Dear God, He’s Home! Living with a Stay at Home Dad

Living with a stay at home dad

UPDATE: The original post that was here has been deleted.

I need to offer everyone an apology. I’ve been off of the computer and away from the internet for a few days while speaking and recuperating and traveling, and I really haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on. I had some guest posts go up on auto pilot, and I didn’t give them the due diligence that I should have.

I’ve just read over some of the comments, and I have to say that I agree. If you were to write a post like this and reverse the genders, it would sound terrible. And if it sounds terrible saying it about women, then it sounds terrible saying it about men, too.

And so I took down the content of this original post, and this weekend I’ll try to rewrite it the way I would have written it had I written on the same topic.

I do want the blog to maintain my voice, and sometimes that’s hard when I use guest posts. But I should have been more diligent, and I am sorry. I’ll try to monitor everything and ask, “would I have been comfortable saying exactly this?” before I put up anything anymore.

 

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Comments

  1. Once upon a time I tried the stay-at-home-dad thing… (It was 1990 or 91).

    Within 3 weeks I was a babbling idiot. Where I thought taking care of my small kids would be almost a “vacation”, I very quickly learned how much WORK it really was. The experience gave me a whole new respect for what my wife did in the home. And I have been an outspoken advocate for the stay-at-home-mom ever since. Whenever I hear other men talking about all the “free time” their wife has with the kids at home, I make sure to educate that man with my own story.

    Now on the other hand, I did WORK from home for almost 10 years. Very different situation. I worked for a company that out phone lines in my house and I closed the door to my office all day. Tiffani did a fantastic job of making sure the kids knew that dad was at work. For the most part, I didn’t bother them, and they didn’t bother me. We made it work.

    This is a great article and I really like how you point out building up your husband instead of tearing him down and belittling him. That would do nothing but frustrate and embitter him.

    Thanks very much!
    ~Jason
    Jason@SongSix3 recently posted…Honor Your ParentsMy Profile

    • Hi Jason! That must have been quite the eye-opening experience when you were with the kids! :)

      I do think that working from home can be so rewarding, just because there’s no travel and you get so much more time with your family. But it definitely takes the right family dynamic to make it work. Sounds like Tiffani is great at that!

  2. I work from home and will soon have our first baby. I can only imagine the difference it would be if my husband was at home. Although it is apart of our long term plan from him to work from home as well. I know it will take some adjustments to make it work. I like how you said “Communicate your needs honestly and lovingly.” at the end. I think this is for sure very important! Not just in stay at home situations, but in all situations!

    Thank you so much for sharing today!
    Cassie recently posted…Motherhood and Marriage is Magnificently MessyMy Profile

    • Congratulations on your expanding family! That’s exciting. And I do hope that your dreams for your husband to be home do come to fruition.

  3. We’re in the middle of the opposite adjustment. After 8 years of working from home, he’s taken a new job and is out of the house for about 10 hours a day.
    He’s not home! It feels very odd not to have him coming down for coffee breaks.
    Communication is still the key – we keep talking, and we will adjust to this next chapter in life.

  4. Melissa says:

    My husband has spent two six-week stretches at home in the past year due to medical issues. People would comment to me, “Oh it must be so nice having him home!” Um…well…”nice” isn’t exactly the first adjective I would leap to…what was tough for us was our kids are little, and their expectation is when Daddy is home it’s time to play. Period. But my husband was literally not physically capable of playing with them much, which made for cranky kids and a depressed husband and a wife (me) who felt like she had added an extra overgrown child to her household. During his first disability I also spent much of my time driving him back and forth to doctor’s appointments, often with the kids in tow, because he was either in too much pain or too drugged up to drive. I was exhausted. By the time his disability was up, he was SO ready to go back to work and I was SO ready to go back to only having two children to take care of! ;-) The benefit, though, is he got a really good taste of my world and really truly realized it’s not a piece of cake to take care of our kids all day AND keep the house clean AND keep the laundry done AND keep my sanity. Some days I just can’t do it all. And it’s okay.

