What Being An Unemployed Stay-At-Home-Dad Has Taught Me

Unemployed - Dads Round Table

There was a point in time when I considered myself a “part-time” Stay-At-Home-Dad.  I say part-time, because I was home three days out of the week taking care of our son.  It was probably the most exciting and rewarding time in my life, next to when I was planning the proposal to my wife.  Anyone that tells you being a stay-at-home parent is a blast, has some truth in that statement.   I have realized just how true that is now that I am unemployed and staying home to take care of our son.

I have had the best time of my life being a full-time stay-at-home-dad.  I won’t lie, it has been difficult.  However, there are some things that I have learned from the time that I have been unemployed.

I am not a patient person, I worked for 5 years as a news photographer.  I thrived and getting things done quickly and on-time.  I’m a fast pace person and like to get things done immediately, in a timely manner, and without trouble. To many this is great attribute to have in keeping up with a toddler.  Not necessarily. Even with an active 3-year-old just the simple of act of getting him to put his shoes on to run a simple errand can take a matter of half-an-hour, at which point, I have given up on running the errand.  I need to slow down and take it all in and enjoy the challenge that my son has provided me. Even if that means seeing if I can get him to put his shoes on in under a minute without bribery.

I have realized that the world does not operate at the speed my brain works and this can easily be true for my next career.  There will be times that people don’t operate at my speed and some things won’t be done as soon as I feel they should be.

Staying Active
This isn’t about living a healthy lifestyle, but more than that. Now that I am unemployed and a stay-at-home-dad, I am expected to do more around the house, until my future employers calls. Simply put, I am now a person who doesn’t like to sit down and do nothing.  It bugs me now when I sit down and watch TV, except for a sporting event.  I have taken to my power tools and fixed some of the things on the honey-do list that have been on it for well over 2 years.  Yeah I said it, 2 YEARS!  I am hoping that this “staying active” side of myself keeps up and I pick up the handy-man badge of the house or maybe woodworking or some other hobby that I can pass on to my son.

Knowing that I have discovered this trait within myself will be extremely valuable for my next employer, as I will be always looking for something to do.  It is no longer in my blood to just sit there and look like I am busy.

When I was in the workforce I took pride in being flexible. I was always willing to shuffle things around to meet everyone’s needs. A quality that my employer was the most impressed with.  Translating that flexibility into my personal life is more difficult though.  Staying home with a 3-year-old that has the attention span of, well, a 3-year-old means running from one activity to other every 30 seconds.  One moment he wants to play with his trains the next he wants to learn his letters.  There was a time when I was very rigid in my parenting and I wouldn’t put myself out of my comfort zone.  Now though, I’m actively trying to find things to keep my son busy but will keep him entertained and happy.  What I have learned though is that not always will he want to do the things that I have planned and sometimes you just have to find some other activity to do.

There will be things that do not go the way as I have planned it in whatever my new path in life will lead me.  Even during this time, I am learning to keep myself open and flexible to where ever I will land, whether that is doing video, web content management, or even customer service.

During this time of unemployment, I have done a lot of soul-searching.  The one thing that I have found out is the things I want out of life.  I want to be successful.  I want to be a good dad.  I want to leave a legacy for both my job and son and family.  A legacy where family and people look at me and say, “That is exactly who I want to be.”  I am working every single day to build an unbreakable relationship with my son.  I am driving myself to be a better husband.  That is all I can do now.  That means doing my part around the house with the chores and finding an outlet for my frustrations, which has now become taking care of my health.  I want so badly to be the ideal husband and dad, that person when my wife brags about me, the people she is talking to say, “WOW I am SO jealous!”

This drive will continue into the next chapter.  Having this drive will tie in all of the points above patience, staying active, and flexibility making me an ideal candidate for any job that I will eventually be hired for.  I would have never figured all of this out had I not been laid-off and unemployed.  Until that job comes, I can only keep my head held high, a positive attitude, and the desire to be the best that I can be.



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Father of One, Husband, and Blogger at The Rookie Dad. Contributor at Dads Round Table and at Traveling Dad.
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  1. It’s cool that you enjoyed this time with your 3 year old son and that it will help you when you return to your workplace.
    Btw, I especially hear you when you talk about patience. Sometimes it is hard for me to remember my kids dont move at my pace.

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