In 2017 I made a decision. My daughter was born and my wife and I had to make a plan for raising a newborn kid.
I have been working a lot, been busy pursuing a career in the VFX industry, and I was quite successful. It did not seem to be the right time, but on the other hand, will there be something likes anyway? Will you ever be ready to jump ship ? I guess not.
So anyhow, my wife and I decided that all we wanted for our kid was being present. We wanted to dedicate as much time as possible to her. So I made the decision to stay at home for a reasonable amount of time. Well what does that mean?
To make it short, I stopped working to become a stay-at-home dad, with the plan to raise my kid at home for at least 3 years. I grew up like that, and my wife as well, so we both know how it is like to have one of your parents - well your mother - at home all the time.
This concept of raising kids seems to be forgotten by our fellow grownups. Most do what everybody else is doing. When the kids are a couple of months old they are sent to some sort of daycare center while the parents go back to work on their career.
I'll tell you a secret. There is no better job than being at home with your little ones. They prepare you for every challenge that might eventually arise in your future life. They pee the pants right before you leave the house, so you miss the train, they decide they'd rather have soup when you have prepared the perfect pasta. They throw themselves on the floor to let everybody else know that they fuckin' want that treat in the supermarket, when daddy dared to say no to the fifth sweet bar. They are your hardest critic when they always plainly say the truth or at least what they think about a certain situation. They are the hardest client by changing the brief instantly and over and over again. But they are doing it without knowing. They look at you with their sweet eyes and all you can do is melt and say ok, let's do it again, differently or your way. You learn to accept the situation as it is. You learn to stay calm, when the shit hits the fan. What can you do in situations like that but smile, stay cool and move on.
Being a stay-at-home dad has a lot of advantages to offer. I can go to the spa when everybody else is in the office. I can have breakfast, lunch and dinner on the sofa, wearing my sweatpants and let the hair falling loose. I have no meetings or phone calls with clients, no mails waiting for an answer or reaction. All I need to do is focus on my little one.
Don't get me wrong. This is hard work. Huge respect to all the mummies and daddies out there doing this job for years.
The secret though is to enjoy the process. Love what you experience. No matter what happens, there will always be drama, there will be broken glasses and there will be tears running for sure. But if you learn to enjoy the journey, if you start to accept that you can't force things, but you can only deal with it, then you will become the best stay-at-dad or mom and trust me, you will never have a better job again.
People are working hard, sometimes years to finally get pregnant and have kids. Spending 3 to 6 years at home and dedicate your time to your kids seems to be a pretty small sacrifice compared to what you will miss, if you decide to send them away. Time is precious so don't waste it. I have been lucky enough to get a second kid just a couple of days ago. I know that I will for sure keep going and be there for both of my kids with all the time and attention that I have to offer.
I already hear a lot of you guys saying, well, you have to be able to afford this way of life. You are probably rich or something like that. Well, I am not. I have worked hard, like everybody else is working hard as well. I made the decision to relinquish on stuff that I don't really need. I don't need the latest iPhone, the latest car or new clothes all the time. I don't need 10 pairs of jeans when I can only wear 1. So we downsized, minimised and learned to live with less. Everybody can do this in a certain amount. And if you still need to go back to your work to pay the bills, that is totally fine as well. As long as you dedicate as much time as possible to the really important things in your life, everything should be fine. This is all I am stating here.
I want to encourage more dads to go that way. You are a tough guy, so what are you afraid of? If you are as good as you think, you will for sure pursue your career later on as well, don't you think ? Be the man you are meant to be and stay at home for your kids. Help to raise a new generation of kids, some who know how important the present moment is, and that you only got one shot to make things right. Be a role model !