    He’s getting ready to transition into a position at work where he’ll be working from home three out of five days a week. He already works from home one day a week and we’ve been working really hard with the boys to know when I say “Daddy’s working” it means Daddy is not to be disturbed, but Daddy won’t be at work forever. We’re going to try hanging a sign on the door to our home office with a red side and a green side. When the sign is red it means STOP, Daddy’s working, we need to leave him alone. When it’s green it means Daddy’s working but it’s not like he’s on a conference call or anything and we can pop in and say hi. Hopefully that works. Both our boys love colors.

  5. thankfulhusband says:

    I’m going to be perfectly honest and say that especially in the “not for lunch” illustration I was mortified at the wife’s response, even more so at her 2 should have been responses.

    Here is a man that’s been at work for how many years and apparently she has lunch with her friends every single day over those years and he asks with a smile, what’s for lunch and those are her responses. And the two alternatives being held up as the right responses…I’m blown away. Maybe I am misunderstanding but if these two back up options are what we are teaching wives how to be a husband’s wife and helpmate I’m saddened, deeply and more than anything I am I thankful for my wife who wouldn’t dream of doing that or treating me that way.

    • I thought the same thing at the ‘better’ responses… not so much better.

      Although, I might not really want to sign on for making yet another meal a day either… but I’d welcome the ‘opportunity’. Sigh. I have been working for 34 years, with one stretch of unemployment for THREE DAYS. The idea of not having to be wonder woman and do it ALL would make me very grateful to be able to make lunch for someone!! I’m long term single after a very bad marriage… and if I had a God given husband to make lunch for, I’d hope to not take that for granted.

      thanks for saying so.

  6. When my husband and I just got engaged, he lost his job, luckilly I still had mine. But from where I am sitting today, I can not complain, I got home to a clean house and food on the stove, he would run me a bath etc. Sure there were days when I got home and had to do everything, sometimes I would definetely complain haha. But I’m so grateful to say that even though we struggled financialy, my husband helped around as much as he could. But if both of us were home all day everyday, I don’t think I would feel so grateful haha. We made it work ! It is a great article.

  7. Great post. Hopefully it will help many wives. Due to various times of unemployment we have both been home at the same time. I absolutely understand the frustration spouses may feel. Here are my few lessons learned from these times. 1) Don’t be surprised if nothing gets done at home. We are both often shocked that instead of getting more done, less gets done. I can’t explain it, But instead of getting mad just accept it. I noticed for example that with kids home I get less done when hubby is home, simply because if they ask me to play and I say NO then they go to him. Then I feel guilty that he is always doing the playing, so eventually none of us do any work. 2) If it is do to unemployment (so just temporary) remember that this is just a season. Yes, it can be scary that you don’t know when this season will end, but God is taking care of you, and it will eventually end. In the mean time try to enjoy the time together. My husband has recently started up at a job again, and we do miss him. Especially my son, whose love language is quality time, seems to really miss him. So, it is good that they spent so much time together while Daddy was home. 3) An important advantage is that from his time at home my husband has total appreciation of how hard it can be with little kids at home. Sometimes when I hear friends complain of how their husbands just don’t understand how tough it is at home, I know my hubby does. He’ll even say that every Dad should have to spend some time at home, just so he understands how a whole day can go by without anything getting done.

  8. I know it would be hard if this kind of season was thrust upon a family unexpectedly, but I think the focus should be on thankfulness that God has blessed them with some added family time! I am disabled, and we needed a full-time nanny to be here with me and the kids until December of last year. After much prayer and planning, my husband quit his job at that time and started his own business from home. While I’m sure it looked scary from the outside, we were so excited and filled with peace that the Lord had placed in both of our hearts. Now my hubby spends time with the kids all morning – they play, go grocery shopping, do things around the house, go to playgroups, etc. And my boys LOVE it! My husband then heads downstairs to work in the afternoons, and I hang out with the kids for an hour or two until nap time (knowing that he is two seconds away if we have an emergency). We couldn’t be happier with the decision we made!! We all get to spend more time together, our schedules are extremely flexible, and our stress level has dropped to almost nothing. Sure, the cleaning routine has changed over the past few months, but I think the key to making it work is just good communication and making a good schedule. My husband is my best friend, and it has been amazing to have him around all the time!

  9. I’m curious how wives would feel if some of the statements were gender reversed …

    “Dear God, She’s Home! Living with a Stay at Home Mom”

    “I couldn’t figure out how to be okay with me getting up and going to work and her staying home.”

