It’s a question we get asked frequently when we meet new people, I’ve probably been asked it several times in my life and didn’t think much about it, but since becoming the primary at-home* care taker the question, and my answers, seem to have a bigger impact on me then before.
It took me a while, but I usually have the confidence to answer with “I take care of my kids”, without immediately following or preceding it with “I’m a freelance writer and web-designer” or some other long winded attempt to prove my productivity or contributions to society. I don’t think this is unique to at home Dad’s, but I think guys who stay with the kids do experience unique pressures, or at least I feel pressure from certain gender roles and expectations (I might write more on this later).
The reason I’m bringing this up now, I think, is that I want to state publicly that I want my primary answer to continue to be centered around my kids. We as a family have recently negotiated some set aside dedicated time for me to pursue projects, opportunities to set up meetings and do somethings outside of nap times and late nights. This wasn’t a financial decision, nor an “Ariah needs to get out and do something with his life” sorta of move, rather just a loving supportive spouse encouraging me to pursue things I’m passionate about. And as excited as I am about taking a bit of time each week to pursue these things, I don’t want it to get in the way of being dad.
This is sort of a rambling post, for which I apologize. It’s interesting that I find it hard to write about family and parenting stuff. That’s the important stuff, the truly important stuff to me, and I find it the most difficult to share in public spaces like a blog. I can write with passion about social issues and injustices, but sharing my lessons in parenting seems so difficult at times.
I’ll end it here. All I really wanted to say is that the primary thing I “do” is that I’m a dad. Everything else is secondary. And I’m proud of that.
*It has to be said that 1) my wife is most definitely a “primary” care taker as well, taking care of our kids and taking care of people’s health and well being as a nurse practitioner day in and out [love you, babe] and 2) we aren’t really “at-home” much if we can help it, but “primary at-home-or-the-park-library-pool-garden-bike ride-beach-porch-grocery store-community event-neighbors care taker” was too long.