At-Home Dad: Making the decision to stay home with my kids
Posted June 25, 2012
Editor's Note: On Monday, Go Ask Mom featured Triangle Stay at Home Dads, which meets regularly across the Triangle. Mike Slawter, a Raleigh stay-at-home dad of two girls, will begin sharing three posts with us starting today through Thursday.
When we found out we were going to have baby No. 2, it was Mother’s Day 2011. What an awesome gift for my wife.
We immediately started looking into daycare facilities. I remember how much of a process that was before with my older daughter. Scheduling tours, going on tours, looking into their grades with the State of North Carolina, etc. I also remember how nasty, filthy, disgusting and downright unfriendly towards children that some of the places were.
There were waiting lists to get on waiting lists and they, of course, wanted your family history, your income statements, job inforemation, references on where you had other children cared for previously. It is amazing what is involved in child care.
I told my wife that it would almost be easier for us if I stayed home. I had spent the last 12 years working full time for the government and truly wasn’t going anywhere fast in terms of promotional opportunities. And let’s face it, government jobs do not pay all that grand.
She laughed at me and thought I was crazy. A few months passed. I got sick and was out of work for a couple of weeks. Then, in the middle of the night in October, I woke my wife up. She thought I was sick or something was wrong. I actually was tearful, only adding to her concern. I told her I wanted to stay home with the new baby.
Secretly, I had been budgeting, planning, and looking at what we “needed” and what we “wanted” in our lives. Things would be TIGHT financially. However, I could take my retirement money to live on, plus our savings and we would be OK. At least for a little while.
She could not believe me. Here we were at 4 a.m. talking about me staying home with baby No. 2 and our 8-year-old daughter. I was officially going to be Mr. Mom. So, I decided then and there to change the course our family was on. I pledged to be the best stay-at-home daddy there was. And then our adventure began.
So the planning started. Then came the full-time carpooling, the changing of health insurances, which was a disaster, selling a car since we only needed one now and making some other changes, which were big steps for us. The biggest was relying on one income.
You know, I have heard it said before: If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. And for a while, what could go wrong did go wrong with our plan. But we had made a decision and were gonna stick to it.
Or so I thought.
Mike Slawter is the father of two girls in Raleigh. He has been on his stay at home daddy adventure now for six months. You can follow him on his blog.