    “So if you have a stay-at-home woman and she’s driving you crazy, don’t feel guilty if you haven’t always been joyous about this new closeness in your marriage relationship.”

    “A working husband, or a husband who has had to go back to work, may feel the burden of supporting the family when he’d rather be home.”

    “More often husbands complain that when they walk in the door from work, their wives are sitting in front of the computer asking him to take care of the kids and give her a break.”

    “When shopping together, pick a store that also has clothing, jewelry, or houseware departments and let your wife browse or send her to find something.”

    “But my wife was literally not physically capable of playing with them much, which made for cranky kids and a depressed wife and a husband (me) who felt like he had added an extra overgrown child to his household. During her first disability I also spent much of my time driving her back and forth to doctor’s appointments, often with the kids in tow, because she was either in too much pain or too drugged up to drive. I was exhausted. By the time her disability was up, she was SO ready to go back to work and I was SO ready to go back to only having two children to take care off!” ;-)

    • My husband read this article and mentioned the same thing – it would be considered very inappropriate if a man wrote the same kind of article about his wife. My husband also drives me to appointments and such all the times, with the kids along with us, and I’m very thankful that he doesn’t consider serving me in this way to be akin to taking care of a child. We’re thankful that we can spend the time together, even if we’re headed to a doctor’s office :)

      • Very inappropriate is a good term to use. J’s use of irony here is very telling I think.

        • Christine C. says:

          Chiming in to say that I agree that it was inappropriate. I’m sure the author meant well, but the execution of her advice would have been really hurtful to me if I were a stay-at-home-dad. I personally know a couple of SAHDs, and they’re capable adults, not children to be babied.

    • Melissa says:

      Hey I’m not a perfect stay at home spouse either. I will fully cop to that. I suck at housework. But the thing is we often think the grass is greener on the other side and that isn’t necessarily true. When my husband was home on disability it was not like having a six week vacation. He felt helpless and purposeless and like he was a huge burden on me – he really struggled with depression during that time. I want to be clear I did NOT feel like he was a burden. I was happy to take care of him. Now that does not mean I had a joyful attitude all the time – I’m human and I do not have boundless strength. We were both used to our own routines – him going to work, which he enjoys because he likes his job, and me being home with the kids doing our own rhythm. Readjusting when the routine gets turned upside down can be HARD. Doesn’t mean we don’t love each other. Doesn’t mean we’re not grateful for each other. Just means change can be hard.

      I would also like to point out that if my husband were to read this and my previous comment he would 100% agree with me. Being home did not turn out to be what he thought it would. We discuss it quite openly with each other and with others. And when I came home from work after having our first baby, that didn’t go exactly like either of us thought either. We both had expectations and we got smacked with reality. Doesn’t that often happen in life? We think we have a pretty good idea of how something is going to go, and then it goes differently, and we experience feelings like confusion and disappointment and frustration. Those feelings are valid and need to be dealt with, not stuffed down because “Oh that’s not how I SHOULD feel…” or “Oh that might sound bad if I expressed it…” Well things often sound bad when they’re expressed because y’know what? They ARE bad! Sometimes things do suck!

      Let me tell you what sucks – my husband being flat on his back 24 hours a day because he’s in so much pain he can’t move and we don’t know WHY. Going to doctor after doctor after doctor and every test coming up negative and every doctor saying “I don’t know what to do” and sending us on to yet another doctor. Having one medication help the pain only to stop working days later. The staff at the pain management doctor’s office being snippy every time we called to beg for help so my husband could sit up or shower or drive or sleep, basically treating my husband like a drug addict who just wants a fix. Our three year old and 18 month old not understanding why Daddy can’t play with them and acting out daily because of it. Not being able to have sex because of how the medication affected him. Helplessly watching the medical bills pile up. My normally happy energetic husband spiraling down into depression because he feels like a failure at providing for his family. It WAS like having another child because he literally could not do anything for himself. It’s an accurate comparison, one that he himself also makes. It’s not like he was just being a lazy slob and expecting me to do everything for him. I HAD to. Nobody in our situation had a choice.

      Him being home was NOT a picnic and I don’t think I ought to be made fun of and criticized for being honest about that. It’s not fair to be critical of my comment when you don’t know my backstory.

