If anyone would have told me 7 years ago that I would no longer be employed and I would be a stay at home dad I would have said your crazy. So what happened to me?
I married a doctor. My wife is a beautiful intelligent pediatrician and I am a former pediatric nurse. I actually went into nursing because I love helping others and I like the diversity of the career. In my 10 years of working I’ve worked in the cardiac cath lab, travel nursed, switched and got a floor job at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. After 2.5 years of that I got bored and moved into the float pool and worked all the ICU’s, ER, Burn Unit, and anywhere they needed me. It was pretty nice because my wife did her pediatric residency while I was there and she was loved by the nurses and we both were respected more because of each others work and attitude.
After she finished residency we moved a little over an hour from where I worked for her to pursue private practice. So I got a job here in Hot Springs Arkansas working in the operating room since that was one area I haven’t truly worked in. After 4 months into that job I figured out being cussed at for no apparent reason wasn’t my cup of tea so I went back to ACH working part time then I slowly went prn working 2 days a month because with my wife’s call schedule it became too hard to juggle unless we could get additional help of which we didn’t want to do.
My wife and I also decided to adopt a girl to go along with our now 5 year old son and I was going to stay home with her. So my responsibility changed drastically. So here I am now. After discussions with my wife and long dragged out discussions with myself I decided to make it official. I am now a Stay At Home Dad.
After we moved over an hour from my job, went part time, and my wife started making really good money and myself making practically nothing my identity changed. Since I graduated nursing school in 2005 I’ve cleared +$50,000/year and worked my way into the float team making >$80K and had worked hard to climb the clinical ladder in my profession.
I look around and all my friends work. Some of my friends are mutual friends through my wife and they are doctors and some of their wives still work. So what have I come to? I now have more money than I have ever had but I felt like it wasn’t mine. I became depressed but like most of us we know how to put on a great looking mask and hide it. I joined a Men’s Breakfast offered at my church and I was the main person brining food and cooking. It was fun but still these guys would leave our early morning meeting and go to their jobs and I rushed home so my wife could go to hers. My son started gymnastics and we made some great friends because of it. One of the dads flattered me when he asked if I was a runner? I’m not and told him I don’t like to run because in the past I got shin splints and that was when he said I should go buy a road bike and start biking with him. I looked into that and DAMN THOSE BIKES COST OVER $1000!! and I have to ask my wife for permission to buy one. She with hesitation said yes and I bought one. That was over 2 years ago now. Cycling brought me back to my childhood and I got rid of a lot of stress and became an addict! I have also met some great friends since starting cycling and this past summer I rode Ragbrai where you bike across Iowa (469 miles in a week while tent camping). I’m also healthier and more fit now than I probably was in high school. I started golfing with my dad and taking my kids to see their grandparents more which they love.
I also joined DMD Facebook group where I found guys that I relate to. This has been a great enjoyment to me and my life. There are guys from all walks of life in our group but we are all married to powerful, intelligent, beautiful doctors. I’ve had fun conversations, argued politics, laughed at funny memes, become teary eyed, jealous of a dad that is a stunt driver (you know who you are), and found out that I was not alone.
I’ve come to realize that a job isn’t the main thing that defines me. Is it a part of me? Yes of course. I will always be able to talk medical and maybe someday I will go back into the field. Me being a dad is key for me and my family. Its a sacrifice for my wife and kids that I am willing to make and others apart of this DMD community have shown me that “hey its important and not looked down upon.” I am a man regardless and I’ve been able to find hobbies that I can do that represents that. Run a chainsaw, chop some wood, teach my son how to fish without me having to put the worm on and fish off, be Darth Vader while my son plays Luke strikes me down unlike what happens in he movies, and when my 1 year old daughter gets old enough to attend preschool I may start doing more woodwork or get into something fun and creative. My life is wide open now because a “job” isn’t slowing me down. We work to survive financially and my wife does that so it frees me up to do other things for me and my family. We are blessed and I couldn’t be more happy with my life right now. My wife has a really stressful job and me being there to take off the random stress makes our marriage easier and stronger.
Well its time for me to go wrap some more presents while its nap time. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. If you are discussing being a SAHD know you will be apart of an elite group of men 😉