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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.

13 Comments

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  • thought_criminal Jun 28, 8:42 a.m.

    carolinagirl28 - Yeah I must live under a rock because I haven't heard of something so innane as the "mommy wars". I can see it now...carolinagirl28 is the star of a new reality TV show on MTV...premise is carolinagirl28 gets on the internet at work and argues with stay-at-home moms about who has the moral high ground in the "mommy wars". It's clear you're a veteran in these "wars". Super sad.

  • thought_criminal Jun 27, 6:30 p.m.

    carolinagirl28 - LOL! Shouldn't you be playing with your kids rather than arguing with someone of such low intelligence as me? I've never even heard of "mommy wars" but obviously you've been in the trenches for a while now. LOL!

  • thought_criminal Jun 27, 5:33 p.m.

    carolinagirl28 - Apparently you have no defense for my 100% accurate claim you pay strangers to raise your kids. Do you not? If not, then what are you doing? If you did have a defense you’d tell me what it is instead of copping out with the “I'm not worth the time it would take to argue the point”. I never said it's wrong what you do. You gotta do what you gotta do. It's just not for us.

    We sacrifice our standard of living (for now) for the benefit of our young kids. I don't have an iPhone or a BMW. But the kids have their mom all day.

    It’s telling that you feel some need to “show your children that women can work outside the home while still being amazing mothers”. Sad your kids need to learning a lesson rather than having a full-time mom. Women’s lib…ain’t it grand.

    And what does this mean? “I'm glad I have a more supportive husband than your wife seems to have.” And I’m not supporting my wife how? By not wanting her to work when that’s what she wants too

  • thought_criminal Jun 27, 2:17 p.m.

    Carolinagirl28..."please don't judge [me]"

    Wow, immediately jumping on the defensive much?

    Sounds to me like you feel guilty about going to work and having to pay strangers to raise your kids. I'd feel guilty too if my wife didn't stay home with our kids.

  • americaneel Jun 27, 1:30 p.m.

    What a feel good story, I think I am going to cry.

  • Bing Used Jun 26, 4:12 p.m.

    ooooooooo Carolinagirl28, thinks some random stranger is judging her just because she is paying someone to raise her kids for her.

  • carolinagirl28 Jun 26, 3:59 p.m.

    My goodness, you all need to settle down a bit. I was merely giving my opinion, which was that his coverage of the daycare issue was completely one-sided. And it remains my opinion that the words he chose were judgmental in nature (not directly to me, mrschizzy and not now, as he obviously doesn't know me, but to people who have subjected their children to - gasp - daycare). I have personally known 2 stay-at-home dads who were only doing it because they were too lazy to get a job outside the home. If I blogged about that, and didn't include information about those dads who do a great job at home with their kids, it might come across as judgmental and preachy, don't you think? I realize that this is a blog about one person's experience, and like I said, if this is the choice that works best for his family, that's great! But believe it or not, people with different experiences are allowed to post comments on it when the blog is published on WRAL.

  • mrschizzy Jun 26, 3:41 p.m.

    CarolinaGirl28 - I have no idea where you got the idea that Mike was "judging" you. Perhaps there is a tad bit of oversensitity here?

  • Not Now Jun 26, 12:37 p.m.

    CarolinaGirl28: Mike did not judge you or your family choices. He also said, *some* of the daycare facilities were dirty, nasty, etc. That's the same as saying some restaurants are dirty. This is not a blanket statement regarding all restaurants.

    Marcharsam: Mike didn't put down his government job. He merely stated the pay wasn't all that fantastic, and he had very limited promotion opportunities.

    Everyone: take a deep breath and realize this is a blog about one person's experiences. That's it. He is not condemning any choices you've made in your life, or passing judgment on whether any job is worthy of his employment.

    Disclaimer: I don't know Mike or anyone in his family; I am just trying to help diffuse an unnecessarily escalating situation.

  • farmgirl Jun 26, 12:35 p.m.

    I applaude your decision to stay at homw with 2 children, not many dads i know would do that. As for "carolinagirl28" and "macharsam"...i do not think that he was putting down government jobs, he was just stating the facts in his case, buy I do speak from experience in that they do not pay as well as most seem to think they do, and not all the benefits are that wonderful. A job is a job, and you must like/love what you are doing in order to want to continue with it. As for the daycares, read his blog again please, he was not putting them all in the same category, just stating again the facts for the ones that they had visited. People are way to quick to judge others when the need to be judging themselves sometimes. Personal opinion only, which can be summed up as follows: Opinions are like brains, everyone has one, NOT everyone chooses to use it before speaking though

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