      • I am really sorry that you and your husband went through all of that, Melissa, and I definitely wasn’t making fun of you. You’re completely right – when things are thrust upon us out of nowhere, it can be really difficult to mentally transition and figure out what the “new normal” is for both spouses. It sounds like you and your husband did a great job of communicating both through the time he was home and now looking back.

        I guess I was looking at it from the opposite perspective. I have been disabled for about six years now, and it has radically transformed our lives. I have a very rare illness that causes me to have an anaphylactic (i.e. potentially life-threatening) reaction to nearly everything – standing, friction, vibration, any kind of physical/emotional stress, fatigue, foods, smells, heat, etc. I’m rarely out of bed/off the couch, and when I am I end up having scary reactions. I can only safely be alone with the kids for an hour or so at a time. I have never taken our three year old out of the house by myself – ever. So, my amazing hubby has needed to take over everything – cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, dropping the big ones off at school, taking them to extra-curricular activities, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. – while still being the sole income-earner in our family. As you can imagine, my husband’s efforts are nothing short of Herculean. We have had the benefit of having more time for God to help us process our situation, and this truly is our normal now (so much so that we have a hard time remembering anything different). One of the things that has made this easier to bear is that my husband has never once made me feel guilty for needing all of this help or for being unable to do the things that I would consider to be “my job”. Since your hubby has also used the same terminology that you did, there’s no issue in your situation!! I just wanted to point out that the same words would have hurt my feelings, and I’m thankful that my husband doesn’t use them.

      • As your husband is not on here, yet, to defend himself, I will defend him in regards to the 2 posts you have made concerning him along with yourself and family.

        No one here has made fun of you as you allege; you are most certainly not a victim. Further, when a person is on an open forum to share ideas, thoughts, feelings, or even to vent, being open to criticism is a rule rather than an exception. None of us are above being criticised, hopefully all constructive, and that includes you. In fact you have openly criticised your husband in two posts now, so he is not above his wife’s own criticism. Don’t be so bashful.

        No-one knows your backstory, but ‘out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks’. So negligible material indeed. But here is the portrait of your husband you’ve portrayed. He works to make money for you and your children. You don’t make money for anyone. He is depressed, and suffering greatly in other ways, and it seems from an illness that is non detectable nor medical. While this raises an eyebrow as to the cause, it’s a laborious task for you to drive him to the doctor. He is considered by you, in both posts, to be a child; another appendage perhaps. Indeed, a lazy slob was name dropped in your second post. Compare two statements:

        It’s not like he was just being a lazy slob and expecting me to do everything for him. I HAD to.
        It’s not like she was just a fat slob that lay around on the couch facebooking all day. The children were NEGLECTED.

        Words convey meanings, subtle or overt. These are both subtle phrases that convey very well to the reader the ‘qualities’ of the intended target.

        Melissa I will be frank. You’ve displayed contempt for your husband in your posts. Maybe it is time to sit back in neutral, re-evaluate your life, and consider your options for moving forward. This may also be beneficial for your husband’s health. Perhaps also, bear in mind society’s concept of men today.

        In saying this though, as J above may have missed in the role reversal, even the opening post may be turned around and found offensive. ‘Dear God, She’s Home!’ A real woman would find this title alone offensive. Someone to be put up with. A bad odour to be tolerated perhaps. Aliens vs Predator! ;)

  10. I need to offer everyone an apology. I’ve been off of the computer and away from the internet for a few days while speaking and recuperating and traveling, and I really haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on.

    I had some guest posts go up on auto pilot, and I didn’t give them the due diligence that I should have.

    I’ve just read over some of the comments, and I have to say that I agree. If you were to write a post like this and reverse the genders, it would sound terrible. And if it sounds terrible saying it about women, then it sounds terrible saying it about men, too.

    I’m going to take down the content of the post (though not the post itself nor the comments, because Google doesn’t like it when you do that :) ), and this weekend I’ll try to rewrite it the way I would have written it had I written on the same topic.

    I do want the blog to maintain my voice, and sometimes that’s hard when I use guest posts.

    But I should have been more diligent, and I am sorry. I’ll try to monitor everything and ask, “would I have been comfortable saying exactly this?” before I put up anything anymore.

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