through, tailoring each resume and cover letter for each position takes a long time. For the most part I use Indeed and check the job boards at the companies that are close by. I’ve gotten a few callbacks and emails, but nothing too concrete just yet. I went to a job fair the other day but that was a bust – the positions were all sales related, not my forte. It’s all a numbers game so eventually something will come up. If anyone else have tips on good places to look during a job search, please let me know in the comments.

Life Isn’t All About Money.
If there’s one thing I can take away from being unemployed, is that life isn’t all about money. The other day my wife turned to me and said we were blessed. I am lucky to have such a wonderful wife to be that understanding in light of our reduced income. I know people joke with me for being a cheap budget nerd, but that’s why my wife and I are in such a great spot. Thank you emergency fund and budgeting. Being a cheap dad has afforded us the luxury of taking a step back to find that better opportunity.

Now if only we lived like Mr. Money Mustache when we graduated, my wife and I wouldn’t ever have to worry about working again. A guy can dream, right? :). The next best thing would be finding that position that truly suits me. I’ll find it eventually.

In the meantime, I’ll spend my time watching my daughter do the stanky leg twenty times a day. I think we found the song for our father/daughter dance for your wedding in 32 years.

Photo Nov 11, 2 03 42 PM
hair by daddy. sorry mommy.
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21 thoughts on “Confessions of a Stay at Home Dad

  1. Hi Vic,

    That’s wonderful that you’ve been getting to spend some quality time with your daughter. I’m sure she’s having a ball hanging out with you! The banana bread play dough sounds awesome. 🙂

    I too am looking for jobs, and I can confirm that yes, it is definitely a full-time job in itself! I have also been looking mostly on Indeed. Glassdoor is also pretty good; you might try that one if you haven’t already. Oh, and Idealist if you are interested in the nonprofit sector at all. But yes, no matter what, sifting through all the job postings is incredibly time-consuming. :/

    I wish you the best of luck and am excited to hear what happens next for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words Sarah! It’s been really great being off.

      I haven’t looked into Glassdoor much besides looking at reviews of companies. I’ll have to look into it. LinkedIn has helped me network a little bit. I used Idealist in the past to score a non-profit job I had 7 years ago. I’m hesitant in going back to non-profit because while the causes are usually nice, the pay is pretty low in comparison to for profit work. I also find that some non-profits aren’t as well equipped with resources (funds, technology, etc.) to be sustainable. At that job there was always the threat of the funding drying up.

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  2. Vic,

    This is so wonderful! Hearing about your quality time spent with your daughter can be more rewarding than any monetary amount. That is so great that she loves the “Watch Me” song! While volunteering at the Boys & Girls club for dance classes, my kiddos always request that we do this dance – I’m reaching up in the 100’s of also doing this dance/listening to this song. 🙂

    I wish you all the best of luck in your job search. It is wonderful to hear that you & your family (who are incredibly supportive!) are in a great position regardless of life’s situations. You can now use this to your leverage – and I know you will find the perfect position for you when the timing is just right. 🙂 Can’t wait to check out the video of your father/daughter dance in the future!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, if that Nae Nae song could be pulled from YouTube the world would be a better place. haha. I think I’m up to 100’s this week! Whenever I play it I usually repeat it a few times. She still doesn’t really try to do the dance – she mostly just sways and sings BOP BOP BOP DUFF DUFF DUFF 🙂

      Thanks for all the kind words! With the holidays coming up it would actually be a blessing in disguise if I could spend that extra time with family. But if the right situation comes along I’ll definitely jump at that opportunity!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember when, years ago, there was that uproar about how stay at home moms have it easy, they don’t have to work, blah blah — I didn’t really pay attention back then because I didn’t have kids. Now that I have kids, I can’t imagine someone with kids ever saying that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a lot tougher than it seems! It’s not just watching soap operas and eating bon bons all day. Unless you’re a Desperate Housewife of Orange County :).

      That being said, if I could figure out a financial situation where I could be a part time stay at home dad or just have a lot better hours to spend with my daughter during the week I’d take it!

      Like

  4. Just a suggestion on your job search, be sure to work your network. Reach out to anyone in the area and ask if they know anybody who is looking. Maybe create a line item for taking people out to coffee or lunch if that will work for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’ve been letting people know that I’m looking for work. So should anything come up they’ll let me know.

      That’s a great idea. I’m gonna meet up with some old colleagues for lunch!

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  5. I think it’s awesome that you started a blog while at home. You never know how that could end up. e started ours five years ago and now it supports our family in addition to my freelance work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Holly!

      I actually started blogging earlier this year when I had a job. Unemployment was a recent development from last month. Blogging has been great so far!

      That’s great to hear about your success! I’ve listened to you on Farnoosh’s podcast! Keep up the great work!

      Like

  6. “My daughter calls me “babe” more than she calls me “daddy” because of my wife.”

    So. Freaking. Adorable.

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I don’t know how parents do it, stay at home or otherwise. Everyone I’ve talked to says you figure it out as you go along. You have such a lovely family, Vic. Your post made me excited at the possibility of starting my own someday. Good luck on your job hunt!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always thought it was weird when you see parents calling each other mommy or daddy. I now understand. Haha. I still would rather be called “babe” by my daughter than “daddy” from my wife. To each their own, I suppose.

      I’ve never been a kid person, but that all changed when my daughter was born. It’s been tough, but you figure everything out along the way. Things I was worried about (time, money, etc) all go away when your primary focus is taking care of your child.

      Thanks for the kind words! I am enjoying this time to reflect and spend with my daughter for sure! The job will come eventually! I’m not too worried about that.

      Like

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