Six years ago, when I first started out as a stay at home dad, my wife and I had a plan. When both of the girls were in school full-time I would return to work. We never talked about what that work would be for if it would be full-time or part-time or what I would be doing. Back then it didn’t matter we had time to figure it out. Well, now that time has come. Summer is over the girls are both in full day school and it is time to put that plan into action.
But there is a problem. I don’t know what I want to do. I don’t know what I am qualified for. Do I look for part-time work to allow me to be available for my girl’s schedules? Or, should I be looking full-time build a new career and just put them in day care? Should I be looking to continue my career where I left off? Do I aim higher? Lower? Do I start something completely new? I really have no idea.
Going Back to Work
In the time I have been staying home I have changed. My priorities are different then they were when I was younger. Before I had kids, I used to work as many hours as needed. I would leave early or stay late. Now that I have a family, getting out on time to see my kids is important to me. I love to take them to appointments and pick them up from school. So I am not sure a normal 8-5 job is a right choice. Maybe a part-time job would be better. I would have the flexibility I want but not the pay that would make life easier on our budget.
If I am being honest, a big part of me wants to follow the creative path I started down with my blog. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about trying to make it as a writer. I love to write and to have a creative outlet. Right now I tend to write about being a stay at home dad, but I want to write more often about non-parenting issues. I’d like to try my hand at fiction and flesh out one of the many ideas for novels I have scribbled away in the notebook by my desk.
But being a freelancer is uncertain. Assuming I have the talent to actually do that, and the jury is still out on that one, the pay is erratic and not guaranteed especially at the start. Having a steady check would be a great help to the family budget. Is it even fair to consider an option like this? Leaving the weight of supporting our family on my wife’s shoulders.
Who Am I
For the last six years, I have been Dad. I honestly don’t know who I am if I am not a stay at home dad anymore. Like it or not, our careers define us. What we do becomes who we are. I now find my self in a situation similar to when I was 12 years old. People want to know what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t know then and I still don’t know now.
Being a stay at home dad became a part of my identity. It became how I described myself. I became a dad blogger and a contributor to the blog of the National At-Home Dads group. Being a stay at home dad wasn’t just what I did. It was who I was, and now that is about to change.
Before I stayed home I was working as a salesman for a large company. I was career driven and had my eye on management waiting for my opportunity to move up. That changed when my wife and I decided that I would become a stay at home parent and raise our girls. When I removed myself from that world it changed who I was and how I saw myself. Now it is about to happen again.
Where do I go from here?
So here I sit. I want to do what’s right for my family. I am just not sure what that is. Right now I have no idea what I am going to do or who I will be. I want to pull my weight, contribute, and not be selfish. But, at the same time, I feel I should use this second entrance to the workforce as a chance create a career I can enjoy and be proud of. I am fortunate enough not to be desperate for a job and I have some time to look.
Whatever the next step is you can be sure just like when I became a stay at home dad it will be what I feel is best for my family. I might not be a stay at home dad anymore, but I will never stop being a husband and Dad.